The Soviet navy and superpower foreign policy in the Middle East: a study in the political application of naval force.

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Joslin, Leslie Allen
Skurnik, W.A.E.
Beer, Lawrence W.
Date of Issue
November 19, 1974
Originally deployed forward in the waters of the Middle East only a decade ago to defend the Soviet homeland against Western strategic attack from the sea, the Soviet Navy, since the Six Day War of 1967 has become an increasingly important instrument of Moscow's foreign policy as well as an increasingly significant influence upon American foreign policy in the region, Application of the concept of armed naval suasion— an explanation of the political application of naval force as it seems to influence national actors in international arena situations short of war—to available empirical data both facilitates demonstration of the Soviet Navy's evolution as an instrument of foreign policy in the Middle East and contributes to the determination of appropriate American policy responses to the challenge which that navy as such continues to pose to United States interests in the region. Despite a few setbacks such as that in Egypt during 1972, the growing perception of Soviet naval ascendancy resulting from Moscow's resilient political application of naval force, albeit somewhat unjustified, has succeeded in significantly strengthening the Soviet strategic position and seriously challenging the interests of the United States in the region. Application of the naval suasion concept to the problem of ascertaining the general nature of appropriate policy responses to this challenge indicates that development and deployment of a naval force structure credible enough to evoke suasion effects as required while minimizing the potentially counterproductive political effects of such a force is essential to the successful pursuit of American foreign policy in the Kiddie East. While overreliance on a weak "policy of surrogation" and maintenance of the no-longer-politically-viable Middle East Force are determined to be inappropriate responses, retention and revitalization of a modified U. S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea and the continuation of a credible-intermittent American naval presence in the Indian Ocean supported by a modest facility on Diego Garcia—both of which could be reinforced in time of crisis to effectively exercise naval suasion—are shown to be components of an appropriate American policy response to the political challenge of the Soviet Navy. The probable future of continued political application of Soviet naval force in the Middle East will require the continued presence of the U. S. Navy to support American diplomacy in the region.
This thesis document was issued under the authority of another institution, not NPS. At the time it was written, a copy was added to the NPS Library Collection for reasons not now known. It has been included in the digital archive for its historical value to NPS. Not believed to be a CIVINS (Civilian Institutions) title.
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Political Science
University of Colorado
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