Western Studies of Soviet Foreign Policy
In Western studies of Soviet foreign policy and the political system have focused on what has been called the input side of politics. Scholars have attempted to discern the relationship of the political authorities to demands and the supports generated in the political process. The totalitarian perspective sees the Soviet Union as one type of totalitarian dictatorship, and its foreign policy as manifesting characteristics typical of a totalitarian state. Stress is placed on the existence of an official ideology, a single mass party led by a dictator, and party control of society through police terror, mass communication, armed force, and control of the economy. A far different interpretation of Soviet foreign policy is outlined in the pluralist perspective. This point of view, developed in the late 1960s as a theoretical rejection of and response to the totalitarian perspective, sees Soviet foreign policy as the product of differing perspectives in the Soviet leadership.