That leaves plenty of room for political conflict over the policies to be pursued in the name of collaborative competition. Hence, in this chapter I abandon the unitary actor assumption and explore instead the diversity of perspectives on the Arab-Israeli conflict within the upper reaches of the Soviet journalistic and academic establishments from 1971 to 1987. Rather than trying to interpret (or overinterpret) the laconic statements of Politburo members, I have chosen to focus on five individuals whose positions and connections make it probable that
they either affect or reflect the views of an important constituency for Soviet Middle East policy. In addition, to be included in this study the individuals had to publish newspaper or journal articles fairly frequently during the years under review. Both the diversity of perspectives and the level of consensus reflected in their writings allow us to explore the nature of Soviet consensual and conflictual thinking about the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the impact of ideology on Soviet thinking. The five men whose writings I have examined are:
1. V. Kudriavtsev, correspondent and political observer for Izvestiia. Until his retirement in 1984 he was also deputy chairman of the Soviet Committee for Solidarity with the Peoples of Asia and Africa, and a deputy of the USSR Supreme Soviet.