Soviet Union: Operation Steppe Shield?

Washington is worried that a show of U.S. military muscle might be needed if civil war engulfs the U.S.S.R.

American intervention in a Soviet civil war? The thought sounds even crazier than -- oh, say, a suggestion last Aug. 1 that the U.S. might send half a million soldiers, sailors and aviators to the Persian Gulf to fight a war against Iraq. But around the Pentagon and the CIA, the question is by no means dismissed out of hand: circumstances can be foreseen in which the dilemma would at least need to be addressed.

There is nothing farfetched about the idea that there might be a civil war in the U.S.S.R. Senior American intelligence officials believe there is a "very...

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