The Military: An Army Out of Work

Defense conversion will produce a painful metamorphosis

In the calculus of world politics, the Soviet Union had only one credible claim to superpower status -- its immense military strength. The country's domestic economy was always a shambles, and its Marxist-Leninist ideology has long been threadbare. But for decades Moscow relentlessly built up its armed forces to defend communism at home and advance its cause abroad. The military had first call on the nation's resources, and civilians got what was left.

When it came to forging Soviet power, Joseph Stalin and his successors more than fulfilled their plan. Now Boris Yeltsin and, presumably, his successors have to undo it....

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