Back from the Brink: Khrushchev's Pursuit of Brinkmanship and Arms Control, 1955-1963 Open Access

Weil, Stephen Joseph (2011)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/sx61dm49n?locale=en
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Abstract

Under what circumstances will state leaders change their beliefs about international politics? This paper will develop three different theories of learning and then apply them to the context of Khrushchev's foreign policy. These learning theories will be compared against alternative explanations for Soviet behavior, such as the relative balance of nuclear forces, the state of the Sino-Soviet relationship, and domestic political constraints. This paper concludes that learning is most likely to occur after a significant "formative event," in this case the Cuban missile crisis, which leads policymakers to reconsider their core beliefs.

Table of Contents

Introduction...1

Learning in Foreign Policy...1

Research Design...9

Case Study...18

Relative Strength...19

Domestic Politics...30

Sino-Soviet Relations...41

Cyclical Learning...53

Formative Events...60

Social Learning...64

Summary...66

Conclusion...73

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