Despite Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's glas-nost policy, his government is not reducing military spending, a former U.S. ambassador and member of a politically conservative think tank said Friday.
"There will be no guns-to-butter movement under glasnost," Richard F. Staar, a Stanford University professor of international studies and former ambassador to Austria, told Brigham Young University political science students.Gorbachev has not touched military spending since taking office in 1985, said Staar, coordinator of the International Studies Research Program at Stanford's Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace.
Several major obstacles to reform remain under Gorbachev's leadership, said Staar, a keynote speaker at the BYU Symposium on National Security.
Quoting former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci, he said the Soviet Union is spending "six times what it claims to be spending on the military, or about 19 percent of its gross national product. The United States spends about 4 percent of GNP on the military.
"The Soviets have experienced 60 years of central government, and the result is 18 million bureaucrats who want to protect their positions and are resistant to change," Staar said.
"Gorbachev will go down in history with Lenin as a famous chess player," he said. "Both men enjoyed playing with a handicap to overpower their opponent. As in chess, defeat will come by making us look old and cold, offering nothing new to the world. They hope we will be trapped behind our own chess pieces, leaving them to call the shots."