The three major military powers (the United States, Russia, and China) systematically and consistently engage in inflation of the threats they face. Each side tends to see the worst motivation and the greatest capabilities in assessing its adversaries in order to justify its own actions. This problem was endemic throughout the Cold War, particularly in the 1980s when President Ronald Reagan used exaggerated and politicized threat assessments to justify the largest peacetime increase in defense spending and to rally American support for the buildup. Ironically, the United States was doing so at the very time that the Soviet Union was in political and economic disarray, eventually dissolving in 1991. More
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This content originally appeared on CounterPunch.org and was authored by Melvin Goodman.