You are hereINT-1987-11-24


Doc Type: 
Intelligence Report
Gates, Robert M.
Full Title: 
Gorbachev’s Gameplan: The Long View
Language Type: 

On the eve of the Washington summit, the top U.S. intelligence analyst on the Soviet Union – Robert M. Gates, then the deputy director of CIA – gets Gorbachev almost completely wrong.  In this memo (forwarded by the CIA director William Webster to Vice President Bush and other top officials), Gates predicts that the Soviet reforms are merely a “breathing space” before the resumption of the “further increase in Soviet military power and political influence.”  Gates misses the Soviet recognition that the Stalinist economic system had failed; he incorrectly predicts that Gorbachev will only agree to arms reductions that “protect existing Soviet advantages”; he claims the Soviets are still committed to the protection of their Third World clients – only three months later, Gorbachev would announce the pullout from Afghanistan; and Gates sees any Gorbachev force reductions as a threat to “Alliance cohesion” rather than a gain for security in Europe.  This hard-line assessment of Gorbachev is not shared by President Reagan, who would rescind his “evil empire” rhetoric while standing in Red Square in May 1988.

From National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book 238