The Month in History:Counter-Offensive Against Communism
In Lake success and Belgrade and Berlin, the pattern of conflict was the same. The Western powers—which meant, above all, the United States—had ceased to give ground. The Soviet Union had not yet begun to retreat. The result was deadlock.
This was true of questions where there were basic conflicts of principle, and of those where the issue was strategic rather than ideological. And at times it seemed also to be true where only prestige was involved, and indeed little of that. But this last might be something of an illusion; for the disputes over prestige were generally ancillary to those over principle or strategic advantage, and it might well be that neither side bothered to yield where it might have done so with no real loss, simply because it recognized that surrender would bring no progress toward a settlement of the underlying issues.
This might explain the frequency of the Soviet veto, even in regard to questions whose significance it was difficult to discern. For by exercising the veto when it did not matter, the USSR might sometimes succeed in avoiding an issue where it did, and could at least transfer attention, to some degree, from other issues to the procedural one
About the Author