>A strong blue water navy - in all seas - to break the trade embargo against Cuba would be just too much.
The Cuban trade embargo wasn't their only objective, more like a general guaranty from naval blockades.
>It would be smarter to register some post box company in Switzerland or Liechtenstein and trade that way
They must have tried that ?
>And enforcing an embargo doesn't really need a navy.
The majority of countries would play middle man between ideological rivals. They would change a few shipping documents and resell banned American computer exports mislabeled as potatoes to the USSR. Without threatening a navy blockade it's a paper tiger.
>True. But you can't run a company doing R&D if you can't evaluate what your employees does.
There were a lot more engineers and scientists in communist parties than in the capitalist class. The intellectual background of the capitalists comes from lawyers, economists, marketing experts, bankers, and private education prestige degrees for elite-networking.
>I won't harp on the amazing properties of Silicon Valley in the 60s and 70s.
The Soviet Union had social clubs and technology villages like a silicon valley campus on a budget with the liberties the Soviets could afford. America was wealthier, they could afford more liberties. The Soviet materialist doctrine was ideologically less limiting for technologists than American commercial doctrine and on average the Soviets approved more radical and exotic designs. It's ironic that stuffy bureaucrats were less risk averse than the selfstyled dynamic investors.
>And there wasn't as much of the state breathing down your neck as it was in the eastern bloc. DDR really won the prize by having 1 in 7 working for Stasi in some way. Not much development made there, considering the general wealth and population size.
Are you serious ? The people's commissariat for internal affairs and the ministry for state security were amateurs compared to capitalism in the domain of repurposing technology for power and control. They were a bastion of privacy in relation to surveillance capitalism and American 3 letter agencies, who wont stop until they surveil EVERYTHING.
>Of course the USSR could hire people to do development for them. But it would really be expensive, as the foreigners shouldn't lack anything that they was used to just pick off a shelf in the west. Then threre's the social thing. If your colleagues are from time to time banting about the lack of good socks or something, and you just bought really nice socks from some party boss store. Then you probably feel a bit outside. Development really doesn't have to suffer because of that, but it's a risk in itself.
In the honeymoon phase, American goods were better. But the honeymoon is over, the market offers planned obsolescence and fighting legal battles to allow personal property repairs. Soviet utilitarianism didn't understand nice socks, but things would last and were user serviceable. With enough patience Soviet product designers could learn to build nice things. Can you teach capitalists to build durable and serviceable products ?