Negotiating START: Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and the Quest for Strategic Stability
The United States and the Soviet Union have been negotiating nuclear arms control agreements for over twenty years, yet radical differences remain in the two sides' concept of, and approaches to, strategic stability and arms control. This book compares and contrasts those approaches, using START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) as a case study.
Throughout two decades of negotiation, U.S. policy has been directed toward dialogue that would encourage convergence of American and Soviet thought on nuclear deterrence. In Kartchner's view, that hope is belied not only by continuing asymmetries in the development and deployment of their strategic nuclear arsenals, but by differing U.S. and Soviet negotiating positions. The Reagan administration viewed START as a means of repudiating SALT II, restoring a measure of balance in the U.S.-Soviet strategic competition, and as a way of closing the so-called window of vulnerability. In contrast, Kartchner analyzes the Soviets' differing views of nuclear balance, emphasizing their satisfaction with SALT II and a strategic equilibrium shaped by a decade of bilateral arms control.
Kartchner offers a detailed exposition of the major negotiating issues in START, contrasting concerns of U.S. and Soviet negotiators. Not surprisingly, each side's agenda was dominated by weapon systems that figure prominently in the other's development program. The author concludes by summarizing and comparing American and Soviet quests for stability and drawing up an assessment of U.S. efforts in both SALT and START to use arms control negotiations as a kind of classroom for instructing Soviet officials in American notions of "stabilizing" versus "destabilizing" weapon technology and America's own ethnocentric view of stability.
START will profoundly affect the acquisition, operation, maintenance, and cost of U.S. strategic nuclear forces well into the next century. The history and analysis presented here will provide an essential source to policymakers and students of military-political relations for much-needed further study of this treaty's implications.
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