East-West Arms Control: Challenges for the Western Alliance

By David Dewitt; Hans Rattinger | Go to book overview
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Any book today on East-West arms control can be guaranteed to have been superseded by events prior to publication. Actions by political, diplomatic, military and financial leaders now seem often to run contrary to the expectations established by post-war European and North Atlantic experience. Important aspects of East-West relations have changed irrevocably, with results which are as profound as they are uncertain.

The essays in this volume illustrate the challenges and problems facing analysts in such an environment. Drafted for a conference on Canadian and German perspectives of European arms control held in Toronto, Canada, in the spring of 1988, the essays were revised over the ensuing year. The rapidity of policy developments and of changes in the security milieu, as well as the inconclusiveness of the ongoing arms control negotiations, hindered our ability to engage in constant revision. Rather, a single concluding essay is offered which, among other things, bridges the period through the summer of 1990. These chapters are valuable in providing a critical perspective on arms control issues immediately prior to the dramatic developments in Eastern Europe. They constitute a useful analysis and retrospective on where we were, and much insight into where we might be heading.

It is useful to recall that this is not the first phase of superpower détente and arms control efforts in post-war history. Almost 20 years ago, we entered into a period of so-called détente. Then the United States was on the defensive over Vietnam, a situation which eroded confidence in American leadership, while the Soviet Union, in its rise to strategic parity, challenged American global hegemony. From the late 1970s through much of the past decade, the Soviet Union was on the defensive, both externally regarding Afghanistan and the unravelling of the Warsaw Pact, and internally with its


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