East-West Arms Control: Challenges for the Western Alliance

By David Dewitt; Hans Rattinger | Go to book overview

5

Confidence- and security-building measures: an evolving East-West security regime?*

Volker Rittberger, Manfred Efinger and Martin Mendler

INTRODUCTION

In the introductory chapter of a major volume on American-Soviet security co-operation, the editors summarize the perspective from which the contributors have addressed their subject:

The starting point of this study is the hypothesis that the United States and the Soviet Union perceive that they have a strong interest in managing their rivalry in order to control its costs and risks. This shared interest . . . is coupled with a more diffuse recognition of two other goals: namely, the desirability of developing over time a more cooperative, orderly, and stable US-Soviet relationship, and regional and global institutions and arrangements that create some additional order in the international system from which the two superpowers benefit at least indirectly. However, although the United States and the Soviet Union may subscribe to these longer-range goals, they have rather amorphous and somewhat divergent conceptions of what the norms, ‘rules’ and modalities of a more cooperative relationship and a better structured international system should be. 1

What these authors have assumed about the overall American-Soviet security relationship can be stated with equal force with respect to East-West security relations in Europe. Not only do the United States and the Soviet Union abide by the ‘broad injunctions’ to ‘limit competition to avoid war’ and to ‘respect spheres of influence’ in Europe, as Joseph S. Nye 2 has pointed out; equally important, their European allies, including the two Germanies, to this day have few if any incentives, and lack the capabilities, to challenge these

*A very similar article by the authors has previously been published as (1990) ‘Toward an East-West security regime: The case of confidence- and security-building measures’, Journal of Peace Research 27:1:55-74.

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