Soviet Nuclear Policy under Gorbachev: A Policy of Disarmament

By Daniel Calingaert | Go to book overview

4
CHANGES IN NUCLEAR STRATEGY

Soviet interest in substantially reducing nuclear arsenals emanates from the demands of new thinking to cut the USSR's military potential. The content of Soviet arms control policy is shaped to a great extent by changes in nuclear strategy. Doctrinal revisions that preceded Gorbachev's accession, and the two-year review of military doctrine undertaken by the Defense Council in April 1985, altered Soviet force requirements and thereby shifted the Soviet position on restricting particular weapon systems. The Gorbachev leadership attaches great value to strategic stability and so reduces first-strike arms in favor of survivable forces appropriate for retaliation.

Disagreements over nuclear strategy stifle Soviet progress in disarmament. The high command of the Soviet armed forces assumes responsibility not only for enhancing stability but also for preparing to carry out military missions in case war breaks out. It is thus determined to preserve some elements of a war-fighting capability, such as counterforce nuclear targeting, that inhibit improvements in strategic stability. In contrast, reform-minded civilian strategists want to render the nuclear balance more durable by decreasing the military utility of nuclear weapons.

Acceptance of mutual vulnerability intensified Soviet efforts to block the development and deployment of ballistic missile defenses. The adoption of a no-first-use doctrine encouraged the

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Soviet Nuclear Policy under Gorbachev: A Policy of Disarmament
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1- Innovation in Policy Formation 11
  • Notes 26
  • 2- Economic Inducements For Disarmament 29
  • Notes 44
  • 3- New Thinking on National Security Aims 47
  • Notes 68
  • 4- Changes in Nuclear Strategy 75
  • Notes 93
  • 5- The Diplomacy of Arms Control 99
  • Notes 128
  • 6- Soviet Conduct Of Nuclear Arms Talks 135
  • Notes 156
  • 7- Conclusion 159
  • Glossary 165
  • Selected Bibliography 167
  • Index 173
  • About Author 181
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