Soviet Nuclear Policy under Gorbachev: A Policy of Disarmament

By Daniel Calingaert | Go to book overview
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5
THE DIPLOMACY OF ARMS CONTROL

Gorbachev and his advisors seek genuine cooperation with the West leading to full Soviet participation in the international system. They have therefore scaled down Soviet defense capabilities, imparted flexibility to Soviet foreign policy, made concessions to accommodate Western interests, and accepted Western modes of interaction. Substantial cuts in, and restructuring of, nuclear arsenals minimize the risk of conflict and reduce the threat posed by each side's armed forces to the other. Strengthening the military balance eliminates sources of antagonism and enhances stability in the political sphere.

Arms control develops common interests with the United States and Western Europe and provides evidence of modified Soviet intentions. It removes weapons rivalry from the center of Soviet American relations and permits expansion of cooperation across the board. In turn, improvement in the overall climate of relations stimulates further progress in disarmament.

Soviet policy appealed to pragmatic Republicans in the United States to reduce reliance on military power. The USSR offered to cut its strategic capabilities to entice influential members of the administration and Congress to curb U.S. force modernization and conclude arms accords. In particular, Soviet concessions were designed to complement the erosion of domestic support for the SDI program and to render more attractive a grand compromise

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