Arms Control and European Security

By Graeme P. Auton | Go to book overview
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6
Conventional Arms Control in Europe: Beyond MBFR and CDE

Graeme P. Auton

After 15 years of stalled and frustrated talks at the Vienna negotiations on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions (MBFR), it seems that the time for conventional-force reductions in central Europe may finally be at hand. On June 11, 1986, the Warsaw Pact states issued their "Budapest appeal" proposing a substantial reduction of ground and tactical air forces stationed in Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals. 1 Six months later the NATO ministers responded with a call for negotiations that would "eliminate existing disparities" and "establish conventional stability at lower levels." 2 In an apparent concession to the argument that the Warsaw Pact's conventional advantage on the central front requires larger reductions in the East than in the West, General Secretary Gorbachev spoke in an April 1987 Prague speech of "a certain asymmetry in the armed forces of the two sides in Europe, due to historical, geographic, and other factors." "We are," he said, "for redressing the imbalance existing in some of the elements, not through the build-up of the trailing party but through the build-down by the one that has broken away."3

Subsequently, at the May- June 1988U.S.-Soviet summit in Moscow, Gorbachev advanced an ambitious proposal that would require both sides to (1) exchange data on conventional forces in the reductions zone and verify, through on-site inspections, the accuracy of that data; (2) identify asymmetries in the deployed forces of NATO and the Warsaw

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