It is not surprising, then, that the Presidium of the SPD called upon the FRG to "say an unequivocal no to any participation in the space-armament plans of the Reagan administration."60 The Strategic Defense Initiative is viewed by the SPD as another unilateral and technological security measure that is unlikely to contribute to the "security partnership." SDI upsets the security partnership by exacerbating first-strike and arms race instabilities as well as cultivating political tension and mistrust.
The SPD fears that the deployment of strategic defenses, which will always be less than perfect, will spur both sides to increase their offensive and defensive forces. Furthermore, any erosion or termination of the ABM Treaty would probably put an end to any arms control negotiations for a long time.61 SPD support for the ABM Treaty is based not so much on evidence of the treaty's strategic usefulness, as it is on the belief that the treaty is living proof that arms control and détente are viable. Josef Joffe, former editor of Die Zeit, explained German support for the SALT II Treaty in similar terms: "The Bonn government has praised SALT II so compulsively not because it is wildly enthusiastic about the substance of the agreement, but because it is obsessed with the political consequences of its rejection. . . . Having hitched its electoral fortunes to Ostpolitik and reconciliation, the SPD is condemned to demonstrate forever the viability of détente, for the sake of its survival in power."62
Any review of a country's arms control attitudes compels the making of simplified and sometimes distorted assumptions. The image of collective European will blinded by "arms control fever" is a distorted characterization. As the above references to official arms control policy in the countries examined indicate, conservative governments in Europe recognize the role of arms control in Western security to be one that cannot substitute for adequate defense preparation. Due to the "politicization" of arms control, however, these governments must continue to appear to have faith in the arms control process.
For many Europeans, however, the following SPD statement captures the essence of the security paradigm from which they evaluate most security policies:
For German and European interests, there is no alternative to the continuation and deepening of the policy of détente. Détente is the overriding political instrument in order to achieve a European peace order of security [sic].63
For those operating under such a conceptual framework--and there are many in Europe--the arms control process and its centerpiece, the ABM Treaty, is the basis for the "security partnership" between the East and West.