The Big Five: Arms Control Decision-Making in the Soviet Union

By Aleksandr' G. Savel'Yev; Nikolay N. Detinov et al. | Go to book overview
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13
Defense and Space Issues: A Field for Future Negotiations?

Against the background of reasonable progress in the field of nuclear weapons reductions that was achieved in the second half of the 1980s and the beginning of 1990s, the Defense and Space Talks (DST) remained the only area where there was absolutely no movement whatsoever. These talks were held in Geneva simultaneously with the START and MRNW (INF) negotiations under the Nuclear and Space Talks (NST) umbrella. The key role in this drama was played by the Strategic Defense Initiative--SDI--which was announced by the American President Ronald Reagan in March 1983. All the attempts of the Parties to achieve an agreement in this field could not surmount the existence of this program.

The Soviet Union's experts closely analyzed all the possible consequences of the implementation by the United States of the SDI Program. Prominent scientists, technical designers, military experts, diplomats, and lawyers took part in these discussions. The issue was also personally considered by MSU Dmitri Ustinov and Leonid Smimov and, later, by General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. As a result of this process, the Soviet leadership came to the firm conviction that the possible development and deployment by the United States of ABM systems such as SDI would dramatically change the

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