The Big Five: From Its Birth to Its Death
During the relatively short period of the Big Five's existence--22 years--the arms control and disarmament decision-making mechanism in the Soviet Union underwent considerable development. Following its birth at the end of the 1960s, the Big Five became stronger and gained great experience during 1970s. In the first half of the 1980s, it was under fire because of serious crises, and it managed to recover only during the Gorbachev era. Ironically, its existence came to an end at a time when its mechanism had reached a qualitatively new level of development and displayed great potential for further progress.
Throughout the period of the Big Five's existence, Soviet approaches and, indeed, the very thinking of the nation's leadership on the aims and goals of arms control negotiations changed dramatically. The mechanism created at that time played a very important role in this process and demonstrated its vitality and importance to preserving state interests. The Big Five's contribution proved to be very efficient during a time when it was necessary to change the world outlook and philosophy of thinking, as well as traditional views on national security problems. In the course of this difficult process, the initial concept of obtaining strategic superiority through international arms control agreements was gradually