The Politics of Disarmament: A Study in Soviet-American Gamesmanship

The Politics of Disarmament: A Study in Soviet-American Gamesmanship

The Politics of Disarmament: A Study in Soviet-American Gamesmanship

The Politics of Disarmament: A Study in Soviet-American Gamesmanship

Excerpt

Our purpose in this book is to study the role that American-Soviet disarmament negotiations have played in the diplomacy of the Cold War--to analyze the political objectives sought by the United States and the Soviet Union during their "disarmament duels," and the tactics employed by both sides to achieve these objectives. Thus, our emphasis differs from the approaches of most of the considerable body of existing literature on post-World War II disarmament.

Much of the early disarmament writing after 1945 could be classified as either utopian or realist. The former stressed the absolute need for disarmament if the world wished to avoid committing nuclear suicide. Its approach was basically simple: Either the great powers laid down their weapons or they would precipitate a global holocaust. Arms races obeyed a logic of their own; sooner or later, because of the mutual fears and suspicions they produced, they would end in war. Nations thus had to be deprived of their arms before this point was reached; it was their capabilities to launch wars that produced hostilities, even if they never had any such intentions toward each other--at least when the arms race began. The utopians, in short, separated capabilities from intentions; the arms race was seen as an autonomous process divorced from its political context.

Almost a piori, therefore, this type of analysis omitted a thorough examination of the manner in which the United States and the Soviet Union employed disarmament as an instrument of diplomacy--that is, why and how these two powers were never able to break their stalemate. The utopians reasoned that, since the two states had failed to achieve an arms agreement and thereby al-

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