This book explores the engines of rapid and profound change in Soviet nuclear arms control policy since 1985. The Gorbachev leadership replaced arms limitation with a fundamentally new policy of nuclear disarmament to assist the grand effort to align Soviet power with the world revolution in information technology. Weapons cuts provided an important instrument for forging an opening to the West, reducing the military component of Soviet security, and stimulating domestic reconstruction. By diverting resources to industrial modernization, restructuring the armed forces, and joining the global economy, Gorbachev and his supporters aim to revitalize Soviet economic strength and to exert renewed influence on international affairs.
The book offers a more systematic interpretation than hitherto attempted of Soviet nuclear arms control policy under Gorbachev. It examines the interaction among the various political, economic, and military sources of Soviet behavior to identify the aims and priorities underlying the Soviet pursuit of nuclear disarmament. It strives for analytical precision, attributing a particular cause for, or distinguishing primary from secondary motives behind, each Soviet action. The study assesses the range of factors steering Soviet policy to determine which of the contradictory objectives takes precedence in a given situation and how compatible Soviet goals reinforce each other. It shows how the outlook of Gorbachev and his advisors sets the course of Soviet actions