military power with the USSR's economic potential, and removes obstacles to Soviet involvement in the international system, thereby enhancing Soviet security.
Western readiness to respond in kind to Soviet moderation provides ample reason to replace unilateral military methods of protecting Soviet interests with diplomacy and arms control. The Brezhnev leadership's insensitivity to Western concerns and buildup of strategic forces sparked hostility in the United States and Western Europe and furnished a justification for American and NATO deployments of new weapon systems. Modified Soviet behavior under Gorbachev induces restraint from the West. Capitalism is capable of curbing its aggressive tendencies and militaristic impulses, and is encouraged to do so by an accommodating Soviet policy. Showing consideration for Western interests makes the West feel more secure and less inclined to threaten Soviet security. Soviet arms reductions serve to alleviate Western concerns and thus to enable East-West cooperation to develop.
New thinking prescribes substantial Soviet compromise to achieve disarmament. The USSR, reformers believe, should redress its insecurity through political means and avoid antagonizing the United States so that both countries can strengthen their security. Crafting a stable balance of interests reduces the incentives to resort to unilateral military actions that provoke countermeasures from the other side and generate a spiral of hostility. Nuclear arms control enhances Soviet security when the USSR makes genuine concessions to satisfy American concerns. Thus, Gorbachev and his advisors take great care to frame disarmament proposals in such a way that they provide a basis for agreement with the United States.