Arms and Arms Control: A Symposium

By Ernest W. Lefever | Go to book overview

2.The Price of Military Stability

By JAMES E. JR. KING

Reflecting the dominant theme in current American thinking on arms control, Mr. King argues here that the attainment of military stability between East and West should be a central objective of U.S. national-security policy. He emphasizes the price that must be paid for such stability -- both America and Russia must abandon efforts to achieve decisive military predominance.

In the essay from which this selection was drawn, the author identifies three kinds of stability on the strategic level -- "imposed stability," "fortuitous stability," and "safeguarded stability." Imposed stability stems from the acknowledged and unchallenged military superiority of one of the superpowers, a situation believed to have existed in the period of America's nuclear monopoly. Fortuitous stability is a transitional "balance of terror" or military stalemate that may be the unintended result of the efforts of both adversaries to achieve military dominance. Such stability, says Mr. King, is a gift of particular circumstances and should be regarded neither as an automatic nor an enduring by-product of the arms race. Safeguarded stability, on the other hand, is the result of the deliberate and collaborative efforts of both adversaries to limit and control arms.

____________________
xxx

"Arms Control and United States Security," in Arms Control: Issues for the Public. ( Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1961), pp. 96-98, 109. Reprinted with the permission of the author and publisher.

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