The Conceptual Dimensions of Arms Control
Graeme P. Auton
The arms race is not a manifestation of human madness, an insane out- of-control suicide race promoted by men who are either wicked or stupid. It is a result of reasoned decisions by sensible men grappling to the best of their ability with the wretched situation in which they find themselves.
Arms control has become a significant political issue in both Europe and North America. Although politicians and their publics may not have a carefully articulated notion of what "arms control" means, it clearly has--as Werner Feld demonstrates later in this volume--a large popular constituency that associates it with the willingness of governments to turn away from four and a half decades of cold war antagonism. Indeed, the symbolic implications of arms-control policy may in the long run be even more important than any concrete effect it has on levels of military capability. Recent events--notably the 1987 Washington and 1988 Moscow summits--have demonstrated once again that arms control and détente are critical, not only to the stability of strategic relationships and the management of interstate tensions, but also to the domestic political climate in participating states.
Nowhere, perhaps, have the dynamics of arms control had a greater potential impact than in Europe. Although there was no formal post-