Arms Control and European Security

By Graeme P. Auton | Go to book overview

structure that keeps patron powers chained to their wards." 19 Extended deterrence, this suggests, is inevitable, like it or not. If this is so, the debate returns to the problem of credibility, not as perceived by Western Europeans but as calculated by the less benevolent Soviet Union.


CONCLUSION: ATLANTIC SECURITY VS. ARMS CONTROL

Further reductions in nuclear weapons pose the greatest single threat to Western security, and the present East-West climate contains dangerous possibilities that the Soviet leadership will make new, and virtually irresistible, offers on the reduction of conventional forces linked to Western commitments not to modernize or replace NATO's remaining nuclear forces. These offers will be based on arguments, unfortunately frequently recited by our own leaders, to the effect that the need for nuclear weapons is based upon conventional imbalances and that, once the latter have been redressed, we can proceed toward further nuclear disarmament. Recent opinion surveys suggest that the view is becoming more widely accepted that nuclear forces are more a threat than a protection, and that the world will be a safer place without them. Such views ignore the most fundamental lesson of the cold war, a struggle for primacy which is far from over, notwithstanding the dramatic changes occurring in the Soviet Union. Nuclear weapons are indispensable, not because they compensate for conventional deficiencies, but because they deter. They are in that sense not linked to any other aspect of the military balance and must not be treated as if they are comparable to other weapons or capabilities.

It is an exaggeration to complain that denuclearization has, with the INF treaty, already begun; the challenge to Western statesmen is to ensure that it remains an exaggeration. 20 The Atlantic Alliance, one sober analyst remarked, must now compensate for its triumph. This endeavor so far lacks a transatlantic basis for consensus, and whether such can be built will be the most compelling imperative of the immediate future.


NOTES
1.
The NATO Harmel formula of 1967 enshrined the dual-track Alliance policy of pursuing détente while maintaining defense. This policy has acted as a source of consensus in the past, but more recently the tension between these concepts has become sharper.
2.
The treaty was signed December 8, 1987, and ratified by both parties in the spring of 1988. For excerpts, see Survival (March-April 1988): pp. 163-79.
3.
"Arms reduction" has become the current catchall phrase covering arms control and disarmament, but see Chapter 1 of the present volume.

-38-

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Arms Control and European Security
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: The Conceptual Dimensions of Arms Control 5
  • Notes 21
  • 2: Atlantic Security vs. Arms Control: A New European Imbalance? 25
  • Notes 38
  • Notes 38
  • 3: START, SDI, and Arms Control 41
  • Notes 56
  • 4: The Soviet Union and Arms Control 59
  • Notes 70
  • 5: Arms Control and Gorbachev: The View From the Public 73
  • Notes 93
  • 6: Conventional Arms Control in Europe: Beyond MBFR and CDE 95
  • Notes 108
  • 7: The CSCE Process: A Way to European Peace in Security 111
  • Notes 125
  • 8: Arms Control and NATO's Maritime Dimension 127
  • Notes 142
  • 9 - Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones: A Northern European Perspective 145
  • 10: Political Accommodation and Conflict Avoidance: Superpower Accord on the Neutral Status of States 159
  • CONCLUSIONS 173
  • CONCLUSIONS 174
  • Selected Bibliography 179
  • Index 193
  • About the Editor and Contributors 203
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