to compete with the Soviet Union during peacetime. Despondency would set in as the military balance tilts further in the favor of the East. Believing that the West does not have the ability to catch up to the Soviet Union, appeasement would substitute for strong foreign and defense policies. Western states may find themselves susceptible to political blackmail in that they would have to anticipate Soviet wishes when formulating their foreign policies--wishing not to do anything that would raise Soviet displeasure.
Aristotle adduced that "a people without walls is a people without any choice."56 A Western Europe and United States without missile defenses would be left with little hope of dealing with the Soviet Union on even terms. During a crisis, for example, a vulnerable West, when confronting a protected Soviet Union, would be at a clear disadvantage, knowing that the result of any conflict would have more ominous consequences for the West than for the Soviet Union. The vulnerability of the West could also influence Soviet expectations of the willingness of U.S. and Allied governments to take risks during times of war. The overall effect would be to advance the Soviet strategy of victory without war.
It has been adduced that NATO's strategic concept of flexible response may no longer remain viable in the context of new Soviet theater strategies and developments in military technology. That is, the combination of Soviet theater and strategic defenses, in conjunction with the deployment of short-range ballistic missiles, may threaten to deny NATO its retaliatory options, thereby mitigating NATO flexibility at the outset. The analysis further concludes that the deployment of ATBM for the protection of critical NATO assets such as airfields, command and control nodes, nuclear weapons casserns, and missile launchers would help restore NATO's ability to deny the Soviets a quick and costless victory scenario.
The ATBM issue has gained considerable significance in NATO military circles. There also appears to be support from the Western European governments for ATBM and "Extended Air Defense" deployments. Opposition to ATBM stems primarily from the liberal elements in Europe that base their criticism of ATBM on the fear that ATBM would be the precursor to ballistic missile defense deployments.
In aggregate, ATBM is consistent with NATO strategy and the defensive cast of the Alliance. ATBM threatens no arms control regime and is politically palatable to almost all Western European governments. Most importantly, however, Soviet offensive and defensive force modernizations leave NATO with little choice but to pursue ATBM options to preserve NATO's strategic flexibility.