Bargaining and Cooperation
Whatever their motivations, once states become engaged in arms control efforts, they are ostenisibly pursuing some form of cooperation. Cooperation, however, should not be confused with "harmony" or the end of conflict (although either might be a long-term consequence). Rather, cooperation should be seen as a process of "mutual policy adjustment" on specific issues at specific times. 1 So long as the governments of the states involved perceive potential benefits that can only be obtained through joint action with others, we can consider the process as a problem of cooperation.
Negotiations are possible when a range of potentially acceptable solutions to a conflict exists. 2 Agreement on a mutual solution is not guaranteed because its achievement requires a degree of cooperation and therefore mutual accommodation. Negotations are manifestations of the bargaining process that attempt to reach a formal agreement, often a treaty. "Explicit bargaining," notes Thomas Schelling, "requires, for an ultimate agreement, some coordination of the participants' expectations." 3 Similarly, the pursuit of agreement in an arms control negotiation should be considered a problem of cooperation and coordination- purposeful activity of states to improve their security through the process of mutual policy accommodation.
Explaining (and promoting) cooperation is one of the central dilemmas of world politics. On the one hand, traditional international relations theory (at least that rooted in the postwar realist school) finds competition and conflict easier to explain than cooperation. In realism's view the powerful logic of international anarchy makes competition the modal tendency for governments. Cooperation is not excluded from possibility, but cooperative policies will tend to be subordinated to self-help and the pursuit of national self-interest. Cooper-