Equally important was the function of initiative in encouraging reciprocal moves and creating a propitious environment for negotiation. Certainly, the direct achievements of initiatives were far less than advocates of the strategies would have hoped for. But as Robert Johansen observed, it was the failure of the United States to reciprocate Soviet initiatives in nuclear testing that produced such poor results. Furthermore, the broad range of security initiatives by the Soviet Union undoubtedly improved the negotiating efforts in all arenas. 32
If the Soviet initiatives--which might be explained away as desperate moves by the leadership of a crumbling empire--had positive effects on security cooperation at the end of the cold war, then initiatives taken by the world's strongest state may have even greater consequence. As security relationships evolve in the post-cold war world, the benefits of institutionalizing cooperation in order to diminish the nuclear threat become clear. Leaders interested in stepping back from the nuclear insecurity of the cold war should look to the lessons of the 1980s with a skeptical eye to the achievement of tough bargaining and a positive, though not uncritical, eye to the potential of initiatives.
Bernard Bechhoefer wrote in 1961 that the "process of attaining new accords may require extended and patient negotiations lasting for years." His advice is no less apt in 1993. The negotiations of the 1980s, however, suggest new, positive lessons about how to travel that "highway to peace and increased security" as the society of nations creates another new world order. 33