That this book was written is astonishing. That we here in the West have the opportunity to read it is just short of a miracle. The Big Five is an insider's book written by two men within one of the most secret establishments of the twentieth century, the Soviet arms control leadership. Its existence is testament to the extraordinary changes we have witnessed in the past few years--above all, of course, the end of the Soviet Union, for which this information would have been as closely guarded as the capabilities of the weapons themselves.
As one of the "opposite numbers" of the authors for many years in the arms control talks, I take special pleasure in being asked to add my thoughts here. It is a pleasure to know that our collective efforts were not in vain, and a greater pleasure to find that in the world of today the threat of nuclear holocaust is no longer an omnipresent fear for us all. In the course of the events described here, both sides harbored deep suspicions of each other's intentions and of the lasting effect of what they might be able to accomplish. To read these pages after those years of frustration crowns the success we forged together.
Of course, Soviet-American arms control was not the sole cause of the relaxation of superpower tensions and the end of the Cold War. However, in the political vacuum of much of