"Euromissiles" and the
Principle of Equal Security
The SALT II agreement established rough equality--or parity, in the Western vernacular--between the Soviet Union and the United States in the field of strategic offensive arms. The Soviet Side, however, had, from its point of view, failed in its attempt to incorporate in the treaty a fundamental principle it had defended throughout the negotiations, specifically, what it referred to as "Equal Security," meaning a balance between the Soviet Union and the United States in weapons capable of reaching the territory of the other, with compensation for British and French systems. That principle demanded taking into account all factors that influenced the strategic situation in the Soviet-American--or more precisely, the Soviet-NATO--nuclear balance.
This failure, coming as it did in the context of the world outcry against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the refusal by the United States Congress to ratify the SALT II Treaty, and the ever increasing likelihood of an American intermediate-range nuclear force (INF) deployment in Europe, stimulated Soviet "disarmament" activities. The two main goals for the Soviet Side were to prevent "Euromissiles"--U.S. missiles deployed in Europe--from being deployed in the territory of NATO countries and to prove to the West and make it accept the Soviet principle of "Equal Security." To reach this goal, the Soviet