The Big Five: Arms Control Decision-Making in the Soviet Union

By Aleksandr' G. Savel'Yev; Nikolay N. Detinov et al. | Go to book overview

various types of strategic weapons and, specifically, over ALCMs and SLCMs were discussed. The most important result of that meeting by far was consent by the Soviet Union to de-link the START and ABM Treaties. This tact was introduced allegedly as a completely new approach to the old problem of linkage. The Soviet Union announced that it would be prepared to sign and ratify START even in the situation wherein agreement on ABM defenses had not been reached by the end of START Treaty preparation. The principal condition attached to this step by the Soviet Union at the Wyoming Ministerial was compliance with the ABM Treaty. And START itself, from the Soviet viewpoint, should include a provision granting the parties the right to withdraw if the other side did not adhere to the treaty or withdrew unilaterally.1

Both the United States and the Soviet Union moved significantly toward agreement in the course of the five-year process of strategic arms reduction negotiations. The Soviet Union was not alone in making concessions; the American approach changed significantly as well. As a result of this mutual movement, the interests of the adversaries regarding this complex problem were counterbalanced. However, when we compare initial positions of the two sides, it would seem that the Soviet Union made more concessions. At the same time, one should always take into account the fact that the Soviet Union virtually always began arms control negotiations by having a huge "safety margin"; the START negotiations were no exception. Despite the fact that the USSR began negotiations with the potential of something to give, breaking into this "safety margin" was an extremely painful process for the Soviet leadership and decision-makers. A number of episodes from the following chapter testify to this conclusion.


Note
1.
Normally such a provision is referred to as a "supreme national interest clause," because it gives a party the right to withdraw if its supreme national interests are threatened. U.S. Ed.

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The Big Five: Arms Control Decision-Making in the Soviet Union
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms vii
  • Foreword xi
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • 1- The Historical Background 1
  • Notes 13
  • 2- The Politburo Commission For The Supervision of The Negotiations 15
  • Notes 30
  • 3- The Big Five and The Small Five 31
  • Note 42
  • 4 - The Salt II Talks: The Decision-Making Mechanism in Action 43
  • Notes 53
  • 5- "Euromissiles" and The Principle of Equal Security 55
  • Notes 68
  • 6- The Start Negotiations And the Final Period Of Superpower Confrontation 71
  • Notes 80
  • 7- The Return to The Negotiations: the Prelude To Perestroyka 83
  • Notes 94
  • 8- The Krasnoyarsk Affair 95
  • Notes 109
  • 9- Perestroyka and the Further Refinement of The Decision-Making Mechanism 111
  • Note 122
  • 10- Medium-Range Nuclear Weapons Negotiations: Was the "Zero Option" Really So Bad? 123
  • Notes 139
  • 11- The Start Treaty: Who Made Concessions to Whom? 141
  • Note 150
  • 12- The Difficult Path to The Start Treaty 151
  • 13- Defense and Space Issues: A Field for Future Negotiations? 163
  • Notes 182
  • 14- The Big Five: from Its Birth To Its Death 183
  • Note 192
  • 15- Reflections 193
  • Index 195
  • About the Authors and Editor 205
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