At this point the reader has been provided the background, objectives, and procedures of conventional multilateral negotiations in the CFE and CDE. The principle of complexity should stand out among others. This chapter addresses issues involved in the negotiations that have been the most difficult to resolve, and the positions taken by relevant actors. It serves as a primer for advanced discussions in Chapters 6 and 7 concerning the most significant and influential positions on the issues that may well determine CFE and CSBM ultimate outcomes or minimally affix the role of conventional arms control in national security strategy.
In attempting to understand conventional arms control, a number of issues emerge for discussion and debate. These issues comprise two types: "strategic" and "operational." Strategic issues are ones that may impact on U.S. military force structure and may determine the role that conventional arms control can and should play. These issues are important to assess because of their synergistic relationship with each other. The strategic issues presented in this chapter include Allied burdensharing, diminishing threat, international trade, and the U.S. defense budget decline.
Operational issues generally deal with the mechanics of arms control. They concern what should be controlled, how it will be controlled, and the regime to monitor the agreement and prevent its circumvention. It is clear, of course, that these two types of issues overlap because one's position on strategic issues will often play a controlling role in deciding one's position on the final form an agreement will take. Nonetheless, the distinction holds up well enough for analytical purposes.1
This discussion will serve the purpose of introducing some of the problems that the United States and NATO face in the coming decade, the role that conventional arms control can play in ameliorating those problems, and the manner in