Current CFE Negotiations
In the Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), NATO has two interrelated tasks, each of which must be addressed effectively if the CFE objectives of greater security and stability are to be achieved and sustained. First, relative to any Alliance reductions, NATO must insist on very large, asymmetrical reductions in the quantities of Soviet and other Warsaw Pact forces and their associated weapons systems. Large, asymmetrical reductions, in combination with appropriate stabilizing, transparency, and verification measures, should leave both alliances with comparable military capabilities, equally sufficient for defense, but equally unlikely to be sufficient for aggression.
Second, beyond achieving even these ambitious military objectives, NATO's leaders need to come to grips with appropriate political, economic, social, and other objectives. While the latter are not (and cannot be) the technical subject matter of the CFE negotiation, they are very much a part of the calculus of CFE. The success of Soviet perestroika, for example, depends on the creation of far more cooperative Eastern political and economic relationships with the West. Thus, whereas NATO's immediate CFE interest may be in redressing the military imbalance in Europe, the driving force behind WTO participation in the negotiation appears to be the potential that might be created for much more cooperative political and economic interactions with the West. NATO's interest can be achieved at the negotiating table in Vienna, but the interests of the WTO will need to be addressed as well (albeit between capitals, not in Vienna) if the basis for a mutually beneficial and lasting East-West relationship is to be created.
The purposes of this chapter are to describe the state of play in the negotiations to reduce conventional forces in Europe, and to underscore the relevance of NATO's reduction proposals to achieving the objectives of greater stability and security. The chapter concludes with an examination of possible ways to resolve differences that still separate the two sides.