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Arms Control : the Soviet Approach and Its Implications

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The Soviet Union has no discrete arms control goals, although it does have a variety of diplomatic and military objectives which can be pursued via arms control negotiations. In the Soviet Union, there is no organization comparable to the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), which is charged with advancing the cause of arms control. Instead, there appears to be only a military bureaucracy and a foreign policy apparatus, whose purposes are reconciled at the highest levels of Soviet politics.1 Nor does the Soviet Union have an arms control theory compaiable to that of the United States. In the U.S., strategic thinking is concentrated at the level of generality where political purpose and military capabilities intersect. It is at this level that concepts of "stability," "esealation-dominance," and "action-reaction arms races" emerge. The intellectual underpinnings of Western arms control policy is provided primarily by the first and last of these. While there is a serious professional military literature in the Soviet press. focusing largely on operational-tactical questions, little is written at the level of generality where political ends and military power meet, and what is written is often propagandistic. This is an area preserved for the top Party leadership, which generally does not, and does not need to, share its reflections with the outside world. The absence of a serious arms control theory and the apparent absence of a bureaucratic framework designed to give arms control considerations an independent voice in the decision-making process are symptomatic of Soviet arms control policy-a policy which uses negotiations as a means of furthering Soviet power, both military and diplomatic.

Affiliations: 1: (National Institute for Public Policy, Fairfax, Vir., U.S.A.


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