The Limits of Arm Control

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The Limits of Arm Control

July 26, 1983 25 min read Download Report
David Asman

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280 July 26, 1983 THE LIMITS OF CONTROL INTRODUCTION The aim of strategic arms negotiations is to diminish the chances of atomic war by reducing significantly Soviet and U.S nuclear arsenals and establishing a balance at the lower level.

For more than a decade, teams from the United States and the USSR have been meeting, ostensibly to cut arms. First they produced SALT I, then SALT

11. Though arms control advocates cheered the very fact that superpower arms talks were underway, little arms control has been achieved, despite enormous effort. The main result of the talks has been to assure Moscow's superiority in key and dangerously destabilizing weapons systems.

The Reagan Administration has been trying to change this by insisting that the original goals of arms talks be honored. In May 1982, the Administration launched what it called the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks-=or START-calling for substantial dismantling of U.S. and Soviet nucle a r arsenals and the creation of a stable strategic balance. Specifically the Reagan START proposal calls for o Reductions in the number of ballistic missile warheads by about one-third, to a level of 5,000 for each side o Deep cuts in the most destabilizin g ballistic missile systems (large multiwarhead ICBMs o Constraints to reduce the capacity of missiles to carry warheads o An equal ceiling, below SALT levels, on heavy bombers and o Limits and constraints on other strategic systems including cruise missil e s that could be carried by bombers. 2 MOSCOW~S response to this first genuine and sustained effort to slash nuclear arsenals since arms talks began in 1969 has been a deafening llNyet.ll .The Soviets have rejected U.S. proposals out of hand and have table d their own plan which freezes the U.S. at nuclear inferiority.

Even though it has been Moscow~s intransigence that has been blocking progress at the talks in Geneva, strangely it is the Administration which is being criticized by some Congressmen, the arm s control community, and media commentators for not being serious about anus control. The Administration is accused of making l1one=sided1l proposals which are mainly Ilpropaganda. Arms control enthusiasts argue that Moscow is being asked to dismantle too much of its land-based ICBM force.

Bowing to this pressure, the U. S. revised its START proposal on lines recommended by the Scowcroft Commission, which stressed the importance of the number of warheads rather than the number of missile launchers the critics. They are !!not good enough and] only a start,If2 insists a New York Times editorial. Many critics urge the Admini stration to be more llflexible,fl that is, more accommodating to Moscow's perceived security interests. Congress even has linked continued support of the MX missile program to greater flexibility in the A d ministration's arms control stance. In effect, this gives Moscow a veto over an imp0rtantU.S. weapons program. In the mean time, alternative arms control proposals are proliferating ~ildly lity" and link U.S. weapons deployments to Ilprogressll at the bar gaining table, Moscow will have little incentive to negotiate seriously toward genuine arms control objectives. What is even more disturbing about the public debate, however is the wide spread--and naive, given 'the historical record--confidence that the a rms control process will substantially enhance nuclear stabi lity gests that, as things are now, the prospect of significant and rapid progress in arms control is poor But these important revisions do not satisfy As long as arms control backers demand gre a ter U.S. "flexibi The experience of the past decade teaches caution and sug The primary obstacle to arms control progress quite simply is that the Soviet Union rejects nuclear parity as the objective of arms control. It uses the negotiating process to blo c k U.S See, for example, the prepared testimony of Gerard C. Smith, Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1969-1972) before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, June 22, 1983 A New Start for START," The New York Times, June 10, 1983, p. A26.

A partial list includes: a freeze on production, testing, and deployment of nuclear weapons, ratification of SALT 11, reduction of nuclear arsenals through a "build down" process (dismantling more warheads for every new one introduced), and gradua l elimination of multiple warhead land-based missiles 2 3 efforts to achieve a' balance. An appreciation of this could result in an American consensus on the arms control process that is rooted 8 in reality. More than anything else, such an understanding c ould lead to the kind of hard and sustained bargaining that might just result in a genuine arms control treaty THE DISAPPOINTING ARMS CONTROL RECORD U.S. efforts to control nuclear weapons began in 1946' when the Truman Administration proposed dismantling the U.S. nuclear arsenal and placing the globe's atomic resources under the owner ship and control of an independent international'authority. This was called the Baruch Plan. Moscow rejected the idea. Neverthe less, over the years, the U.S. continued to s e ek agreements with the Soviet Union to limit nuclear arsenal gr~wth.~ of the eleven nuclear arms control agreements signed between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the most significant are: the 1972 ABM Treaty and Interim Agreement Limiting Strategic Nuclea r Offensive Weapons SALT I and the 1979 SALT I1 Treaty and Protoc01 Although the U.S. has not ratified SALT 11, it has agreed to comply with its provisions as long as the Soviet Union does likewise. Moscow too has said it will comply with SALT 11 Although m uch praised, SALT'S contribution to U.S. security has been minimal. The U.S. entered SALT with the-aim of-negotia ting long-term equitable agreements to reduce substantially the In its widest sense, arms control includes any action which reduces the risk o f war or limits the destructive power of armed forces. It can be formal or informal; unilateral, bilateral, or multilateral. Arms control may involve reductions in weapons deployments, a halt in testing, produc tion, or deployment--of various weapon syste m s, replacement of one system for another, or even a force buildup to reach a stable balance. Arms con trol does not always involve limits on weapons or weapons systems. Test bans, agreements establishing communications links or requiring notification of e xercises are also kinds of arms control.

Other arms control agreements such as the 1959 Antarctica Treaty, the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, and the 1971 Seabed Treaty, are of only minor relevance in dealing with the most press ing issues of nuclear weapons deployments. Agreements such as the 1963 Hot Line Agreement and the 1971 Treaty for Reducing the Risk of Outbreak of Nuclear War, which seek to reduce the likelihood of nuclear war through miscalculation and accident, are of s ome value but are likewise peripheral to the central arms control objective of greatly reduced equal force levels. A U.S. proposal recently tabled at Geneva.calling for the estab lishment of a joint crisis-management ,center--an idea suggested by Senators Sam NUM (D-GA) and Henry Jackson (D-WA)--has been rejected by the Soviet Union 4 U.S-SOVIET NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL AGREEMENTS Agreement Antarctic Treaty, 1959 Hot-Line Agreement 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty 1963 Outer Space Treaty, 1963 Seabed Treaty 1971 A g reement on Measures to Reduce the Risk of Outbreak of Nuclear War, 1971 ABM Treaty, 1972 Interim Agreement Limiting Offensive Nuclear Weapons 1972 (expired 1977 Agreement of the Prevention of Nuclear War, 1973 Limitations Prohibits use of Antarctica for m ilitary purposes.

Establishes direct communications link between Washington and Moscow.

Prohibits nuclear weapons tests "or any other nuclear explosion" in the atmosphere, in outer space, and underwater.

Prohibits stationing of nuclear weapons in space, or in orbit around the earth.

Prohibits deployment of nuclear weapons on the seabed, ocean floor or subsoil thereof.

Requires immediate notification in case of various incidents, such as detection of unidentified objects by early warning systems. Require s advance notification of extraterritorial missile launches Limits covered in text Limits covered in text Commits both sides to consult with each other in case there is a danger of nuclear confrontation.

Signed but Unratified Agreements Threshold Test Ban Treaty, Prohibits testing of nuclear weapons 1974 exceeding 150 kiloton yield.

Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Regulates nuclear explosion outside Treaty, 1976 sites indicated in TTBT and limits them to a maximum of 150 kilotons.

SALT 11, 1979 (Limits covered in text.) 5 Soviet threat to U.S. nuclear forces, enhance strategic stability,6 lessen the need for future nuclear deployments, and promote detente.

SALT accomplished none of this. Indeed, the buildup of Soviet nuclear capability actually gained momentum during the SALT era.

Moscow deployed or developed twenty-one systems ICBMs, four SLBMs, two strategic bombers, two cruise missiles four classes of missile firing submarines, and an operational anti-satellite system eight to nine Though the U.S. also ha s been modernizing its strategic forces it has not pursued this on the scale needed to offset growth in Soviet offensive and defensive forces. The stable nuclear balance of ten years ago has been replaced by a highly uncertain, unstable balance favoring t he .Soviet Union.

Apologists for SALT protest that it is unreasonable to expect arms control to achieve deep reductions in arsenals or a new era of superpower cooperation. They argue that SALT, and arms control in general, has made "modest but significant" contributions to reducing the risk of nuclear war and enhancing stability say that this has happened in three ways 1) without SALT the Soviet nuclear threat would be significantly greater than it is under the treaty constraints 2) SALT has made it easier to pre dict Sovie t weapons developments, thereby limiting worst-case threat assumptions, which allegedly fuel the arms race 3) the SALT process itself has helped to keep tensions between the super powers under control.8 There is little, however, to support these contention s facts argue just the opposite They The Arms controllers commonly distinguish three kinds of stability: deterrence stability--deterring the Soviet Union from political adventures that could lead to war through miscalculation; arms race stability--controll ing weapons deployments so that the military relationship is more predictable; crisis stability--maintaining survivable second strike forces so that there is no incentive to strike first in a crisis.

Staff of the Carnegie Panel on U.S. Security and the Fut ure of Arms Con trol, Challenges for U.S. National Security: The Soviet Approach to Arms Control, Verification, Problems and Prospects (New York: The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1983 p 95. The same argument is made by The Harvard Nuclear S tudy-Group, Living With Nuclear Weapons (New York: Bantam Books, Inc 1983 Strobe Talbott, "Playing For the Future,"

Time April 18, 1983, pp. 16-29; and Leslie H. Gelb, "A Practical Way to Arms Control," The New York Times Magazine, June 5, 1983, pp. 33-42.

The Carter Administration rested its case for SALT I1 essentially on these more modest claims. of Defense, and Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State, in U.S. Congress, Senate Hearings Before the Committee on Foreign Relations, The SALT I1 Treaty (Part I July 9 , 1979 See prepared statements by Harold Brown, Secretary .I 6 I Fact One-Soviet Buildup SALT proponents admit that they Itdo not know what the Soviets would do in the absence of SALT.11g There is no reason to believe that the Kremlin would have upgraded its arsenal without SALT more than it has with SALT. The weapon mix could have been different, of course, but no less threatening to the U.S. and strategic balance.

Soviet military planners, as those of other nations, frequently shift resources from one ar ea of weaponry to another to take advan tage of advancing technology. In the case of SALT I, for example the Soviets were limited by a ceiling of 1,618 intercontinental bal listic missile (ICBM) launchers. Instead of building more launchers for single.war h ead missiles, they invested enormous resources to modernize their missile force with new heavy throwweight ICBMs equipped with independently targeted reentry vehicles (M1RVs).lo Moscow rejected a B.S. proposal for a ban on MIRVed ICBMs. Henry Kissinger, N a tional Security Adviser to President Nixon, assured Congress that SALT I, nevertheless, prohibited the Soviets from SS-9s deployed. The Soviets, however, refused to accept the Ameri can definition of trheavy,tt which was relegated to a Unilateral Understa nding in the treaty. In 1974-75 the Soviets began deploy ing a fourth generation of ICBMs--the SS-17, SS-18, and SS-

19. The eight to ten warhead SS-18 replaced the single warhead SS-9 four warhead SS-17 and the six warhead SS-19 replaced the single warhead SS-

11. Both the SS-17 and the SS-19 are trheavytt ICBMs ac cording to the U.S. definition and have eight times the throwweight of the SS-11.

As for SALT 11, the Senate Armed Services Committee concluded after a thorough, careful review of the agreemen t that Itthe SALT I1 Treaty constraints on the growing Soviet threat are not militarily The Treaty allows the Soviets to deploy all the weapons they need to achieve "general military superioritytt by the mid-19.80s, concluded the Committee. l l expanding their force of Irheavy1I ICBMs above 308--the number of I The Prepared statement of Harold Brown, Secretary of Defense, The SALT I1 Treaty Part I p. 117. lo As one SkT I negotiator has testified What we expected and were most concerned about w as the improvement of the existing levels of Soviet laun chers in terms of new missiles, accuracy, and multiple reentry vehicles.

These are the things that [were] not only allowed but encouraged by [SALT I Statement of William R. Van Cleave before the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, SALT I1 Hearings, October 11, 1979, p. 22.

In its report, adopted by a vote of 10-0, with 7 voting "present the Democrat controlled Committee also found fault with the agreement on a number of other grounds. Among its findings the treaty is unequal in favor of the Soviet Union and thus inconsistent with Public Law 92-448 which requests the President to seek a follow-on agreement to SALT I that would not limit the United States to levels of intercontinental strategic fo r ces inferior to the limits provided for the Soviet Union The Treaty cannot be said to be 'verifiable' or even 'adequately verifiable The bottom line for the Committee is that SALT I1 "is not in the national security interests of the United States of Ameri c a." Report of the Armed l1 Services Committee, United States Senate, The Military Implications of the Proposed SALT 11 Treaty, December 20, 1979. 7 Fact Two--Soviet Warhead Expansion Despite claims by arms control advocates SALT treaties fail to cap the n u mber of ICBM warheads which the Soviets could use in a first strike against U.S. retaliatory forces. SALT I1 does not limit Soviet ICBM warhead expansion since it restrains only the number of warheads deployed on missiles housed in those hardened silos co u nted in the agreement. The Soviets are free to construct unlimited quantities of missiles and warheads. As missile experts know, silos are not needed to launch missiles.12 Fact Three-Soviet Modernization Despite claims by advocates, SALT I1 fails to slow n uclear force modernization even though it permits flight testing and deployment of only one new ICBM. SALT I1 language limiting ICBM modernization is so vague and the provision on verification so compromised that the 'lone new ICBM" limitation is, as the S enate Armed Services Committee points out, "meaningless--and unverifi able.1113 The recent controversy over Soviet testin of what appears to be two new ICBMs-the. PL-4 and the PL-Slq--supports the Committee s prediction that the Ifone new ICBM" provision Ifwill prove ineffective" in preventing the Soviets from dep1oying.a new generation of ICBMs.

Fact Four-Soviet Surprise Attack Advantaqe The 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, limiting the U.S. and USSR each to one site containing 100 missiles and l aun chers, is also of questionable.value for U.S. security. U.S support of the treaty was officially linked by Congress and the Nixon Administration to an expected follow-on agreement, which was to prevent the Soviets from deploying an offensive force cap a ble of threatening America's ability to retaliate after suffering sur prise attack.15 Yet the Soviets have never agreed to any U.S 12 13 14 15 U.S. Minuteman ICBMs have been successfully launched from crude "canisters on open pads using controls mounted i n the rear of a jeep. According to Amrom Katz, former Head of the Verification and Analysis Bureau of ACDA it is possible for the Soviets to stockpile ICBMs, which could be rapidly deployed in a crisis on soft pads or deployed in hidden silos under various cover. The Soviets would have sound strategic reasons for deploying such a hidden missile force. Amrom Katz, Verification and SALT: The State of the Art and the Art of the State (Washington, D.C The Heritage Founda tion, 1979).

The Military Implications of the Proposed SALT I1 Treaty, p 13. Michael R. Gordon, "Have They or Haven't They Violated SALT II National Journal, May 7, 1983, pp. 954-955.

The ABM Treaty was sold to Congress on the understanding that, as Unilateral Statement A states If an agreement providing for more complete strategic affensive arms limitations were not achieved within five years, U.S. supreme interests could be jeopardized. Should that occur, it would constitute a basis for withdrawal from the ABM Treaty 8 proposal which would ha v e achieved this. To make matters worse in the Ifspiritlf of arms control, the U.S. in 1976 deactivated its one functioning ABM site and drastically curtailed funding for research and development of ABM systems. Without the ABM Treaty and with a vigorous A BM program, the U.S. today would probably have an anti-missile system to protect the MX and the beginning of a nationwide ABM system to protect the U.S. population.

Fact Five-4.S. Undefended The ABM Treaty has imposed dangerous restrictions on the U.S.

By denying the U.S. the ability to defend itself against nuclear attack, the treaty weakens NATO's strategy of Flexible Response.lG It also impedes the U.S. government from its moral duty to assure the survival of the United States in war An effective str a tegic defense capability seems technologically feasible It is not de stabilizing, because it removes any incentive for the Soviet Union to attack the United States.17 Fact Six--Curtailing U.S. Weapons Development According to the Senate Armed Services Com m ittee the adverse U.S.-Soviet military balance is, to a significant degree, the consequence of an undue reliance on negotiations with the Soviets as an alternative to our own efforts to assure a military balance.Ifl8 SALT, then, has actually harmed U.S. n a tional security by under mining U.S. resolve to proceed promptly with programs to counter the Soviet buildup. SALT curtailed research and development of ABM technology, adversely influenced the development and testing schedules for ground launched and sea launched cruise missiles and delayed the development of the MX. According to some ac- counts, arms control played a major part in President Carter's decision to cancel the B-1 bomber in 1977 Fact Seven--Soviet Violations Since SALT has not significantly l i mited the deployment of Soviet nuclear weapons, it has not aided U.S. security planners l6 NATO's strategy of Flexible Response, officially adopted in 1967, states that the Alliance will use whatever weapons are necessary, including nuclear weapons, to th w art a Warsaw Pact conventional force invasion of Western Europe. To constitute a credible deterrent and effective defense, however such a "first use" strategy requires that the United States have the capa bility to initiate nuclear war and survive Soviet nuclear retaliation In the jargon of strategists, the U.S. must have "escalation dominance."

For a more detailed presentation of the argument for a national ballistic missile defense and a description of one possible kind of system, see General Daniel 0. G raham, High Frontier ton High Frontier, Inc 1982 a study report sponsored by The Heritage Foundation.

The Military Implications of the Proposed SALT I1 Treaty, p. 6 l7 A New National Strategy (Washing l8 9 to determine the likely course of Soviet weapons programs. Indeed planning uncertainty is aggravated because the SALT agreements are riddled with loopholes, ambiguities, and imprecise language allowing the Soviets wide latitude in weapons deve10pment.l The Soviet Union has pushed linguistic imprecision i n SALT I and SALT I1 to the limit and under reasonable interpretations of treaty language has actually violated several important arms control provisions 20 Many SALT proponents dismiss charges of Soviet SALT violations on grounds that the treaty language is ambiguous. Arms control advocates, however, cannot have it both ways. Either the SALT agreements are meaningfully restrictive or they are not.

Fact Eiqht--Obstructing Verification SALT is supposed to open a window on the Soviet Union by allow ing the U .S. to snoop on Soviet weapons developments boosters say that this helps create stability by limiting worst case assumptions. Indeed, the SALT agreements sanction for pur poses of verification the use of ltnational technical means NTMs which is generally t aken to include satellites and earth based radars and listening posts. The treaties also prohibit inter ference with NTMs and deliberate concealment measures, including encryption of telemetric data, to impede verification. The Soviet Union, however, insi sts that only those activities which it-con siders restricted by treaty limits are open to verification pro- cedures, and from MOSCOW~S point of view, this is narrowly defined.

Indeed, after 1972, Soviet concealment, camouflage, and deception CC&D) increas ed significantly, making the job of U.S. intelligence analysts more difficult In some cases, CC&D have been used to cover up activities prohibited by SALT. Recently, for example the Soviets encoded data on missile performance necessary for has legitimized Soviet CC&D efforts without doing much to limit their use Arms control I i I verification of the "one new ICBMft provision.1t21 In effect, SALT I 19 20 21 For a discussion of some of the more troublesome loopholes in SALT 11 see Military Implications of t h e Proposed SALT I1 Treaty, op. cit., and Richard Perle, "What is Adequate Verification in SALT I1 and American Security (Cambridge, Massachusetts 1980 A partial list of Soviet SALT violations includes: testing SAM systems in an ABM mode, deploying ABM bat tle management radars for nationwide defense developing components for a rapidly deployable, mobile ABM system, testing two new ICBMs, and stockpiling and deploying mobile SS-16 ICBMs.

Violations of Arms Agreements National Security Record (Washington, D.C The Heritage Foundation, May 1982 Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis See "Soviet Michael Gelter, "Soviet Encoding of Missile Data Assailed," Washington Post, January 6, 1983, p. 27.lo Fact Nine--Superpower Tensions Arms control advocates are hard pres s ed to show how the arms control process itself or specific arms control agreements have diminished Soviet antagonism toward the West rhetoric during the SALT decade must not be mistaken for sub stance. Too often, strident verbal blasts from Moscow have be en viewed as a sign of heightened danger to U.S. security, while friendly statements were seen as signs of a blossoming detente.

The record of Soviet actions is a far better indicator of Soviet attitudes and intentions than is MOSCOW'S rhetoric, which is u sed to manipulate public opinion in the West Softer Soviet The record shows that, while negotiations were taking place in Helsinki and Vienna on strategic. arms control, the Soviets helped start a war in the Middle East and aided Marxist revolution aries s eize power in Angola, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan, which they later invaded. If anything, the U.S. desire for arms control during the 1970s probably strengthened MOSCOW'S confidence that arms control is a useful tool for undermining Western political milita ry strength WHY THE MEAGER RESULTS OF ARMS CONTROL Nine solid facts testify to the meager results of arms control.

Why they are so meager is mainly due to MOSCOW'S lack of rea1.h terest in seeing arms control succeed or in reaching an accommo dation with t he West on a power balance. Viewed from the Kremlin the Soviet-led forces of socialism and the U.S.-led forces of capitalism are locked in an irreconcilable conflict that Ifwill continue until the final victory of Communism on a world scale.1122 Soviet le a ders have not abandoned the Leninist thesis that "the existence of the Soviet Republic alongside the imperialist states over the long run is ~nthinkable l1detentei1 and Ilpeaceful coexistencell are just another phase in the struggle between the two world i deological systems To defeat of the West, moreover, is to eliminate an example of freedom and economic well-being which can only undermine MOSCOW~S repressive rule of its own and other peoples For Marxist-Leninists Soviet leaders presumably do not want nu c lear war. But for them .peace is maintained through military superiority, not through the U.S. idea of a superpower balance. As A. A. Grechko, Soviet Defense Minister during the SALT decade once remarked The more powerfully [Soviet armed forces] are equip p ed, the better personnel 22 F. Ryzhenko Peaceful Coexistence and the Class Struggle Pravda, August 22, 1973 Quoted in Albert L. Weeks and William C. Bodie, editors, War and Peace: Soviet Russia Speaks (Washington, D.C National Strategy Information Center, 1983 p. 33.

V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Volume

29. Quoted in ibid p. 9. 23 11 is trained, the more peace there will be on earth Consequently Soviet and U.S. approaches to arms control differ greatly. By and large, Americans view arms control as a coop erative endeavor making use of compromise and good faith gestures (often unilateral concessions) to achieve a shared goal-nuclear balance. For the Soviets, arms control is a tactical operation in a llzero-sumll game aimed at gaining unilateral advantages in the nuclear balance and stopping U.S. weapons programs by exploiting Western hopes for a negotiated end to the Itarms race."

The USSR thus consistently has rejected U.S. proposals to limit or drastically reduce deployment of large multiple warhead land- based ballistic missiles, which threaten the survivability of America's retaliatory deterrent force. In 1977, for example the Soviets rejected the Carter Administration's offer to forego deployment of the MX in exchange for cutting the Soviet SS-18 force in half. Moscow has also actively sought to prevent survivable deployment of U.S. ICBMs by insisting that'various proposed bas ing schemes violate SALT

11. The Soviets have backed off from many of their extreme demands to settle for more modest restric ti ons of U.S. forces, but Moscow has not given up anything signi ficant in these "cornpromise1l agreements, and it has insisted on such unilateral advantages as not counting its Backfire bombers.

Moscow is again seeking a unilateral advantage at the START negotiations, where it has proposed severe limits on the deployment of new U.S. weapon systems, such as the MX, Trident 11, and cruise missiles. The net effect of this would be to assure the Sovi e t Union's first strike capability while denying the U.S. the capa bility to destroy hardened targets equal to that of the Soviets.24 The Soviets rationalize their proposals by invoking the notion of ''equal .security, a concept much more imprecise than st r ict numerical parity in weapon systems. At first glance, "equal secu rity," makes some sense. It ostensibly takes into account non military factors such as geography and unfriendly neighbors in measuring the Iltruell balance of power between nations. Acco r ding to the Soviet definition, however, "equal security" means mili tary superiority for the USSR U.S. SHARES THE BLAME It takes two, of course, to negotiate and the United States must share the blame for SALT'S failure. Both the Nixon and Carter 24 Sovie t leaders have called for an immediate halt to the construction of all new generation U.S. and Soviet strategic systems to be followed by (1) a reduction of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles (ICBMs, SLBMs, and bombers from 2,400 to 1,800; (2) sublimits o n "nuclear charges" (missile warheads and bomber weapons 3) a ban on cruise missiles over 600 kilometers range and (4) various other modernization constraints. For a detailed assessment of the Soviet START proposal, see "Evaluating Soviet Arms Control Init i a tives," National Security Record (Washington: The Heritage Foundation March 1983). 12 Administrations negotiated from faulty conceptions of the role of nuclear weapons. Typical were Henry Kissinger's now famous rhetor ical outburst at Moscow in May 1972 (since recanted).What in God's name is superiority and Jimmy Carter's 1977 Notre Dame speech declaring that deterrence requires only two missile sub marines. Not surprisingly, in negotiating SALT, military implica tions took a back seat to political consi d erations--both domestic winiling elections) and international (bolstering detente). Mili tary inequities in SALT I and SALT I1 either were not acknowledged on grounds that America's inferior forces still were sufficient to deter the Kremlin, or were excus ed, on grounds that the U.S was in any case free to do what it wanted under the agreements to correct any military imbalances.

These rationalizations were unsound--as events have proved.

Imbalances in nuclear forces do matter. A credible deterrent force i s one that can match Soviet attacks blow for blow has acknowledged this by stipulating in Public Law 92-448 (cited above in footnote 11) that any follow-on agreement to SALT I must codify equal U.S.-USSR force levels. The terms of SALT would have allowed t he Soviets unequal advantages, which the U.S. technically could have corrected with its own efforts.25 Nevertheless, a treaty whose only value is that it leaves the U.S. free to do what it needs militarily to correct force posture deficiencies is a use le s s agreement Congress Divergent U.S.-Soviet approaches to arms control are reflected in negotiating styles. The Kremlin is under no pressure from Soviet citizens to negotiate an agreement with the U.S. Helsinki and Vienna, the Soviet team, dominated by Def e nse Ministry personnel, tabled vague, general, unverifiable, and frequently one-sided proposals designed to appeal to arms control advocates in the U.S. Pressure from these groups for greater "flexibility11 eroded the U.S. bargaining position. The United S tates played into Soviet hands by setting self-imposed deadlines for agreements and tabling proposals representing compromises with domestic arms controllers and devised to be acceptable to Moscow At The Reagan Administration appears better prepared than i ts predecessors to negotiate with the Soviets. It has shown greater 25 Moscow has interpreted several SALT provisions as prohibiting deployment of critical U.S. weapon systems. These complaints are not valid if SALT is understood strictly. The SALT I1 Pro t ocol, however, contains a number of disturbing provisions limiting U.S. force deployments. For example, it bans mobile ICBMs, which the Scowcroft Commission believes should be de ployed, and sea and ground launched cruise missiles over 600 kilometers rang e . Many SALT skeptics were concerned that the Protocol would pre judge a follow-on agreement, as indeed the Soviets insisted. SALT I1 proponents argued that the Protocol was only temporary--it was to expire December 31, 1981, and hence would not prevent de p loyment of the weapons in question. But if so, why sign the Protocol? The Protocol served only as a vehicle for U.S. arms controllers to further limit U.S. force deployments. 13 willingness to stick with proposals. Those involved in the arms control proce ss are for the most part highly experienced and share a realistic view of Soviet arms control strategy. Even so, the prospects for a meaningful agreement are not bright.

CONCLUSION THE FUTURE OF CONTROL At the minimum, an arms control agreement should meet the following criteria It should be 2 It should impose meaningful limits on the Soviet threat 3 Limits should be equal for both sides 4) It should not prevent the U.S. from deploying those forces necessary to support its military strategy.

By these criteria SALT I1 and the "nuclear freeze proposal are unacceptable. The latter because it is almost certainly un verifiable, as even many arms control enthusiasts admit.27 It also would freeze U.S. nuclear forces in inferiority.

The flverifiabilitylf requireme nt for arms control agreements severely restricts the range of possible agreements.28 U.S leaders must assume that the Soviets will try to cheat on an agree ment and that Soviet breakouts (rapid deployment of weapons pro duced and stored surreptitiously) a re possible It is certain I 26 27 28 To help sell SALT agreements to Congress and the American people, 'both the Nixon and Carter Administrations argued that arms control treaties do-not have to be strictly verifiable, in the sense that the U.S. can detec t Soviet behavior inconsistent with the treaties It is sufficient that SALT agreements be "adequately verifiable in that U.S. intelligence agencies can detect Soviet cheating early enough for the U.S. to take remedial action before the strategic balance is altered notion of "adequate verification" can be effectively used, however there must be a consensus on what constitutes a significant change in the military balance of "adequate verification" as a criterion in judging the acceptability of arms control ag reements extremely dangerous.

See, for example, Living With Nuclear Weapons, pp. 207-2

09. For a more negative assessment of the nuclear freeze proposal, see Bruce Weinrod Nuclear Freeze: Myths and Realities Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 251, March 3, 1983; and Jeffrey Barlow The Hard Facts the Nuclear Before the No such consensus exists today, which renders use Freeze Ignores," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No 225, November 3 1982 It is doubtful, for example, that the U.S. can verify the "build - down proposal, now under discussion in the Senate, requiring reductions in warhead deployments without on-site inspection of missile assembly plants which the Soviets have so far rejected. 14 moreover, that the Soviets will do whatever is possible within the bounds of U.S. restraint to inhibit U.S. verification of treaty compliance.

The most serious obstacle to negotiation of a worthwhile arms control agreement, however, is the fact that Moscow is simply un likely to accept any treaty establishing a truly equal force balance and requiring dismantling of weapons it considers necessary to prevail in a nuclear war It is possible that a Soviet economic or political crisis could develop to which the Politburo would respond by genuine arms control and a shift in resources away from the military to consumer investment It is just as likely the Kremlin would respond by strengthening its military might to maintain tight control present, however, with the opposition to strategic modernization in the U.S. and the criti c ism of the Administration's arms control proposals, there is little incentive for Moscow to negotiate seriously to stabilize the nuclear balance At In view of this, what should the U.S. do? First, U.S. nuclear forces must be restored to !'essential equiva l ence Why should the Soviets trade away their deployed weapons for U.S. weapons which are still in the development and testing stage? Second Congress and the media must study arms control issues more intently and not be so quick to charge the Administratio n with inflexibility.

Congress should resist the temptation to construct its own alter native arms control proposals concessions at the bargaining table when Congress and the media are undermining the U.S. negotiating position I i Why should Soviet leaders make It is frequently said that negotiating with the Soviet Union on arms control is essential for survival in the nuclear age, and hence is a moral imperative. This is true only if Americans real istically understand the limits imposed on the process by the Soviet Union In 1979 the Senate Armed Services Committee warned that, Wnwarranted notions about Soviet cooperation, an unfounded assumption that SALT treaties reflect Soviet restraint and fore bearance, and overly optimistic hopes that the Soviet thre a t to our security is being lessened [by arms control undermine efforts to summon the resolve to arrest the decline in our mili tary posture.1t29 These notions and .assumptions, still common in the arms control community, threaten to sidetrack current effo r ts to restore the strategic balance Rectifying the serious deficiencies in U.S. nuclear force is essential for deterrence and national survival and should be the top military priority for Congress and the Administration. Arms control has not and probably c annot contribute anything significant 29 The Military Implications of the Proposed SALT I1 Treaty, p.'6. 15 to solving these problems. Arms control is unlikely even to mode rate to any significant degree the future development of the Soviet nuclear threat . The role of arms control in U.S. national security policy for the near term, then, is quite limited.

Many Americans of late have enthusiastically embraced arms control because they fear another round in weapons building and a greater risk of nuclear'war it is sustained by the Soviet quest for military superiority. It is a race being run only by Moscow. The Soviet Union has shown that it will continue to upgrade its nuclear capability even if the United States practices restraint As Carter's Secretary of D efense Harold Brown has aptly concluded: When we build they build-when we stop, they continue to build The United.States failed to control the Soviet strategic nuclear buildup through arms control. It must now modernize its strategic forces to restabilize the nuclear balance But if there is an #'arms race" today Robert Foelber Policy Analyst


David Asman