November 3, 1982 | Backgrounder on National Security and Defense

The Hard Facts the Nuclear Freeze Ignores

(Archived document, may contain errors)

225 November 3, 1982 THE HARD FACTS TH E NUCLEAR FREEZE IGNORES INTRODUCTION The outcome of the November 2 referendums on a nuclear freeze clearly demonstrates that the concept of a freeze has struck a responsive chord with a sizable portion of the U.S electorate indeed certainly most of those who voted against the freeze propositions) hope for the day when the production and deployment of nuclear weapons will end.

On the other hand, public opinion surveys of the past two decades reveal that the American public consistently has opposed any nucl ear arms agreement, or unilateral undertaking,by the United States, which would leave the U.S. in a position of relative inferiority or which would rely upon self enforced observance by the Soviets What the results proclaim is that many Americans It is im p ossible on a ballot resolution to capture all the nuances and qualifers of a voter's full view-hopes and fears--on the nuclear freeze. Rather, the voter is faced with a black-white choice, being either Irforlr or Ilagainstll a halt in nuclear weapons prod uction and deployment. Under these limited circumstances, many voters chose-to-utilize the vehicle of the freeze resolutions to express their general hopes for a reduction of the nuclear spectre which hangs over the world.

Among those supporting the nuclea r freeze, however, also are individuals and groups who have sought to make a nuclear freeze the official public policy of the United States. Most of these demonstrate little understanding of the hard facts concerning a nuclear freeze, a public policy whic h , if implemented, could have dangerous implications for U.S. security. And it is such hard facts that discredit simplistic, sloganizing approaches to a nuclear freeze. 2 In California, voters authorized their governor to prepare and transmit a written com m unication to the President and other federal officials urging that Itthe Government of the United States propose to the Government of the Soviet Union that both countries agree to immediately halt the testing, production and further deployment of all nucl e ar weapons, missiles and delivery systems in a way that can be checked and verified by both sides.111 In Michigan, a majority of citizens voted to urge the U.S. govern ment to immediately propose a IIMutual Nuclear Weapons Freeze" to the Soviet government and to urge Congress to transfer the funds resulting from cancelled defense programs to' Itcivilian use.112 And in New Jersey, citizens voted to urge the Government to Ilimmediately agree to a mutual, verifiable halt" on the further testing, production an d deployment of nuclear weapons and to Ilapply the money saved to human needs and tax reduction.Il3 states which passed nuclear freeze resolutions included Massa chusetts, Rhode Island, Oregon, Montana, and North Dak~ta Other The success of these state ini t iatives was due to a number of factors, including extremely efficient organizing by state and local freeze activists, the considerable publicity given to the freeze campaign by the press, and the absence of many anti-freeze organizations at the state and local level to counter pro-freeze arguments. However, one of the key selling points of the freeze movement, as a whole, has been the simplicity and apparent straight forwardness of the nuclear freeze proposals themselves.

Most of the discussion of the nucl ear freeze has amounted to an exchange of slogans. Seldom has the public been given suffi cient information to analyze the assumptions that lie behind the nuclear freeze proposals. Taken individually, these assumptions are readily subject to challenge.

Th ere are essentially six assumptions which underlie the various freeze proposals. The first assumption-a moral one--is that nuclear deterrence is itself immoral. In as much as this assumption rests on an understanding of a deterrence doctrine Mutual Assure d Destruction) which is already being revised substantially and since the assumption, when carried to its ultimate conclusion, would lead to a position of unilateral nuclear disarmament, it is subject to challenge 1 2 3 California Bilateral Nuclear Weapons Freeze Initiative Californians For A Bilateral Nuclear Weapons Freeze 1982 The Michigan Initiative November 2, 1982 Michigan Nuclear Weapons Freeze, 19821 It's on the Ballot N.J. Campaign for Nuclear Weapons Freeze 1982 For extremely useful accounts of th e ongoing state freeze campaigns, see the 1982 issues of Patrick B. McGuigan's Initiative And Referendum Report Washington, D.C.: Free Congress Foundation The FREEZE Because Nobody Wants A Nuclear War I 3 A second philosophical assumption is that the super p owers are engaged in a world-endangering arms race. This assumption ignores the reality that it has been the Soviet Union which has been Ilracingll during the past decade, while the United states until recently, has been cutting back on its efforts. The t h ird assumption is that both sides have reached a point of nuclear overkill. This assumption greatly distorts reality A fourth assumption is that a rough balance of nuclear weapons exists on both sides. Actually, the Soviet Union possesses a definite margi n of superiority in strategic and theater nuclear forces. A fifth assumption is that a freeze would be readily verifiable. Yet verifying a freeze would be highly difficult, if not impossible. The final assumption is that a nuclear freeze would actually fac i litate arms reductions. This rests on the overly optimistic appraisal which freeze adherents have made about the state of the nuclear balance. Given the strategic imbalance in the Soviet Unionls favor which currently exists, a freeze.would actually hinder real arms reductions, since the Soviets would be unlikely to trade away their superiority in strate gic systems for inferior U.S. systems In short, the nuclear freeze offers a false answer to the very real problems of nuclear weapons THE NUCLEAR FREEZE PR O POSALS: SOME BASIC TEXTS Randall Forsberg, the executive director of the Massachusetts based Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies began circulat ing a draft nuclear freeze proposal in 1980.5 became a basic text for the various state and local fre e ze peti tions pushed in late 1981 by the newly-formed National Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign Clearinghouse.6 A representative text of this original freeze proposal states This proposal To improve national and international security, the United States an d the Soviet Union should stop the nuclear arms race. Specifically, they should adopt a mutual freeze on the testing, production and deployment of nuclear weapons and of missiles and new aircraft The paper was entitled "Call to Halt the Nuclear.Arms Race t i on on IDDS and Randall Forsberg, a former peace researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, see the "glossary entry for the Institute in The War Called Peace: The Soviet Peace Offen sive (Alexandria, Virginia: Western Goals, 1982), p 162; and the descrip tion of the Institute in the so-called Anne Zill Report--"A Review of the Activities of 53 Organizations Concerned With Foreign Affairs, War and Peace, Human and Civil Liberties 22 February 1982, copy of a typescript document, p 36 This report has also been reprinted in The War Called Peace.

For information on the Clearinghouse, see the "glossary" entry in The War Called Peace, 167-168; and the Zill Report, p. [53 For informa 4 designed primarily to deliver nuclear weapons. This is a n essential, verifiable first step toward lessening the risk of nuclear war and reducing the nuclear arsenals In Spring 1982, the Congress became involved in the nuclear freeze campaign In the Senate, Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Mark Hatfield of.O r egon co-sponsored a joint resolution calling for a nuclear freeze.8 This resolution recommended 1. As an immediate strategic arms control objective the United States and the Soviet Union should race b) decide when and how to achieve a mutual and verifiabl e freeze on the testing, production, and further deployment of nuclear warheads, missiles, and other delivery systems; and c) give special attention to destabilizing weapons whose deployment would make such a freeze more difficult to achieve 2. Proceeding f rom-this freeze, the United States and the Soviet Union should pursue major, mutual and verifi able reductions in nuclear warheads, missiles, and other delivery systems, through annual percentages or equally effective means, in a manner that enhances ~tab i lity a) pursue a complete halt to the nuclear arms In June 1982, a House joint resolution supporting a nuclear freeze was introduced by Congressmen Clement Zablocki of Wisconsin and Jonathan Bingham of New York, among others.1 The House resolution carried the Kennedy-Hatfield resolution a bit further by tying the freeze proposal to the unratified SALT I1 Treaty and the new START negotiations. The resolution recommended, in part That the United States and the Soviet Union should immediately begin the strate g ic arms reduction talks START) and those talks should have the following objectives Petition To the Congressional Delegation of the State of Maryland For a Mutual US-Soviet Halt to the Nuclear Arms Race," The Maryland Campaign For A Nuclear Weapons Freeze , n.d.; reproduced in The Nuclear Freeze: A Study Guide for Churches Prepared by the Institute on Religion and Democracy Washington, D.C.: The Institute on Religion and Democracy, 1982 p. 7 S.J. Res. 163, March 10, 1982.

S.J. Res 163, The Congressional Rec ord, March 10, 1982; reproduced in The Nuclear Freeze A Study Guide, p 12. A counter-proposal, Senate Joint Resolution 177, was submitted on March 30, 1982, by Senators Henry Jackson of Washington and John Warner of Virginia.

H.J. Res 521, June 23, 1982 l o 'I I 5 1) Pursuing a complete halt to the nuclear arms 2) Deciding when and how to achieve a mutual race verifiable freeze on the testing, production, and further deployment of nuclear warheads, missiles, and other delivery systems 3 Giving special atte n tion to destabilizing weapons whose deployment would make such a freeze more difficult to achieve 4) Proceeding from this mutual and verifiable freeze, pursuing substantial, equitable, and verifiable reductions through numerical ceilings, annual percentag e s or any other equally effective and verifiable means of 5) Preserving present limitations and controls on current nuclear weapons and nuclear delivery systems 6) Incorporating ongoing negotiations in Geneva on land-based intermediate-range nuclear missil e s into the START negotiations C strengthening strategic stability SEC 2. The United States should promptly approve the SALT I1 agreement provided adequate verifi cation capabilities are maintained.l1 What becomes evident from a reading of each of these nu clear freeze proposals is the essential simplicity of their wording.

Each statement suggests that a freeze on nuclear weapons is verifiable and that a freeze will somehow enhance the United States' chances of working out arms reductions with the Soviet Uni on. The complexities of arms control distressingly are dis missed or ignored THE ASSUMPTIONS OF THE FREEZE Support for a freeze ultimately must rest on the assumptions made about the nature of nuclear weapons, the state of the U.S Soviet strategic balance and the efficacy of a nuclear freeze as l1 H.J. Res. 521 Calling for a mutual and verifiable freeze on and reductions in nuclear weapons and for'the approval of the SALT TI agreement 23, 1982, 97th Congress, 2D Session; slip copy of the resolution, pp 2-3 on the floor of the House on August 5, 1982, when, on a vote of 204-202 the Members voted to accept the wording of a substitute, pro-Reagan Administration position resolution (H.J. Res. 538) submitted by Congressmen William Broomfield of Michigan, William Carney of New York and Samuel Stratten of New York. See Pat Towell, "House Narrowly Rejects a Nuclear June The Zablocki-Bingham nuclear freeze resolution was narrowly defeated Freeze," Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, August 7, 1982, pp 1883-1886. 6 an arms control measure. Proponents of the nuclear freeze rest their case on a variety of moral and philosophical assumptions or practical and technical assumptions.

Assumption 1: Nuclear Deterrence Is Immoral Some influential American churchmen have attr acted to the freeze movement many people who otherwise would not have commited themselves to a disarmament campaign. These church leaders not only see the use of nuclear weapons as immoral but believe that threatening to'use them is immoral. They thus fee l that nuclear disarmament is the only answer to a serious moral dilemma. Since the sponsors of the nuclear freeze campaign claim that a freeze will halt the arms race and spur arms reduction agreements, these churchmen happily support the nuclear freeze a s a necessary first step to total nuclear disarmament.

In 1968, U.S. Catholic Bishops publicly began reappraising war with an "entirely new attitude in light of nuclear weapons.

Eight years later, in the document To Live in Christ Jesus, the American bishops directly challenqed the morality of nuclear deterrence. They began 6y questioning the morality of nuclear war: Il[M]odern warfare, both in its technology and in its exe cution, is so savage that one m u st ask whether war as it is actually waged today can be morally justified The bishops proceeded to limit the right of self-defense The right of legitimate defense is not a moral justification for unleashing every form of destruction. For example, acts of war deliberately directed against innocent noncombatants are gravely wrong, and no one may participate in such an act."

And finally, the statement by the bishops prohibited deter rence based on a threat to civil populations AS possessors of a vast nuclear arsenal, we must also be aware that not only is it wrong to attack civilian populations but it is also wrong to threaten to attack them as part of a strategy of deterrence."l3 John C'ardinal Krol of Philadelphia, acting as official spokesman for the U.S.' Catholic Conference, went even further in his condem nation of nuclear deterrence in 19

79. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding the ratification of the SALT I1 Treaty, Cardinal Krol said The moral judgment of weapons, but als o the declared intent to use them involved in our this statement is that not only the use of strategic nuclear l2 This does not mean that the majority of the people who support a nuclear freeze necessarily favor total nuclear disarmament, even though many of the freeze campaign's leaders clearly do.

Quoted in Michael Novak Arms the Church," Commentary, March 1982, p 38. For a slightly longer quotation from the third passage, see James A Hickey, Archbishop of Washington Nuclear Weapons, Moral Questions: A P astoral Call to Peacemaking Archdiocese of Washington, June 3, 1982 copy of a typescript document, p. 5 l3 7 deterrence policy is wrong faction with nuclear deterrence and the urgency of the Catholic demand that the nuclear arms race be reversed.I1l4 dire c tion during the past year or so. In November 1981, at an international meeting on nuclear disarmament sponsored by the World Council of Churces in Amsterdam, the Rev. William Sloan Coffin of New York's Riverside Church, a veteran of radical movements, ass e rted: ItChristians have to say that it is a sin not only to use, not only to threaten to use, but merely to build a nuclear weapon.1115 many leaders of the United Presbyterian Church--a denomination which had taken 'loverwhelming votes against nuclear wea p ons earlier in the year.16 American Baptist Churches (one of the nation's Baptist umbrella groups) endorsed a resolution which says in part The presence of nuclear weapons, and the willingness to use them, is a direct affront to our Christian beliefs and c ommi't~nent This explains the Catholic dissatis Other denominations in the U.S. also have moved in this He was undoubtedly voicing the sentiments of And in December, the leaders of the Just how representative these views are of American Christian ity is o p en to question. The Catholic Church, for example, has not renounced the just war doctrine of New York, who, as Military Vicar, provides for the pastoral care of American Catholics in military service, wrote in a letter to Catholic chaplains on December 7, 1981 As Terence Cardinal Cooke The Church has traditionally taught and continues to teach that a government has both the right and the duty to protect its people against unjust aggression. This means that it is legitimate to develop and maintain weapons s y stems to try to prevent war by lldeterringll another nation from attacking AIS long as our nation is sincerely trying to work with other nations to find a better way, the Church considers the strategy of nuclear deterrence morally tolerable The Church doe s not require, nor have the Popes of the nuclear age or the Second Vatican Council recommended unilateral disarmament.18 r l4 Quoted in Novak, op. cit., p 39. This view rests on the Catholic teaching regarding "intention"--that to mean to perform an evil a ct is itself immoral.

Quoted in "Church groups intensify arms race opposition," National Christian Reporter, December 11, 1981; reproduced in The Nuclear Freeze Guide 9 P- 27.

See Charles Austin 2 Major Protestant Churches Call for an End to Arms l5 A Stu dy l6 Race 26. The New York Times, December 18, 1981; reproduced in Ibid., p. l' Quoted in Ibid. l8 Quoted in Novak Arms the Church p 40 8 What is ignored in most of the clergy's anti-nuclear pronounce ments is the most important question of all: what pol i cy is most likely to actually prevent the outbreak of war-either nuclear conventional? The question that goes to the heart of the matter is whether nuclear deterrence has served and is continuing to serve to prevent war. The fact is that nuclear deterrenc e has been the principal factor in preventing the outbreak of war between the United States and the Soviet Union in the years since the end of the Second World War. In contrast to this period, the first four decades of the twentieth century witnessed two w o rld wars which killed millions of people and devastated whole regions of the globe It should also be understood that the belief of certain Catholic Bishops and other clergymen that nuclear deterrence is immoral is predicated upon their understanding deter r ence in light of the now-dated American strategic doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction MAD This doctrine was widely understood to posit that deterrence would be maintained if both sides possesed a capability to l'destroy an aggressor as a viable society even after a well-planned and executed surprise attack" on their strategic forces. In effect, mutual assured destruction envisioned that a significant portion of the population and industry of each side was to be held hostage to a nuclear fate in order to prevent nuclear war. MAD was first publicly enunciated in 1965, during the Johnson Administration, by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.

Yet even at the peak of MAD, strategic planning still was predicated upon targeting sizable numbers of nuclear weap ons against solely military targets. In the mid=1970s, as Soviet strategic capabilities grew alarmingly, the United States gradually began moving away from its primary reliance upon Mutual Assured Destruction toward the increased and selective targeting o f Soviet strategic military targets. This was to avoid a situa tion where the destruction of Russian cities would be the only option available to a U.S. President in the event of a Soviet surprise attack. In fact, the Reagan Administration's present strate gic weapons program is designed to ensure that options other than city-busting can be used realistically to deter a Soviet attack.

Are the advocates of a nuclear freeze against deterrence It is hard to tell can afford to renounce nuclear deterrence? Deterr ence rests implicitly on the believability of a country's threat to use force to defend itself. For the United States to renounce the possible use of nuclear weapons under all circumstances would inevitably encourage the Soviet Union to take even more ris k s internationally. Ironically, this would increase international tension and the danger of war are "other means of resistancell to Soviet military power than U.S. nuclear arms, or for Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle But who could argue seriously t hat the U.S It may be appropriate for Cardinal Krol to assert that there 9 when asked about the "danger of the whole world being in a slave labor camp,11 to reply that we should trust in God.lg similarly appropriate to ask if that is a basis on which nati o nal leaders can make public policy It would be dangerous to peace and freedom if America's leaders, pledged to provide for the common defense of all its people, adopted a policy of unilateral nuclear disarmament, what the moral assumption of the p ro-freeze clergymen really requires But it is Assumption 2: A Nuclear Arms Race Endanqers World Survival One of the major philosophical assumptions of leaders of the freeze movement is the belief that the United States and the Soviet Union are busily enga g ed in a nuclear arms race that increases the planet's chances of destruction Tlhere is an urgency, a terrible urgency, that if we do not get a freeze soon there will indeed be a whole new generation of weapons that will make nuclear war all the more likel y ," claims Randy Kehler National Coordinator of the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign.20 Many believe we face an accelerating arms race and a possible drift toward destruction,l! declares Archbishop James Hickey of Washington.21 Proclaims the American Luther an Church: Our concern is over "the increasing sense of insecurity and peril to which our world is being led by escalation in nuclear weaponry.

We see that our nation is locked with the Soviet Union in an arms race which both countries find almost impossib le to stop.1122 The metaphor of a Ilracell to depict U.S. and Soviet defense policies has been used by the peace movement for more than thirty years It is a metaphor whose applicability, never strong, has declined appreciably over the past decade during t h e 1970s was a continuing Soviet strategic military buildup at a time when the United States dramatically had slowed its own defense efforts. Since 1971, the United States has deployed just three new or significantly upgraded strategic missiles.23 In this s ame period, the Soviet Union has deployed at least nineteen.24 In terms of the Ifrace,l1 the United States What the world witnessed 19 20 21 22 23 24 The quotation from Cardinal Krol comes from ibid., p. 41; and the quotation concerning Archbishop Hunthau sen comes from James V. Schall, "Ecclesiastical Wars Over Peace," National Review, June 25, 1982, p. 760.

Quoted in an interview with Randy Kehler by editor Stephen Maikowski of Transition (Institute for World Order On the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign," Transition, Vol 5 (May 1982), p 2 Before heading the national freeze campaign organization, Kehler had been in charge of the successful grass roots freeze campaign in western Massachusetts. Anne Zill Report, p 53 Archbishop James Hickey, "Nuclear Weapons , Moral Questions," p. 3 Quoted in "Lutherans Ask Nuclear Ban," The New York Times, September 12 1982, p. 27 U.S. missiles ICBMs) Minuteman I11 with the NS-20 guidance and Mk-12A warhead SLBMs) Trident C-4; and (Cruise Missiles) ALCM/AGM-86B.

USSR missiles ICBMs) SS-11 Mod 3, SS-13 Improved Version, SS-17 and SS-17 Mod 1, SS-18, SS-18 Mod 1, SS-18 Mod 2, SS-18 Mod 3, SS-19, SS-19 Improved Version and SS-19 Mod 1; (SLBMs) SS-N-6 Mod 2, SS-N-6 Mod 3 SS-N-8, SS-N-17, SS-N-18, SS-N-18 Mod 2, SS-N-18 Mod 3, and SS-NX-20. I 10 stopped running. The question avoided by the freeze advocates is Why then didn't the Soviet Union stop or at least slow down?

Little complaint was heard from the peace groups in the late 1970s when the Soviet Union's strategic forces raced ahead of the United States in vitally important areas. Strangely, these groups and other'nuclear freeze proponents only became distressed by military growth when it became apparent that the Reagan Adminis tration was not going to allow America's security position to be jeopardized by letting the Soviets retain their strategic edge.

In regard to the matter of whether the "arms race" is leading the world ever closer to war, two points need to be made that, as far as arms control is concerned, the technological improvements made in nuclear weapons systems over the past several decades h ave led the U.S. even further away from the dangers of accidental nuclear war. Because of the increased accuracy avail able in Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and the move to multiple warheads on each missile, the average yields of nuclear warheads ha ve dropped considerably. Gone are the days when both sides possessed many hundreds of multi-megaton warheads aboard ballistic missiles that guaranteed extensive collateral damage of civilian areas even when launched against military targets.

While American ICBM warhead yields have dropped significantly nonetheless, Soviet warhead yields have tended to remain high.

For instance, the warheads on the Soviet SS-18 and SS-18 Mod 2 single-warhead ICBMs are estimated at 24 and 20 megatons, respec tively. Similarl y, the warheads on their smaller, single warhead SS-17 Mod 1 and SS-19 Mod 1 ICBMs are estimated to be 3.6 and 4.3 megatons, respectively. In contrast to this, the United States operational single-warhead ICBMs have yields of 1.2 megatons Minuteman 11) an d 9 megatons (the fifty-two Titan I1 missiles that are planned for deactiviation starting in 1983 Modern strategic systems possess many more safeguards to accidental launch than did older systems. They employ greater redundancy in safety features such as p e rmissive action links PAL) which allow launch of the weapons or arming of the warheads only under positive control. Nuclear weapons systems are less vulnerable to destruction in an enemy surprise attack than were their counterparts twenty-five years ago, a nd thus are less likely to tempt the other side into delivering a preemptive nuclear strike in an attempt to knock them out One is The other point is that the danger of nuclear war is not substantially increased by an attempt by one side to maintain or re g ain a nuclear balance with the other increased by nuclear instability, where one side retains a discernible advantage over the other. If the United States were to concede a measurable strategic advantage to the Soviet Union such as by agreeing to a nuclea r freeze under the present circum- stances, this could well lead to a permanent strategic instability favoring the Soviet Union, which would make conflict more likely But the danger could be 11 Assumption #3: Overkill Another assertion that 1s repeatedly h e ard from the freeze proponents is that the"United States and the Soviet Union have long since reached a position of nuclear overkill It thus is argued that the procurement of new nuclear weapons is unnecessary and the fact that one side may have more weap ons than the other is irrelevant.

The term overkill is an emotional label that avoids serious discussion It focuses attention, and defines the context of debate, in terms of a totally misleading concept certain overkill capability when taking into account some of the scenarios that must be considered when the security of the United States is at issue There is no To estimate whether a country has a sufficient number of nuclear weapons or an excess of them, as freeze proponents claim, what must be,determined are the requirements the weapons are to fulfill and the restraints that are placed upon their use by'national policy. The nuclear weapons which the United States maintains serve a two-fold purpose 1) to be sufficient in number and power to deter the Sovie t Union from attacking and; 2 in the event that deterrence fails, to be of sufficient remaining number, power and accuracy to destroy enemy military forces that threaten additional damage to the United States or its allies or to engage other enemy targets whose destruction or threatened destruction promises to bring the war to an early termination.

For more than twenty years, the United States has espoused a second strike strategic doctrine.25 That is, the United States will not launch its nuclear missles u ntil after it has sustained a nuclear first strike from the other side. This means that in the event of a nuclear war, the U.S. could expect most of its ICBMs, almost half of its ballistic missile submarines and a majority of its intercontinental bombers t o be destroyed before its leaders could retaliate. For this reason, the United States needs to maintain more than the minimum number of strategic warheads which the layman would think sufficient to deter the Soviets. To deter a Soviet first strike, the U. S . must be able to field enough weapons to demonstrate to Soviet military planners that it could cause unacceptable levels of damage to the Soviet Union even after sustaining the destruction of many of its strate gic weapons in a nuclear surprise attack. T h at is why the overkill argument has so little validity when applied to U.S. strategic forces 25 This should not be confused with the stated U.S. and NATO deterrent policy of authorizing first use of nuclear weapons in Western Europe in the event that a Wa rsaw Pact military invasion cannot be contained by conventional means.

Numbers can and do matter, of course. But usually it is the asymmetry of capabilities and not the asymmetry of numbers that concerns strategic planners. That is why, for instance, the S oviet Union's continuing deployment of SS-20 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles in European Russia so concerns U.S. and NATO military planners-not so much the numbers of SS-~OS, though this does play a part, but because of the greatly enhanced capabili ties of the missile (each with three independently targetable warheads plus greater range and vastly increased accuracy over the obsole scent Soviet SS-4s and SS-5s also deployed) and the fact that NATO has nothing yet deployed to counterbalance them.

Assu mption #4: A Rouqh Balance in Strategic Weapons Exists The assertion. that a rough balance in strategic weapons exists on both sides is couched in practical terms by those favoring a nuclear freeze The freeze idea is based on the conviction that there is n ow rough parity between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. in nuclear destructive power says Congressman Jonathan Bingham, a major co-sponsor of the pro-freeze resolution in the House.26 !'NOW is an appropriate time for a freeze because the nuclear military streng ths of the U.S. and the Soviet Union are roughly equivalent--in parity Neither side is behind so neither side has to fear being 'locked inf to an inferior position,l proclaims the Peacemaking Project of the United Presbyterian Church.

The terms rough equiv alence or !'rough balance are so indefinite that they can mean almost anything. Yet most U.S. and Western defense analysts conclude that the Soviet Union has an advantage in most critical categories of strategic weapons.28 A few comparisons are instructiv e . The United States has 1,052 ICBM 'launchers, 520 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile launchers 26 Testimony by Congressman Jonathan Bingham before the Subcommittee on International Security Scientific Affairs of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; exc e rpted in "The Nuclear Freeze Proposal: Pro Con," Congres sional Digest, August-September 1982, p. 214 Some Questions Often Asked About the Call to Halt the Nuclear Arms Race," Peacemaking Project of the United Presbyterian Church; reproduced in The Nuclea r Freeze: A Study Guide, p. 9.

For one analysis of such measure, based entirely on open source material see Measures And Trends US And USSR Strategic Force Effectiveness Interim Report for Period May 1977-March 1978 Prepared for Director Defense Nuclear Ag ency (Alexandria, Virginia: Santa Fe Corporation March 1978 This report summarized the situation in this way: "For the general period covered by this report (1960-1982 most of the measures show a shift from a clear US advantage to a Soviet advantage The o n ly measure of the 41 contained in this report in which the United States will apparently maintain a clear advantage is in (1) numbers of interconti nental bombers and (2) independently targetable Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) warheads Ibid p i 1 27 28 13 and 376 strategic bombers (counting both long-range and medium range aircraft). The Soviet Union, however, has 1,398 ICBM launchers 989 SLBM launchers, and 835 strategic bombers.29 That corresponds to a Soviet advantage in numbers of strategic launchers of 1.63 to

1. In regard to missile throwweight--the weight of the warhead compartment and warheads on a missile--United States ICBMs and SLBMs have an aggregate throwweight of 3,269,000 pounds.

The Soviet Union, because of its much larger missiles, has an aggregate throwweight of 12,021,000 pounds.30 That corresponds to a Soviet throwweight advantage of'3.68 to

1. In regard to warheads (force loadings the United States has some 9,0

00. And the Soviet Union, which has been rapidly closing the gap with the U.S. as it moves to add multiple warheads to its submarine-launched ballistic missiles, has some 7,5

00. That corresponds to a slight U.S. advantage of 1.2 to

1. And finally, in regard to equivalent megatonage--a measure of the destructiveness of nuclear weapons against urban-industrial targets--the United States has 2107 equivalent megatons of explosive power. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, has 8440 equi valent megatons.3l And that corresponds to a Soviet advantage of 4 to 1 The ratios for dozens of other strategic measures could be similarly calculated without significantly changing the results.

With the exception of a few measures, such as the number of warheads discussed above, the Soviet Union has a discernible advantage across-the-board in strategic forces.

Clearly, if the Soviet Union now possesses an advantage in strategic forces, then the signing of a nuclear freeze agreement would .be destabilizing rather than stabilizing, since it would solidify an obvious strategic imbalance.

Assumption S: A Freeze Would Be Verifiable In many respects it is a lot easier to verify a freeze which is comprehensive in nature and which stops everything where 29 30 31 These numbers, and those given in the following sentences (unless otherwise noted), have been compiled from a variety of sources, including: Report Of Secretary Of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger To The Congress On The FY 1983 Budget N 1984 Authorization Re q uest And FY 1983-1987 Defense Programs February 8, 1982; Soviet Military Power (Washington, D.C.: The Department of Defense, [October 19811; and The Military Balance 1981-1982 (London The International Institute for Strategic Studies 1981 Keith B. Payne, N uclear Deterrence in U.S.-Soviet Relations (Boulder Colorado: Westview Press 1982 Table 7.1, pp. 168-169 Ibid. Payne used the formula N*Y2/3 (N number of warheads and Y yield of warheads) to calculate EMT whether the warheads were of greater yield than on e megaton or not (since the yields greater than one megaton have lethal areas that exceed the size of most urban-industrial targets) would furnish different figures.

See Measures And Trends, p 52 Other formulas weighted to account for 14 it is today than i t is to set a ceiling and allow development of some programs and not others," says Dr. Herbert Scoville President of the Arms Control Association.32 nuclear freeze also claim that a freeze is not a practical idea because it will be difficult to verify In f act, a freeze may well be easier to verify than a complex arms reduction agreement argues Senator Edward Kennedy.33 IIOpponents of a Verification is, at bottom, a subjective process and deter mining that the other side is complying with an agreement comes down to a political judgment. For example, the SALT I agreements contained specific language that not only directed each party to not interfere with the national technical means of verification of the other but also directed the setting up of a Standing C onsultative Commission to adjudicate, among other things, problems with compliance.34 Despite this formal mechanism, there is ample evidence that the Soviet Union violated the terms of the agreements.

But when the U.S. representatives to the Standing Consu ltative Commission raised each probable viol.ation with their Soviet counterparts, the USSR's representatives simply noted that the Americans were wrong in their accusations. The Americans ultimate ly let the matter drop.35 The problem is that as long as a government perceives it to be in its interest to continue to participate in a particular arms control agreement, its tendency will be to convince itself that the other party is complying with the terms of the agreement, whether or not that is really the case.

Since the Soviets long have refused to allow effective monitoring of nuclear weapons testing and deployment by direct observations from its territory (on-site inspection the only practical way that the United States can attempt to verify the Soviet U nion's compliance with a comprehensive nuclear freeze is by the use of its national technical means I a euphemism for 32 Remarks made during a debate on the freeze; quoted in "A Heritage Round table: The Nuclear Freeze The Heritage Lectures 14 (Washington , D.C The Heritage Foundation, 1982 p. 17.

Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Conkittee; in "The Nuclear Freeze Proposal," Congressional Digest, p. 206.

See "Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, 26 May 1972," Articles V and VI; and "Treaty on Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems, 26 May 1972," Article XIII.

For the Carter Administration's official report on SALT I compliance, see SALT One: Compliance SALT Two: Verification Selected Documents No. 7 Washington, D.C.: The Dep ratment of State, February 1978 For detailed accounts of Soviet SALT I violations, see Jake Garn, "The Suppression of Information Concerning Soviet SALT Violations by the U.S. Government,"

Policy Review, ,Summer 1979, pp. 11-32; and a variety of articles and monographs by former CIA analyst David S. Sullivan, including his Soviet SALT Deception (Washington, D.C.: Coalition for Peace Through Strength December 1979 33 34 35 15 satellite photographic and electronic reconnaissance and the use of ground-based r adars and receivers stationed outside Soviet territory. Overhead reconnaissance and electronic emissions monitoring, however, cannot tell military planners whether a particular missile sitting in its silo has one or a dozen warheads or whether the missile ' s guidance accuracy has been dramatically improved through changes in its guidance software. These national technical means of verification also are far from infallible when it comes to detecting hidden missiles or determining whether the clandestine prod u ction of small numbers of missiles and warheads is taking place. Notes Charles Burton Marshall First it is easier to monitor big things than little, small quantities than large, fixed items than mobile, exterior configurations than interior details, assem bled mechanisms .than unassembled, long-haul processes than short-term, and outside testing than laboratory procedures.

Some adherents of the nuclear freeze have asserted that the Soviet Union has agreed in principle to on-site inspection in connection with the Comprehensive Test Ban Talks and so would probably allow such inspection for a nuclear freeze agreement.

The real question, however, is why freeze proponents have not made,on-site inspection for the purposes of verification a require ment of their freeze resolutions, when such inspection is necessary to increase the reliability of any verification attempts?3 7 Is it perhaps that enforcing a nuclear freeze using on-site inspection would have to be far more comprehensive and intrusive than that for monitoring a test ban, thus making it far less likely to be agreed to by the highly secretive Soviet leadership In s hort, verification is not certain, whether one is talking about monitoring compliance with a specific arms control treaty or a comprehensive nuclear freeze. Even when verification is crucial to the functioning of an agreement, it will be evaluated in ways that have little to do with the technical aspects of compliance. Inasmuch as a nuclear freeze encompasses the monitor ing of every aspect of nuclear weapons testing, development and deployment, it will be even harder to verify than much more limited arms agreements.

Assumption #6: A Freeze Will Facilitate Nuclear Arms Reductions A final assumption is that a nuclear freeze would actually increase the United States' chances of obtaining an agreement with the Soviet Union on reducing the nuclear arsenals of b oth sides 36 C.B. Marshall The Problem of Verification in the SALT quoted in Amrom H. Katz, Verification And SALT State (Washington, D.C The Heritage Foundation, 1979), p. 7. mould be noted that even on-site inspection cannot guarantee that a party commit t ed to evading strict compliance with an arms control agreement will be caught in the act The State of the Art and the Art of the 37 16 This argument rests on the assumption the nuclear forces of both sides are essentially equivalent. But the Soviet strate g ic buildup over the past decade has enabled Moscow to move ahead of the United States in a number of important strategic categ~ries An agreement imposing a freeze on !Ithe testing, production, and further deployment1' of nuclear weapons and warheads legal l y would bind the United States into a continuing situation of strategic disadvantage An analysis of past Soviet negotiating on arms control measures shows that the Soviet Union would be unlikely to give up significant.strategic capabilities without a comp e nsating tradeoff by the United States In 1972, for instance, the USSR agreed to the ABM Treaty limiting development and deployment of anti-ballis tic missile systems to forestall the full deployment of a much more.technically advanced U.S. system. Again, i n early 1980, the Soviet Union agreed to talks on limiting European-based intermedi ate-range nuclear forces only after NATO had committed itself to the deployment of new Pershing I1 and ground-launched cruise missiles in order to balance the massive Sovi et SS-20 missile buildup.

A United States inferior to the USSR would be unable to offer a corresponding quid pro quo in strategic capabilities that would allow the Soviets to accept an arms reduction agreement that really mattered.39 Thus, a nuclear freeze would not facili tate further arms reduction in reality it would prevent the completion of significant arms control agreements with the Soviets.

CONCLUSION The very simplicity of the nuclear freeze proposals is certainly their great attraction It is also , perhaps, their greatest weakness. In its various manifestations, the freeze is an attempt to achieve serious arms control without paying its cost--the months and years of patient negotiation over the neces sarily complex issues of nuclear weaponry. In t h is area there is no easy way to achieve meaningful agreements. The call for a freeze also overlooks the history of the Soviet Arms buildupband the record of MOSCOW~S compliance to arms accords. It overlooks the hard, unpleasant facts about the nature of t h e Soviet Union and the difficulties inherent in securing a verifiable agreement with a fundamentally duplicitous negotiating partner 38 39 See the discussion on pp. 12-13 While there is a slight possibility that the Soviet Union would agree to an arms red u ction agreement with a United States in an inferior strategic position in order to benefit from a further weakening of U.S. strength it is obvious that such an agreement would only serve Soviet purposes. 17 The real danger posed by the freeze is that it o ffers the American public a dishonest vision of easy arms control. It raises unrealistically high expectations of early success.

As such, it undermines the public's the slow, careful arms negotiating process that necessary for real achievement. Rather than bring peace, the current freeze movement can reap only dangerous disillusion and--what is far worse-strategic instability understanding and patience for Jeffrey G. Barlow, Ph.D.

Policy Analyst C

About the Author