The Crisis in Arms Control

There is general agreement among observers of contemporary international affairs, and national and international officials from all sides, that there is a serious crisis in arms control. As of January 1984, the Soviet Union had broken off two major arms control negotiations: the Intermediate- Range Nuclear Force Talks (INF) and the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START). Negotiations in the United Nations Conference on Disarmament (CD) on a variety of arms control issues were stalemated. The United States was engaged in a large-scale military build up, and there was no sign that the Soviet Union would abate the extensive military programs that it had started in the 1960’s; indeed, its leadership had declared that the USSR would match U.S. efforts. Rhetorical exchanges between the United States and the USSR were harsh. Each side had publicly accused the other of violating existing arms control agreements. Since the signing of the limited nuclear weapon test ban treaty the prospects for arms control had never appeared bleaker.