Lellouche, Pierre
March 1981
Foreign Affairs;Spring81, Vol. 59 Issue 4, p813
The article assesses the capability of the security system of Europe to adapt to the existing political and strategic realities of the 1980s. The 1970s began with great hopes for a new era between East and West and the promise of permanent stability in Europe. With the signing of the SALT I agreements in November 1972, nuclear war came to be seen as a mere theoretical possibility. The continuation of peace in Europe under a nuclear balance stabilized by arms control was now taken for granted. Few worried about European security and few in the U.S. worried about Europe as a whole. The balance of forces in Europe will continue to favor the Soviet Union throughout most of the 1980s. Given overall parity on the central strategic level, the growing Soviet superiority in Europe, both in conventional and theater nuclear forces will further weaken the credibility of North Atlantic Treaty Organization's strategy of flexible response. U.S. and Europe have reacted in profoundly different ways to the transformation of the security environment in Europe as well as in the Third World.


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