Lodal, Jan M.
April 1976
Foreign Affairs;Apr1976, Vol. 54 Issue 3, p462
This article refutes Paul Nitze's recommendations for the United States to ensure strategic stability over the Soviet Union in 1970s and 1980s. Nitze recommends that, in addition to ongoing programs to improve accuracy, two specific major actions be taken by the U.S. to ensure strategic stability in the 1980s, the deployment of a multiple launchpoint land-based intercontinental ballistic missile system, and a greatly expanded civil defense program. He bases these recommendations on a series of considerations, including the nature of the Soviet strategic force deployments, his view of Soviet motives concerning Détente, and his view of the overriding importance of missile throw-weight in determining overall strategic force capability. With regard to the Vladivostok Accord, Nitze points out that the agreement will not change the basic nature of the Soviet force buildup. While apparently resigned to its completion, he nevertheless implies that the Accord is probably worse than no SALT agreement at all; he clearly believes it to be worse than the type of agreement he would have preferred--primarily because it fails to limit Soviet missile throw-weight--finds without adequate foundation the general belief that strategic stability may not be assured by the SALT agreements, it is not and will not be substantially endangered. In sum, the trends in relative military strength are such that, unless they move promptly to reverse them, the U.S. is moving toward a posture of minimum deterrence in which they would be conceding to the Soviet Union the potential for a military and political victory if deterrence failed.


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