Soviet Nuclear Policy Under Gorbachev: A Policy of Disarmament

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This work offers a broad interpretation of the extraordinary changes that have taken place in Soviet arms control policy since Mikhail Gorbachev became Soviet head of state in March of 1985. Gorbachev's policy is usually portrayed as an effort to ease the Soviet defense burden and to improve relations with the West, but Daniel Calingaert goes further, arguing that the Gorbachev leadership has embarked on a basically new policy of nuclear disarmament. Calingaert outlines how this policy allows the Soviets to divert resources to industrial modernization, restructure the armed forces, and join the global economy, thereby revitalizing their economic strength and exerting a renewed influence on international affairs. Organized thematically rather than chronologically, the book concentrates on interpreting the major decisions affecting nuclear weapons in Europe, strategic arms, and ballistic missile defenses. The first five chapters explore the various components of Soviet arms control policy: the personnel and institutional changes that gave impetus to revisions in Soviet security policy; the strong economic inducements to pursue disarmament; changes in national security aims that provide the rationale for undertaking nuclear disarmament; the impact of revisions in nuclear strategy on force requirements and on Soviet disarmament initiatives; and the pursuit of foreign policy objectives through arms control. A final chapter interprets Soviet conduct of nuclear arms talks in light of this analysis of the nation's security, nuclear strategy, and foreign policy. With its broad overview of Gorbachev's arms control policy, as well as its original analyses, this study will be a useful resource for both students and experts of Soviet policy and security studies.