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Gorbachev's Arms Control Strategy.

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Final rept.,

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Soviet foreign policy under the Gorbachev administration, along with domestic policy, has been in a state of flux, particularly in the realm of arms control policy. Both in substance and style Gorbachev introduced a new dynamic in arms control policy. He has skillfully manipulated the issue for propaganda appeal. But also he has shown flexibility in modifying Soviet positions both to respond to U.S. demands and to exert pressure on the United States to reach an agreement. Soviet arms control objectives some of which are incompatible may be realized either through a formal agreement with the United States or without an agreement. These objectives include a to use arms control to build a new framework for relations with the United States to replace detente b to kill the strategic defense initiative c to constrain U.S. development in manned aircraft and cruise missiles d to deligitimize nuclear weapons as an instrument of military strategy e to exacerbate differences between the United States and Europe. During his first year in power Gorbachev relied heavily on propaganda with calls for eliminating nuclear weapons by the 21st century, his test ban moratorium and denunciation of SDI. After the 21st Party Congress he significantly modified Soviet positions closer to those of the United States with his acceptance of the zero option for INF forces, deep cuts in strategic weapons and willingness to accept limited research on SDI. Gorbachev now sees an arms control agreement as essential to his program for domestic reform and is prepared to make genuine concessions to achieve it.

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  • Government and Political Science

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