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Conventional Force Reductions in German Soil: A Concrete Proposal

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Journal article

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With the disappearance of Soviet and American medium-range missiles from Europe, conventional disarmament will move to the fore of Continental security. Ratification of the INF agreement undoubtedly gives new impetus to the East-West negotiations to reduce Warsaw Pact and NATO forces in the vast area from the Atlantic to the Urals. Improved prospects for movement on both sides in this area would appear to be the result of several factors the changed domestic political environment in the United States the American perception of greater flexibility in Moscow based on the relative ease with which the INF treaty was negotiated and a renewed Soviet interest in assuaging West European fears of the Pact in order to gain access to the economic, technological, and managerial resources of Western Europe and, especially, of West Germany. The American imperative to reduce defense spending is, of course, not new. What is new, however, is the emerging political consensus for real cuts in defense over the next two to three years. Conscious of Americas potentially grave budget situation, policy makers of both parties will be more likely than ever to press for a diminished American share in what is viewed chiefly as Europes defense. In public pronouncements General Secretary Gorbachev has strongly endorsed the concept of conventional arms control in central Europe, but none of his or the Soviet General Staffs rhetoric suggests that an era of resource stringency will cause the type of organizational contraction that reduced the size of Soviet conventional forces in the 1950s. However, closer economic ties with Western Europe--particularly West Germany, which is the Soviet Unions largest trading partner-are vital to the success of Gorbachevs plan to restructure and reinvigorate the Soviet economy.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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