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5 Alliance Issues Catherine M. Keeper ~ am pleased to discuss the issue of deep strategic arms cuts as it affects not only NATO and its future but also European attitudes on defense and arms control more generally. Of all the topics touched on in the seminar, this issue and the comments of Dr. Paul Doty on the conventional balance go to the heart of the political dilemmas in the arms control regime discussed at Reykjavik. In the long run, these, indeed, are the issues that will have the greatest effect in terms of restructuring the international orcler. In this sense, we find ourselves precisely at the point Dr. Panofsky outlined earlier. We know that something new is happening and that something different will result. But we have not yet thought through all of the implications or, incleecI, all of the consequences for many of the safe assumptions and easy premises on which we have based much of our defense effort below the strategic level in the postwar period. Specifically, in terms of Western Europe, there is no other area in the world beyond the homelands of the United States and the Soviet Union for which a deep-cuts regime will have greater political and 34
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35 ALLIANCE ISSUES military implications. This is true not only because of extended deterrence and the U. S. guarantee but also because in Western Europe there is a military force, significant and nuclear, that is unmatched anywhere else in the world. It is composed not only of a substantial number of American and Soviet forces, but also a rapidly increasing number of independent French and British forces. Yet what is perhaps the most clifficult part of this short discussion Is not so much the technical assessment of these forces or, in the tradition of CISAC, a better technological base for searching for an arms control regime. What is being sought is a political solution to basic questions of political trust and the degree to which perceptions shape reality, however much technical calculation may end up with a somewhat different outcome. A recent Herblock cartoon (p.36) questioning what the Europeans really want may be a good starting point. In part, I think it reflects the prevailing perception of publics and elites here in the United States that the Europeans are never satisfied; that no matter what one is talking about, there are at least contrary, if not critical, European views of what the United States is attempting to achieve. It seems to me this comes from a set of fundamental paradoxes that are not new that have been present in European thinking about defense and deterrence, indeed, since the first hours after Hiroshima. These paradoxes will come to be of central importance in our discussions and deliberations of a deep-cuts world much sooner and with more intensity than even the present discussions about INF suggest. In this discussion, ~ will focus on only three of these paradoxes. The first follows, perhaps, from what T have just said: namely that whatever the issue they are confronting, the Europeans are basically the primary status quo powers in the world today. Any change in the political and military framework in which they find themselves is itself threatening. This is true even if the long-term outcome may actually be even less risky to them in terms of, let us say, the deployment of nuclear weapons on the ground in Europe or a regime of deep arms cuts that makes the United States less vulnerable to Soviet ability to preempt or to launch a disabling strike. A second paradox is that the NATO regime at the moment is based on a system of extended deterrence and on an American
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36 REYKJA VIK AND BEYOND ~ e_— J From Herblock at Large (Pantheon Books, 1987~. Y ~~C,~A1= O' /~.,.~OPF! '~..,'- I. ~ 'it 0199~
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37 ALLIANCE ISSUES nuclear guarantee. The assumption, at least doctrinally, is that these weapons will be used according to the principles of the flexible response strategy adopted by NATO in 1967. Yet if we look at particular force postures or at expectations about the connectivity of political and military leadership during a crisis, it becomes very clear that extender! deterrence and the NATO system so far are based on two quite contradictory assumptions. The first assumption is that there is little, if any, threat of war in Europe at the moment, and therefore a deterrent system is adequate. The second assumption is that in case of a threat of war, the very inadequacy of forces, and of political control at all levels below central strategic systems, will make the threat of initiating escalation to an intercontinental exchange, and thus to homeland damage, quite credible. Let me put forward yet another dilemma. Much as George Bernard Shaw said about Christianity, the alliance is basically unsatisfactory and proves with every passing year increasingly unsatisfactory in terms of a natural convergence of European and American attitudes and agendas. Particularly in the last 10 years, Europeans have become increasingly frustrated with what seems to be an on-thejob training program for American presidents. They also see Washington as acting on a questionable set of assumptions, whether it be in the raid on Libya or at Reykjavik itself, and overlooking what the limits or the possibilities for alliance consultative practices really are. In the view of many Europeans and I will be more specific later about how Europeans differ here the Uniter! States is capable of doing anything that occurs to it upon arising one morning. Yet in the views of all of those who are engaged even in the much- intensified staff talks and national talks among European govern- ments, all other alternatives to the present form of the Atlantic alliance are either not available at the moment or are in fact vulnerable to the same types of contradictory political, economic, and even military pressures that led to the political instability characteristic of Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. These dilemmas are known and clescribable, yet they do not seem susceptible now nor, I suspect, will they be susceptible for a Tong time- to satisfactory resolution, either in terms of logic or in terms of predictable political outcomes. Let me turn therefore to the
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38 REYKJA VIK AND BEYOND European reactions to the specific deep-cuts regime that has been outlined in the discussions by Dr. Steinbruner and Mr. Keeny. One must ask here if there are, in fact, inherent difficulties within that regime at the 50 percent level of cuts that would suggest a point at which Europeans would wish to do something else. This "some- thing else" might involve the development of weapons systems of their own or perhaps a movement toward the formation of new political frameworks in which to seek their own security. ~ think that, within the limits of the foreseeable, there is strong support for superpower arms control on the part of most Europeans at both the conceptual and operational levels. Arms control would be looked on as a step toward superpower rationality and a step away from what seems to be the greatest threat for those on the left in Europe: namely, a conflict baser} in Europe in which the super- powers would drag the Europeans into a fight between them. There would be no particular worry on the part of Europeans at the level of 50 percent cuts, or even, I suspect, at levels of 70-75 percent cuts, about the adequacy of what would remain for deterrent purposes. And this confidence would probably hold true no matter what existed in terms of deep concerns about the U.S. promise of extended deterrence and its foreseeable operational significance. In fact, in the view of most Europeans, deterrence is a question of uncertainty. It relies on the premise that neither side can be sure . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . that the other side would not do something stupid or would not do something that was not calculated (or calculable) in advance. The 30 percent of strategic forces remaining after the cuts is seen as more than adequate to instill such a fear. What Europeans worry about are two other factors, and here we ascend (or descend) into the political realm in which the technical assessment becomes less important. First and most important (one saw it in the weeks right after Reykjavik), Europeans are concerned about multilateralizing the arms control process; at the moment the superpowers seem to be deciding the central issues of security for them without much consultation. To some extent, they are afraid, as always, of a superpower condominium concluded at their expense and over their heads. Given their fears about the general and perhaps growing instability within the American political system, they also believe that such a condominium would merely be the first step on
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39 ALLIANCE ISSUES a slippery slope that might take them to many other places they did not wish to go. Quite specifically, this slippery slope may well be one that leads to a superpower agreement on the denuclearization of Europe. Yet such an agreement might involve significant threats and risks of conflict and would make Europe safe for either conventional or limited nuclear war while the superpowers remained sanctuaries safe from the battle and able to pick up the pieces at the end. Next, what is most difficult to remember in terms of the present INF discussions is that there will still be significant nuclear forces left in Europe (Table 1~. Thus, it is a question of stabilizing relevant weapons balances and preserving the rights of deployment, mod- ernization, and control, while at the same time avoiding any increase in the probability of confrontation or conflict in Europe itself. Most of us tend to focus on the models of the strategic exchange and forget the precise numbers of forces and the kinds of forces that exist within Europe. It is particularly interesting when one considers the numbers of medium-range missiles, as Dr. Flax has reminded us, that can, in fact, receive both an extension in range and a change in destructive capability simply by changing the warhead or a propulsion system. The top category on Table 1, the medium-range missiles or INF, is what is currently under negotiation. But ~ would also direct your attention to those that remain even after a U.S./Soviet agreement- that is, the British and French forces, which are not many but still enough to constitute a sizable force. There are 226 warheads on the present French and British systems, a number that will increase threefold when the final stages of modernization, the so-called third- stage development, of the British and French forces is completed in the mid-199Os. Shorter-range systems are now being talked about in terms of the second zero-zero agreement, the add-on shorter-range intermediate- range nuclear forces (SRTNF) discussions. There are very few on the side of the United States at the moment: only the Pershing ~ launchers, which are West German in ownership but for which the United States maintains the warheads in stockpiles on West German territory. At the moment, as far as we can tell and here we enter the world
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40 REYKJA VIK AND BEYOND TABLE ~ Current Deployment of Nuclear Arms in Europe Weapons United States USSR U.S. Allies' Weapons Medium-range mlss1 es (1,000-3,000 miles) Shorter-range missiles (300-600 miles) Battlefield-range . . mlssl es (less than 300 miles) Aircraft capable r Or carrying nuclear weapons Nuclear artillery Warheads (est.) 316 Warheads: 208 cruise missiles, 108 Pershing 2s None 108 Missile launchers About 500 About 1,000 launchers 3,500 922 Warheads: 810 on SS-20s and 112 on S Sousa About 80 missile launchers in Europe About 1,100 .1 missile launchers About 2,000 About 3,600 launchers 3,000 - 7, ooOd 226 Warheads: 80 on French M-20s; 18 on French S-3s, 64 on French M-4s, 64 on British Polaris 72 Missile launchers in West Germanyb ' 99 Missile launchers About 1,300 About 2,000 launchers 1,700 aThis is a NATO estimate; the Russians say they have 729 warheads. Nuclear warheads controlled by the United States. The West German government has stated that the 72 missile launchers in West Germany will be phased out once the U.S. and Soviet medium- and shorter-range systems are dismantled under the terms of the INF agreement currently nearing completion. This is a rough estimate. Adapted from: The New York Times, April 23, 1987, p. A6, @' 1987 by the New York Times Company. Reprinted by permission. SOURCE: International Institute for Strategic Studies; United States government (numbers for Soviet shorter-range missiles and battlefield-range missiles).
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41 ALLIANCE ISSUES of intelligence about Soviet tactical nuclear capabilities in Europe- there are probably something like 80 missile launchers of the SS-23 or SS-12/22 type existing in Western Europe at this time. Without an agreement, most analysts expect a substantial increase in these numbers. Proceeding down Table I, we have battlefield-range systems- those with ranges of less than 300 miles. Here we are primarily talking, on the American side, of the missile system known as Lance, and eventually the system known as J-TACM, which will be deployed. On the Soviet side, we are talking about the Scud-B and the SS-21. Here, too, there are missile launchers primarily controlled by Britain but also some French missile launchers that will come into play. The next category in which the numbers, ~ think, are really quite striking is that of aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons (i.e., capable but not necessarily certified). On both sicles, there are in the range of i, 800-2, 000 aircraft that could carry a minimum of two bombs at any one time. With nuclear artillery, we are talking about 3,000-3,600 launchers. These are mostly of the 8-in., 155-mm variety, and would be capable of being equipped! with a nuclear warhead as well as with conventional munitions. In terms of the number of warheads that are involved, we know fairly well what is to be counted on the Western side. There are currently 3,500 warheads held by the United States for its own use in Europe and 1,700 other warheads that are either maintained for Allied use or maintained independently by the French, and to some extent by the British. The Soviet figure is extremely soft and really represents a best "guesstimate. " There is a considerable range of estimates about what the Soviets have, not in Eastern Europe itself, but in the Western military districts of the Soviet Union, which are probably reserved for movement forward in times of conflict. When one goes beyond looking at these particular capabilities and considers the guarantees Europeans will want to have for the coming balances in these forces, one encounters significant distinctions among the different European positions. There are three important dimensions that should be taken into account. The first is the very wide gap that exists between public
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42 REYKJA VIK AND BEYOND attitudes ant! elite opinion in every country but France. Here, to a large extent, one is paying the cost of several decades of irrespon- sibility on the part of European political elites who have never found the "moment opportune" or who have never been faced with the necessity of explaining precisely to their publics what it is that they have been agreeing to within NATO, much less what they consoler to be necessary In terms of national security. For most European publics, war in Europe is unthinkable and unlikely. And for elites, it is unthinkable, but only so Tong as deterrence based on the theory of nuclear risk and the American guarantee, however thin and threadbare that now is, is maintained. For European publics, nuclear weapons are the problem. There- fore, denuclearization as soon as possible appears to be a solution that would appeal not only in the short term but indeed, in the very Tong term as well. For elites, on the other hand, there is a consistent tendency across countries (perhaps with the current exception of the Scandinavians) to Took at a total mix of forces. This mix wouIcl require some nuclear weapons on the ground in Europe as necessary elements in the total balance of conventional and nuclear forces. Small numbers do count, then, if only because of the softness and the high degree of congestion in Europe and the vuInerabilities of major urban and economic capability targets. For the elites, as opposed to the publics, any step to be taken toward limiting these weapons would have to involve an adequate, credible verification scheme and a comprehensive but not necessarily symmetrical regime of East-West reductions. A second major dimension on which there is debate involves the split between the nuclear European nations and the nonnuclear European nations. For the nonnuclear European nations (here, I think, one hears the most in this country about West Germany but it is also true for BeIgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the Scandinavian countries), nuclear weapons are, in fact, of questionable legitimacy. In their view, such weapons may be necessary, but there is always the question as to just how they will be used and with what legitimacy. The major item on the agenda of these countries is to control the actions of nuclear states, both allies as well as adversaries, through arms control or even the mechanics of the North Atiantic alliance. Here, however, another paradox arises. Conventional defense
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43 ALLIANCE ISSUES efforts, in the views of these countries, are at present at the maximum they can be or will be for at least the coming two decades; that is, the maximum that is possible, given European demographics, and that is tolerable in political and economic terms. For the nuclear states, nuclear weapons are necessary and legiti- mate. They are the first priority in terms of national autonomy, an autonomy that will be even more highly prized in a world of deep cuts. Conventional defense efforts are important but receive nowhere near the same priority, either in terms of public attitudes or the attitudes of competing conceivable elites. The last dimension is the real difference among the positions of the Federal Republic of Germany, in terms of its requirements for both defense and deterrence, and those held by other Europeans. What is involved here is the preference of the West Germans for an American guarantee under almost all imaginable circumstances. In part, they have traded the acceptance of a nonnuclear status for that guarantee and for the promise that there wouic} be the forward defense of all West German territory; that is, the defense as far forward as the demarcation line between East and West Germany as specified in the agreements that brought West Germany into NATO in the mid-1950s. This trade is still one for which West Germany expects to pay in terms of loyalty of a kind and alliance membership and for which it expects the United States to continue to make the same kinds of guarantees, even in a world of uncertain deterrence. It is a political task, but it would also be the task of any alternative defense arrangement other than the NATO alliance that can be imagined. The forward defense of West German territory, which involves forces other than simply West German forces, thus becomes a sine qua non for West German participation in any scheme. For the other Europeans the idea of a transition to a supplementary European defense arrangement, particularly one in a deep-cuts world, is, in fact, more and more an idea whose time may yet come. But most probably it would be a European defense arrangement based on Franco-British cooperation, the third-generation nuclear forces of both being tied together and subject to the control of the other Europeans. There would also have to be a different kind of political cooperation and coordination with the United States. Involved in this, however, is what precise role West Germany
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44 REYKJA VIK AND BEYOND would play and, in particular, West German demands for this kind of all-encompassing forward defense Despite the fact that 40 years have elapsed since the end of World War II, the idea of a nuclear- armed West Germany is still anathema to most Europeans. It is the last step to be contemplated and only then after U.S. withdrawal and the development of European defense arrangements and other "fixes" for West Germany's security needs. What is the conclusion of this discussion? It seems to me that what we are looking at is a number of things that "do not compute." One adds up the columns and comes to the conclusion that some compromise, some "give," some political solution, will have to be sought, and for this there is the all-important and all-purpose requirement of leadership, a leadership not yet visible, at least in the present discussions on INF. Yet there is a conclusion and set of points for short-term policy guidance that, it seems to me, do emerge out of all these political calculations. The first and unquestionably the most important is that if U. S. strategic forces are seen as decoupled from European defense, the result is unacceptable. No scheme of superpower cuts that makes these tactical nuclear forces the central elements of the continuing system of deterrence, thereby making Europe safe for limited nuclear war or for a protracted conventional war, will be acceptable to European elites or publics. This situation is also not conducive to the continued health or existence of NATO as we now know it. Second, in the formulation of a deep-cuts regime, one must certainly be guided by one clear lesson from Reykjavik: the process by which deep cuts and any other associated constraints are under- taken must be quite careful and very consultative, unlike Reykjavik. At the moment, it appears that the United States does consult in the sense of giving information and listening carefully, although not conclusively, to the demands of its allies. For the desired political and military effects within the new order that is suggested by a deep-cuts regime, one must posit, at least, the continued existence of a stable, peaceful political order in both Europes. Last, but not least, the question of independence and autonomy is not one that is going to be solved simply by allowing the size of French and British forces to be noticed around the third stage in a
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45 ALLIANCE ISSUES deep-cuts regime. At some point, it has to become clear that these independent nuclear forces in fact assume a greater and greater role, not just for themselves but in terms of the expectations others have about their willingness to abide by the general rules of the game in the political order that will follow. Finally, perhaps the best longer-term prediction is that no matter how deep the cuts, no matter how deep the set of deliberations we will have now, there will still be plenty of work to be done in the discussion of European attitudes on defense and arms control.
Representative terms from entire chapter: