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I

Introduction: The Changing Political/Military Environment for U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy

THE EMERGING SECURITY POLICY

When Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union in 1985, he set in motion a dramatic shift in Soviet security policy, which continues 6 years later in spite of severe economic setbacks and the recent rise of substantial opposition to his policies. As officially articulated, the essence of Gorbachev's change was to make the prevention of war the dominant security objective and to make cooperative diplomacy—rather than offensive military capabilities—the dominant means. The unspoken purpose was to relieve the Soviet economy and military establishment of the burden of maintaining a competitive confrontational posture against a coalition of Western industrial democracies with decisively superior economic and technical potential. A peaceful international environment and the maintenance of Soviet security at lower cost were necessary to the success of economic perestroika. These goals required a radically reduced sense of the threat from NATO, the ending of the Afghanistan War, the acceptance of intrusive verification in order to achieve substantial arms reductions, increased trade and investment from the West, and eventually Western economic assistance.

To accomplish these goals the Soviet Union has undertaken a number of actions that have transformed the military situation in central Europe. These include: far-reaching unilateral reductions of Soviet forces in Eastern Europe begun in 1989; further reductions mandated by the Conventional Forces



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Page 6 I Introduction: The Changing Political/Military Environment for U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy THE EMERGING SECURITY POLICY When Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union in 1985, he set in motion a dramatic shift in Soviet security policy, which continues 6 years later in spite of severe economic setbacks and the recent rise of substantial opposition to his policies. As officially articulated, the essence of Gorbachev's change was to make the prevention of war the dominant security objective and to make cooperative diplomacy—rather than offensive military capabilities—the dominant means. The unspoken purpose was to relieve the Soviet economy and military establishment of the burden of maintaining a competitive confrontational posture against a coalition of Western industrial democracies with decisively superior economic and technical potential. A peaceful international environment and the maintenance of Soviet security at lower cost were necessary to the success of economic perestroika. These goals required a radically reduced sense of the threat from NATO, the ending of the Afghanistan War, the acceptance of intrusive verification in order to achieve substantial arms reductions, increased trade and investment from the West, and eventually Western economic assistance. To accomplish these goals the Soviet Union has undertaken a number of actions that have transformed the military situation in central Europe. These include: far-reaching unilateral reductions of Soviet forces in Eastern Europe begun in 1989; further reductions mandated by the Conventional Forces

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Page 7in Europe (CFE) Treaty signed in November 1990; the scheduled withdrawal of all Soviet forces from Central and Eastern Europe as a result of the revolutions of 1989; and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991. Furthermore, the Soviet Union has moved toward restructuring its military forces in a more defensive manner, has withdrawn a large fraction of its forces from the Far East, and has implemented the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which eliminates a class of missiles in which Soviet forces far outnumbered those of NATO. In response, the nature of NATO and Western European defense policy is also undergoing a rapid restructuring. The profound and largely unexpected shifts of the last 6 years have changed the security landscape in two fundamental ways. First, the dangerous confrontation of NATO and Warsaw Pact forces in the center of Europe has dissolved; the threat to peace in Europe that defined East-West forces for decades has largely disappeared. In its place is a new “zone of peace” hundreds of miles wide that separates Soviet and NATO forces. This means that neither side could mount an aggressive thrust without months of easily visible preparations. It also means that the Central and Eastern European states are left outside of any binding security framework. Second, the Soviet Union has evolved part way toward being accepted as a partner of the West, cooperating in security endeavors on a broad front. Most recently, Soviet cooperation made it possible to form and operate the coalition against Iraq under a United Nations umbrella. Strong conservative opposition to rapid liberalization has now emerged in the Soviet Union and has succeeded in slowing or reversing a number of policies. This opposition has gained influence by opposing the secession of any of the Soviet republics and urging armed intervention, if necessary, in quelling ethnic conflict. Much of its strength is drawn from the Communist Party and the military (although significant parts of the military are not involved), and since both of these policies involve greater reliance on the armed forces, the influence of the conservative military has grown. It is difficult to foresee the extent to which the positive developments of the Gorbachev era may be put at risk. The political shape and governance of the Soviet Union during the next decade are an even greater unknown. Regression toward a repressive, centrally controlled dictatorship or fragmentation into many separate republics would clearly interrupt the flow of change that has taken place. Such developments alone, however, would not restore a credible Soviet external threat. The two decisive achievements of 1989-1990—Soviet withdrawal from Eastern Europe and the unification of Germany within the NATO framework—have decisively changed the geopolitical map of Europe in crucial, almost certainly irreversible, ways. The various possible outcomes in the Soviet Union must be taken into account in examining potential changes in U.S. nuclear policy. The chal

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Page 8lenges to the United States lie in developing policies and procedures that would encourage any future Soviet leadership to continue engaging in actions that would reduce military expenditures, increase international stability, and encourage joining with the West in a variety of cooperative ventures. EUROPE The framework of security in Europe remains a central strategic concern for the United States and the Soviet Union. Recent months have seen some sobering of earlier hopes for a rapid transition to a new, more cooperative regional political and military order. The dazzling pace of change in 1989 and 1990 has slowed. Fears about instability and authoritarian trends in Soviet domestic politics, the specter of a disintegrating Soviet Union, and the harsh requirements of economic reconstruction now felt throughout Central Europe have become urgent political issues. Nonetheless, there is still a remarkable convergence of European, American, and Soviet interests in the creation of a different, more cooperative European security system. Europe is likely to be the major test bed for post-Cold War security, the region in which a range of new approaches to cooperation and to the control of risk can be developed and refined. Some of the elements of a new European security order are already visible. Both the United States and the Soviet Union are seen by all states and by each other as key actors in the new system, albeit in changed roles. The Warsaw Pact has now been formally dissolved; all Soviet forces are to be withdrawn by the end of 1994. NATO remains the core European-Atlantic security framework but, after the London Declaration of 1990, with a set of multinational institutions, procedures, and force structures on which to build new patterns of cooperation and transparency with Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. There will be far fewer standing forces; American deployments in Europe will be cut in half over the next 5 years. The far looser Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), which encompasses 35 members, has an important menu of confidence-building measures and has also taken initial steps toward new cooperative institutions and procedures for conflict prevention and policy coordination. There are also a number of new supporting multilateral institutions and political initiatives. These range from the emphasis on developing a new European defense identity within both the 12-member European Community and the 9-member Western European Union (WEU) 1 to the revival of old Hapsburg Empire ties in the Pentagonale 2 or the new Baltic regime grouping involving parts of Central and Northern Europe. Last but not least are the thickening skein of far-reaching bilateral guarantees of cooperation and peaceful

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Page 9settlements, such as those between the united Germany and its Soviet and Polish neighbors, or between the Soviet Union and its former allies. The evolution of the post-Cold War military and diplomatic balance in Europe clearly means a new, more favorable environment. The smooth road to German unity was reassuring; so too was the acceptance, East and West, of a united Germany's continued NATO membership and the explicit recognition of the legitimate Soviet stake in European stability. Ratification of the CFE treaty will be another major step. So will further actions by many European states—by treaty or unilaterally—to reduce standing forces by at least 50 percent if only to quickly reap the domestic economic benefit. Moreover, the complexities and delays of negotiated arms control in the past have sparked new interest in the use of regular political dialogue to increase coordination and ensure transparency and confidence, whether the subject is force cuts, doctrinal differences, or comparative warning procedures. Most dramatically, Soviet withdrawals from Central and Eastern Europe and American unilateral assurances on the withdrawal of its short-range nuclear forces foreshadow the elimination of all non-European ground-based nuclear forces in the foreseeable future. Pressures may mount against the one ground-based system that is still in prospect—the French Hades short-range nuclear missile scheduled for deployment in the 1990s. There are still important continuing differences over the scope and the purposes of a new “European defense identity.” German Chancellor Kohl and French President Mitterand have proposed one plan—an increasingly powerful WEU that would become part of the new European Political Union in the mid-1990s and in the interim would adopt security policies on its behalf. British proposals, backed explicitly by the Dutch and more indirectly by the United States, reject the merger with the evolving European Community and instead see WEU as the increasingly independent European pillar within a central NATO framework. Both designs reject the rapid expansion of the European framework to include the new democracies of Central Europe, in part because of sensitivity to Soviet security concerns and internal balances. The final choices will have to await the further political, economic, and military evolution of Europe—most especially of the European Community, and the paths of the Soviet Union, Germany, and Central Europe. A totally fragmented Europe seems unlikely, but the probability of the various alternatives is hard to estimate. For the Soviet Union, the critical questions beyond its national political future will depend on the role it and the new Germany will play in any European security arrangements. Soviet statements stress its aspirations to substantially greater economic and political integration with Europe. Militarily, the Soviet Union wants assurance that it faces no threat of future military confrontation from Europe, particularly from a nuclear or conventionally dominant Germany. Similarly, the Western and Central European

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Page 10nations seek assurance that Soviet withdrawals will be irreversible and that they will face no new military threat or pressure. A united Germany, now the strongest economic power in the European Community and increasingly dominant in trade with Central and Eastern Europe, faces different questions. Some external critics charge that a German push for military dominance or for nuclear weapons like those of Britain and France is inevitable. In response, Germans and many others point to the long-standing German commitment to the principles of common security, to popular reluctance to use German forces outside its national territory, and to the iron-clad guarantees given in the unification treaties against production or possession of mass destruction weapons of any kind. At present, all conceivable future governing coalitions define German security in terms of interlinked structures—economic and military, European and Atlantic, Community and pan-European, ties to both the United States and the Soviet Union. Current political and economic tasks, primarily the urgent daily adjustments to unification, leave few financial or political resources in the short run either for Eastern European economic reform or for expanded activity in the Soviet Union. For the United States, the emerging European security order will mean significant shifts in relations with its NATO allies, especially its proclaimed “strategic partnership” with Germany. The task is to adjust to changing circumstances and emerging European political choices, not all of which are clear or certain. Whatever final choices about a new European security architecture emerge, a critical instrument to achieve new stability and a new European-American relationship will be progress toward a more cooperative Soviet-American nuclear relationship. Most importantly, it would make both Soviet and American publics more willing to accept the new Europe. It would also provide a predictable core element for Europeans seeking new stability and new assurance against nuclear threat as well as a pattern for emulation by, or expansion to, the present and future European nuclear powers, however improbable that now appears. EAST ASIA In the post-World War II era, the United States cast its security interests in East Asia largely in terms of U.S.-Soviet rivalry, but the political and security dynamics of the region have in significant measure stood apart from the East-West divide. Over time, collaborative relations have developed among Japan, China, and the United States, including acceptance by both Tokyo and Beijing of the continued presence of American forces in the region. Although the pace and scope of the political changes in East Asia are not equivalent to those under way in Europe, major new developments are likely

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Page 11to emerge that could significantly affect American security interests. The normalization of Sino-Soviet relations has already reduced the level of military confrontation between these two nations, lowering regional tensions in the process. The fault lines of the Cold War remain largely intact in two of the central U.S. security relationships in Asia—the continued military confrontation between the two Koreas and the absence of any meaningful political breakthrough between the Soviet Union and Japan—but the substance and framework of these relations appear likely to change as well. This judgment seems especially true for the Korean peninsula, where the Soviet Union has opted to recognize both Korean states and to diminish its political, economic, and military support of Pyongyang. None of the trends necessarily foreshadows a major erosion of U.S. regional influence, although that is one possible outcome. The prospects for collective security in East Asia appear much more problematic than in Europe. Although the area has witnessed repeated U.S and Soviet military involvement over the past 40 years, the political complexity of the region and the rapid changes there have not been conducive to effective multilateral security mechanisms. Bilateral arrangements between regional actors and the United States or the Soviet Union or the autonomous exercise of power by states such as China have been the primary sources of security and insecurity. Among the avowed nuclear weapons states, China is the only power whose nuclear activities and plans remain outside any extant alliance or arms control framework. At the same time, some local states have seen more of a threat from their immediate neighbors than they have from geographically remote major powers. U.S.-Japanese relations face especially important potential changes. U.S. extended deterrence guarantees to Tokyo, although less explicit than those provided to Germany, were central to Japanese security calculations throughout the Cold War. In the past, Tokyo was prepared to accept a subordinate status in the U.S.-Japanese alliance. Now, however, U.S.-Japanese relations are marked by increasingly rancorous disputes over economic and technological competition. Although these developments do not presage a breakdown in the U.S.-Japanese relationship—an outcome that nearly all the states of East Asia would consider an unmitigated disaster—they suggest a more competitive relationship between Washington and Tokyo. But most Japanese continue to emphasize the importance of sustaining the alliance with the United States, in which U.S. nuclear guarantees assume an integral if understated role. The central challenge for U.S. long-term policy in the Pacific will be to adapt the U.S.-Japanese relationship to these changing circumstances, without calling into question the underlying American commitment to Japan's security. Without such a commitment, Japan could chart a far more inde

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Page 12pendent political and security course that could create enormous anxieties and pressures for increased defense expenditures throughout East Asia. The stability of China's political-military directions also seems uncertain. The country's internal leadership crisis of 1989 has had a pronounced effect on Chinese foreign policy. Chinese interest in collaboration with the Western industrial democracies and with its neighbors remains undiminished, but China's capacity to do so appears more questionable. If the Chinese concluded that the prospects for long-term political and economic collaboration with the United States were problematic, their incentives for cooperation on international security and arms control (including restraints on ballistic missile sales) could diminish accordingly. North Korea's efforts to develop a nuclear weapons option are especially worrisome. Dangerously high levels of armaments are already amassed on the Korean peninsula, and a nuclear weapons capability in the North could greatly reduce the inhibitions against comparable efforts by South Korea and Japan. All the major powers will need to vigorously pursue efforts to control the possibility of nuclear proliferation on the peninsula. At the same time, the United States and the Soviet Union should continue to pursue steps to reduce the likelihood of any renewed military crisis. OTHER STRATEGIC AREAS Over 100 conventionally armed conflicts have broken out since World War II, almost all of them in the developing nations. The United States and the Soviet Union have taken an interest in many of these, have become involved in some through aid or through proxies, and have intervened directly in a few. The waning of the Cold War has changed the incentives and inhibitions for U.S. and Soviet interest in regional conflicts. The pattern of assistance, especially arms transfers, from the developed to the developing countries may change as well. The security interactions of the United States, the Soviet Union, and other major powers with various regions of the developing world in this new era will be matters of increasing importance. In a few areas, there is a genuine risk that nuclear weapons could be introduced into future conflicts. The Middle East is one such area, given Israel's undeclared nuclear arsenal and the apparent interest of other nations in acquiring their own nuclear capabilities. The continuing tensions between India and Pakistan, both near-nuclear states, also pose serious risks. In other areas the risk may be diminishing; for example, Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa all seem to have abandoned or scaled back their earlier nuclear ambitions. A cooperative relationship among the major powers could contribute to the resolution or management of regional conflicts, or at least could avoid

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Page 13exacerbating them. The recent Gulf War demonstrated that, when the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council reach agreement, the U.N. can act effectively as a force for collective security. In addition, groups of nations in several areas of the world have taken or attempted measures to limit regional arms races and attendant insecurities. Some of these, such as the initiatives Brazil and Argentina have taken to address their political-military rivalry, have a nuclear dimension. These cooperative, demand-limiting steps may become an essential ingredient in maintaining regional environments free of the kind of security concerns that in the past led nations to initiate nuclear weapons programs. In the following chapters, we translate these general observations into more specific conclusions for future nuclear policy. Chapter II considers the main thrust of U.S. nuclear weapons policy in light of the changes just outlined. In Chapter III, we examine prospects for developments in cooperative security arrangements in various parts of the world and assess the status of the efforts to stem nuclear proliferation. We discuss specific nuclear force levels and configurations for the United States in the post-START era in Chapter IV, along with associated arms control measures. In Chapter V, we take up the question of the command and control and operational management of nuclear forces and recommend steps to meet the new situation. NOTES 1. The membership of WEU is not identical to that of either NATO or the European Community and includes Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. 2. The original participants included Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy, and Yugoslavia.