10 Pages

European Nuclear Deterrence After INF

WithRobbin F. Laird

The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) process represents a watershed in West-West and East-West relations. In the aftermath of the INF experience, the future of nuclear deterrence within Europe is currently being debated and future options are being determined. The 1979 decision by the Western Alliance to pursue modernization of its long-range nuclear systems within Europe and concurrently to pursue arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union was significant for both Alliance relations and East-West relations. The INF decision also led to a major confrontation in the West between governments and significant segments of public opinion over the legitimacy of nuclear deterrence. One of the important achievements of the Brezhnev administration was the maneuvering of the Soviet Union inside the Western security debate. The policy of denuclearization is an important tenet in the Soviet's basic anti-coalitional strategy toward the Alliance. The Soviets will pursue the denuclearization policy to undercut North Atlantic Treaty Organization's reliance on nuclear weapons for political purposes.