chapter  7
35 Pages

The Soviets and Denuclearization

WithWilliam Garner

This chapter attempts to discern the origins, the distinguishing characteristics, and the multiple objectives of Mikhail Gorbachev's denuclearization campaign. It deals with speculations as to how Gorbachev might further develop his denuclearization campaign, in the context of a range of contingent North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) responses affecting Soviet perceptions of threats and anti-coalition opportunities. On January 15, 1986, Gorbachev launched his denuclearization campaign with a schematic program for the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons by the year 2000. Many of the Soviet arguments used against the US Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces deployment are closely related to arguments employed in the earlier campaigns. A retrospective analysis illuminates the Soviets' political-military objectives, revealing a strong anti-coalition component in each campaign. In the wake of the Hungarian revolt and the Suez Crisis, a new Soviet propaganda offensive hit Western Europe. The Soviet campaign against the neutron bomb immediately preceded and was later incorporated into the Soviet political offensive against NATO's Eurostrategic missiles.