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By Michael Krepon


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Extra resources for Strategic Stalemate: Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control in American Politics

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8 All agreed that the United States bore a specal burden by intensifying the arms race in attempting to maintain a qualitative edge. S. initiatives. " Arms controllers were prepared to take the first steps. The importance of choosing the arms control option rather than its alternative was most succintly stated by General Maxwell D. S. R. S. might muster the foresight and the political agility to lead both nations out of the arms race. While their domestic opponents were pointing out numerous reasons why it was difficult or unwise to do business with the Soviets, the arms control community was focusing on the penalties of not reaching cooperative agreements.

4 During this period, arms control agreements were not considered a bar to the maintenance of strategic superiority. S. level of technological superiority. " The answers were uniformly in the negative. Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis LeMay's response was most succinct: "I would never be happy with a situation where we had parity with our enemies. "5 A majority of the Senate Armed Services Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee rejected the Kennedy Administration's assertion that the Test Ban Treaty would preserve the then-current measure of superiority.

The arms control community had difficulty envisioning the Soviets using their massive conventional capabilities to overrun Europe, just as they could not foresee how any Kremlin leadership could give the orders to start a nuclear exchange. To be sure, the Third World presented wholesale opportunities for gaining advantage at the expense of the West. But there too, Soviet progress was uneven, and attempts to expand the Kremlin's reach have been characterized not so much by adventurism, as by cautious opportunism.

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