A fundamental element of the Sovet position in the negotiations on intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) is that the nuclear systems of Britain and France must be "taken into account," in effect, by their inclusion under a ceiling on U.S. forces. Both the NATO allies, whose security rests on a strong U.S. nuclear deterrent tied inseparably to the defense of Europe, and the United States have rejected this Soviet claim.
The Soviet demand to address these forces in bilateral negotiations is procedurally inappropriate and substantively without merit. Britain and France are sovereign countries, over whose forces the United States has no control. The Soviet demand to include British and French forces is groundless on military terms, would divide the NATO alliance and undercut the U.S. strategic guarantee to Europe. Its effect has been to slow progress in the negotiations.
In pressing their claim on British and French forces, spokesmen for the Soviet Union emphasize the principle of "equality and equal security" as being basic to their approach to arms control. They assert that in applying the principle of "equality and equal security" in the context of the INF negotiations, they must "take account" of British and French forces in assessing their own security. Therefore, they maintain they are justified in demanding unequal forces between the United States and the U.S.S.R.; specifically, they propose that the number of British and French "medium-range nuclear systems" be subtracted from the ceiling they propose be set for U.S. systems.
In practice, however, the Soviet Union does not follow its principle of "equality and equal security." It does not apply that principle evenhandedly to the security of the United States and its allies, but one-sidedly to the security of the Soviet Union. The result is to produce inequality and unequal security. The Soviet spokesmen, in describing this principle, have stressed that in applying it all factors affecting Soviet security must be taken into account, including not only the manifold military factors but also geographic and other considerations. When asked what they mean by "other considerations," they respond that these include "political" considerations.
The INF negotiations involve issues central to security in Europe--that is, on the one side, the security of the territory of the NATO allies in Europe and, on the other, the security of the territory of the members of the Warsaw Pact, including the Soviet Union, in Europe. Let us begin by examining, as the Soviet spokesmen say one should, the full range of factors bearing upon "equal security."
With respect to geography, the territory of the NATO countries in Europe is small compared to that of the Warsaw Pact states in Europe--some 925,000 square miles on the NATO side to about 2.5 million square miles on the Warsaw Pact side. The depth of front is a few hundred kilometers on the NATO side; on the Warsaw Pact side, it can be measured in thousands. Moreover, the Soviet Union has direct access to NATO Europe unimpeded by natural barriers. It can move its forces up to Western Europe over secure interior lines of communication. In contrast, forces in the United States are separated from Europe by 5,000 kilometers of ocean. Thus, in the context of "equal security," geography favors the Soviet Union.
The political asymmetries between NATO and the Warsaw Pact are striking. The NATO Alliance is a voluntary alliance. The Brezhnev doctrine makes it clear that the Warsaw Pact is of quite a different character. The Warsaw Pact operates under central direction, tight coordination and strict discipline. Such rigid conformity would be inconsistent with the nature of the NATO alliance and with the characters of its member states. Those states have freely elected parliaments responsive to public opinion informed by an independent press and vigorously expressed. Anyone in Moscow need only read the Western press to be confident that no NATO country can acquire arms beyond those its people consider the minimum necessary for collective defense against aggression and that no one of them, alone or in concert, would consider initiating an attack on the Soviet Union or any of its associated states.
It is not possible for anyone in the West to have similar confidence that he truly understands what is going on in the inner decision- making circles in Moscow. None of us in the West would embrace the political system of the Warsaw Pact countries. Nevertheless, such a system is efficient in terms of building and directing military forces and dictating a unified strategy and fully coordinated tactics, both military and political. Thus, in the context of "equal security," political asymmetries favor the U.S.S.R. and the Warsaw Pact, not the United States and NATO.
In assessing the military factors, it is appropriate to begin with those bearing most immediately on the INF negotiations and then proceed to those more generally affecting the security balance in Europe. It was the deployment of SS20 missiles by the Soviet Union in 1977 that brought about NATO's 1979 decision to respond to that deployment with its own deployment of U.S. Pershing II and ground- launched cruise missiles in Europe. NATO's determination to proceed with deployments brought the Soviets to accept the U.S. offer to seek an arms control solution to the INF problem.
The only systems that both the United States and the U.S.S.R. agree should be limited in an INF agreement are ground-launched nuclear missile systems of intermediate range. The current imbalance between the United States and the U.S.S.R. in longer-range INF missile systems is not in dispute. The Soviets have approximately 600 such systems with 1,300 warheads, of which approximately 500 with 1,000 warheads are in or on the fringes of Europe. The United States has none.
If we then proceed to those systems that one side asserts should be limited in an INF agreement and the other side believes should not be limited, we are brought to consider nuclear- capable aircraft in Europe. The Soviets propose counting only such aircraft as have a combat radius greater than 1,000 kilometers, though they exclude a number of their own aircraft with a combat radius more than 1,000 kilometers, while including some U.S. aircraft with a combat radius of less than 1,000 kilometers.
However, in the context of "equal security," all aircraft capable of hitting the territory of the NATO or the Warsaw Pact countries in Europe should be counted. On this basis, and using counting rules developed in previous arms control agreements, the U.S.S.R. has 6,300 such aircraft in Europe; the United States has 400. To take account of the fact that most of the Soviet planes used for training and those in storage are in Europe while the comparable U.S. planes are in the United States, it is appropriate to refer to a NATO study that compares NATO and Warsaw Pact aircraft on the basis of counting only those assigned to combat squadrons manned by trained crews and believed assigned nuclear roles. On this basis, the balance is 2,500 such aircraft on the Warsaw Pact side as opposed to about 800 on the NATO side.
We are now brought to systems that neither side proposes should be limited in an INF agreement, but that the U.S.S.R. asserts must be taken account of by subtraction from the Soviet-proposed ceiling for U.S. INF systems. These are the British and French nuclear systems--both missile systems and nuclear-capable aircraft. The bulk of these are submarine- based missile systems. Their characteristics are identical to those of the U.S. and U.S.S.R. SLBMs, which both the United States and U.S.S.R. agree should be classed as being "strategic" systems. They are not "intermediate range" systems.
Even the Soviet spokesmen, in arguing for the proposition that British and French systems be taken into account, base their case on the asertion that the U.S.S.R. must take them into account in assessing its security in the context of "equal security," not on the basis of the balance in systems to be limited in an INF agreement.
By the same logic, the United States and the other members of NATO would be entitled to take into account the full range of factors that bear on their security in Europe.
In addition to the geographic and political factors already discussed, there are other military factors: the conventional military balance in Europe, the balance in chemical warfare weapons, the balance in nuclear weapons of shorter range than those under discussion in INF and those of inter-continental range-- those under discussion in the START negotiations.
There can be little doubt that the conventional balance in Europe favors the Warsaw Pact. All the major indicators of relative combat strength favor the Warsaw Pact, including the numbers of combat divisions and of planes, tanks, artillery tubes and other major categories of military equipment.
The balance in chemical weapons is entirely one-sided in favor of the Warsaw Pact.
The balance in tactical nuclear systems also favors the Warsaw Pact. NATO has a tenuous advantage in the number of artillery tubes capable of firing nuclear shells, but NATO tactical missile systems are outnumbered and outranged by Soviet systems having a range of 120 to 300 kilometers.
In the START negotiations, it is the U.S. hope and anticipation that the sides will eventually be able to agree on substantial reductions to equality in the most significant measures of capability. At the present time, however, it is evident that in most of the indices of effectiveness, the balance in systems of intercontinental range does not favor the United States.
In summation of this part of the analysis, there is no basis whatever for the Soviet assertion that they are entitled to compensation for British and French nuclear systems in the context of the full range of factors bearing on "equal security."
On the other hand, there are very strong reasons why British and French systems should not only be limited in a bilateral agreement between the United States and the U.S.S.R., but why their systems should not be "taken into account" in an INF agreement.
Along with the United States, the U.S.S.R. and China, Britain and France constitute the five members of the U.N. Security Council with the power of veto. They historically have taken an independent view of their national security and have maintained the unilateral military means, as do the United States and the U.S.S.R., to protect this independence. They have both declared that they do not wish their nuclear forces to be limited or to be "taken into account" in bilateral negotiations between the United States and the U.S.S.R.
They consider their nuclear forces to constitute the minimum nuclear deterrent necessary to protect their own national interests. The non-nuclear NATO countries cannot count on the relatively small U.K. or French nuclear forces to provide adequate deterrence of aggression or the threat of aggression against their territory; they must look to the nuclear forces of the United States for that measure of deterrence.
In past bilateral arms control agreements, the U.S.S.R. has attempted to obtain compensation for U.K. and French systems, and the United States has firmly resisted such attempts. The U.S.S.R. has nevertheless found it possible to enter into such agreements.
The Soviet public-relations campaign on this issue is based on suggesting that Western spokesmen have said what they have not said, and then demonstrating that this is untrue. Soviet spokesmen loudlyyassert that British and French nuclear systems exist, as though someone had denied that fact. They assert that Britain and France are members of NATO as though that were a great discovery. They assert that British and French forces are "aimed at them," as though any other nation constituted a security threat to NATO. None of these facts is in dispute; the point is these facts are overwhelmed by a series of much more significant facts, such as the geographic, political and military asymmetries outlined above. The United States is fully aware of the advantages these asymmetries confer on the Soviet Union. However, we have not proposed to take them into account by unequal limits between the United States and U.S.S.R.
The essence of the Soviet position is that the only country whose security really counts is the U.S.S.R. If it is secure, then all other countries or parties in its orbit are secure. It asserts the unilateral right to security because of the uniqueness of its socializing mission; it is carrying out a mission allotted to it by history; it is entitled to forces equal to or superior to the aggregate of those of all other states combined since all other states are potential objectors to its hegemony. The Soviet claim is thus a claim for absolute security. The obverse of absolute security for the U.S.S.R is absolute insecurity for all other nations in the world.