From a speech delivered last night in Berlin by former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski:

It is widely recognized that the greatest offensive conventional threat is the Soviet preponderance in main battle tanks. The tank continues to be the weapon most suitable for use in massed offensive formations. Further Western arms control proposals, particularly if they are to address the issue of battlefield nuclear weapons, must focus on that threat.

For example, the West could propose a 50 percent reduction in the number of main battle tanks. Better still, this could be part of a larger plan to create a "tank-free zone" in Central Europe. This zone might include West Germany and Benelux on the NATO side and East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary on the Warsaw Pact side.

It would require heightened NATO military cooperation with France, for Western tanks withdrawn from Germany would have to be stationed either there or in Britain. But the benefits of such an arrangement should be apparent, both in time of war and in time of peace.

In the event of war, it would undermine Soviet strategy. As an offensive power, Moscow must seek to have its first echelon of forces as near to the central frontier as possible in order to achieve a surprise attack and a rapid breakthrough, which would then be exploited by rapidly arriving follow-on echelons.

With a Central European tank-free zone that plan would become a pipe dream.