Today arms control must be a part of a broader policy and framework -- the broader policy to stop aggression and spread human rights and freedom. The rivalry between East and West is not the result of personalities, of simple misunderstandings, of arms buildup or of economic competition. That rivalry stems from fundamental moral and political differences over a wide range of international, regional, human rights, defense and other problems. Weapons are a symptom of this struggle, not its cause. Weapons do not bring war. Aggressive policies do.
Thus, arms control cannot be the sole element in the East-West dialogue. The Soviets would like to make it so since highlighting arms control plays into their strong suit -- military power -- and allows them to put themselves, in this realm at least, on an equal plane with the United States. Putting the spotlight on arms control serves the Soviet interests in increasing pressure from the American public, Congress and Allies to make unilateral concessions, while the Soviets themselves face no such pressures since they have no such free publics, parliament or Allies.
Keeping the spotlight on arms control also serves the Soviet interest in keeping the light off human rights issues and regional issues -- particularly, Soviet aggressive in Afghanistan and their direct or indirect aggression in Africa, Central America and South Asia. Arms control is the sole area where they can reasonably expect the U.S to give up some gains, whereas in human rights and regional issues, the world reasonably expects the Soviets to give up their repression of their most creative citizens and their conquests of the 1970 -- in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Angola, Laos, Cambodia, etc.