An Unfavorable Situation

NATO and the Conventional Balance

by James A. Thomson


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The view that NATO conventional military forces are inferior to Warsaw Pact forces is one of the most important factors shaping postwar history. This Note describes the essential features of the balance of conventional forces in Central Europe and presents the author's view of the consequences of an analysis of these features. The author concentrates on the probable outcome of a potential battle for the Federal Republic of Germany. He concludes that the imbalance of forces in Central Europe currently favors the Warsaw Pact. However, NATO has more leverage to improve its situation through its own unilateral actions than through arms control.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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