A consideration of some basic issues in the international arms competition. Arms control policy can be affected by several possible situations involving ABM deployment: (1) difficulty in policing Soviet offensive capabilities; (2) budget and bureaucratic constraints on Soviet military posture changes; (3) a temptation to strike first from fear of ineffective second-strike capability; (4) a superfluity of ABMs due to compensation for performance inadequacies or uselessness of the weapons in other roles; and (5) more flexible Soviet policy allowing for a downgrading of ABM capabilities. Arms control objectives should aim at low-level war directed at military targets; a selection of weapons based on strategy; and the inclusion of nonparticipating nuclear states, without whom the policy is ineffective. A conflict of interests may exist, however, in arms control over the superpowers, whose enormous capabilities have deterred the other nations from a scramble for nuclear weapons.
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