Is There a Case for Qualitative Constraints on Conventional Armaments?

by James L. Foster

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It is increasingly evident that we are in a period of major change in conventional military capabilities. However, there has been surprisingly little analytic attention paid to the implications of those changes for defense budgets, for the conduct of conventional warfare and for arms control concerns. This paper is intended as an initial effort to draw together and critique the arguments that have been made regarding these issues. In doing so, it addresses three general questions in a manner intended to spur debate rather than to reach confirmed conclusions: (1) Are qualitative arms advances a critical issue? (2) Are constraints on those advances desirable from the U.S. perspective or do those advances favor U.S. interests? (3) What are the problems associated with alternative arms control approaches? 18 pp.

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