The faces of verification: strategic arms control for the 1980s

by Robert L. Perry


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For the United States credible verification of Soviet compliance with the terms of strategic arms limitation agreements is a sine qua non for enlarged arms control. Most recent proposals for increasing either the detail or the credibility of verification processes are flawed; virtually all require concessions that the Soviets refuse because they create opportunities for espionage. The Soviets are preoccupied with constraining the development of new types of strategic weapons. In order to obtain U.S. agreement to inhibit the development and introduction of new strategic weapons (particularly cruise missiles), the Soviet Union may have to agree to exposing more of its military hardware and R&D institutions. Without such Soviet concessions, arms limitations agreements of the 1980s could become meaningless extensions of agreements of the 1970s, and encourage a bilateral buildup of new weapons not controlled by treaty.

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