The development of new strategic nuclear weapons systems and the current chill in Soviet-American relations have clouded the future of strategic arms control. Prospective deployments of certain strategic weapons also strain relations between the United States and its NATO allies. This paper examines what systems are likely to be deployed during the 1980s, maps certain options for strategic arms control in light of these deployments, and explores their effect on the NATO alliance. The author concludes that reaching an arms control agreement will be difficult in view of the steady decline in the state of Soviet-American relations since the late 1970s and the larger number of systems now deployed in Europe. The greatest obstacle to an agreement is the apparent incompatibility of the goals pursued by each side: The Soviet Union is primarily concerned with stopping or restricting the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative, while the United States seeks deep cuts in Soviet offensive forces.
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