Outlasting SALT II and preparing for SALT III

by William E. Hoehn

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Attempts to answer three questions regarding the strategic arms limitation talks (SALT): (1) Given that SALT II in and of itself does not resolve our major strategic problems, does it provide a framework within which planned U.S. unilateral actions would resolve those problems? (2) If not, what kinds of additional limitations should the next round of negotiations--SALT III--aim for? (3) What set of plans and what strategy offer some promise of leading to an effective SALT III outcome? Some prospect is offered in at least one construct of SALT III, through lower ceilings and more explicit limitations on missiles, of permitting U.S. unilateral actions to redress the strategic balance. The suggested approach is to pursue an option-generating R&D strategy consistent with the provisions of SALT II. The issue is whether the U.S. political system can do a better job of competing while cooperating with the Soviet Union, rather than merely switching intermittently from one course to the other.

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