Reagan's Stance on Salt II

June 08, 1986

I am writing to voice my strong objections to the Reagan Administration stance in favor of scrapping the SALT II treaty on nuclear arms.

Although SALT II was never ratified, it has been an effective limiting device on arsenals of strategic weapons since 1979. (In compliance with SALT I, SALT II and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the U.S.S.R., between 1972 and 1985, dismantled 1,007 land-based and 233 submarine-based ballistic missiles from its active missile inventory, and retired 13 ballistic-missile subs.)

I agree that the Soviets have engaged in treaty violations--most notably with their radar facility at Krasnoyask. The United States itself, however, has not been without fault in matters of compliance. The fact is that both sides stretch "compliance" to the very limit, and sometimes overstep the bounds. Each side has a duty to protest such excess.

I believe it is obvious, however, that the Reagan Administration's decision to abandon SALT II because of "Soviet noncompliance" is merely a smoke screen. The real intention is for the United States to go ahead, unfettered by treaties, to deploy missiles that represent clear violations of the SALT and ABM treaties--such as the airborne cruise missiles, Midgetman, and the Strategic Defense Initiative technology.

It is one thing to use the SALT and ABM treaties for domestic political purpose. Both sides do that. It is quite another to openly abandon the only limiting mechanisms on nuclear arsenals.

We are inviting an uncontrolled arms race--and in that circumstance the United States is liable to be the loser. The Soviets are in a far better position to increase the payloads on their missiles--the SS-18, for instance, can carry 30 to 40 reentry vehicles, although they are currently armed with 10.

The Reagan Administration's position is irresponsible and incredibly dangerous.


Del Mar

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