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INF Treaty and Arms Control

December 06, 1987

The article was correct in exposing the many flaws of this new headliner, the INF treaty. The article focused on the strategic imbalances that would result between NATO and the Warsaw Pact and predicted: "If we go ahead with an INF treaty that bans ground-launched cruise missiles, the Soviets will have traded a small part of their nuclear arsenal for a major constraint on future NATO conventional defenses." The facts in their argument against such an agreement are frightening, but they failed to mention the historical reasons against INF, which are even more so.

In 1972 we entered into a similar agreement with the Soviet Union--the ABM treaty--which limited offensive strategic arms. President Richard Nixon described it as a "freeze" which would "halt the momentum of the Soviet strategic buildup." Following the terms, the United States cut defense spending by 3% a year, while the Soviets (in a characteristic move) increased their military budget substantially; and now their arsenal is larger by about 8,000 ballistic missile warheads!

Is the Soviet Union a nation worthy of anything implicit in the INF treaty? No.

MICHAEL UTLEY

Rosemead

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