Nuclear Disarmament and Security in the Current Crisis in International Relations
Chaired by Jacques Chaban-Delmas
2 April 1985
The exchange of views between the participants ranged widely over issues concerning nuclear disarmament and international security, generating discussions which were useful in the preparation of this report. The report however reflects the views of the President, Jacques Chaban-Delmas only.
From the outset, the United Nations and the international community as a whole have had to come to terms with the realities of the nuclear age.
Since then disarmament, and in particular nuclear disarmament by the very nature of atomic weapons, has always been regarded as a global problem concerning all the nations of the world. At the same time, the central importance of bilateral U.S.-Soviet relations has become accepted as an inevitable reality in arms control negotiations.
The 1950s were marked by the rivalry between the two most heavily armed powers and the careful avoidance of direct confrontation in view of the dangers of mutual destruction. This had a lasting impact on the situation in Europe, where the confrontation was at the outset the most intense; this impact was positive insofar that no armed conflict between the East and West has yet taken place in Europe. Similarly, changes have gradually occurred in the basic context of the international security issue, and the international debate on disarmament has been transformed.
It is not easy to reconcile the interests of all the primordial responsibilities of a few nations, particularly when the achievement of aims, which are in principle endorsed by all nations, is dependent on the changing state of bilateral relations between the United States and the USSR.
This is unquestionably one of the main causes of the current arms control crisis.
In view of the now overwhelming importance of the balance of U.S. and Soviet forces in the arms negotiations, it is clear that the serious deterioration of relations between the two superpowers over the last ten years (from the mid-seventies onwards, and particularly since events in Afghanistan at the end of 1979) has done much to compromise the arms control process. Mutual suspicion and confrontation have again become the basis for relations between Washington and Moscow, bringing to an end the period of detente during which some degree of progress had been achieved in arms control. From this point of view, the current arms control crisis is perhaps above all a crisis in U.S.-Soviet relations and perhaps also in more general terms a crisis in international relations as a whole.
The crisis is reflected above all in the breakdown of the standards of international behaviour embodied in the United Nations Charter, and this is in my opinion the second key aspect of the current arms control crisis. This trend, which has extremely serious consequences for the international community as a whole, was rightly deplored in the UN Secretary General's recent annual report. Although prohibited by the Charter, the use of force has become so widespread that it is now almost considered as a normal way of settling differences. The same trend lies behind direct military intervention (even by the superpowers), a renewed outbreak of terrorism and the use of arms (such as chemical weapons) that are prohibited by international law. In the case of chemical weapons, whose use has become widespread even in so-called peripheral conflicts (Iran-Iraq) vast problems can be expected in the future, in view of the dangers of the proliferation of these weapons of mass destruction, and their link with atomic weapons (as a means of response or dissuasion).
Thirdly, technological advances - which are difficult to control and whose implications are difficult to predict - further complicate the disarmament equation to such an extent that it may be seriously doubted whether a solution can be found. The arms control rules laid down during the sixties and seventies were appropriate for a state of technical development which is now outdated.
The miniaturization of weapons, the fact that vehicles can be armed with either conventional or nuclear warheads, and new technical specifications (enabling range of power to be modified at will) mean that conventional approaches to arms issues - involving the classification of arms into fixed categories (nuclear conventional) - are now partly outdated. These developments threaten to make current verification methods extremely difficult to use (monitoring satellites have also become vulnerable to attack). In the face of the current global uncertainty regarding the future of the strategic system, and in view of the wide range of technological changes currently taking place (in atomic, conventional and space weapons), the arms control process is in search of a new logic and new guidelines.
It is not surprising that the many impasses of the last few years have given rise to growing pessimism about arms control, and increasing impatience with a debate whose complexity often seems to mask the sterility of the negotiations, and have led some to begin a dangerous search for alternative solutions.
These solutions are all less concerned with addressing the real causes of the arms race and its most concrete manifestations - the accumulation and qualitative modernisation of weapons - than with issues which are now denounced as constituting major destabilizing factors of the strategic situation.
It seems to have become more urgent to denounce strategic doctrines than to make real arms reductions. Declarations of intent are preferred to effective reductions. The stance adopted by certain sections of public opinion (at least in those countries where they have the freedom to express themselves) is, it is argued, more important than the actions of governments, as only this can make the latter realize where their "true interests" lie.
In short, scepticism towards disarmament as a whole has in many cases led to posturing rather than action; "unilateralism" is thus proposed as the solution to the impasse of conventional negotiations, the formal denunciation of intentions is preferred to effective reductions in arsenals, and non-verifiable declarations are considered to be superior to concrete agreements.
This escapist attitude towards the nuclear disarmament debate in turn increases disillusionment with the arms control process as a whole.
This situation, in which the force of the disarmament process is being dissipated in scholastic disputes, and in which the bases of a fragile consensus amongst the international community on the priorities and terms of disarmament are being eroded, calls for a clarification of the basic elements of the process, its limitations and its possibilities.
Can nuclear disarmament be considered independently of other international factors?
After the failure of the Baruch Plan (1974) and the end of hopes for general and complete disarmament to enable the world to return gradually to a pre-nuclear state, some degree of consensus was established from the end of the fifties onwards on a gradual and essentially bilateral approach to arms control. The international community as a whole (with the exception of China and France) approved this policy, and put their trust in the principle of arms control.
This consensus was lost as a result of U.S.-Soviet tension at the end of the seventies, and the feeling that arms control negotiations had not so much restricted the arms race as guided it in directions about which the negotiators had preferred not to ask questions. This developed first in the Third World countries, which felt they had been duped by the renunciation of atomic weapons in the NPT, whereas the two superpowers had hardly reduced their arsenals. Later, in the Western democracies, the breakdown of the consensus on disarmament, and earlier on nuclear dissuasion in general, was promoted by the spectre of pacifist protests in 1980-1982. Although limited to some West European countries and North America, and although motivations varied widely from country to country, pacifist protests had a considerable impact both inside and outside the Western nations.
Hasty and no doubt exaggerated conclusions were drawn concerning the "crisis of dissuasion" and the consensus on Western defence. Indeed, these conclusions are still referred to in international gatherings in 1985 to call dissuasion into question, when in fact the retreat and disarray of the pacifists throughout Europe is now obvious. Whether discussing the deployment of the new medium-range missiles, which was at the centre of their action, or plans for anti-missile defense in space, the pacifist movement now seems both confused and unintelligible.
For its part, rather behind times in terms of changes in the real world, the UN debate on nuclear disarmament has continued in New York (First Commission) and Geneva (Disarmament Conference), carried along by the momentum of the 1975-1980 period. In fact, the basic elements of the arms control debate have changed profoundly since then.
Two opposing concepts are put forward: the first is the product both of the double rejection of dissuasion mentioned earlier, and of the arms control negotiations of the sixties and seventies. Nuclear weapons are held to be an absolute evil, while nuclear disarmament is an absolute objective, to be given priority over all other aspects of the international military situation. A fundamental distinction is thus drawn between the prevention of nuclear war (through disarmament) and the prevention of other wards, which is completely disregarded.
The second and opposite view emphasizes that for almost half a century, nuclear weapons have constituted one of the central elements of the balance of forces, and thus of peace, and that such weapons cannot be uninvented; as a result, nuclear arms cannot be considered in isolation from the other aspects of the balance of forces.
Similarly, nuclear disarmament cannot be dissociated from the even more fundamental objective of the reduction of all arsenals (nuclear and non-nuclear) and the stability of security in the various regions of the world. More than 150 armed conflicts have taken place since Hiroshima, and in this context, the objective should not be merely to prevent nuclear war, but to prevent all wars.
According to the first attitude, reflected for example in the New Delhi declaration of six heads of state and government on 25 January of this year, there is no greater priority than "the prevention of a nuclear war", which is becoming more likely each day. Humanity is seen as a condemned man, who does not know the time and date of his death, but whose execution is only a matter of time.
The responsibility for this situation, whereby the nuclear powers are considered to be holding the whole planet hostage, is attributed entirely to the doctrine of dissuasion. In the opinion of the authors of the New Delhi declaration, the essential failing of this doctrine is that traditional political and military thinking is transposed on to a completely new situation dominated by nuclear weapons, and the fact that such weapons can only be used for suicidal purposes, not only for the parties in conflict but also for the whole human race.
Finally it is agreed that, although the process of nuclear arms reduction must begin with the two most heavily armed powers, the nuclear powers can no longer be completely trusted to achieve this objective.
The need therefore, it is argued, is for public opinion (presumably where it can be freely expressed) to put pressure on governments and encourage all actions leading to this end.
The tendentious and oversimplified nature of this analysis can easily be demonstrated:
- No reference is made to the economic cost of conventional weapons (which are greater than those of atomic weapons), and of modern conventional conflicts (the conflict between Iraq and Iran has already caused loss of life comparable to that of the major offensives of World War I). This failure to make any reference to conventional weapons is particularly serious in that it is infinitely more likely that a limited conflict involving the use of conventional weapons could escalate into nuclear war, than that the latter would break out unexpectedly. Rather than the accumulation of nuclear arms resulting in war, it is imbalances in a given region which can result in a source of tension and errors of calculation leading to a conflict. The importance assumed by nuclear weapons in the balance of forces in Europe is in fact the result of a longstanding Soviet predominance in conventional forces.
- The analysis also disregards the moderating influence of nuclear weapons on the behaviour of the two superpowers, and more particularly their concern since the sixties to avoid a direct confrontation of the type which developed over the Cuban crisis and Berlin. No account is taken of the fact that in Europe, it is precisely the danger of nuclear retaliation on the aggressor's own territory which has prevented the outbreak of any conflict, despite the local imbalance in conventional forces.
- By ignoring the problems of the East-West balance and the specific nature of regional situations in order to deal in abstract terms with the "survival of humanity", the authors of the declaration hope to transform the debate concerning the causes of the international situation into a kind of exorcism of nuclear weapons, thus putting the clock back for the disarmament cause to the time of cold war propaganda.
In their eyes it would seem, it is of little importance that the East-West balance has ensured peace, as no-one can be sure that this will always be the case in the future, and that an accident will not occur: the more serious probability of more numerous "tolerable" conflicts is tacitly preferred to the hypothesis, whose consequences would, in their opinion, be global and incalculable.
The constantly propounded theme of a massive and continuous increase in nuclear weapons does not reflect the true situation. In fact, American stocks of warheads have been reduced by a quarter since 1960, and their power has been cut by three-quarters in comparison with the situation 25 years ago. Similarly, the number of NATO nuclear weapons stationed in Western Europe continues to fall, even allowing for the current modernisation programme. The qualitative and quantitative evolution of nuclear arsenals, at least on the Western side, is extremely important in assessing the effects of the "nuclear winter", a theory often proposed by those who believe in the absolute primacy of nuclear disarmament. If this theory is sound, as the authors of the New Delhi declaration seem to think, the reduction of the available explosive power would be a decisive consideration in determining the climatological consequences of a possible nuclear conflict.
In short, the problem of nuclear disarmament is clearly now seen in moral, rather than political and technical terms (this is reflected in the references to our responsibility to future generations, and the "colonial" situation of non-nuclear nations), which usually have no real relation to the strategic and political situation of the regions of the world, which is however of essential importance in ensuring future peace. In doing so, the representatives of this approach were no doubt right to raise certain ethical questions which during the seventies had been overshadowed by the dialectics, rather than the objectives of negotiation. But by adopting this stance, and by encouraging criticism of their governments (which paradoxically shows that only Western democratic countries and not Eastern bloc countries were expected to provide ideas, proposals and concessions in negotiations which had however been boycotted by the USSR for a year) the proponents of this approach to nuclear disarmament had their own arguments on the immorality of nuclear weapons and the intolerable nature of the indefinite maintenance of dissuasion turned against them by the advocates of non-nuclear alternatives, the policy of "no first use of nuclear weapons" together with the massive use of new conventional technology, and the strengthening of conventional forces, or various schemes for "total" antiballistic defence systems). All this goes to prove that the rejection of dissuasion can only channel military rivalry into other directions, which in this case are non-nuclear.
In this respect, the difficulty currently experienced by radical critics of dissuasion in adopting a position on the "star wars" programme is a reflection of the reshuffling of positions, whereby the anti-nuclear arguments of the pacifist left are now used in turn by the conservative supporters of defensive technology.
In the face of this offensive against dissuasion which is now being manipulated by the advocates of "total nuclear disarmament" allied with the proponents of conventional defense and of the "strategic defensive shield", it is now more important than ever to remind ourselves of the other alternative, which is based on a political and strategic (rather than an exclusively moral) analysis of international security in a nuclear age. As this analysis forms part of a historical analysis of factors of stability in Europe and the rest of the world over the last 25 years, it may seem - wrongly - to be conservative, in terms of the current nuclear status quo. In fact, if its essential principles are examined, they can be shown to be just as valid in 1985 as they ever were in the past.
The basic principles are as follows:
1. Problems of international security cannot be arbitrarily disassociated from each other, and the legitimate concern of avoiding the outbreak of nuclear war must not result in the abandonment of the major priority of preventing the outbreak of all wars without exception.
2. Nuclear weapons cannot be uninvented. There is no technological or rhetorical alternative to this reality. Nuclear weapons will not become "obsolete" or "impotent". We cannot be certain that research conducted by either the Americans (SDI) or the Soviets will result in the obsolescence of nuclear weapons, and even if it did, how much would it cost, how long would it take, and what degree of success would be achieved? Nor will nuclear arms be exorcized by non-verifiable undertakings which are supposed to control their use without changing the real situation in the slightest, as such weapons would still be maintained in the arsenals. We must not allow the disarmament process to fall a victim to the rhetorical excesses of the inter-war period.
"Declare war on the atom" is no more adequate a solution to the problem of world peace than was the earlier slogan of "Make war on war".
3. For almost 40 years, discussion has contributed to stability and peace between East and West. The European nations, living on the continent with the greatest accumulation of nuclear, chemical and conventional weapons, have been spared major conflicts on their territory, as a result of dissuasion and the fact that any aggressor would suffer immense damage on his own territory. Whatever the difficulties experienced by some sections of public opinion in coming to terms with dissuasion, it is surely preferable to seeing their country devastated by a conventional conflict which would have become more likely, and which in any case could escalate from that level. No European will relish the thought of a return to the possibility of "limited war" on the European continent even if it was an "old fashioned conventional war".
4. The verifiable and gradual limitation of nuclear weapons can only be attained in so far as a balance can be achieved at lower levels. Arms control is possible only if each party believes that its security will not be affected and this state of affairs cannot prevail for long unless a global balance is seen to exist. It is probably on this last point that the difficulties experienced during the mid-seventies, which helped to precipitate a serious crisis in arms control, are likely to have the most lasting repercussions during the second half of the eighties and beyond.
It would seem, however, that arms control discussions must be the starting point for a new East-West dialogue, which will probably be quite different from that of the period of "detente", as will the hopes placed in it.
Despite the hopefully more favourable political situation we face today - with a new leader in the Kremlin and a more favourable attitude in Washington towards negotiations with the Eastern bloc - the context for the latest arms control initiative would seem to be extraordinarily problematic.
- the mutual suspicion of the two superpowers is apparently greater than ever before,
- a series of technological revolutions is on the horizon which could, if not call into question the pre-eminence of offensive as against defensive systems (as reflected in the 1972 ABM treaty), at least result in the re-introduction of defensive weapons into the East-West nuclear equation,
- the traditional problems of verification are becoming increasingly complex as a result of new developments in weapons technology (miniaturization, mobility, the combined civil and military nature of technology, etc.), at a time when the need to comply with approved specifications has taken a new political and technical dimension. The task is so formidable that the temptation of blocking the possibility of concrete and verifiable results has already made itself felt:
- one alternative is that of unilateral measures, not enshrined in formal agreements. The parties would find these easier to comply with, as the commitments involved would be revocable at any time. This approach could be broadly summed up as a "prior display" of intended behaviour, accompanied by explanations of motivation intended for the information of the other party;
- the other alternative is to renounce some traditional arms control objectives (for example, the reduction of the heaviest ICBMs), and to put pressure on technologists to achieve advances which will bring about the desired developments (as in the theory whereby the creation of a defensive system would discourage investment for the development of heavy ballistic missiles, and thus make the cost of maintaining this strategic weapon prohibitive).
The first alternative lacks teeth. Depending on your viewpoint, the second is either obviously true (arms control must take account of technological factors which affect the development of arsenals) or an admission of impotence.
Yet the international community as a whole, and the two most heavily armed powers in particular can have other hopes for the end of the eighties, and the beginning of the next decade.
If we accept that nuclear disarmament is a very long term process, and that there is little chance of ever managing to "eliminate completely nuclear arms wherever they exist", the problem is to codify the balance of dissuasion by an arms control process, in order to consolidate international security at the lowest possible level of weapons.
In concrete terms, eight longstanding objectives should be pursued:
1. To achieve a quantitative and qualitative balance of offensive weapons at a substantially lower level. If both the Soviet and U.S. arsenals were reduced by two-thirds, this would not affect the balance of dissuasion in the slightest. On the contrary, significantly smaller arsenals would mean that nuclear weapons would be used for what they were first intended, the punishment of the aggressor, rather than in battle, where there would be a temptation to make pre-emptive strikes. In the light of the current imbalance of vulnerability, at least in terms of land-based offensive nuclear weapons (currently to the advantage of the USSR), and in view of the failure of the SALT and START talks intended to reduce the Soviet arsenal of heavy missiles, the idea of reintroducing defensive systems has recently found favour with the Americans. The reintroduction of the defensive approach will, it is argued, promote disarmament, as eventually offensive systems (or at least ballistic missiles) would be rendered "impotent and obsolete". Without entering into the details of this highly controversial question, and while noting that at least theoretically and after immense financial investment, the reintroduction of defensive systems would perhaps make it possible to reduce the danger of surprise pre-emptive attacks against the retaliatory weapons of the two superpowers, the following remarks should be made:
- the reintroduction of the defensive approach could itself give rise to other instabilities which are thought by some to be at least as serious as the current instability (the party feeling itself to be losing the defensive arms race could be tempted to strike first, and make the most of its advantage before it was too late).
- the same result, that is the lessening of the risk of surprise attacks could be achieved by negotiation. A significant reduction in offensive weapons, together with the reinforcement of the provisions of the 1972 ABM treaty, would make the defensive shields unnecessary, as their essential purpose is to protect against second-strike retaliatory weapons.
2. This type of reduction of offensive weapons, together with the freeze on defensive systems, would raise the problem of the tertiary powers. France, China and the United Kingdom have however each indicated the conditions under which they could envisage direct participation in the nuclear disarmament process: that the two superpowers should achieve substantial reductions in their nuclear arsenals: that defensive systems should not be reintroduced; and that the negotiations should take into account all weapons, including conventional weapons, which could be used against Europe.
3. As a corollary of the two previous points, the results already achieved by negotiation must be protected from quantitative and qualitative destabilization. In this respect, it is essential to prevent developments in defensive weapons from causing the multiplication of offensive weapons (in order to saturate the planned defensive systems), and to prevent agreements negotiated by the superpowers from increasing their invulnerability while making third parties more vulnerable. It is also important that arms limitation agreements should not be entered into if they contradict existing patterns of political solidarity, as this would threaten peace even more than the level of arms itself.
4. To this end, and in order to ensure a stable correlation between a lower level of offensive weapons, and the non-deployment of defensive systems, concrete measures should be taken, including in particular:
- a moratorium on high-orbit anti-satellite systems, to protect those satellites which are of most importance for maintaining the strategic balance (attack detection and navigation), and to prevent the avoidance of the provisions of the 1972 ABM Treaty by means of ASAT tests.
- negotiations to limit low-orbit ASAT systems, either by the adoption of obligatory specifications for existing systems, or of confidence-building measures (such as "rules of the road")
- the re-endorsement of the provisions of the ABM Treaty, and the opening of bilateral negotiations to complete those provisions on points where ambiguity can give rise to problems of compliance (for example, radar systems and the ABM capabilities of some tactical systems).
5. Alongside the reduction of nuclear arms ceilings, it is also necessary to reduce imbalances in conventional weapons by meas of regional negotiations (for example in Europe, to move on to the second phase of the EDC once substantial results have been achieved on the Stockholm confidence-building proposals, and the incorporation of the MFBR negotiations into the EDC).
6. In this context, it is now more essential than ever before to achieve an international system for verifying the non-production of chemical weapons, and the destruction of existing stocks over a ten-year period.
The militarily attractive nature of chemical weapons, as attempts are made to increase the nuclear threshold in Europe, the dependence of modern armies on complex logistics which are therefore vulnerable to this type of attack, and the changes of the proliferation of chemical weapons in the Third World all call for an intensification of the negotiations currently in progress under the auspices of the Geneva Disarmament Conference.
At present, and although it is the only substantial issue on the agenda, the delegations in fact devote no more than the equivalent of three months a year to this task. Many delegations, particularly from the Third World, seem ill-equipped to deal with the increasingly complex discussions.
It is already clear that the vast problems of verification, and those associated with the destruction of stocks in approved plants kept under close surveillance, call for the creation of veritable international institution, with a staff and resources comparable with those of the IEAE. This institution is all the more vitally needed in view of the fact that the acquisition of miliary chemical capabilities can be disguised behind civil industrial development; this has been clearly shown in recent conflicts, such as that between Iran and Iraq.
The question to be asked is whether the political will of the world community to solve the chemical weapons problem before it becomes insoluble is strong enough to bring about the type of solutions adopted in the sixties and seventies for the control of civil nuclear activities.
7. Moreover, the problem of ending nuclear tests as one stage of a controlled process of nuclear disarmament must also be resolved.
The nuclear tests issue arose out of a specific historical context of international disapproval caused by atmospheric tests from 1950 to 1969. In fact, this was less an arms control than an ecological issue, and was dealt with in the treaty of 1963.
The political significance of the CTB has remained, despite the realization that the effectiveness of a measure of this type would be limited:
- from the non-proliferation viewpoint: the fact that South Africa and Israel are believed to possess "untried" nuclear capabilities shows that the "successful explosion" criterion is not essential to give credibility to a nation's nuclear capability.
- from the nuclear disarmament viewpoint: the enhancement of nuclear weapons as a result of underground testing has brought a decrease in explosive power, and more reliable safety and control systems.
In fact, the problem of nuclear tests cannot be dissociated from the complex of questions raised by the limitation of nuclear arms as a whole (see points 1 to 4).
8. Gradually to develop the capabilities of international technical verification: It is increasingly unlikely that technologically advanced nations will accept the current monopoly of the USSR and the USA in the field of verification satellites. In addition, the wider availability of remote sensing data and advances in commercially available image technology will unquestionably lead to a greater transparency of military activities as a whole. To prevent the existing imbalance in verification capabilities from resulting in anarchy, some degree of international control of verification activities, under the terms of a specific agreement, is essential. With this in mind, France's proposal in 1978 to create an International Monitoring Satellite Agency seems more relevant than ever.
I will complete this rapid overview of possible courses of action in the disarmament field by discussing the essential issue of nuclear proliferation. What impact would the implementation of this type of nuclear disarmament programme have on the consolidation of international non-proliferation, particularly by 1995, when the signatories of the NPT must decide whether to renew the Treaty?
Article 6 of the NPT established a link between vertical and horizontal proliferation. To avoid giving the impression that the NPT was perhaps only a nuclear disarmament treaty for states which were already disarmed, the three signatory nuclear powers committed themselves to opening negotiations concerning the reduction and eventual elimination of their nuclear arsenals.
This was a political commitment for which no date was specified. Indeed, it is hard to imagine how it could have been otherwise.
Does this mean that the future of non-proliferation - which is not necessarily the same thing as the NPT - must be closely linked to the changing fortunes of bilateral strategic negotiations between the Soviet Union and the USA? Here again we come up against the question, raised in the introduction, of the link between US-Soviet negotiations and the role of the international community, which has been a matter of concern for the international community ever since the failure of the Baruch Plan in 1947.
Although the political interest of some states - aiming to obtain a military nuclear capability - may lead them to emphasize the direct causality of the excessive nuclear capabilities of the two superpowers and the concern of the lesser powers, in order to legitimize their decision to proliferate, it would be a dangerous misconception to regard the nuclear abstinence of most countries as merely a common sacrifice made in conjunction with the more privileged nations, in the ultimate hope of achieving "the eradication of nuclear weapons".
On the one hand, this type of link with nuclear negotiations (whose results may or may not be achieved) is likely to weaken the cause of non-proliferation for reasons other than the motives of non-nuclear states for deliberately not taking the nuclear option. On the other hand, to argue that the individual decision of non-nuclear states not to proliferate is the result of a bilateral pact with reciprocal obligations to ignore the fact that one of the most politically significant motives for adopting non-proliferation is the state's decision concerning its own security interests in a given regional context. Fortunately, these interests are usually far better served by the non-nuclearization of their respective regions.
Moreover, although the dialectics of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation have been intermingled since the beginning of the nuclear age, the need to find stable solutions to each means that separate approaches must be maintained.
The sudden erruption of nuclear weapons in international life called for what Einstein called a new way of thinking about world problems, while dissuasion paradoxically modified "the function of military equipment, which had earlier been to make war, and what was now to make war impossible" (B. Brodie).
To judge from the absence of nuclear conflicts up to the present day, and from the fact that direct East-West confrontation had been deliberately avoided, the international system has shown itself to be remarkably adaptable, in spite of the profound changed in the balance of forces which have taken place over the last half century.
The fact that the accumulation of arms had not systematically resulted in rising tensions suggests that the causal link between the two phenomena is more complex than would at first appear. Tension does result in more arms, but the reverse is not always inevitable.
However, it is in the reciprocal perceptions of the changing level of danger that the investment already made, the impossibility of achieving major transformations, the length of time taken to modernize the main weapons systems, and the perpetual fear of technological surprises, are clearly sources of inflexibility in all arms control negotiations.
Greater transparency of intentions and of planned programmes, despite the fundamental differences existing between the politics of the Eastern bloc and that of the western countries, and a rapprochement on all matters which can help to stabilize the situation at a time when arms control in held back by uncertainty regarding the desirable strategic balance for the end of the century, all these are essential elements in the dialogue between states, even before any arms limitation agreement is concluded.
Beyond that, only a return to certain standards of behaviour laid down in the United Nations Charter will protect the international community from the jungle law and anarchy which threaten it. This return to a certain international political order should above all form a basis for arms negotiations during the next decade. No progress will be made on disarmament and arms control unless a minimum degree of confidence is achieved in the international system, and in its capacity to take account of the security needs al all states, and not merely of the two superpowers. In addition to the technical recommendations proposed for negotiations in progress and those which seem desirable, it is above all necessary for states to comply with the principles of the United Nations Charter, that is the idea that the conflicts and differences which inevitably arise between nations with divergent interests must be resolved not by resorting to force, but by the patient and determined search for a peaceful solution.