This book examines the negotiations between the USA and the USSR on the limitation of strategic arms during the Cold War, from 1969 to 1979.
The negotiations on the limitation of strategic arms, which were concluded in two agreements SALT I and SALT II (with only the first ratified), marked a major change in the history of arms control negotiations. For the first time, in the relatively short history of nuclear weapons and negotiations over nuclear disarmament, the two major nuclear powers had agreed to put limits on the size of their nuclear strategic arms. However, the negotiations between the US and USSR were the easy part of the process. The more difficult part was the negotiations among the Americans. Through the study of a decade of negotiations on the limitation of strategic arms in the Cold War, this book examines the forces that either allowed US presidents and senior officials to pave a path toward a US arms limitation policy, or prevented them from doing so. Most importantly, the book discusses the meaning of these negotiations and agreements on the limitation of strategic arms, and seeks to identify the intention of the negotiators: Were they aiming at making the world a safer place? What was the purpose of the negotiations and agreements within US strategic thinking, both militarily and diplomatically? Were they aimed at improving relations with the Soviet Union, or only at enhancing the strategic balance as one component of the strategic nuclear deterrence between the two powers?
This book will be of much interest to students of Cold War history, arms control, US foreign policy and international relations in general.
David Tal is the Yossi Harel Chair in Modern Israel Studies at the University of Sussex, UK and author of The American Nuclear Disarmament Dilemma, 1945-1963 (2008) and War in Palestine 1948: Strategy and Diplomacy (2004).