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[From the New York Times, Mar. 15, 1983]
A FREEZE BENEFITS US BOTH
(By Alan Neidle) ALEXANDRIA, VA.—Would passage of the House resolution calling for a verifiable United States-Soviet freeze on nuclear weapons undercut President Reagan's ability to negotiate sound treaties limiting and reducing strategic and intermediate-range nuclear systems?
The answer is no. On the contrary, the greater the Congressional support for the resolution, the more likely it is that serious and productive negotiations can take place with Moscow-whether they concern reductions of nuclear arms, freezing various elements of nuclear development or some combination.
Unfortunately, the United States and Soviet Union have not yet begun genuine negotiations on either strategic or intermediate-range nuclear weapons. Proposals have been issued ; views have been exchanged. The positions of the two sides, however, remain far apart on a great many major issues. Some observers believe that they can discern the broad outlines of possible deals. But the two Governments have not begun to hammer out specific solutions to numerous points of difference.
When, and if, that process begins, one basic principle may be taken as axiomatic. Neither Government will accept proposals from the other that it considers heavily weighted to its disadvantage. The application of this principle which is akin to the instinct for survival-will not be affected one iota by whether the freeze resolution is passed or defeated. For example, if the resolution were adopted, even by both houses of Congress, there would still be no chance that the Reagan Administration would accept the present unbalanced proposals put forward by the Soviet Union. Moscow certainly knows this.
Conversely, if the freeze resolution were defeated, there would still be no chance that the Soviet Union would accept Administration proposals that it feels are one-sided. The United States Government ought to understand this.
What will be essential for any progress toward arms control that serves the interests of both sides is genuine compromise. But this will be extremely difficult to achieve.
On the Soviet Union's side, there will have to be greater readiness to accept limitations on, and reductions of, its most modern nuclear weapons—the ones that it considers most effective. Within the Soviet Government, the process of deciding how many of its best weapons to give up in exchange for which concessions from the American side probably will be nothing less than excruciating. Soviet military leaders, who take great pride in their new technological achieve ments, doubtless will struggle hard to retain as many of their best weapons as possible.
The Soviet Government surely will ask itself hard questions before it decides to go through the tough process of knocking heads together in its bureaucracy. It will want to know whether going through the agony of offering, or accepting, genuine compromises is likely to bring a concrete payoff at the end of the road. It will ask itself whether the United States Government really is capable of carrying a treaty project through to completion and bringing it into force through ratification.
The United States' recent performance in this regard is, of course, less than reassuring. Three treaties negotiated by Republican and Democratic Presidents in the last decade—SALT II, the threshold test ban and a treaty regulating peaceful nuclear explosions—have not been ratified by the United States.
Senior Soviet officials, and those whose duty it is to give them unsentimental advice, will at the very least have serious doubts whether compromise by the Soviet Union is likely to lead, in the end, to concrete benefits.
No single move by the Reagan Administration can erase the impediments resulting from America's accumulated reputation for inconstancy. But broad support by the public for a freeze and reductions, especially endorsed by the Congress, can help to establish a stronger national constituency for arms control. And that in turn enlarges the long-range prospect that any genuinely worthwhile arms-control treaty will be ratified.
Adoption of the freeze resolution, accordingly, does not undermine prospects for effective negotiation with the Soviet Union. Instead, it increases the chances that the Soviet Union may at some point judge that it is potentially profitable to engage in genuine negotiations with the United States. But for that day to come, the United States must also be prepared to seek not perfect solutions but those based on mutual compromise. Only when both powers are prepared to proceed on this basis will there be any prospect of significant progress.
General ROGERS. There have been a number and I am not sure I know this one. It has to do with freezing and verifying and then working toward a reduction. I think those are the key principles associated therewith, are they not?
Senator WARNER. That is correct. The essential difference between this freeze and the one Mr. Jackson and I put in a year ago is we had suggested, following the President's guidance, negotiating substantial reductions and then exploring a freeze at these reduced levels.
The question is: Would the implementation of such a resolution apart from any of the legalities, would the implications of it being adopted by one or both Houses, although I don't think in my judgment the Senate would follow the House on this, should the House vote in favor of it, what would be the implication on your responsibilities?
General ROGERS. It would adversely affect the efforts of those of us who are working toward what we feel is the long-term goal that all of us want in all the nations of the alliance and that is peace with freedom.
I underscore with freedom in a world with lower tensions and reduced levels of balanced forces, equitable, verifiable. I think the kind of freeze that has been suggested would be a mistake and it certainly would be counterproductive to what we are trying to do in Western Europe.
What we need in my opinion is to provide as many incentives as we can to the Soviet Union to negotiate seriously. But when you freeze an imbalance why should she have any incentive then to negotiate seriously because she has and can keep what she wants?
It is my judgment that we should provide as many incentives as possible for serious negotiation.
The first is the one I mentioned about putting the INF weapon system on our soil,"arm in order to parley," as Winston Churchill put it. What we have to do is to put a cap on the military growth on both sides and then reduce and balance the forces.
We are not achieving the objectives that we ought to be striving for in my opinion by these kinds of movements. It encourages the attitudes and beliefs of many of the people within our Western European nations which are counterproductive to our efforts to accentuate those positive things that impact favorably upon incentives for serious negotiation.
But it is not only the freeze proponents that degrade our efforts. Well-meaning people with a feeling of complacency, feeling that we have for 34 years been successful in deterring an attack with NATO believe we should be able to do so for another three decades. They forget that in the intervening time the balance in all categories of forces we need to implement our strategy has shifted against us.
A lot of wishful thinking is going on in two areas.
One, that the Soviets with their major problems internal to their borders-and they are serious—will find it necessary to reduce the
amount of money they spend each year for military growth. In fact, all the projections right through this week would show a Soviet intent to stay on that upward glide path of military growth she started in the backwash of the Cuban missile crisis.
Wishful thinking that “nothing is going to happen and if it does, somebody else will come along and pull our chestnuts out of the fire." I am speaking about some persons thinking this way in Western Europe and that "somebody else” being this country. I maintain to those people that this country cannot do it alone. It is necessary for them to help.
Then there are those very thoughtful people, young and old, who are worried about a future conflict and in searching for a preventative think pacifism or unilateral disarmament may be the answer. They again forget that history will confirm you can have your peace under those conditions, but you will surely lose your freedom. As I have said so often, the ultimate fate of a pacifist is peace at any price, to include freedom, and under unilateralism you disrobe in the presence of one who is covered with armor. History shows the other side does not disrobe and you throw yourself on its good graces and good will.
That is a long way of saying to you, Senator, that the freeze will encourage those kinds of attitudes and beliefs on the other side. They are counterproductive to what we are trying to do to reach a truly balanced reduction of all categories of forces and arms.
The short answer is that I think that kind of resolution is a mistake.
Senator WARNER. General, as you are aware, much interest is being expressed on the possibility of tabling interim arms control agreement talks on the intermediate-range forces which would preclude the deployment by the United States of Pershing II missiles while permitting a scaled back deployment of the ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCM) and a reduced number of SS-20 missiles.
What would your view be of such a proposal?
PERSHING II MISSILES
General ROGERS. If we have to cut back because we have been unable to achieve that which I think should be our objective, the zero-zero option, then the reduction should be in the ground-launched cruise missiles and not in the Pershing II.
Senator WARNER. Not in the Pershing II?
General ROGERS. Absolutely not. It is the Pershing II that causes the greatest amount of concern to the other side and it is the SS-20 that ought to be causing us the greatest amount of concern because 70 percent of those 351 SS-20's are aimed at us in Western Europe. They ought to have the same source of concern that we do.
It is only the Pershing II missiles, in my opinion, with their penetrability and survivability that provide the greater deterrent to the Soviets against using their SS-20 missiles with their short flight time, their great accuracy and their three warheads to our one.
Senator WARNER. As you know, much is made of the fact that the Pershing II missiles could theoretically be utilized in an attack that would provide no more than 6 minutes of warning to the Soviets.
Could you comment on this contention?
General ROGERS. That it would not give them time to react?
General ROGERS. I can't feel sorry for them, Senator, because of the number of years since 1977 when they put those SS-20's aimed against us which gives us very little time to react. I can't feel sorry that they have a short time to react as well. This country has faced a very short reaction time for years as a result of the Soviet SLBM's on their submarines just off our east coast.
The fact is the purpose of our putting those weapon systems on our soil is to deter the use of theirs. There are ambiguities and paradoxes in the nuclear era which sometimes some of us forget.
For example, you can defend against a tank with an antitank Weapon. How can you defend against a nuclear ballistic missile? You have to build yourself an antiballistic missile system, and this Nation made the decision after it started to build one, when we almost had it ready, we made the decision to tear it down.
So, the way you defend against a nuclear weapon is with a counteroffensive nuclear weapon of your own in order to deter their use by the other side. That is why I think the Pershing II is so important as the counteroffensive, defensive, deterrent weapon system against those SS-20 missiles.
Senator WARNER. In a sense, the fact that it is anti-ballistic, not ballistic, but an anti-intermediate system, is your deterrent at the present.
General Rogers. The whole purpose of the nuclear weapons is to deter their use or we have failed in our mission. We have failed in our mission if our deterrence collapses and we have to fight.
Senator WARNER. Yesterday an article in the Washington Post referred to the issue of going ahead with developing a nuclear warhead for a proposed new battlefield missile in Europe. It is ironic that the quote intending to substitute this point was taken, I think, somewhat out of context, from your appearance in testimony before this subcommittee last year.
Would you continue on the need as you see it for a balanced modernization program including replacement of aging tactical nuclear artillery shells? (The newspaper article follows:]
[From the Washington Post, Mar. 14, 1983] PENTAGON QUESTIONS COMBAT NUCLEAR ARMS
(By Walter Pincus) The Pentagon, in a reassessment that would reverse 20 years of Army policy, is questioning the need for thousands of short-range, battlefield nuclear weapons that it has deployed or plans to build, according to top Defense Department
The review reflects a realization that the older weapons would be difficult to ise in wartime and that deploying the newer ones would create severe political
The review comes as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is seeking to educe the approximately 6,000 U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe by at least 572 warheads in conjunction with deployment, planned to start in December, of that umber of longer-range Pershing II and ground-launched cruise missiles. There also is growing public criticism within the United States and in western Europe of short-range nuclear systems.
A report to be released soon by NATO's interparliamentary arm, the North Atlantic Assembly, calls for such reductions, saying “many of the systems lack
accuracy ... the warhead yields are too large for battlefield use ... most have extremely short ranges which would mean use on or near 'own territory' ... and the warhead storage sites are vulnerable to preemptive attack."
The report said there is "growing realization that the present tactical nuclear systems are effectively unusable and therefore NATO has little to lose and much to gain, particularly in a political sense, by reducing if not eliminating them."
In one section, the report disclosed that after 20 years, the western alliance “has not yet managed to agree on guidelines for the follow-on use of nuclear weapons if a first attempt to communicate NATO's intentions through a controlled demonstrative use did not succeed in persuading the adversary to halt hostilities.”
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), chairman of the NATO group that did the study, is circulating a letter to President Reagan for signatures by his Senate colleagues. The letter supports reduction of battlefield warheads.
The immediate issues for Pentagon officials are whether the Army will go ahead with more than 1,000 new 155-mm neutron artillery shells or develop a nuclear warhead for a proposed new battlefield missile, air- and ground-launched, with a range of 150 to 250 miles.
The latter is a joint undertaking with the Air Force.
Also involved in the Pentagon review is how many of about 2,000 older U.S. nuclear artillery shells and more than 1,000 nuclear antiaircraft and atomic demolition munitions with troops in western Europe will be returned to the United States and dismantled.
An Army spokesman said the service would not discuss battlefield weapons.
Last year, Congress turned down initial production money for the 155-mm shells, but $63 million has been included in the fiscal 1984 Pentagon budget now on Capitol Hill.
According to government sources, some Pentagon officials are prepared to drop the request for the shell because of its multibillion-dollar cost, doubts that it can be deployed in Europe in the face of political opposition and unavailability until at least 1986.
The change in attitude toward short-range nuclear weapons is illustrated in proviously classified testimony by Gen. Bernard Rogers, NATO commander and former Army chief of staff, before the Senate Armed Services Committee last year.
Rogers noted that NATO, far behind the Soviets in long-range nuclear missiles, already has “about a 3-to-1 advantage for theater nuclear weapons with a range less than 150 kilometers.” That advantage is composed primarily of several thousand nuclear artillery shells, a type the Soviets have not built in any numbers.
During the hearing, another Army general described these older 8-inch and 155-mm shells, many of which are 20 years old, as having "inadequate ranges and inaccurate fuzes.” The 8-inch shell, he said "requires time-consuming field assembly" and requires firing of a spotter shell before the nuclear round can be fired.
As to the newer, eight-inch neutron shell being built, Rogers said. "I can get the same effects from the weapons we have now as I can get with the neutron warhead. The only trouble is that it can't be used in as close proximity to our own troops because of the blast and thermal damage of those that we have."
Asked to choose between new neutron shells or new chemical weapons, Rogers responded. “It is more important to me to have the modern adequate chemical capability to retaliate than the neutron weapon.
The administration has asked Congress to approve production funds for a new generation of chemical shells and bombs.
That is a sharply different approach to neutron battlefield weapons, which fewer than six years ago were seen as the major weapon system to defend NATO troops against Soviet tanks.
Rogers and the Army now are stressing a new approach against a Soriet invasion, with emphasis on hitting second-echelon enemy forces well behind the forward lines with conventional rather than nuclear weapons.
The NATO review is being conducted by a subcommittee called the "high-lerel group" and chaired by assistant defense secretary Richard N. Perle.
The group reportedly has produced interim recommendations for nuclear warhead reductions to accompany deployment of the Pershing II and cruis missiles.