Pressing economic needs and a new understanding about nuclear war will force the U.S. and the Soviet Union to complete an arms control agreement in the near future, said a former presidential advisor in a speech yesterday at the Kennedy School.
The speech, sponsored by the Center for Science and International Affairs (CSIA), was delivered by McGeorge Bundy, special assistant for national security to Presidents John F. Kennedy '40 and Lyndon B. Johnson. Bundy was dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in the 1950s.
Both the U.S. and the Soviet Union must increase domestic spending and consequently cut back both conventional and strategic arms, Bundy told an audience of about 150 people.
"The unilateral moderation imposed on both sides by their own internal priorities turns out--I think not entirely by accident but also not entirely by logical necessity--to have special impact on forces that have long been of special concern to the other side," Bundy said.
The former presidential advisor said that the Soviets have begun cutting expenditures on conventional weapons, where Warsaw Pact forces outnumber NATO's in some arms categories by three to one.
Meanwhile, Bundy said, the United States will spend less on expensive, high technology weapons systems such as the B-1 Stealth Bomber and the proposed space-based missile defense shield known as the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which he said would provide an "admittedly imperfect defense."
A second factor leading both sides to the bargaining table is the belief that a nuclear war cannot be won, Bundy said.
"There is really no one left who claims that there can be an end to mutual strategic vulnerability in the next 20 years," said Bundy.
Greater openness and trust between the superpowers will also lead to more successful negotiations, Bundy said.
"Both sides, in culturally and systemically different ways, have made a fetish of secrecy over the years, and both sides, in still more different ways, have done themselves great damage by that bad habit," he said.
Now, Bundy said, openness between the United States and Soviet Union is increasing, as evidenced by the cooperation during the verification of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces reduction treaty of 1987.
Bundy said that he is optimistic about the future of arms control because of confidence in the leaders of the two countries.
During the hour-long speech, Bundy fielded questions from other noted arms control experts at the K-School, including Academic Dean Albert Carnesale and Ford Professor of International Security Joseph S. Nye, Jr.