Hatching Armageddon

Among public officials, "the arms control process" is sacrosanct. The minority are willing to voice relatively narrow and legalistic complaints about specific treaties, never failing to assure us of their support for arms control per se and their eagerness to go back and get a "better" treaty. Their case, however, would be considerably enhanced were they to argue that the entire arms control process is a dangerous diversion from the constant, and growing, Soviet threat; but this is a truth none dare speak.

Or almost none. Senator Malcolm Wallop and national-security expert Angelo Codevilla have produced a new book which calls the American attitude towards arms control by its proper name: delusion. "To believe in arms control," they write, "is to accept that a nation possessed of serious reasons, and weapons, for fighting another can and will set aside those reasons long enough to deprive itself of those weapons. Little by little, so goes the creed, as the means disappear from their hands and as they become accustomed to feeling less and less threatened, that nation's leaders will also discard the reasons why they armed in the first place." Our main problem is not that the Soviets are possessed of a devilish cleverness with which to bamboozle us. Rather, "the arms control process is something we do to ourselves, largely by ourselves."

Verification, the...

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