Date

5-11-2020

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The amassing of nuclear weapons during the past four decades of the Cold War had posed a continuing threat to the annihilation of the USA and Soviet Union. U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, then took a qualitative leap forward in US and Soviet leaders’ assumption of individual responsibility for curbing the nuclear arms race. On December 8, 1987, in Washington, DC, the two men signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty, which eliminated 2,700 long-range nuclear missiles. While the signing seemed simple, it actually was the culmination of the previous 40 years of the two nations’ negotiated efforts. These efforts had six distinct stages displaying a push-and pull-between two concepts: the drive for peaceful coexistence and the preparation for war. Gaddis (1992) famously posited that US and USSR leaders – some more than others – had built consciously, after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis on the treaties and other institutionalized gains for peace established in earlier eras. However, a closer look shows that other American and Soviet leaders also followed institutionalized precedents for peace, both in previous times (1945-1962) and subsequent eras (1987-today). This paper analyzes the circumstances surrounding the 1987 INF Treaty and its role in changing the direction of the Cold War, because of the decisions by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, and considers today’s challenges in addressing nuclear smuggling problems and enforcing the legacy of the INF Treaty.

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May 11th, 12:00 AM

Executive Traditions of Peace-Making: The 1987 US-Soviet Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, Its Forerunners, and Its Aftermath

The amassing of nuclear weapons during the past four decades of the Cold War had posed a continuing threat to the annihilation of the USA and Soviet Union. U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, then took a qualitative leap forward in US and Soviet leaders’ assumption of individual responsibility for curbing the nuclear arms race. On December 8, 1987, in Washington, DC, the two men signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty, which eliminated 2,700 long-range nuclear missiles. While the signing seemed simple, it actually was the culmination of the previous 40 years of the two nations’ negotiated efforts. These efforts had six distinct stages displaying a push-and pull-between two concepts: the drive for peaceful coexistence and the preparation for war. Gaddis (1992) famously posited that US and USSR leaders – some more than others – had built consciously, after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis on the treaties and other institutionalized gains for peace established in earlier eras. However, a closer look shows that other American and Soviet leaders also followed institutionalized precedents for peace, both in previous times (1945-1962) and subsequent eras (1987-today). This paper analyzes the circumstances surrounding the 1987 INF Treaty and its role in changing the direction of the Cold War, because of the decisions by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, and considers today’s challenges in addressing nuclear smuggling problems and enforcing the legacy of the INF Treaty.