Cooperation and Discord in U.S.-Soviet Arms Control

Cooperation and Discord in U.S.-Soviet Arms Control

Steve Weber
Copyright Date: 1991
Pages: 350
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  • Book Info
    Cooperation and Discord in U.S.-Soviet Arms Control
    Book Description:

    If international cooperation was difficult to achieve and to sustain during the Cold War, why then were two rival superpowers able to cooperate in placing limits on their central strategic weapons systems? Extending an empirical approach to game theory--particularly that developed by Robert Axelrod--Steve Weber argues that although nations employ many different types of strategies broadly consistent with game theory's "tit for tat," only strategies based on an ideal type of "enhanced contingent restraint" promoted cooperation in U.S.-Soviet arms control. As a theoretical analysis of the basic security behaviors of states, the book has implications that go beyond the three bilateral arms control cases Weber discusses--implications that remain important despite the end of superpower rivalry. "An important theoretical analysis of cooperation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the area of arms control.. An excellent work on a subject that has received very little attention."--Choice

    Originally published in 1992.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6243-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-23)

    This book is a study of U.S.-Soviet efforts to cooperate in the limitation of strategic nuclear weapons systems. Current theory in international relations provides a powerful analysis of the many impediments to cooperation between states, but it does not yet offer an adequate explanation of why those impediments are sometimes overcome. Arms control cooperation between two adversarial superpowers would be a particularly difficult case to explain. Why have the United States and the Soviet Union achieved cooperative agreements with the goal of enhancing their mutual security in certain arms control issues, but not in others?

    This is an important question,...

  6. 2 Current Approaches
    (pp. 24-47)

    The superpowers’ arms control experience is rich with potential for building theories of cooperation, but that potential has not yet been tapped. At the same time, theories about arms control have not provided the kinds of explanations of success and failure of cooperation, and the implications of each, that would be valuable to theorists and policymakers. There have been previous attempts to apply theories about cooperation, mostly drawn from international economics, to security relations, but the results have generally been disappointing. The payoff so far is limited to broad statements about why security cooperation is different from economic cooperation and...

  7. 3 Cooperation: A New Approach
    (pp. 48-85)

    This chapter proposes a new argument about cooperation in U.S.-Soviet arms control. Because I start with Axelrod’s model, my argument sits within the genre of “cooperation theory,” a term that has been bandied about frequently in the international relations literature in recent years. Of course, there is no “cooperation theory” per se, but only a diverse body of theoretically oriented research that focuses on the question of why states sometimes cooperate and sometimes do not. There are obviously many different ways of thinking about this problem. Thus far, I have drawn a sharp distinction between formal, deductive methods and empirical...

  8. 4 Antiballistic Missile Systems
    (pp. 86-146)

    The 1972 Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems stands out as a “surprising success” of cooperation. This agreement, which placed substantial constraints on what otherwise promised to develop into a vigorous competition in missile defenses, was in no sense historically over-determined. It is true that the technology needed to build highly effective ABM systems was not available in 1972. Yet states often compete to develop and deploy even less promising weapons technology if the payoffs for success might be substantial. Similarly, there was nothing intuitive or inevitable about strategic theories that portrayed a competition in defenses as mutually...

  9. 5 Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles
    (pp. 147-203)

    Less than two years after the SALT I accords were signed, Henry Kissinger remarked in retrospect that “I wish I had thought through the implications of a MIRVed world more thoughtfully in 1969 and 1970 than I did.”¹ The failure of the United States and the Soviet Union to place limits on MIRV warheads during the early years of SALT stands out as a critically important “missed opportunity” in U.S.-Soviet arms control cooperation, one that has had substantial and mostly detrimental repercussions for subsequent arms control efforts and the general progress of superpower relations. Can Axelrod’s model help to explain...

  10. 6 Antisatellite Weapons
    (pp. 204-271)

    Space is part of the global commons. When the space age began in the late 1950s, the United States, the Soviet Union, and other states turned their attention to the issue of what rules would govern the use of outer space. Many countries wanted to use space for civilian and commercial applications; and although there were predictable disagreements over the specifics of allocating orbital slots, effective coordination was soon recognized to be a shared interest. The United States and the Soviet Union could even agree on a principle of allocation: because they had the most advanced technologies to exploit the...

  11. 7 Conclusion
    (pp. 272-312)

    Cooperation is a response to interdependence. But it is not the only possible response. States may choose instead to eschew the potential benefits of cooperation and accept only what they can achieve relying on their own resources. Many disincentives to cooperation have their roots in the anarchic structure of international politics. For two powerful states with divergent political interests and ideologies, the disincentives are magnified. And if there are not strong perceptions of interdependence between such states, cooperation becomes nearly a non sequitur. This is not just a theoretical point. National leaders, as Robert Jervis notes, have often been only...

  12. References
    (pp. 313-326)
  13. Index
    (pp. 327-331)