Finishing START and Achieving Unilateral Reductions: Leadership and Arms Control at the End of the Cold War

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Baglione, Lisa A. (1997) Finishing START and Achieving Unilateral Reductions: Leadership and Arms Control at the End of the Cold War , Journal of Peace Research 34(2): 135–152.

In 1991, the USA and USSR reached an accord to make significant cutbacks in their strategic arsenals. A few months after the agreement was signed, the superpowers also unilaterally decided to undertake steps to decrease their readiness for war, eliminate tactical nuclear weapons, and accelerate the START reductions. While the outcomes may appear to follow from the collapse of Soviet power or domestic political developments, a closer examination suggests that a singular focus on neither power considerations nor internal politics can explain adequately these instances of arms control. Instead, leaders appear to have played a principal role, simultaneously balancing domestic political considerations against international challenges and opportunities.