Social Scientist. v 12, no. 128 (Jan 1984) p. 30.


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C RAJA MOHAm

Waiting for the Nuclear Winter: Breakdown of Nuclear Arms Control

THE DEPLOYMENT of American nuclear missiles in Europe on schedule at the end of 1983 has inevitably led to the breakdown of all nuclear arms control talks between the USA and the USSR. As they had warned a number of times, the Soviets withdrew from the intermediate range nuclear force (1NF) talks at Geneva, once the deployment took place. They also declined to set dates for the resumption of strategic nuclear arms reduction talks fSTART) at Geneva and the negotiations on mutual and balanced force reductions (MBFR) on conventional arms at Vienna. The USSR also threatened to deploy new short range nuclear weapons in Europe and increase the deployment of sea-borne missiles close to the borders of the United States. The Soviet response has given the lie to the arguments of the Reagan Administration that real Soviet concessions would be forthcoming if and only when the US deployed the Euromissiles.

The current nuclear crisis, fraught with dangerous consequences, represents the lowest point in the relations between the USA and thr USSR since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. It also marks the complete burial of detente, initiated after the Cuban missile crisis. The deployment of Pershing II and Cruise missiles in Europe would also signify a dramatic escalation of the now raging second cold war, originating in the late 1970's. It also marks the beginnings of a deadly new bout of nuclear arms race. The nature of the new nuclear weapons—-the technology that underlies them and the new doctrines that envelop them—makes future nuclear arms control extremely difficult and increases the prospects of a nuclear war, either accidental or intended.

Even as the dithering nuclear negotiations reached a stage of breakdown, a new study by a noted American astrophysicist Carl Sagan has chillingly brought into light the hitherto unexamined consequences of a nurlear war.1 Sagan's own Chronicle of a (Nuclear) Death Foretold predicts, on the basis of scientific calculations of the impact of nuclear explosions on global climate, that the use of only 1000 nuclear warheads with an explosive yield of 100 Megatons would be sufficient to destroy

^Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhz.



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