15 J. Legis 179 (1988-1989)
Strategic and Political Aspects of the Strategic Defense Initiative: A Soviet Viewpoint

handle is hein.journals/jleg15 and id is 185 raw text is: STRATEGIC AND POLITICAL ASPECTS OF THE
STRATEGIC DEFENSE INITIATIVE: A SOVIET
VIEWPOINT*
Roald Z. Sagdeyev**, Yevgeni P. Velikhov*** and Andrei A. Kokoshin****
I. GENERAL
A space-based antimissile system, even if ideal from the scientific and
technological points of view, would never accomplish, as is contended by some
members of the U.S. political leadership, a turnaround in strategic thinking
to substitute the deterrence based on the concept of mutual assured destruction,
by the deterrence based on the concept of mutual assured survival, since it
would not guarantee total protection from ballistic missiles and air-based strike
weapons. Therefore, all the arguments in favor of the allegedly stabilizing role
of comprehensive ballistic missile defense (BMD) make no sense. It is also worth
emphasizing that concurrently with the deployment of the Strategic Defense
Initiative (SDI), the United States is actively pursuing a program of deployment
of strategic offensive arms, nuclear medium range forces, and theater nuclear
arms. Consequently, the development and deployment of a space-based BMD
would only complicate the issue of mutual deterrence and would lead to a more
precarious strategic balance.
Such a view of the proposed U.S. antimissile system as a way to enhance
the country's first strike capabilities is also determined by the fact that the United
States is not willing to commit itself not to use nuclear arms first, and continues
to build up its first strike capability. One important element of this policy was
the deployment in Europe of U.S. medium range nuclear armed missiles, notably
Pershing II rockets.
It would be pertinent to recall in this connection that the Soviet Union,
cognizant of the importance of enhancing the stability of the balance considering
the tense military and political situation, announced unilaterally in June of 1982
that it would not use nuclear arms first.
Drawing on past experience, one can assume with a high degree of probability
that the development of BMD would cause the deployment of a host of coun-
*    This article is reprinted by permission from Chapter Seven of R. SAGDEYEV, YE. VELIKHOV &
A. KOKosmN, WEAPONRY IN SPACE: THE DILEMMA OF SECURITY (1986), originally published as
Kosmicheskoe oruzhie: dilemma bezopasnosti. Published in English by Mir Publishers, Moscow,
1986. All rights reserved.
**   Director, Space Research Institute, Academy of Sciences of the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics; Advisor, Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame. Dr.
Phys.-Math. Sci., Moscow State University, 1955.
*    Vice President, Academy of Sciences of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; Head of
Chairs and Professor of Physics, Moscow State University. Dr. Phys.-Math. Sci., Moscow
State University, 1958.
**** Professor of History, Moscow State University. Dr. Sci. (Hist.), Moscow State University,
1968.

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