THE GREAT UNIVERSAL EMBRACE: Arms Summitry--A Skeptic's Account by Kenneth L. Adelman

THE GREAT UNIVERSAL EMBRACE: Arms Summitry--A Skeptic's Account

Email this review


The conservative Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1983-87, here writes an important, informative, and lively memoir that includes his insider's view of a record five US-Soviet summits. He concludes with recommendations for future US defense and foreign-policy positions, a forecast at times trenchant, at times surprisingly simplistic. Adelman's portrait of President Reagan is of an always media-conscious man who would either brilliantly intuit a complex issue in arms control or miss that issue altogether. The summits are portrayed variously but always with the idea that there are better forums for arms control. Reykjavik in 1986 was a ""free-wheeling"" near-disaster as Reagan almost bargained away SDI. Moscow in 1988, on the other hand, was the ""best as it highlighted America's main concern--human rights"" inside the USSR. These years brought the INF Treaty eliminating intermediate range missiles, and escape from the Salt II Treaty. According to Adelman, the US commitment to planning for SDI was what pressured the Soviets to make concessions in these years. At the same time, the Soviets tried desperately to get the US to abandon the experimental project altogether. Fortunately. the US did not veer away from it, and Adelman now feels even more strongly that America should maintain its commitment and make SDI fully operational, the centerpiece of 21st century national security. His argument is that such defense lessens actual vulnerability while traditional arms-control agreements, of which he is skeptical, still leave both sides defenseless in an actual all-out attack. This argument, however, offers false hope in mow ing ""toward a safer world"" because--as Adelman himself admits--SDI could be destabilizing. costly, uncertain of results, and capable of starting a new arms race. Controversial and provocative--a brief volume that should be read and argued pro and con.

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 1989
Publisher: Simon & Schuster