Arms and the Man: Arms Control: The New Defeatism

Arms and the Man: Arms Control: The New Defeatism

A new theory for the international arms race has been invented in the United States. It bears the equivocal tag “arms control.”

One might think, from the ordinary meaning of the words, arms control, that this is some form of disarmament: the political-technical process of reversing the increasingly dangerous arms race. Actually, as world wide desire and hope for disarmament mounts, this new, essentially military plan, is being elaborated as a policy alternative to disarmament.

Arms control is a scheme for trying, by agreement, to equalize the major missile or other military capability of the Soviet Union and the United States, with the calculation that this would discourage each side from attacking the other and thus produce a condition of “stabilized deterrence.”

1. A plan for “how to live with the bomb,” arms control is the newest development in a doctrinal succession that purports to be hard-headed realism, while representing a most defeatist prognosis for American society. Disarmament is feared by many as a policy that would “leave the United States naked.” The military strategists of the West have fallen into a deeply despairing estimate of Western political capability.

2. Lacking a competent political theory and a will to challenge the Soviet system by political and economic methods, many American strategists have fallen into a sense of political futility. Conservative political and military analysts have no coherent view on how to cope with the burgeoning Soviet political campaigns in Asia, Africa, and now in South America. If acceptable political methods are rot available to these men, then the extension of the Soviet system must in their view be contained by military methods. Arms control is the latest of these military policies of containment.

3. During the past fifteen years the Soviet economic and political system has shown vigor and dynamism at home and abroad. Its expansion has been sustained even while the United States has had nuclear military monopoly, superiority, and parallel capability.

4. When the main political alternatives for industrial society are set forth, they show at once the political choice that is implied in the preference for disarmament as against arms control and other military plans. The Soviet claim is that monolithic, authoritarian state control of society is the necessary condition for rapid economic growth. The alternative is that economic and general social development, at speed, are aided by multilateral and democratic decision making in society and in government.