START I: A Retrospective

Stuart Polen


For decades, the United States (U.S.) and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) were competing to be the dominant global military power. However, after a series of crises, both states realized that if the status quo was maintained, it could mean the destruction of their states and the rest of the world. Thus, the U.S. and USSR agreed to limit their production of nuclear weapons. Eventually, the states decided that arms reduction would be the future and the resulting agreement would change the international power structure. The negotiations lasted for nine years, including a hiatus, and also led to another iteration of the treaty before the agreement was ratified. This study analyzes various aspects of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) negotiations, including the different stakeholders, their goals and tactics, alternatives, and the other factors that led to the final agreement. This study also analyzes the long-term effects of the treaty, its success, and who came out on top from START.

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