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Although re-unification need not rule out concern with larger issues of European integration and the future of the Atlantic alliance, excessive German pre-occupation with the issue risks doing just that unless all concerned take care to prevent it.
NATO is facing new challenges; there is confusion and uncertainty about its security requirements in the light of Gorbachev's nuclear disarmament proposals, and a need for a more concentrated effort to meet these challenges, which cannot be left to the USA alone. A common strategy for deterrence is a pre-requisite for a common strategy for arms reductions.
The surface was all smiles and harmony. After years of transatlantic distress, the major nations of the democratic West assembled in May in the splendor of Colonial Williamsburg to manifest their unity and their confidence. There were two new faces among the seven heads of state and government, both symbols of a significant political change in their respective countries: West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who had replaced Helmut Schmidt in October 1982 and whose party, the Christian Democrats, had just been confirmed by a massive popular vote on March 6, and Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, the leader of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party and government who, in striking contrast to his predecessors, articulated a newly confident, internationally minded Japan.
Since nuclear deterrence began, some of the forces providing deterrence for the West have been stationed in Europe. In the early period, when delivery systems did not yet enjoy intercontinental range, European real estate was essential for America's strategic deterrent. But with new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and sea-based nuclear missiles, introduced in the late 1950s, the U.S. nuclear deterrent no longer required bases in Europe: the age of geographic deterrence identity between the United States and its European allies had come to an end.
That arms control as a concept for international order and as a tool for restricting military competition is in deep trouble today, is so obvious that it has become almost a truism. The lessons that both skeptics and supporters of arms control have learned from this experience are very different. The skeptics, though often paying lip service to "true arms control," feel certain that effective arms control, in the sense of serving the security interests of the West, is simply illusory so long as the Soviet Union and the United States are locked in continuing rivalry. The supporters see the reasons for the disappointing record of arms control not in the concept but in its political presentation; the failure of arms control, to them, is due to hopes having been too high and expectations too great. Arms control can be revitalized, they argue, if we begin to be more modest in our objectives and expectations.