FROM THE ANTHOLOGY: The Essays of Zbigniew Brzezinski

Moscow and the M.L.F.: Hostility and Ambivalence

Courtesy Reuters

In the Soviet opposition to the American-sponsored scheme for a Multilateral Force-the NATO nuclear-missile fleet-two themes have been paramount: the M.L.F. is the opening wedge for the German acquisition of nuclear weapons, and the M.L.F. will set in motion the process of nuclear proliferation. According to Soviet spokesmen, the consequences are bound to be dangerous for the peace of the world, and, as if to give credence to these warnings, they have ominously hinted that the "most serious" consequences will follow implementation of this scheme.

Although the issue of German access to nuclear weapons and the matter of proliferation are obviously inter-related problems, the Soviet and East European spokesmen have tended to place more stress on the German danger, both in their public statements and in the attacks on the M.L.F. by their press and radio. This is presumably because of the greater emotional response that can be generated by the very thought of Germans wielding nuclear weapons. The German theme naturally has been stressed particularly heavily by the Czechs and the Poles; their public comments and their official notes to the United States have concentrated heavily on the remilitarization of West Germany, on the building of the national German Army, its growing offensive capacity, and so on. It is noteworthy that the Rumanians, Bulgarians and Hungarians, all historically somewhat more indifferent to the subject of Germany than the Czechs and the Poles, have been markedly less interested in the M.L.F. The more serious Soviet treatments of the problem, as, for instance, in the monthly journal International Affairs, as well as informal comments by Soviet spokesmen, have laid equal stress on the danger of proliferation of nuclear weapons, hinting at the complications that could ensue for both sides, especially with regard to the American-Soviet disarmament negotiations.

In recent months, the Soviet attacks have become more shrill, frequent and even somewhat more threatening in tone. The current Soviet offensive against the M.L.F.

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