Case 126 - SALT II and the Soviet First-Strike Threat

by ISD - Georgetown University
$ 3.50

Bennett, Paul R.

This case study describes how National Security Adviser (and later, Secretary of State) Henry Kissinger handled a new Soviet threat that emerged in 1973: highly accurate missiles equipped with multiple independently-targeted re-entry vehicles. These new-generation silo busters could, in theory, destroy American Minuteman missiles inside their protective concrete shelters. Although experts differed as to the seriousness of the threat, they agreed that it would be highly desirable to reduce Soviet first-strike capability, so the United States first sought to reduce the threat by negotiating. The pedagogical objective of this case study is to explore the question of negotiating leverages within the context of the changing interests of the two sides.