Case 122 - High Stakes, High Risks: The Reykjavik "Base Camp"
Donovan, Frederick and James Goodby
This case study focuses on the historic October 1986 nuclear disarmament negotiations between the U.S. team, led by President Ronald Reagan, and the Soviet team, led by General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, in Reykjavik, Iceland. Gorbachev proposed a 50-percent reduction in offensive strategic arms, the elimination of intermediate-range nuclear force (INF) missiles based in Europe, and new negotiations on a ban on nuclear testing. In a whirlwind of exchanges, the two leaders discussed whether to eliminate all nuclear weapons or just ballistic missiles within the next decade.
The study could be used in courses on international affairs, public policy, national security affairs, international negotiations, presidential decision-making, arms control, or history, with different teaching strategies suited to the background of the participants.