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European/American relations over the S.D.I.

Ball, Charles J (1991) European/American relations over the S.D.I. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis examines the dispute that arose between the United States and key European members of NATO (Britain, West Germany and France) over the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). The debate is traced from its inception on March 23, 1983, when Reagan announced his decision to accelerate ballistic missile defence research, to the eclipse of SDI as a major source of transatlantic and international controversy when Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev signed the INF Treaty in December 1987. The transatlantic SDI debate is investigated to determine: (1) the underlying cause, or reasons, for the controversy, (2) how the Alliance managed the differences which arose, and (3) how East-West relations affected the manner in which the controversy was handled. This study includes analysis of past transatlantic controversies about military strategy; reasons why Reagan launched SDI as a unilateral programme; the nature and reasons for West European opposition to SDI; how compromises over SDI were sought and effected (or rejected) between the U.S. and Britain, West Germany and France; the role of the ATBM debate in the SDI controversy; and the significance of the Reykjavik summit and the INF treaty in the SDI debate. Three main and related conclusions emerge from this study. First, that differing conceptions of what constituted a credible nuclear strategy and a stable nuclear regime, rather than the issue of BMD deployment, was the primary cause of the SDI controversy. Second, that in managing the SDI dispute, the Alliance ignored the salience of differing conceptions of strategy and sought agreement on the terms of SDI research in order to maintain NATO unity. And third, that contrary to what the literature on alliances posits, the improvement in East-West relations toward the end of the SDI debate increased rather than decreased NATO unity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, International Relations, Military Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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