Clinton St. Quarterly, Vol. 9 No. 2 | Summer 1987 (Portland) /// Issue 34 of 41 /// Master# 34 of 73

from its adversary in order to break out of the two-nation waiting game (in which each party seeks to do nothing while forcing the other to make concessions), and to generate pressure and incentives for reciprocal action. Viewing the arms race as a “ tension-increasing” system in which each party’s threats provoke an equally threatening response in an escalating spiral, Osgood proposed that one party, after carefully reviewing its entire range of non-military options, introduce a series of “ tension-decreasing” settlements to outstanding disputes, to begin a disarmament process and to construct a non-military system for resolving conflicts. “An arms race in reverse,” Osgood called his policy, “GRIT, a graduated and reciprocated, unilaterally initiated, tension-decreasing system” [Osgood, An Alternative to War and Surrender. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1962] He specified several ground rules for his strategy. Unilateral initiatives must, he said: 1. “be graduated in risk according to the degree of reciprocation obtained from opponents; 2. “be diversified in nature, both as to sphere of action and as to geographical locus of application . . .cultural, scientific, economic, political, legal, as well as disarmament initiatives; 3. “prior to announcement, unilateral initiatives must be unpredictable by an opponent as to their sphere, locus, and time of execution; 4. “unilateral initiatives must represent a sincere intent to reduce and control international tensions. . . . If we are really not sincere. . . then this will soon become apparent to both allies and enemies alike; our unilateral initiatives will be reacted to on these terms, and nothing will be accomplished by an intensification of the cold war; 5. “unilateral initiatives must be announced publicly. . .before their execution and identified as part of a deliberate policy of reducing and controlling tensions; and they should include an explicit invitation to reciprocation in some form; 6. “unilateral initiatives must be continued over a considerable time period, regardless of immediate reciprocation or events of a tension-increasing nature elsewhere.” Osgood stressed that while an initiative policy seeks the same ends as negotiated disarmament and might indeed provide the essential momentum negotiations otherwise lack, GRIT “ is more like courtship than marriage, more like a conversation than a prayer. Rather than marching in unison, the players of GRIT move in complicated steps of their own, each keeping his eyes on the moves of the other, and leading or following, now one, now the other” [Osgood, p. 34], Shortly after Osgood’s book was published, the Kennedy Administration undertook a brief flurry of independent initiatives which seemed to confirm the validity of Osgood's premises. Shaken, perhaps, by the previous autumn’s Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy announced, in a now famous “Strategy for Peace” speech at American University, a unilateral U.S. moratorium on atmospheric nuclear testing. The Soviet response was immediate: five days after Kennedy’s speech, Premier Khruschev ordered a halt to the production of strategic bombers. Following the American example, the Soviets agreed not to test weapons in the atmosphere while a treaty to the same effect was being negotiated. Soviet and American negotiators reached agreement on the installation of a "hotline” between them within ten days of Kennedy’s initiatory speech. Many of the dozens of gestures proffered during this sudden thaw in superpower relations were more of a psychological than a strategic importance; neither party yielded anything that would foreclose future options. Yet on the psychological level (which is of no small significance in such matters), something quite extraordinary occurred—so extraordinary, in fact, that the very pace of events apparently frightened both NATO allies and certain sectors of the domestic American polity. By autumn the peace race began to stall. “The rea- “In 1963 the Test Ban was signed, only because there was, literally speaking, a hole in it: the permission to continue underground testing. The ultimate effect of the Treaty was the legitimization of the testing.” sons were many,” wrote Amitai Etzioni, the well-known sociologist, in The Kennedy Experiment. “The Administration felt that the psychological mood in the West was getting out of hand, with hopes and expectations for more Soviet-American measures running too high; allies, especially West Germany, objected more and more bitterly; and the pre-election year began, in which the Administration seemed not to desire additional accommodations.” Indeed, it appears from Etzioni’s analysis that the problem was not that the initiatives failed but that they succeeded too well. “While the warnings of the critics were not realized, a danger that seems not to have been anticipated by the United States government did materialize: the Russians responded not just by reciprocating American initiatives but by offering some initiatives of their own, in the spirit of the detente. Washington was put on the spot: it had to reciprocate if it were not to weaken the new spirit, but it could lose control of the experiment.” Losing control: no doubt such a prospect troubles the sleep of both sets of superpower policymakers. And it is no doubt for this reason that both have so strongly preferred negotiated arms control, a process whose dynamics and outcomes they themselves can control and limit. This mixed lesson in initiative strategies yields a few important insights. The first is that there appears to be great potential momentum in an initiative strategy. McGeorge Bundy, Kennedy’s National Security Adviser during the life of the experiment, attests that he himself did not hear of GRIT until quite recently and that Kennedy had no initiatives in mind beyond the American University speech. Yet yearnings for peace were so much in the air that he was simply swept up by events. Even Khruschev, whom few would describe as “ soft,” must have felt stirrings of some sort to have acted as he did. If an initiative strategy so minimally planned and developed succeeded in spurring such spontaneous excitement throughout the world, then it is clear we are tapping deep currents of feeling in the global body politic which, once released, may sweep more than a few stray leaves aside. But the second lesson, following hard on the first, is that no such open process will be permitted to continue for long in the absence of a sustained and broadly based public lobby to insist upon it. As Etzioni records, the Kennedy experiment was terminated rather abruptly on the American side when it began threatening to require more of both superpowers than either was willing to yield. Any effective process to control and reduce arms must be initiated by and remain the initiative of independent groups beyond the two sets of superpower policymakers. This is not to say that officially sponsored initiatives are not central to the success of the strategy. As the protagonists in the conflict, the great powers remain its chief actors and enactors. Such changes as must occur in order for the conditions of peace to be established will necessarily be performed by and through them. But the impetus for change and the sustained pressure to enact it must come from elsewhere, from every conceivable source o the r than the superpower leade rsh ips themselves. This observation is not intended to demonize these leaders. The blame for our failure to bring the arms race under control extends well beyond any single class of persons: it is in the largest sense the failure of the entire civilization, an entire species. But the temptations of great power are such that it is most difficult for those who have struggled all their lives to gain it to consider relinquishing any portion. 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