DEFENSE: Arming to Disarm in the Age of Detente

From a launch site deep in Kazakhstan near the Aral Sea, two giant Soviet rockets streaked 4,500 miles to a target area some 850 miles northwest of Midway in the Pacific late last month. It was Russia's first full-range test of its SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missile. Like the U.S. Minuteman III, it carries multiple nuclear warheads aimed at separate targets. To U.S. military strategists in the Pentagon, the successful Soviet firings were fresh confirmation that for all the genuine gains of detente, the arms race between the world's premier superpowers is still very much alive.

The Russian missile advances had...

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