Slouching Toward an Arms Agreement

How zero option grew from a slogan into the prelude for a summit

In the arcane, often confounding world of nuclear diplomacy, the zero option seems refreshingly simple: the U.S. and the Soviet Union would define a certain category of weapons in a certain region of the world, then wipe clean that particular corner of the slate. In the history of a slogging, controversial enterprise that has so often meant merely regulating the bloated arsenals of the superpowers rather than reducing them, the idea sounds innovative and bold. It would appear to be not just arms control but a big step toward real disarmament. Where now there are hundreds of weapons, soon there would...

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