The United States should develop new proposals for U.S.-Soviet conventional arms control talks in case Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev succeeds in cutting back on military spending, says a key congressman.
The plans should be prepared even though there's no indication Gorbachev has yet been successful, said Rep. Les Aspin, D-Wis., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee."A central element of Gorbachev's `new thinking' is that the Western threat can be reduced by political means - that is, arms control - which then reduces Soviet defense requirements," the report said.
"For Gorbachev, arms control can cut the size of the Western threat and a revised military doctrine can scale back the military's response to that threat," it said.
The panel's defense policy subcommittee concluded Monday that "to date, there have been no significant, identifiable changes traceable to Gorbachev's drive to scale back defense spending."
The study by the Democratic-run panel was based on a series of hearings, including testimony from the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, and other experts in government and private industry.
Republican members of the panel issued a dissent, disputing the majority's implication that the Soviets may be moving away from what the GOP legislators said is a drive to achieve nuclear superiority over the West.