Edited by Mara Olekalns and Wendi L. Adair
Chapter 13: Punctuated negotiations: transitions, interruptions, and turning points
On 8 December 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signed a treaty agreeing to eliminate all nuclear delivery vehicles with ranges from 500 to 5500 kilometers. Known as the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, this was the first time that an entire category of nuclear weapons had been eliminated from the arsenals of either superpower. The Treaty was the outcome of eight years of negotiation. It occurred as a result of several key decisions made by Gorbachev. One decision, made in October 1985, was the separation of French and British forces from the U.S. systems. Another, made in February 1987, was to de-link strategic and space weapons from INF systems. A third, made in July 1987, consisted of a proposed “double zero” option that made verification easier. Each of these decisions resolved major sticking points and cleared the way for the scheduling of a summit between the leaders in Reykjavik Iceland. The summit served to speed the negotiation process toward the agreement.
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