Salt Ii Agreements

The Salt II Agreements: Understanding the Arms Control Treaty

The Salt II agreements, also known as the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, were a series of negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union aimed at reducing the number of nuclear weapons each country possessed. The goal of the talks was to establish a framework for reducing the risk of nuclear war and preventing an arms race that could lead to disastrous consequences.

The first round of talks, known as Salt I, took place between 1969 and 1972 and resulted in two treaties, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. However, by the late 1970s, both countries had continued to modernize and expand their nuclear arsenals, prompting further negotiations.

The Salt II agreements were signed in 1979 by then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. The treaty placed limitations on each country`s nuclear arsenal, including the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The treaty also established a system of verification and monitoring to ensure compliance with the agreed-upon terms.

Despite its potential to reduce the risk of a catastrophic nuclear war, the Salt II treaty faced opposition from certain sectors of American political and military leadership. Critics argued that the treaty did not go far enough in reducing the number of weapons, and that the Soviet Union could easily cheat on the agreement. In addition, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 strained U.S.-Soviet relations and made ratification of the treaty politically difficult.

Ultimately, the Salt II treaty was never ratified by the U.S. Senate due to its concerns over Soviet noncompliance and the perception that the treaty was not in the national interest. However, both the U.S. and Soviet Union abided by the terms of the treaty until its expiration in 1985.

The Salt II agreements represented an important step in arms control negotiations between the U.S. and Soviet Union, and underscored the need for countries possessing nuclear weapons to work together to reduce the risks of a catastrophic conflict. While the treaty ultimately faced challenges to its ratification and implementation, it remains a key moment in the history of nuclear disarmament and international security.

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