Confidence and security building measures (CSBMs) have long been the neglected stepchild of serious arms control analysis. Some view CSBMs as "arms control junk food," frivolous, unworkable, or even detrimental. Others are so enamored of the concept that they expect proposals to be accepted as prima facie desirable. After all, the very term "confidence and security" connotes stability and peace. The problem with both positions is often the dearth of hard analysis in support of the ideas put forward and the abstract nature of the discussions of "security building." As witnessed in the contrast between the quiet success of the 1972 Incidents at Sea Agreement and the disastrous Trojan Horse episode of ancient Greece, CSBMs can have good or bad results. It is necessary to sort out analytically which CSBMs make sense to enhance security in Europe. This study aims to do that in the case of one important type of CSBM: constraints on the military ground exercises of NATO and the Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO or Warsaw Pact).

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1989

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 1989 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This article first appeared in International Security 14: 3 (Winter, 1989-1990), 68-98.

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