Focal Points in Arms Control
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This chapter scrutinizes one particularly prominent type of international negotiations: arms control. The author seeks to establish the imprint of focal points on arms control, and to determine how much they facilitated arms control negotiations. He argues that traces of focal points can be found in the numerical solutions that feature in such negotiations, but that the importance of numerical focal points should not be overstated. Moreover, it is shown that parties often disagree about which salient principle should be guiding in negotiations, but if agreement can be reached on a focal principle, agreement on the numbers of weapons to be maintained often follows relatively easily and that treaties that are supported by an agreed upon focal principle tend to be more stable.
KeywordsFocal numbers Arms control Disagreement Strategic stability
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