Disarmament in the Time of Perestroika is the definitive history of the implementation of the INF Treaty signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in all its complexities, and the lengths both sides went to “trust, but verify” this successful and unique historic disarmament process. It demonstrates how two nations fundamentally at odds with one another could come together and rid the world of weapons which threatened international peace and security and, indeed, all of humanity. Those engaged were pioneers in what was to be the new frontier of superpower arms control—on-site inspection—that would define compliance verification for future treaties and agreements to come. Their work represents not just a guide to, but the standard upon which all future on-site inspections will be based and judged.
Ritter traces in great detail the formation of the On-Site Inspection Agency, who was involved, and how a technologically advanced compliance verification system was installed outside the gates of one of the most sensitive military industrial facilities in the remote Soviet city of Votkinsk, nestled in the foothills of the Ural Mountains in the Soviet Union. He draws upon his own personal history— occasionally hilarious, occasionally fraught with peril— as well as the recollections of the other inspectors and personnel involved, and an extensive archive of reports and memoranda relating to the work of OSIA to tell the story of how OSIA was created, and the first three years of inspection operations at the Votkinsk portal monitoring facility. The Votkinsk Portal, circa December 1988, was the wild, wild East of arms control, a place where the inspectors and inspected alike were writing the rules of the game as it played out before them.
This treaty implementation did not occur in a geopolitical vacuum. Ritter captures, on a human level, the historic changes taking place inside the Soviet Union under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev due to the new policies of perestroika and glasnost that gripped the Soviet Union during this time, and their real and meaningful impact on the lives of the Soviet people, and the economic functioning of the Soviet nation. Much of it was for the worse.
The INF treaty was not only born of these new policies, but also helped trigger meaningful changes inside the Soviet Union due to the economic and political implications brought on by the cessation of missile production in a factory town whose lifeblood was missile production.
ROBERT BRIDGE –
“Many people, when confronted with bland Soviet-era terms such as ‘arms control’ and ‘disarmament,’ may be tempted to stifle a yawn and move on. However, that would be a mistake. Here is a real page-turner – part history lesson, part Clancy thriller, with just the right touch of comic relief – that examines a critical period during the Cold War when the Americans and Russians were working to eliminate their missile stockpiles amid a climate of full-blown distrust.” ROBERT BRIDGE, RT
SEYMOUR HERSH –
“Ritter’s riveting personal history of nuclear arms control as seen from the inside, with its intense personal and institutional conflicts, could not come at a more propitious moment. Ritter is telling us that America’s dispute with Russia today must not prevent the renewal of serious arms talks, with all of their difficulty.” SEYMOUR HERSH, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Investigative Journalist
JACK MATLOCK –
“An absorbing account of how the U.S. verified the key agreement that ended the Cold War. Should be read and absorbed by all who wonder how we can overcome the rush to war today.”
—JACK MATLOCK, former US Ambassador to the Soviet Union
RAY McGOVERN –
“Scott Ritter’s page-turner focuses on his role as inspector monitoring Soviet implementation of the US – Russia INF treaty of 1987 — a near-miraculous agreement under which an entire class of short- and intermediate-range nuclear missiles was actually destroyed… Scott gives us a fascinatingly intimate account of the bumpy on-site road to effective inspection/verification. Bumpy even in the presence of the mutual trust existing at the time. That trust is now squandered. God help us.”
—RAY McGOVERN, Former senior CIA analyst for Soviet/Russian affairs
DANIEL ELLSBERG –
“Scott Ritter’s book could not be timelier. He transports us back to an era where the world stood on the brink of a nuclear apocalypse. With an intimacy and eye for detail that only comes from having experienced the events he describes firsthand, Ritter walks us through the threat posed to the world by intermediate-range nuclear missiles, and the amazing work done by the American inspectors and Soviet factory workers tasked by their respective governments to eliminate them. In the process, Ritter and the characters in his narrative help create the conditions for one-time enemies to learn to live together in peace.” DANIEL ELLSBERG, author of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner