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4The Tar Heel Thursday, July 18, 1985
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All of us worry about our national
defense. Do we spend enough money
on national defense? Too much? Or,
a better question, do we get good
national defense for all the money
Sadly, we could spend our entire
gross national product all of our
money on defense and still not
be totally secure. Yet, every extra
dollar we spend on defense is a dollar
that will not be available for other
Finding a balanced, prudent, and
effective defense policy now is one
of our country's greatest challenges.
How can you and I ever know for
sure how we are doing? How do we
really stand up in comparison to the
real military capabilities of the Soviet
Union and the Warsaw Pact?
Statistics can prove just about
whatever you want to prove. But a
fair presentation of the facts shows
that the United States and its NATO
allies are ahead of the Soviet Union
in some catagories of military cap
ability and behind them in other
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Senator Proxmire made some
interesting comparisons on the
Senate floor last month. I think his
facts are worth sharing with you ,
whether or not you agree with his
Gross National Product '"The.
United States has a strong lead in
this measure of . overall economic
strength: $3.4 trillion to $1.7 trillion.
That is good, because underlying
economic strength is about the best
long term defense.
Population The United States
trails $236 million to $275 million for
the Soviet Union.
Total Nuclear Weapons The
United States leads 30,000 to 23,000.
The United States also leads in
strategic nuclear weapons 11,400
to 8,300. The importance of this
advantage is questionable, since both
countries have enough such weapons
to blow the other off the face of the
Earth many times over.
The United States has 324 bombers
capable of delivering nuclear wea
pons, while the Soviet Union has only
Intercontinental Ballistic Missies.
The United States trails the Soviet
Union 1030 to 1398. In the total
nuclear weapons on these ICBM's,
the United States is far behind
2130 to 6012. However, only. 18
percent of the United States' strategic
weapons are in silos where they are
highly vulnerable. The Soviet Union
has 72 percent of its strategic wea
pons in this type of silo.
Submarines The United States
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has 37 compared to 62 for the Soviet
Union. However, the United States
has 5728 nuclear weapons on its
submarines compared to 1964 for the
The numbers which Senator Prox
mire recites are so large that it is
"almpst impossible to understand
exactly what they mean. Both sides
have an unbelievable number of
nuclear weapons and a varied deliv
What about conventional forces
and the effect of the NATO and
Warsaw Pact alliance?
Gross National Product NATO
has a tremendous edge $6. 1 trillion
to $2.3 trillion. In annual military
spending, NATO leads $312 billion
to $300 billion for the Warsaw Pact.
Number of Soldiers and Nuclear
Weapons NATO also leads in
military troops, 5.5 million to 4.8
million, and in total nuclear weapons,
31,000 to 23,000.
Tanks Senator Proxmire
reports that the Warsaw Pact has "a
massive and serious advantage." The
Warsaw Pact has 63,700 tanks to
29,400 for NATO.
Submarines The Warsaw Fact
also leads in the number of nuclear
attack submarines, 126 to 110 and
in diesel attack submarines, 163 to
136. But in major surface warships,
NATO has a large advantage.
Combat Aircraft NATO leads
slightly 1 1,400 to 11,000.
Senator Proxmire believes that
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these statistics and others show that
while the Soviet Union and Warsaw
Pact lead in some catagories, the
United States and NATO are
stronger, and that, "If there is any
dominant military power in the world
today, it is the United States."
He suggests that the military
advantage that the free world has
over the Soviet Union and its allies
TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK
Your name and address.
I agree with Senator Proxmire. The United States enjoys
a military advantage over the Soviet Union and should
use its advantage to move towards negotiating an end
to the arms race.
I do not accept Senator Proxmire's statistics. The United
States does not have a significant military advantage.
I support efforts to negotiate with the Soviets to limit
or reduce military weapons.
I suppose efforts to negotiate with the Soviets. ,
Your comments: ;
Please mail the form to:
a I m STEVE
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makes it an appropriate time for us
to negotiate a nuclear arms limitation
What do you think about these
statistics? Do you agree that the
United States has a strong military
position compared to the Soviets? Is
it a good time to negotiate for the
limitation or reduction of nuclear
co The Tar Heel
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Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514
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