The Politicisation of Comparisons
The East-West Dispute over Military Force Comparisons in the Cold War
Thomas Müller explores in this chapter the politicisation of force comparisons in the last decade of the Cold War. Both arms races and arms control are based on assessments of the relative military capabilities among competing states. In the wake of NATO's Double-Track Decision in 1979, East and West engaged in a propaganda contest over the assessment of the conventional and nuclear balances in Europe. The chapter reconstructs this propaganda battle as an exploratory case study of how comparisons are politicized-that is, become matters of political and public disputes-in situations of competition and conflict. It shows that the arms control negotiations between East and West were not only key factors driving the politicization of the force comparisons but also crucial forums for the development of a shared comparative framework, and thus the depoliticization of these comparisons.