The Soviet style of negotiation
Veteran American negotiators make several observations about US-Soviet weapons talks: The Soviets tend to be reactive, waiting for the United States to take the initiative. Soviet civilian negotiators are much better informed than they once were about US weapons systems and are more in control of a negotiation than the military. But the US delegation still tends to know more about the strategic arsenals of both sides. Although both parties are bound by instructions, the Soviets are on a tighter rein. The Americans have somewhat more flexibility to explore. Patience, perseverance, and an ability to put oneself in the Soviets' shoes are essential to achieving a breakthrough. The Soviets are stiff and tend to engage in polemics. The US does best if it avoids philosophical rejoinder. Informal encounters can be useful in finding out what the Soviets are prepared to give and how to arrive at a pragmatic formula for a successful agreement.