Meaning of ZERO ADJECTIVE (POLITICS) in English

In the names of disarmament proposals: zero option, a proposal made in the early eighties for the US to cancel plans to deploy longer-range theatre nuclear weapons in Europe if Soviet longer-range weapons were also withdrawn; zero zero option (or double zero option or simply double zero), a proposal made by the Soviet Union for the withdrawal from Europe of all NATO and Soviet shorter- and longer-range nuclear weapons (made a reality in 1987 under the terms of the INF treaty); triple zero option (or simply triple zero), a proposal to include short-range tactical weapons as well. Etymology: All based on the idea of zero as representing 'nothing', although, strictly speaking, none of the proposals would do away with all weapons. History and Usage: The original zero option dates from the beginning of the eighties, when some European countries felt very uneasy about the build-up of theatre nuclear weapons on both sides of the Iron Curtain; the term was revived in relation to the control of these longer-range INF weapons in the mid eighties. Double zero was a Soviet proposal of 1986-7, made at a time when the cold war was visibly thawing under Mr Gorbachev's administration in the Soviet Union; it was essentially put into practice (for Europe at least) by the INF treaty. There remains some pressure to move on to the global double zero, which would extend the provisions to weapons held outside Europe. Triple zero involves even shorter-range weapons, which some European countries still see as a worrying threat. If Pershing II and Cruise be negotiated away under the zero-zero option, and if Polaris is truly obsolescent...then the Labour Party 'unilateral' policy seems to differ very little in substance from that of the Alliance. New Scientist 16 Apr. 1987, p. 49 If we said yes to zero option, we said yes, yes to double zero option, and who knows, there may be a triple zero option involved in tactical neutral weapons. MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour 22 Apr. 1987 The further offer was formalised in Moscow last March, when Mr Gorbachev proposed to Mr George Schultz that all SRINF category weapons be removed from Europe. Because the LRINF proposal had been called the 'zero option', the joint scheme has come to be called the 'double zero'. 'Double zero' is, nonetheless, an inexact term, because 'single zero' would leave the superpowers with 100 missiles each, as long as they were held in Asiatic Russia and the continental United States respectively. Daily Telegraph 21 May 1987, p. 16 Eduard Shevardnadze emphasised that in the Soviet Union the fact is appreciated that Spain was among the first West European States which supported the double zero for Europe and then also the global double zero. BBC Summary of World Broadcasts 22 Jan. 1988, p. SU/A7

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