At the summit gathering in Paris, a treaty massively reducing maximum Soviet conventional armaments in the old Warsaw Pact area will be signed. Eighteen years in the making, it would have been considered a major diplomatic event if the Cold War still plagued Europe. Now, it will largely confirm what is already happening.
Yet the statistics are staggering: 41,000 Soviet tanks down to 13,000; 57,000 armored combat vehicles down to 20,000; 52,000 artillery pieces down to 13,000 -- in all, a 40 percent reduction that will bring Pact ground forces level with NATO numbers. With the reduction of 45 air combat wings in the old Soviet bloc area, NATO will have not only technological but numerical superiority.
It reflects the fact that the danger of a surprise attack from the East, which has forced the Atlantic Alliance to pump out $300 billion a year on defenses, is now ended. It would take the Soviet Union two full years to ready its forces for an offensive assault. Uncork the champagne!