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Letters to The Times : Soviet View on 'Star Wars'

July 22, 1985

Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger in his article (Editorial Pages, July 9), "Strategic Defense Initiative: Creating Options for a Safer World," reminds us that American science and engineering have often surmounted seemingly impossible problems and challenges.

But what if the U.S.S.R. was the first to build the type of shield that the United States is trying to build in the framework of the "Star Wars" program? Some time ago Secretary Weinberger was openly disturbed over such a possibility. He said that if the Soviets were to build it first, things would become very dangerous in the world. According to him, it would be very much like a world with the Soviets having nuclear weapons and the United States not having them.

So Weinberger himself has discovered the true meaning of the Strategic Defense Initiative. That is what the Soviet people should have in mind. We know that Washington refuses to follow the Soviet example and take the obligation not to be the first to use nuclear weapons.

We in the Soviet Union don't exactly eat soup using our shoe for a spoon. Our national industry is capable of producing all types of modern weaponry, which the U.S. has now or is going to have in the future.

As far as the U.S. plans to militarize space are concerned, it goes without saying that the U.S.S.R. will choose methods of actions that are most in the interests of its defensive capacity, not those that the U.S. Administration would like to steer it toward.

I think it would be better for U.S. security not to check Soviet abilities to keep military-strategic parity. In a period of temporary U.S. nuclear supremacy, the U.S.S.R. has had no other choice but to create its own atomic weapons and launchers capable of reaching U.S. territory if the Soviet Union is every forced to retaliate. As a result, the United States has lost the superiority of its geographic position and is no longer practically invulnerable. New attempts to regain their former invulnerability with the aid of the SDI are also an illusion.

So "creating options for a safer world" are connected not with the SDI but with the non-militarization of outer space. Some days ago Mikhail Gorbachev, on behalf of the Soviet leadership, stated very definitely that the U.S.S.R. will not make the first step into space with weapons. What is Washington's response--Secretary Weinberger's article?

ALEXANDER MALYSHKIN

Washington, D.C.

Malyshkin is a Novosti Press Agency analyst temporarily assigned to the Soviet Embassy in Washington.

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