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'Reagan Can Only Lose at Summit'

October 15, 1985

I was shocked when I read Fred Barnes' article (Editorial Pages, Oct. 7), "Reagan Can Only Lose at the Summit," to find a senior editor of the New Republic magazine so ignorant about what is happening in our world in terms of the growing threat of nuclear war. The article indicates to me a shallow grasp of an issue that threatens the life of every human being on this planet and is not simply a "win" or "lose" situation in terms of President Reagan, as Barnes so narrowly chooses to view it as.

Barnes chooses to de-emphasize the nuclear threat as a major issue of the summit, and instead, suggests the United States should concentrate on Soviet injustice (Afghanistan, human rights, etc.) as a means to gain the advantage at the summit. He states, "For one thing, the nuclear issue is the single item at the summit on which the United States and the Soviets have reached a kind of moral parity. Both sides, after all, have nuclear arsenals large enough to obliterate mankind." This statement demonstrates his lack of insight into the change of events that have occurred within the past couple of years under the Reagan Administration.

The current Administration abandoned the concept of "moral parity" that Barnes refers to on March 23, 1983, with the announcement of Strategic Defense Initiative (a.k.a. "Star Wars"), which portends the ultimate possibility of the creation of an invisible shield to protect the United States from a first strike. What the President, in effect, has done is "envisioned" a first strike and thus is preparing, through SDI, a means to gain superiority in a nuclear age. We no longer adhere to the concept of "moral parity," as Barnes so naively chooses to believe.

It became apparent to me, in view of the context of his article, that it was more important for Barnes that our President "win" the summit as if it were the Super Bowl, rather than deal with the greatest challenge mankind must face with an attitude of cooperation lending itself to vision and hope. It is unfortunate he does not comprehend that in this nuclear age we must abandon our egos and work together as "one" if we are to save our planet from destruction. Perhaps Barnes would understand if I presented it to him in his terms:

"Mankind is currently playing Mankind in the Super Bowl of life with only seconds to go. Until Mankind realizes there can be no winner, he will continue toward his ultimate self-defeat. The clock's running with only seconds left for him to realize this."

Therefore, it is becoming less significant for "referees," such as Barnes, to call penalties that only divert mankind from the true issue he must fact with time running out.

CHERYL BEHUNIN

Manhattan Beach

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