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'Calling Off the Cold War'

November 12, 1985

Pfaff's article is a clear assessment of the respective positions of the United States and the Soviet Union, though in sum it avoids speaking the unpleasant truth.

If the Soviet leaders have it "in their power to decide" the course of world peace, what is our position? We have a charismatic leader, elected by a mandate of the people. Are we so poorly represented?

Economic differences are the cause, and the Soviet economy will benefit from arms reduction. Will the United States? Or is our economy so hopelessly dependent on defense-related industries we cannot even consider the possibility of growth sustained with peaceful technology?

If "the Soviet Union cannot have it both ways," neither can we. We cannot pretend we are improving the world while making money off military hardware and research. President Eisenhower described the dangers of the military-industrial complex when he was in office, and his forewarnings have come true.

Academia, once the institution of truth, now stands in line for the research money available in "sensitive areas." American workers are confronted more and more often by the choice between jobs in the defense field and no jobs at all.

Our real position on arms control has already been stated, and what is left is Pfaff's description of our official position, that "Western powers, so far as they believe anything, believe that people ought to be able to get along . . ." An avoidance of the issues.

We continue to prepare for war while not really wanting it. We arm the rest of the world and ourselves as well, not in the defense of freedom, but of the gross national product. It is time to de-mythify our Administration and its high-wire act over Armageddon. The eccentric, drum-pounding ideology and the economic evangelism are one and the same.

The choice we are forced to make is that of putting a more graceful man on the wire. We are looking for a peace we cannot afford. As long as the Cold War turns a profit, it will be impossible to stop; the future of world peace will rest in dubious hands, and the manufacture of new and more dangerous weapons in ours. We must find other choices.



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