Several days after the Geneva summit and I'm still puzzled by its assessment. Of course I can see why our President with his overriding Star Wars priority would call the summit a success. At least from his perspective that judgment can stand as an honest one.
But what about Gorbachev's assessment? What puzzles me is why the Soviet leader could stand up there and carry on as though he too had reason to call Geneva's thoroughly rhetorical results a success. Because no matter how hard Gorbachev tries in putting on a happy face, one sad fact from the summit looms over all: Star Wars remains fully on track, replete still with all its well known disastrous potential. And this despite the Soviet leader's very real, unexpected concessions on laboratory verification and offensive missile reduction. All else from Geneva must simply pale before our President's alarming intransigence on this matter, regardless how amiably or for what reason Gorbachev tries to finesse it away.
President Reagan can be a thoroughly delightful and well-intentioned man. But he can also be very, very narrow. Millions of patriotic Americans both inside government and out recognize Star Wars for the costly, destabilizing debacle it is. It must be deeply disturbing to these same citizens that they find the Soviet leader exercising more common sense on this issue than our own President. The lesson of this summit may well be that if the Russians can't stop the infernal momentum of the President's weapons in space, then Americans must.