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Geneva Summit Post-Mortems

December 01, 1985

The Reagan-Gorbachev summit certainly had its positive aspects. The two leaders apparently treated one another with civility. Some minor agreements were reached. But, most importantly, nothing terrible happened.

On the other hand, only Ronald Reagan could make almost everyone believe that the "fresh start" in superpower relations that was achieved is a positive or historic outcome. The only reason that a "fresh start" is needed is that for the past five years both countries have been conducting a fierce and destructive war of words while feverishly building more weapons of annihilation. This bleak situation has endured for so long and troubled so many people that even the primary architects of the current state of affairs in both nations decided that things had to change.

But if a constructive relationship is good for us now, why not five years ago? If a cessation of name-calling is appropriate now, why not earlier? And if a serious commitment to arms control is needed in 1985, why for God's sake were five years wasted?

After going in the wrong direction for so long, are we supposed to be delighted when told that the leaders of the superpowers are finally talking to one another? Well, I'm grateful for any positive movement, but I'm not impressed or satisfied. We are now at the point where we could have been five years ago. Let's see how far and how fast President Reagan and Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev go after this "fresh start."

JAMES SALLIS

San Diego

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