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'Our Faith in Treaties'

June 06, 1986

My reading of Kirkpatrick is that she believes that there is absolutely no way the Soviet Union can ever agree to coexist with us without war. Therefore, we misplace our faith in treaties because we will comply and they won't.

She gives some examples (radar, missiles, etc.), interpretations of which are still under review, and omits others (atmospheric nuclear testing) which are counter. She thereby reconciles events to her own beliefs, as she says others do, and concludes that our security is dependent on military solutions everywhere.

It's natural to so reconcile. The dangerous part is that she holds a commonly held world view that only military buildup can force compliance from the Soviets and their allies. Since we, and they, long ago passed the point of force from which the Earth could recover to support life, this longstanding world view is obsolete. "World views as usual" will result in military, ecological and/or economic destruction for all.

Hope comes from a new world view (treaties are optional) that conflict-resolution is always possible through discussions, negotiations and cooperative problem-solving efforts. This is "new" because although it has been held by individuals, it has never been implemented in a national policy.

Kirkpatrick states that treaty compliance is the greatest difficulty and that it cannot be negotiated. I agree. Therefore, I propose that the United States change its old view that the Soviet Union's compliance with our own, popularly supported nuclear test ban treaty was "propaganda." The new view would be that it can be another step toward mutual military de-escalation to which we should respond likewise.

If we can do this, the regional hot-spot conflicts will be much easier to solve.


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