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'Dealing With a Deadlock'

October 27, 1986

I felt a genuine Icelandic chill while reading the articles (Opinion, Oct. 19), "Dealing With a Deadlock."

Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, in stating that President Reagan's action at the summit meeting was right, makes a list of practical suggestions that are based on the principle of limited disarmament, and designed to reduce, rather than abolish the threat of nuclear annihilation. He would like to take the "over" out of the term overkill. And it is no small comfort to us that he possesses a greater understanding of the issues than the principals who attended the meeting in Reykjavik.

Despite the confusion that existed at that meeting (who can be certain which concessions were tabled?) both Kissinger and a Soviet historian, Roy Medvedev, who wrote the accompanying article, "Gorbachev Concessions Real," echo the same conclusion: that nothing was lost in Iceland that cannot be regained. And like the talks, both articles are substantive, while they inspire an even deeper mistrust of the other side.

Kissinger recognizes the Administration's shortcomings, particularly in communicating with the Soviets, but then, seeing the writing on the wall, he appeals for public support of the President's mythical, and anything but monolithic, foreign policy.

On the other hand, Medvedev imitates the self-effacing American liberal, a now familiar role for Soviet propagandists who we are told promote this "new thinking" about nuclear weapons in Soviet newspapers. He says he does "not believe that with fewer missiles in the Soviet Union, American bombs will be falling on us." Only a true pacifist could understand the fallacy of this notion.

If the present line on American foreign policy continues to develop unchecked for another decade, we may find ourselves with a technical superiority (as the Strategic Defense Initiative might give us) over the Soviets. Then, there will arise, leaders who demand we use that power. This leadership, duly elected, may not, likely will not, be willing to coexist with the Soviets. Surely Medvedev must believe this.

But distinguishing the official party representatives from the congressmen and senators who oppose the Administration's intransigent stance on SDI and arms control, and yet untied the President's hands just prior to the Iceland meeting, has become exceedingly difficult. One can only wonder why the voice of public dissent in our country has remained strangely acquiescent during the recent negotiations.

Perhaps the dissident politicians are giving Reagan enough rope to hang himself, though the world may disappear along with his hapless, hardline ideology.

There is no longer any reason for debate it seems. The actors grow more comfortable in their roles. One can imagine a poll taken after SDI is put into effect, "Would you approve a first strike if the President thought it advisable?" How should we feel if 67% approve?



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