A disturbing aspect of the meeting in Reykjavik is the dangerous air of reality lent to the President's SDI fantasy. The President, and apologists like George Will and Colin Gray in The Times (Editorial Pages, Oct. 14) talk about SDI as if it exists now, as if it is some viable, well-defined weapon system or strategy.
But what is SDI? Is it the impermeable shield the President persists in talking about? Or does it just protect our missiles? How much will this "insurance policy" cost us? Can it confound its legions of critics and somehow actually work?
No real answers can be given until billions of dollars and many more years have been spent on research and testing. And when will this magical shield be deployed? Reagan magnanimously offers to "delay" deploying SDI for 10 years. But his own people say that nothing will be ready for deployment for 15 to 20 years! The President informs us that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev didn't think this "concession" was good enough! Who can blame him?
So why are the Russians so concerned about SDI? Because (a) they don't think SDI technology will really be shared with them once developed, and (b) they don't believe that the weapons developed will be strictly "defensive" in nature.