For a few more days, the struggle for control of the U.S. Senate will upstage the struggle for control of nuclear arms. Then Washington can get back to the lessons of the Reykjavik summit.
Perhaps the intrusion of politics was useful. The Reagan team's frowns of failure at the summit's end, the painted smiles of success that replaced them, the fudging in Washington over just how far President Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail S. Gorbachev moved toward disarmament are history. What counts, now, as it did then, is the future and, details aside, Reykjavik is a foundation on which to build.
The central meaning of the conversations in Iceland is that the two leaders understand that the arms race has gone far enough and that they should be cutting their nuclear arsenals, not adding to them. An outline for achieving that--born at Reykjavik--is on the table in Geneva.
Reykjavik also showed that there can be no deal on offensive nuclear weapons without a negotiated deal on defensive weapons.
Gorbachev's price for cuts in missiles was a slowdown in Star Wars, a price the President was not then prepared to pay. Gorbachev's price should have come as no surprise to Reagan. His own defense secretary, Caspar W. Weinberger, told him a year ago that an expanded Soviet defense network would require the United States to build more American offensive missiles.