For 70 years Soviet leaders have come from the same mold, part revolutionary and part provincial, that prevented their being taken seriously in the West except as warlords. Three days into the Washington summit, Soviet General Secretary Mikhail S. Gorbachev has succeeded in talking his way across the line into legitimate world stature.
That alone is cause to ponder what is happening in the capital. That President Reagan, with his sure sense of theater and of the benefits of center stage, helped Gorbachev get there is a sign that something basic has changed. For example, two dinners of state added immensely to the mix of summit hope and hoopla, but if you've seen one state dinner you've seen them all. What you have not seen is a Soviet general stroll into the War Room at the Pentagon, as Gen. Sergei F. Akhromeyev, deputy minister of defense and chief of staff of the Soviet armed forces, has been invited to do this morning. Since the planning for the summit meeting began, the strongest advocates of arms control have been the most anxious worriers about its leading to unwarranted euphoria. What they see now, though, is not exactly euphoria but is certainly relief concerning such events as Reagan and Gorbachev ending a two-hour discussion of Afghanistan and other issues on an optimistic note.