Two assumptions clash in Op-Ed Page commentaries by Robert E. Hunter and George F. Will (Dec. 7).
Hunter assumes that the Soviets under Gorbachev are pursuing through perestroika and glasnost the restructuring of the Russian economy and the democratization of their union, and that detente and denuclearization are imperative conditions of such daunting ends.
Will, apparently dismissing the appearances of perestroika and glasnost as beneath contempt, assumes that the Soviets under Gorbachev, as under all his predecessors, are about the ever-devious business of dismantling NATO, disabling our deterrence, and generally winning the war, cold or hot, the two superpowers have been waging since World War II.
I suggest it is important to notice that Hunter doesn't deny the Soviet prerogative of demonstrating at home--if they can--the superiority of their socialist system. He may be skeptical of that denouement (as am I); but he is not prepared to so press the moral asymmetry of the two systems that the Soviets can't be right or well-intentioned about anything. On the other hand, it is important to notice that Will is convinced beyond argument that domination and power, never justice and security, are the unswerving objectives of Russian politics.