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Changes in the Soviet Union

October 16, 1988

The four Op-Ed Page columns about the Soviet Union provided a continuing breath of fresh air about our supposed mortal enemy (Oct. 4).

What was revealed is that the Soviet Union is on a difficult mission using untested methods in an attempt to bring itself into the modern era. Whether Mikhail Gorbachev or the U.S.S.R. will succeed is unclear. One fact is clear: Military spending will not solve its problems, and as Gorbachev himself has said, military spending needs to be curbed to allow domestic spending to grow.

How ironic that Gorbachev's solutions seem so appropriate for the United States as well. It is distressing to realize that nowhere in the current presidential campaign has this fundamental reality been discussed.

Reality does not seem to be a quality that is easily faced or digested. Denial seems to be the order of the day in our foreign policy and spending military dollars our addictive way of avoiding this fact: We are a global community, and only global cooperation can assure global survival.

As Jerry E. Hough (one of the Op-Ed authors) said, "Americans tend to be very self-centered in their view of foreign policy." It is time to move on. We are not the only game in town. Fortunately, a global view has a happy ending. A safer environment; concern about all people (not just our "friends") and a world where war is a memory and not an expectation.

NICHOLAS R. RAY

Encino

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