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Gorbachev Cuts Troops

December 18, 1988

Reading your Op-Ed Page on Dec. 7 and 8 regarding Gorbachev's trip to the U.N. was fascinating. It's almost as if the writers came from different planets! Two of them (George Will and Robert Rudney) have the Soviets rearming "furiously" or carefully trying to "sow dissension within NATO." The other three (Les Aspin, Alton Frye and Robert E. Hunter) are much more sanguine about what Gorbachev has proposed.

Who are we to believe? Who is right? It's true that in the past the Soviets have given us many reasons to be cautious. But it's also true that Gorbachev is very different from his predecessors. I propose we act as if he is sincere. Why? Because our military strength is so great that we have little risk on that front. Because if he is insincere, it will come to light soon enough and will damage Soviet foreign policy goals seriously. Because it will help Gorbachev stay in power, which is clearly in our best interests. And because such action on our part will enable the two of us to move forward toward peace more quickly.

The world is crying out for an end to the militarization of the planet, and the $1 trillion spent annually on arms is vitally needed to solve the other increasingly obvious global problems we face. Now is the time for us to regain the initiative and move forward boldly.

JOSEPH C. KRESSE JR.

Santa Monica

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