As the desert dust settles, American interests on a grander scale than the Persian Gulf are clamoring for attention. One is the future relationship of Washington and Moscow.
President Bush's euphoric hope that the superpowers could now stroll together into the rosy glow of a "new world order" may still be possible. They stayed basically together on Kuwait, although differences over details put some diplomatic distance between them. President Mikhail S. Gorbachev's move toward conservative Communist hacks and away from reformers does more damage. So does concern about the Soviet crackdown in the Baltics.
Some clues to damage will emerge as the United States and the Soviet Union return to discussing treaties to dismantle ground forces in Europe. Bush and Gorbachev signed a treaty last November calling for deep slashes in the numbers of tanks, aircraft and other heavy weapons that have been stationed along the east-west border for 40 years. The goal--enshrined in the Conventional Forces Treaty for Europe--was to leave so little weaponry that a surprise attack would be all but impossible.
Compliance with the treaty could be verified by reconnaissance aircraft, ground inspections and the like. Rigid rules would require notification of any proposed changes in deployment well in advance. All told, 22 Warsaw Pact and NATO countries signed the agreement.