Sunk by Star Wars

An impasse over SDI zaps Gorbachev's briefcase full of proposals

It had the potential, or so it seemed for a while, of producing the most sweeping arms control agreement in the history of the nuclear age. The most dramatic proposal was to slash in half the long-range nuclear missiles in the arsenals of the superpowers and eventually eliminate them altogether. Until a half-hour before the meeting broke up on Sunday evening, virtually all the pieces seemed to be in place. Yet in the end, the Iceland summit broke down over a single word: laboratory.

After two intensive days of bargaining, Mikhail Gorbachev would not relent in his insistence that Ronald Reagan's...

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