One of the Administration's repeated arguments for pursuing SDI is the excuse given by any kid caught in a fight: somebody else started it. ''The Soviet Union,'' President Reagan said last fall, ''is about ten years ahead of us in developing a defensive system.'' As Richard Perle put it at the TIME conference, ''The Soviet SDI program preceded that of the U.S., and they've made a larger investment than we have.'' But in an analysis presented to the conference, Stephen Meyer, an associate professor of political science at M.I.T. who is a consultant for the Pentagon on Soviet technology, said that...

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