Nation: Superpower Smoke Signals

Messages about budgets, bombs and civil defense

A hot line links the White House to the Kremlin for nearly instantaneous communication. But the two superpowers often prefer to conduct their strategic discourse by less direct means. Such an exchange seems to have been under way last week, when both the U.S. and U.S.S.R. took a number of actions or made statements bearing on the balance of nuclear power. Exactly what, if anything, they were saying to each other was unclear.

The most surprising development was the disclosure that the Soviets had, in the past month or so, delivered 20 MIG-23 Flogger jets to...

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