The Nation: Keeping a Watch on Brezhnev

Soviet Party Leader Leonid Brezhnev is a past master of give and take, Russian style. At one point during the most recent Strategic Arms Limitation Talks in Moscow, Brezhnev took a fancy to the expensive gold Omega wristwatch worn by State Department Counsellor Helmut Sonnenfeldt. Brezhnev asked for it, offering in exchange a cheap Russian pocket watch.

Sonnenfeldt protested that the watch was a gift from his mother-in-law, and that she might be less than delighted at such a one-sided deal. With that, Brezhnev left the room, returning quickly with a somewhat better...