World: Sow Today, Reap Tomorrow

Soviet-American relations—as seen from the Kremlin

As Leonid Brezhnev's cordial meeting with Senator Charles Percy indicated, the Kremlin leaders want to appear willing to improve Soviet-American relations, despite the hard-line rhetoric by President-elect Reagan and his advisers. For political and economic reasons, they would generally like to restore détente—on their terms. But their conciliatory tone also has a propaganda motive: if relations worsen once Reagan enters office, the Kremlin wants to be in the best possible position to blame the U.S. Amplifying the signal Moscow has been sending Reagan, Brezhnev's chief spokesman, Leonid...