A Hot Nuclear Exchange

Reagan puts the ball in the Soviet court—and Gromyko bangs it back

The first salvo from Washington prompted an unprecedented counterblow from Moscow, which in turn triggered a second strike from the U.S. Fortunately, this intercontinental escalation involved only words about nuclear missiles—in fact, competing proposals for getting rid of them. But the public relations battle, essentially for the mind of Western Europe, could not have been more serious.

Ronald Reagan made the first use of a high-tech propaganda weapon: international television. As cameras hummed in the East Room of the White House, projecting...

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