Faint Hints of an East-West Thaw

Cooling the nerve-gas race and warming to nuclear arms talks

In the three weeks since Konstantin Chernenko succeeded Yuri Andropov as leader of the Soviet Union, U.S. policymakers and Kremlinologists have peered closely East and West for portents of hope. Last week they thought they detected several encouraging signs of Soviet movement on arms control.

The most concrete step came when the Soviets announced that they were prepared, at least in principle, to let international inspectors verify the destruction of chemical weapons within the U.S.S.R. The question of on-site verification has for a...

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