Reading the Fine Print

Those sweeping arms proposals are not all they seem

After months of coolness and caution, the U.S. and the Soviet Union suddenly seem consumed by arms-control fever. First, Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze ended their tete-a-tete in the Tetons by announcing plans for a spring summit. A few days later, George Bush and Shevardnadze were at the United Nations competing to see who could get rid of chemical weapons faster.

But the most startling symptom of dovishness came from the Pentagon, in the just-released 1989 edition of Soviet Military Power. In the past, the Defense Department has used its annual threat assessment to present...

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