Easier Said Than Done

Bush and Gorbachev set ambitious goals at Malta, but they left little time for the hard bargaining still to come

George Bush normally distrusts "big moments," and this one did not last long. His chummy session with Mikhail Gorbachev in Malta restored momentum to U.S.-Soviet relations and gave a boost to what Bush called his "new thinking" about the changes in the Communist world. Yet the President had barely left his joint press conference with Gorbachev when he encountered serious questions about his plans to encourage perestroika and to deliver on his promises in time.

Conservative activists were concerned that Bush had gone too far in pledging to help Gorbachev economically. Military experts doubted that treaties to cut nuclear warheads and...

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