Seeking the Tonic Effect

Now that he has consolidated his power, Mikhail Gorbachev is feeling confident enough to meet with Ronald Reagan at a Geneva summit in November. But last week's announcement was downplayed in both Moscow and Washington. In the past, the problem with summitry has been that it raised expectations to unrealistic heights. This time the problem is the opposite: the Reagan- Gorbachev meeting raises questions of why the two leaders are bothering to get together at all.

The White House had made no secret about its desire for Gorbachev to come to the U.S. The Soviets said nyet: a meeting would have...

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