America Plays Black

Will Reagan's arms-control policies lead to a stalemate?

Something quite fundamental has changed during the past year in the way Washington deals with arms control, and it was apparent last week in the lengthy and excruciatingly nuanced reply by President Reagan to the letter that Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev sent him in June. For the first time in the history of nuclear diplomacy, the U.S. has been responding to Soviet proposals rather than taking the initiative. Moreover, the American response has frequently been delayed, tentative and ambiguous. In chess terms, it is as though, after years of playing white, making bold opening moves, the U.S. has elected to play...

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