Iceland Cometh

When is a trade not a trade? When a summit is not a summit

If the timing of the private letter to the President seemed odd, its contents were startling. The crisis created by the Soviet detention of American Journalist Nicholas Daniloff threatened to poison all negotiations between the nuclear superpowers. Yet in the midst of this impasse, here was Mikhail Gorbachev declaring not only that he still wanted to meet Ronald Reagan again but also that he wished to do so right away, before the two superpower leaders committed themselves to a full-dress summit conference.

True, Gorbachev had repeatedly and publicly proposed a snap meeting to negotiate a ban on nuclear tests. But Reagan...

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