The Summit's Good Soldiers

An anatomy of the arms-control impasse that made the difference

Just as superpowers are doomed to coexist, every summit seems destined to produce, sooner or later, a letdown. That is because the buildup is artificial. Such meetings are, by intent, based on the conceit that relations between traditional adversaries can change profoundly for the better, that they can change quickly, and that they can change as a result of the interaction between the superleaders themselves.

None of those propositions is true. If two countries are so at odds that the world devotes millions of words and hours of live television coverage to an encounter between two of their citizens, then clearly...

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