Rescue Mission

As Moscow faces its worst winter shortages since World War II, Bush offers food, cash and counsel to bolster Gorbachev's reforms

An open hand, outstretched to a fallen adversary, may be the surest sign that a battle is truly over. Last week brought just such a sign as the Soviet government issued a dignified -- but desperate -- request for help, and an American President responded solicitously. George Bush's decision to help sustain the Soviet Union through the hard winter ahead reflected as much politics as pity, but what made it easy was that both sides had so much to gain.

For the first time in the postwar era, the Soviet government now puts its needs -- and its fears -- ahead...

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