Soviet Union: Did You Say $250 Billion?

Gorbachev insists he is entitled to aid from the West, but Bush is wary. Reason: he doubts the Soviet leader's commitment to total reform.

The Russians are threatening the West again. Their increasingly strident pleas for billions of dollars in aid carry a subtext: if the U.S. and its industrialized allies do not come up with the money, a disintegrating Soviet Union may bleed all over them. Officials in Moscow talk of instability, possible civil war and a potential tidal wave of refugees clamoring to enter Western Europe. Some of them suggest that chaos in the U.S.S.R. could lead to nuclear war among the Soviet republics.

In his speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo last week, Mikhail Gorbachev joined the ominous chorus. If...

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