Deadly Meltdown

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During the past year Mikhail Gorbachev has attempted to build an image of a new style of Moscow ruler--responsible, candid and sophisticated. Yet today's Soviet leadership looked very much like those of the past. Soviet credibility in Western Europe, which had been a target of much of the new diplomatic offensive, has been particularly damaged. Gorbachev's goal of taking up the mantle of the recognized champion of a nuclear-free world has certainly been set back. Last Tuesday, when a Soviet diplomat was trying to elicit West German help with the accident cleanup while providing as little information as possible, a West German scientist finally lost his temper and shouted at him, "This is not some little game we are playing. You are now responsible for endangering life on our planet." The world will not soon forget that, nor how the Soviets reacted to Chernobyl.

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