In 1955, just after the summit meeting between President Eisenhower, General Secretary Khrushchev and Prime Minister Bulganin in Geneva, Chip Bohlen, then our ambassador to the Soviet Union, invited my family and me to stay at the American ambassador's residence in Moscow. At that time the British ambassador in Moscow was Sir William Hayter. There was a story that Hayter, when asked what it was like to negotiate with the Russians, had said it was rather like dealing with a defective vending machine. You put in a coin and nothing comes out. There may be some sense in shaking it, you may get your coin back; but there is no point in talking to it.

Hayter's statement, like most witty remarks, is a gross overstatement, but there is a kernel of truth in it. It can serve as a starting point for a review of the differences and difficulties that have beset the conduct of our relations with the Soviet Union.


First, we have to consider how the Communists think that policy should be analyzed. They start with the proposition that there are certain fundamental theses that distinguish the Communist approach to the world from that of others, particularly from that of the capitalist world. Among these theses are the primacy of the class struggle and the continuing fight against "imperialism" in the formerly colonial world. These theses they hold to be unchangeable.

They also have a somewhat more flexible view with respect to strategy. They think that strategy should, from time to time, be altered to reflect changes in the "correlation of forces." In the correlation of forces they include not only military forces, but economic, political and psychological factors as well. When the correlation of forces is favorable to their ends, their doctrine calls on them to exploit that favorable correlation by moving forward. When the correlation of forces is negative, the doctrine calls upon them to hold or to retreat while they attempt to reverse the adverse trends. With respect to tactics, the Communists believe there should be great flexibility. The guiding thoughts should be deception and surprise.

They also hold that is it important at all times to decide upon what they call the "general line." By this they mean that it is necessary at all times to identify correctly the group that constitutes the major threat to their ability to carry their program forward. During the early years after the October 1917 Revolution, the general line called for concentrating their attack on the social democrats within the Soviet Union, that being the group having the greatest potential appeal to workers, the class the Communists claimed to represent but were in fact less close to than the social democrats. Later, after their victory in the civil war, the general line called for concentrating their attack on the social democrats in other countries, particularly Germany. In 1946 Stalin made it clear that he saw the United States as being the principal potential opponent, even at a time when President Truman and his advisers were striving hard to preserve in peacetime the wartime collaboration between the United States and the Soviet Union. Today the general line focuses directly on the United States (and particularly on President Reagan) as being at the heart of the only potentially effective opposition to the Soviet program.

A further Soviet Communist precept is not to let emotion interfere with what they call "scientific realism." One should never let anger influence one's judgment, although it may be advisable from time to time to show anger. For some time before 1960 we were flying U-2 reconnaissance aircraft over the Soviet Union, but the Soviets could not shoot them down. During that period they showed no anger. The moment they were able to shoot down a U-2, Khrushchev put on a tremendous show of anger and beat his shoe upon his desk at the U.N. meeting of that year (1960). I doubt that there is merit in the common thesis, prominent from time to time, that the Soviet leadership is "angry" at the United States. More likely is that Soviet propagandists tell the Politburo that it is astute to create that impression.

A major point that emerges is that there is indeed a sharp contrast between the way the United States and other countries in the West approach foreign policy issues and the way in which they are approached by the Soviet Union.

This does not mean that we should not negotiate. Negotiations with the Russians can be important and sometimes in the past have achieved useful results. But progress is generally possible only if there has been a prior full Politburo decision favoring a deal on the specific subject matter or, in the case of arms control, a prior decision by the Soviet Defense Council. It is pretty well agreed that nothing can be done by the Soviet government, or by any of the other other organs of Soviet society subject to Party control, which is in conflict with decisions of the Politburo. Furthermore, it is generally agreed that decisions concerning the basic issues of defense, national security and arms control are made in the Defense Council, which is customarily chaired by the General Secretary of the Party and on which a certain number of the other members of the Politburo also sit.

The chief of the Soviet negotiating team at the negotiations on intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) told me there is also a subordinate body, chaired by Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, which deals with the day-to-day operations concerned with arms control. On that committee are members of the military establishment; Leonid Zamyatin, who chairs the Central Committee section dealing with the media and propaganda; Vadim Zagladin, who chairs the Central Committee section dealing with relations with other Communist parties and with what they call "political action"; and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the KGB. He left me with the impression that it was this group that formulated his instructions and coordinated them with the political action, propaganda, and other operations which were related to the objectives that their arms control positions and statements were designed to support.

Once there has been a prior high-level decision, it is up to the Soviet negotiators to get the best possible deal for the Soviet Union. Then, and only then, will they negotiate seriously with the objective of arriving at a deal. If there has been no such prior positive high-level decision, the United States will find itself negotiating with itself. It will offer one position, which will be firmly rejected, modify it in the hope that the new position will be more acceptable to the Soviet side, modify it again and again until finally it either comes down to a position so one-sidedly favorable to the Soviets that they cannot fail to accept it, or the United States has to draw back and wait until Soviet higher authority comes to the conclusion that other events in the world are evolving in such a way that it would, in fact, be advantageous for them to make a balanced deal on terms that take account of our interests, as well as their own.


Much of our experience in negotiating with the Soviet Union has been on arms control. Arms control is not an end in itself, but a means. The object of arms control negotiations is to support foreign policy and security policy by negotiating agreements that will contribute to reducing the risk of war, primarily the risk of nuclear war. Many other purposes are discussed in the immense literature that now threatens to engulf the subject of arms control and make it incomprehensible. These other purposes-stopping the arms race, saving money, increasing stability, assuring predictability, providing the foundation for a better East-West relationship-may well be desirable, but they are desirable only if they contribute to the more important goal of reducing the risk of war and strengthening the prospects of peace.

At the heart of the matter are the twin concepts of peace and war. It is in one's understanding of these linked concepts that thought about arms control must be grounded. I am convinced that much of the difficulty that the United States has found in getting along with the Soviet Union stems from the contrasting meaning and connotations of the word "peace." It means one thing in the West: internally, a state of domestic order, and externally, equilibrium and an absence of war.1 The Russian word for peace-mir-means something quite different, however, particularly as used by the Soviets since the October Revolution.2

Let me draw on another illustration from my visit to Moscow after the 1955 summit meeting in Geneva. Ambassador Bohlen took me to a session of the Supreme Soviet, at which Khrushchev and Bulganin were reporting on the "Spirit of Geneva," as the Western press had christened the apparent spirit of cooperation that resulted from that summit conference. Khrushchev and Bulganin took turns in making the presentation. As Bohlen translated for me, I found it fascinating to watch the faces of the delegates and their reactions to what was said. Whenever the speakers dwelled on the Geneva conference, its apparent success, and "the Spirit of Geneva," the audience was dead; people yawned, and some actually fell asleep. Whenever Khrushchev or Bulganin launched into an impassioned description of Western faults, errors and shortcomings, the necessity for mir, and the actions the party proposed to take to achieve mir, the audience became animated and broke into loud applause.

I asked Bohlen for an explanation of this apparently contradictory behavior. He said that the primary dictionary meaning of mir was "the world and those who live on it" and that "concord among peoples and nations and absence of war" was only the secondary meaning. He explained that, as the Soviets used the word in Party statements and writings, it meant a condition in the world in which socialism, the first stage of communism, had triumphed worldwide, class tensions had thus been removed, and the conditions for true peace under Communist leadership had come to pass. The reaction of the members of the Supreme Soviet to Khrushchev's and Bulganin's remarks therefore indicated a lack of interest in the relaxation of tensions exemplified by the "Spirit of Geneva" but enthusiasm for the continuing struggle for mir.

Thus the essence of mir in the Soviet concept is something quite different from what we in the West understand by peace. Two Dutch authors have described the Soviet concept:

In the Soviet view, the masses in non-socialist societies are exploited and repressed; there is no class basis for mir and no real peace. Therefore, the source of all wars is "capitalist imperialism" which seeks to prevent the peaceful socialist world system from fulfilling its holy mission. The Soviets, indeed, believe in such a mission-missiya-to establish mir in all other societies, the populaces of which are believed to be longing for liberation and genuine peace.3

This is a peculiarly Leninist concept. Marx had developed no real concept of international relations, for after the proletarian revolution and the "melting away" of the socialist governments, there would be no need for international relations in the accepted sense. Lenin, of course, was confronted by a situation not anticipated by Marx: the revolution was limited to one country. Thus, he had to elaborate a doctrine of the role of peace and war in Soviet policy, a doctrine which became a central part of Marxist-Leninist thought. This doctrine in large part reflected the problems and aspirations of the newly formed Soviet state, the single socialist entity in a world of capitalist states that were, by their very nature, hostile to it. Lenin's contention was that only a proletarian society could enjoy mir, which would be attained only with the establishment of socialism, the first phase of communism. At times, mir could only be achieved through "wars in defense of the fatherland." The Soviet encyclopedia states that the historical mission of communism is to end war and bring about everlasting mir on earth.

Thus, the Soviet concept of "peace" (or mir) has come to mean a continuing struggle, rather than a state of equilibrium, as peace is often defined in the West. Mir takes as a given that there is a natural and irreconcilable conflict of interest between the socialist and non-socialist worlds. In the long run, international equilibrium cannot be guaranteed in a world of competing social systems. True mir can be achieved only through the establishment of a worldwide classless Marxist society, which, given the nature of capitalism, will be achieved only through revolutionary struggle. Thus, over the long run, the pursuit of mir will come into conflict with the pursuit of international equilibrium.

That being said, it should be noted that Marxist-Leninist thought permits, indeed strongly encourages, unlimited tactical flexibility in the pursuit of mir. Moreover, Lenin counseled caution and calculation. International order based on equilibrium is not good in itself because it is a hindrance to the struggle to achieve a worldwide classless society. However, it may be an acceptable temporary policy objective if the prevailing circumstances dictate, that is, if the "correlation of forces" is unfavorable, or if the interests of the Soviet state will be served by abatement of international conflict or tension.


The Soviet interpretation of mir is related to the strategy of "peaceful coexistence," which was formulated by Lenin in 1917 at a time when the Soviet Union desperately needed peace with Germany. This strategy stressed the avoidance of direct armed conflict with the capitalist states, while pursuing Soviet interests through other means, when the "correlation of forces" was adverse. Before World War II, Stalin continued to consider the Soviet Union weaker than its potential enemies. In 1927 he said:

Hence our task is to pay attention to contradictions in the capitalist camp, to delay war by 'buying off' the capitalists and to take all measures to maintain peaceful relations. . . Our relations with the capitalist countries are based on the assumption that the coexistence of the two opposing systems is possible. Practice has fully confirmed this.4

In other words, caution and calculation prevailed; the circumstances permitted-and required-acceptance of an equilibrium with the principal European countries.

During the 1960s, when the United States enjoyed nuclear superiority but the principal European states were in the midst of the difficult process of dismantling their former colonial empires, the Soviet strategy of "peaceful coexistence" was further elaborated. A typical Soviet statement from those days was:

Peaceful coexistence of states with different social orders does not mean the end of the class struggle. Peaceful coexistence not only does not exclude the class struggle but is itself a form of the class struggle between victorious socialism and decrepit capitalism on the world scene, a sharp and irreconcilable struggle, the final outcome of which will be the triumph of Communism throughout the entire world.5

During this period, emphasis was placed on supporting terrorism, guerrilla warfare and wars of national liberation, while direct confrontation with the United States was avoided.

Some in the West argue that, whatever the Soviet ideologues assert, the ruling group in Moscow no longer truly believes in the Marxist-Leninist dogma. Almost certainly, many in the Soviet leadership have serious doubts about various aspects of the doctrine. But what counts is that the Soviet rulers believe in their dogma in various ways. The former Soviet Chief of Staff, Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, for example, believes in its utility as a rationale for keeping the Soviet society bound to an unmatched level of effort in directing resources to the accumulation of military might. A Soviet counterpart of mine in the INF negotiations, though a thorough cynic, found it necessary to believe in the efficacy of the doctrine if he was to advance in his career. One of my Russian scientist friends was frank in expressing his disbelief in many important aspects of Marxism-Leninism but is a loyal Russian and believes in the contribution Russian science can make to knowledge and to the security of the state; he sees no alternative but to support the system. Foreign Minister Gromyko reiterated the dogma with force and clarity in an article published in Moscow this past spring entitled "Lenin's Peace Policy."6

This is not to say that Russian nationalist drives have had no role in forming Soviet policy. During World War II, patriotism for Mother Russia was officially invoked by Stalin, and became a strong and unifying force in checking and then defeating Hitler's armies. But immediately after the defeat of Hitler, Stalin quickly reestablished the primacy of the Party and Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist doctrine.

The objective situation has changed over the past 40 years. Internal opposition is weaker but dissatisfaction with the regime is widespread. The Soviet Union's control has expanded over some 110 million additional people in Eastern Europe, with both the advantages and the strains that such control brings. Soviet influence in remote areas of the world has increased but the attractiveness of its image as a model for emulation has eroded. Its military power has grown immensely. The mix of these factors in turn has had a bearing on the evolution of Soviet policy.

Marxist-Leninist ideology continues nevertheless to have an important influence on Soviet policymaking. Soviet leaders are schooled in that philosophy; it provides the prism through which they view the outside world. All of them believe in their dogma in the sense of ascribing to it efficacy and indispensability in underpinning the regime's hold on power. Concessions or compromise on the dogma would be suicidal for the regime; the effects throughout the realm of Soviet domination would be shattering and incalculable. The Soviet rulers believe in the Marxist-Leninist dogma because it is the linchpin of the system; it alone gives the system legitimacy. Chip Bohlen once said that Marxist-Leninist doctrine is the fig leaf of the Soviets' respectability; without it they could not live with the reality of the crimes committed in its name.


These Soviet concepts and beliefs inevitably clash with our own. The experience of World War II reinforced the ideas, not only in America but also in Europe, that peace was the norm, that an international order should be based on equilibrium, and that war had become potentially so destructive as to be virtually unacceptable. But initially we hoped we would not be called upon to do much about it. Surely other states, including our wartime ally the Soviet Union, must similarly see the unacceptability of war.

As early as the spring of 1946 Stalin made it evident that he saw it otherwise. He proclaimed that the Marxist-Leninist doctrine of the struggle for mir was to be continued into the indefinite future and that the United States was to be viewed as the center of the opposing capitalist world whose very existence made true mir impossible. By 1947 it became clear that England and the other Western countries that formerly had carried the Western burden of world politics and strategy had been too weakened by the two world wars to continue to carry the major share of that burden. The United Nations Organization had proved itself ineffective in the face of great-power disagreements. The United States had to take a lead or see the world accommodate to Stalin's view of the future.

It was under this impulse that the great shifts in American foreign policy of the late 1940s and early 1950s took place. At first, emphasis was placed on helping to create a world economic system based on the Bretton Woods Agreements, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, and backed by the ordering of trade arrangements through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. That work was supplemented by the U.S. aid programs, notably the Marshall Plan and Point Four. Germany, Japan and Italy were returned to the family of nations as free nations. A serious but unsuccessful effort was made to bring the atom under control through the Acheson-Lilienthal Plan and the Baruch Proposal. The United States later participated in the construction of a network of collective defense treaties intended to enhance security against aggression.

The point of all this effort was to help extend to the world external to the United States the concept of a just and reasonable order, a condition of peace. A place in this structure was offered to the Soviet Union. That offer was consistently rebuffed; for the Soviets to accept a permanent position in such an order, however favorable the circumstances, would have been in diametric opposition to the very concept of the struggle for mir. Stalin and all of his successors have rejected such a concession from their ideology, and the opposition between the two concepts-peace and mir-continues unabated to this day.

Indeed, I observed it at first hand. The failure of the INF negotiations to date to reach an equitable and mutually acceptable solution can be seen to be grounded in this clash of concepts. American positions were designed to enhance the balance and equilibrium that we see as being basic to international order. The Soviet approach, on the other hand, was based on efforts to preserve and, if possible, enhance a "correlation of forces" that favored them. While exploiting available pressures in an attempt to cause us to accept an unequal and destabilizing agreement at the negotiating table, the prime Soviet interest in the INF issue was in using it to achieve wider purposes: to sow division within the North Atlantic Alliance, particularly between the United States and Europe, and to create tensions within individual countries, especially the Federal Republic of Germany. A NATO thus weakened would be less prepared to resist the expansion of Soviet influence, a situation that would both enhance the position of the Soviet state and contribute toward the future achievement of what it considers the true peace, or mir.

It was the hope of American policymakers during the late 1940s that the use of force in international affairs, or even the threat to use force, could be avoided. But just as in assuring internal tranquility the resort to force cannot be wholly avoided, so in support of order in international affairs deterrence through the threat of force, and on occasion the actual use of force, cannot be avoided. To paraphrase Clausewitz, the use of force exists for the benefit of the defender; the aggressor will always prefer to enter your country unopposed. The point is that the use of force, whether used internationally or internally, should be based on principle and a process giving it legitimacy.

The question then is which set of principles and which process of legitimization should be supported: (1) peace in its normal meaning-the absence of anarchy, terrorism and civil war internally, and, externally, an international system of order leading to the absence of war between nations; or (2) mir, the support of terrorism and guerrilla warfare in other countries under the banner of "wars of national liberation" leading to an increased risk of international war-what the Soviets would call a "just war"-followed by a worldwide regime of structured violence calling itself mir which would parallel the continuous process of intimidation that now characterizes the Soviet regime domestically.

On this question it is possible to be too impartial. There have been obvious shortcomings in the way the concept of peace has been carried out in practice by all countries, including the United States. Perfection is not obtainable in the real world. But imperfections in implementation do not invalidate a valid idea. Failure to choose between peace and mir can result in a Hamlet-like inability to act until it is tragically late, perhaps too late. It can lead to confusion, uncertainty and chaos, the very conditions most apt to lead to an unintended war. A clear and timely choice should be made.

Let us assume, for the moment, that there is in fact a consensus not only in the United States, but also in the rest of the world not controlled by Moscow, in support of peace in its normal meaning. What then should be the proximate aim of policy? I suggest that the key phrase describing the aim of policy be "live and let live." The Soviet phrase "peaceful coexistence" means exactly that to non-Communist ears. This is not the meaning Khrushchev and Brezhnev gave it, but for once let us take a phrase of theirs and give it the meaning we believe it should have.


"Live and let live" has been the actual aim of American policy toward the Soviet Union since the end of World War II. From time to time, we did adopt a different declaratory policy of "roll back," for example in the early 1950s. But our action policy has consistently been "containment"; in other words, let the Soviets be as they are if they will likewise let others be. In contrast, Soviet declaratory policy since 1945 has been "peaceful coexistence," which has given the impression of "live and let live," while in fact to Communist ears it called for an action policy of successive takeovers wherever and whenever this was possible without excessive risk. Whether "live and let live" can be fruitfully pursued as a policy for both sides therefore depends on whether there is any prospect for a change in Soviet action policy.

There are many indications that such a change is not impossible. A host of internal and external factors could combine to effect changes in Soviet policies and perhaps make possible a genuine peaceful coexistence between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Internally, these are not easy times for the Soviet leadership. They are plagued by a myriad of problems: the collectivized agricultural sector consistently fails to meet the country's food needs and substantial imports are required on a chronic basis; the stagnant civilian economy offers little hope of improving-and may prove unable even to sustain-a standard of living that is one of the lowest in Europe; corruption is rampant; the birth-rate of the Russian population is in sharp decline, raising the prospect that Russians will soon be a minority in their own country; average life expectancy for Soviet males has declined by three or four years since the early 1960s, a truly unique phenomenon; and Communist ideology is increasingly viewed as cynical and bankrupt, by many inside the Soviet Union and by most without. These problems appear to be not of a transient nature but endemic to the system.

Externally, Soviet foreign policy has not worked nearly as well as the leadership would have hoped and, in some cases, has been marked by outright failure. More than 100,000 Soviet troops have occupied Afghanistan for almost five years, yet gains against the Afghan people prove elusive and victory is nowhere on the horizon. Soviet efforts in the Middle East, Latin America and Africa have consumed enormous resources but have yielded little in the way of tangible benefits. The actions of their surrogates have often reflected poorly upon Moscow. Soviet propaganda efforts in Europe designed to generate opposition to NATO intermediate-range missiles failed to block those deployments, and their unjustified walkouts from various arms control fora have fostered an impression of Soviet intransigence and obstructionism throughout the world.

Ironically, what Soviet foreign policy has succeeded in doing is to generate a response from the outside world-in most cases to be on guard. There is now a more realistic recognition of the nature of the Soviet threat. Soviet activities and rhetoric have prompted alarm and defensive-rather than accommodating-reactions in the United States, Europe, Japan, China and elsewhere. The list of countries condemned by Moscow for "anti-Soviet" stances is large and growing. (The current Soviet leadership appears to consider this and ask, "What's wrong with the world that causes so many to oppose us?", rather than the more appropriate question, "What's wrong with our policies toward the world that cause so many to oppose us?".) In fact, this growing list testifies to the failure and ineptitude of much of recent Sovet foreign policy.

In sum, internal and external factors would appear to call for Moscow to consider revisions in its policies. Moreover, the time appears at last to have come when the older generation of Soviet leaders is being replaced by a younger generation. It seems that many of the abler members of the younger generation realize that internal reforms are necessary. The agricultural system needs to be freed up and adapted to market systems; the economy in general needs a healthy dose of decentralization; the legal system needs to be made to apply-and be seen to apply-to all, Party members as well as ordinary citizens; the non-Russian nationalities need to be treated more equitably and to be given greater autonomy in language and education; the health-care system requires urgent attention; and the political institutions and leadership must be made more responsive to the public will and needs. It is not at all improbable that younger Communist leaders who wish to get needed reforms under way will find their way to the top. And they may well come to the reasonable conclusion that it would be easier and safer to carry out such reforms under a foreign action policy of "live and let live" than by pursuit of the Leninist goal of mir and its concomitant exacerbation of international tensions.

The rest of the world would welcome such reforms and such internal progress. They would make the Soviet Union in many ways a stronger competitor but, hopefully, a less paranoid and more cooperative one.


It is unlikely, however, that such reforms would bring Soviet society to our view of a "just" domestic order; that society will in all likelihood continue to be characterized by intimidation imposed upon the people of the Soviet Union by a relatively small group at the top. But we are not in a position to change the Soviet Union and, as desirable as we might believe dramatic internal change would be for the Russian people, it may not be a prerequisite for a genuine peaceful coexistence between East and West. The United States and the Sovet Union can abide one another even if Moscow maintains a totalitarian order domestically. The key to a successful mutual "live and let live" policy is a willingness on the part of the Soviets to moderate their use-and threats-of force (either directly or through surrogates) in their dealings with the outside world. This would not be a perfect peace in the Western sense, but it could be an operationally livable peace.

How could the United States and the Soviet Union bring about such a peace? It is doubtful that much would come from an attempt to define and negotiate the terms of an agreement spelling out in detail the principles of "live and let live." But constructive discussion could lead to action on one side, concurrent with action on the other. If that initial step proved satisfactory to both, it could lead to further sets of complementary actions. Such an action-reaction process could conceivably provide a more solid foundation for progress in Soviet-American and East-West relations than a negotiated set of principles of conduct.

For example, a reciprocal "live and let live" policy would call for a Soviet response to the softening in tone of the Reagan Administration's rhetoric concerning the Soviet regime. The Soviets, on their side, could moderate the continuous vilification by Soviet spokesmen and publications of the United States and, in particular, of the President. Moderation by the Soviet Union could take the form of refraining from exacerbating the situation in the Middle East, blocking an improvement in relations between Bonn and East Berlin, threatening Pakistan, and supporting guerrilla warfare and terrorism in Latin America and elsewhere; such restraint could be reciprocated by a United States willingness to consult with the Soviet Union and coordinate policies which could lead to a true relaxation of tensions in many parts of the world.

A genuine peaceful coexistence between the United States and the Soviet Union could not help but have wide and important implications. As an example, one can speculate on its implications for Europe. It would imply a Western willingness, however reluctant, to go on living with the Communist governments in Eastern Europe. (It has long been evident that no acceptable action policy on the part of the West could realistically be expected to change this. No American administration has been prepared to run the risk of such an attempt in the past, and it is unlikely one would be prepared to do so in the future.) A positive evolution of the situation in Eastern Europe is much more apt to develop from internal factors, particularly in the context of a "live and let live" world. The concomitant to a "live and let live" Western policy in Europe would be a build-down of the large and menacing Soviet military posture toward Western Europe.

Among the more important accomplishments that could flow from "live and let live" would be meaningful arms control arrangements that in fact reduce the risk of war and strengthen the prospects of peace. Under such a policy-as opposed to the pursuit of Lenin's mir-the maintenance of a force of large intercontinental ballistic missiles posing a first-strike threat against the United States would be unnecessary. Similarly, there would be no justification for the political-military threat to Europe and other Soviet neighbors embodied in the large Soviet SS-20 force. A number of significant and mutually advantageous trade-offs would be possible in the arms control context.


Is there anything the West, particularly the United States, can do to encourage such an evolution in Soviet foreign policy, especially as the next generation of leadership comes to power? Any attempt to influence directly the evolution of policy within the Soviet Union is apt to be counterproductive. We have not been successful in doing so in the past; it is quite unlikely we can achieve significant success by direct pressure in the future.

To the extent, however, that we can restore a consensus in the United States and the West in favor of a dual policy-a policy on the one hand of keeping our guard up against attempts to weaken and divide us internally and from our allies, and on the other hand of welcoming any evidence from the new Soviet leadership that they are interested in reciprocal action policies of "live and let live"-we will be headed in the right direction. Substantive progress will require movement, not merely from us, but especially from the Soviets, particularly in restraining their pursuit of mir, that is, in restraining their encouragement of anarchism, violence and anti-Americanism as the road toward revolutionary totalitarianism in an ever-widening area of the world.

1 For a discussion of Western views of "peace," see Michael Howard, "The Concept of Peace," Encounter, December 1983, p. 18.

2 In pre-October Revolution Russia there were two words, spelled M?P and MIP in the Cyrillic alphabet, both pronounced in the same way. In 1918 the Russian alphabet was simplified; "I" was abolished and became "?." Thereafter there has been a single word "M?P," transliterated as mir in our alphabet. Prior to 1918, M?P meant peace. MIP had two meanings: the universe or world and, its historical meaning, the village commune of elders which from time to time reallocated the cultivation of the village communal land among individual members of the village. (Isaiah Berlin in Russian Thinkers points out that for the pre-Marxist Russian revolutionaries and authors who created the foundations of the Russian populist, revolutionary, socialist movement in the 1840s, 1850s and 1860s-such as Herzen, Belinsky, Chernyshevsky, and Turgenev-"the village commune was the ideal embryo of those socialist groups on which the future society was to be based.") Thus, mir (M?P) now has three meanings: the world, the commune, and peace.

3 Dr. J.A. Emerson Vermaat and Dr. Hans Bax, "The Soviet Concept of 'Peace'," Atlantic Community Quarterly, Winter 1984, p. 326.

4 Stalin in "Political Report of the Central Committee to the 15th Congress of the CPSU (B)," December 3, 1927, as cited in Richard Allen, Peace or Peaceful Coexistence, Chicago: American Bar Association, 1966, p. 78.

6 Moscow News, April 29-May 6, 1984, p. 5.



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  • Ambassador Paul H. Nitze is Special Representative for Arms Control and Disarmament negotiations. He has held numerous positions in the Federal Government since 1941, including Vice-Chairman of the Strategic Bombing Survey, Director of State Department Policy Planning Staff, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Secretary of the Navy, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Representative of the Secretary of Defense of the U.S. Delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks, and head of the U.S. Delegation to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces negotiations. The views expressed in this article are Ambassador Nitze's and do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. Government.
  • More By Paul H. Nitze