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Farewell to Arms Control

Courtesy Reuters

The United States and the Soviet Union have resumed negotiations for another summit meeting. In contrast to the first encounter between President Reagan and Secretary Gorbachev, if this meeting takes place it will be difficult to avoid the specific issues of strategic arms control. Both sides have recently advanced new proposals. At the same time, however, the United States has distanced itself from the second Strategic Arms Limitation Talks treaty, which expired at the end of 1985. Thus, failure to make progress at the summit, or in the Geneva talks, could leave the two sides without any agreed framework for strategic arms control, except for the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which would then be in jeopardy.

President Reagan raised a political furor last May when he announced his intention to cease observing the limits of the unratified SALT II treaty. Congressional critics passed resolutions of disapproval and allies sent messages of alarm.

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