Hot hands, cold feet
AS the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union comes closer to ending, why do my feet keep getting colder? I know that people living in glasnost houses shouldn't throw stones, but there is something slightly like the pitch of a used-car-salesman in Gorbachev's assurance that European stability is just a matter of getting rid of all the intermediate- and short-range missiles. Gorbachev doesn't even look like Khrushchev or Brezhnev. He looks like someone's kindly, European uncle. Reagan looks like somebody's uncle too, but it's Uncle Sam everyone thinks of.
Once all the dirty old nukes are gone, it leaves the Soviets with a nice clean superiority in conventional weapons - especially tanks - and it is still less than 500 kilometers from West Germany to the English channel. Gorbachev, with a smile, agrees to talk about conventional weapons, but only after all the nukes are gone. Meanwhile Europe might feel something like Finland.
In the midst of all this, the friendly Russians have been sending spies into the American Embassy, through the front door, by the simple device of overcoming American Marines with friendly Russian girls, who no doubt were dressed in the new glasnost styles. Apparently it didn't take very long to change the Marine motto to Simper Fidelis.
Even the new American Embassy, which was built by the friendly Russians, was planted so full of bugs the KGB can hear the moths eating the woolen blankets.
Reducing nuclear arms can be desirable if other things are equal. It would be nice if the Soviet Union could reduce its military hold on Eastern Europe in the spirit of glasnost. Eventual danger lurks more in the political than the nuclear differences.
Russia still holds many advantages. Not least among them is that any time it wants to rearrange any agreement, it takes only the blink of an eye in Moscow. The US must not only go through its democratic process at home but involve itself in lengthy negotiations with its European allies.
Up until now the nuclear capability of the US has been considered a sort of umbrella for Western Europe. Just as Western Europe is getting adjusted to the umbrella idea, along comes Uncle Mikhail playing his balalaika and singing, ``It ain't goin' to rain no more....''