Section one: soviet response to reagan

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The Washington Post

September 29, 1983, Thursday, Final Edition

Andropov Blasts U.S. 'Militarist Course'
BYLINE: By Michael Dobbs, Washington Post Foreign Service
DATELINE: MOSCOW, Sept. 28, 1983

Soviet General Secretary Yuri Andropov today belittled the Reagan administration's commitment to arms control in one of the sharpest attacks on U.S. foreign policy by a Soviet leader in recent years.

In a lengthy statement devoted entirely to U.S.-Soviet relations, Andropov accused Washington of pursuing a "militarist course" that raised the danger of nuclear war. He dismissed President Reagan's latest proposals on intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe and warned that the Soviet Union would respond to any attempt to disrupt the existing strategic balance.

Commenting for the first time on the shooting down of a South Korean airliner by the Soviet Union, Andropov blamed the United States for what he called "a sophisticated provocation, masterminded by U.S. special services" and "an example of extreme adventurism in politics." He said that Washington had exploited the furor surrounding the incident to step up the arms race. [On Sept. 1, 1983 the Soviet Union shot down a Korean civilian airplane that strayed into Soviet airspace, killing all passengers on board. This became a major international incident ~NV]

Western diplomats who heard Andropov's statement, which was read by an announcer as the lead item on state television news, expressed surprise at the virulence of his language and the bleakness with which he depicted the current state of international relations. They said he appeared to be mounting a counteroffensive following a series of attacks by President Reagan and senior U.S. officials on the Soviet Union.

While Soviet rhetoric against the United States has reflected the deterioration in relations between the superpowers during the past few years, diplomatic observers here could recall few precedents for the sweeping nature of Andropov's attacks. The Soviet leader seemed to rule out all hope of any breakthrough in the Geneva talks on intermediate nuclear weapons on the basis of present U.S. proposals.

In Washington, a State Department statement said, "The world will be deeply disappointed with the Andropov statement. He has for the first time associated the highest levels of the Soviet government with the pathetic charge that the Soviet shootdown of the civilian aircraft was the result of 'a sophisticated provocation, organized by the U.S. special services.' The international community expects and awaits a different answer . . . .

"The world will be disappointed that Mr. Andropov's response to the president's major arms control initiative at the United Nations is a threatening restatement of their long-standing position that the Soviets will maintain their monopoly of intermediate-range missiles in Europe. For our part, we will continue to work in Geneva for a negotiated settlement that strengthens international peace and security."

Andropov lashed into past and present U.S. policies around the world--from Central America to Lebanon to what he depicted as attempts to stir up militarism in Japan. On arms control, he said the United States was unwilling "to conduct serious talks of any kind" and was simply playing for time at negotiations in Geneva on intermediate-range nuclear weapons and the parallel talks on long-range, or strategic, missiles.

Andropov also questioned the suitability of the United States to act as the host for the United Nations and warned Western European leaders that they were being used as political "hostages."

One of the main messages in the 3,000-word statement was that the Kremlin would show no weakness in the face of threats from abroad. Andropov said that people who had attempted to undermine the Soviet Union's independence or Communist system in the past had ended up on "the garbage heap of history."

"The Soviet people can rest assured that our country's defense capability is maintained at such a level that it would not be advisable to anyone to stage a trial of strength," he said.

Publication of the statement was an unusual way of making the Soviet leader's views known. A Soviet official said today that Andropov, who has not been seen in public since late August, has still not returned to Moscow from his vacation.

The statement, which was couched in grave and somber terms, began with the words: "The Soviet leadership deems it necessary to make known to the Soviet people, other peoples, and all those who are responsible for shaping the policy of states its assessment of the course pursued in international affairs by the present U.S. administration.

"To speak briefly, this is a militarist course which poses a grave threat to peace. Its essence is to try and assure for the United States domineering positions in the world without reckoning with the interests of other states and peoples."

Andropov said that the past two years of talks in Geneva had proved that U.S. negotiators were not ready to reach an agreement.

"Their task is different--to play for time and then start the deployment in Western Europe of ballistic Pershing II and long-range cruise missiles. They do not even try to conceal this. All they do is prattle about some flexibility of the United States," he said.

Dismissing Reagan's latest arms proposals, Andropov said: "We are being asked to talk on how to help the NATO bloc to upset to its advantage the balance of medium-range nuclear systems in the European zone. And this move is presented brazen-facedly as something new."

He did not deal with the details of Reagan's offer to include nuclear bombers in calculations of medium-range weapons systems or to refrain from matching global levels of Soviet warheads.

Describing U.S. policies as short-sighted, cynical and suicidal, the Soviet leader expressed surprise that Western European politicians were going along with Washington's determination to deploy new U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe. He accused the European leaders of "disregarding the interests of their peoples and the interests of peace" by helping to "implement the ambitious militarist plans of the U.S. administration."

Adding that the Americans had shown no sign of being willing to do business at the strategic arms talks, Andropov said the United States was planning to launch the production of new "weapons which may radically alter the notions of strategic stability and the very possibility of effective limitation and reduction of nuclear arms."

"No one should mistake the Soviet Union's good will and desire to come to agreement as a sign of weakness. The Soviet Union will be able to make a proper response to any attempt to disrupt the existing military-strategic balance, and its words and deeds will not be at variance," he said.

Claiming that U.S. leaders had shown contempt for the United Nations, Andropov asked: "Can the international organization, called upon to maintain peace and security, remain in the country where outrageous militarist psychosis is imposed and the good name of the organization is insulted?" The Kremlin has accused the United States of making it impossible for Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko to attend the present session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Saying that the Reagan administration was waging a crusade against communism, Andropov attacked the "transference of ideological contradictions to the sphere of inter-state relations."

"This is simply absurd and inadmissable at present in the nuclear age. Transformation of the battle of ideas into military confrontation would be too costly for the whole of mankind," he said.

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts

October 10, 1983, Monday
US Foreign Policy: ''Ignoramuses in Politics Have a Final Say''
SOURCE: (b) Moscow ''World Service in English, Text of commentary by ''our observer'' Yuriy Reshetnikov
The Reagan policy of dealing with the Soviet Union - vitriolic language and an all-out arms race - is flourishing as never before. The administration has cynically used the airliner incident to step up its anti-Soviet bombast and win Congressional approval of a large assortment of new weapons. Has this policy made the United States and the world at large feel more secure? Our observer Yuriy Reshetnikov takes a look at the issue:
The consensus of world opinion is that at the moment of its fullest application, the Reagan policy of dealing with the Soviet Union has proved to be totally bankrupt. Never since the early 1950s, at the height of the cold war, has the world found itself in such a dangerous state of East-West relations. Even some administration officials reportedly realise the dangers involved in Reagan's policy. The recent statement by Soviet President Yuriy Andropov on relations with the United States has served to many in Washington as a kind of eye-opener. If anyone had any illusions as to the possible evolution for the better of the present American administration, said Yuriy Andropov, the latest developments have finally dispelled them.
For two and a half years the Reagan administration has consistently refused to engage in a meaningful dialogue with this country, matching its harsh rhetoric with an unprecedented weapons build-up. The dangers of such a course have been pointed out in a remarkable article by George Kennan, appearing in the current issue of the 'New Yorker'. Mr Kennan bluntly described Reagan's policy as inexcusably childish, unworthy of people charged with the responsibility of conducting the affairs of a great power in an endangered world. And that may well be an understatement on Mr Kennan's part. The veteran diplomat, who served as United States ambassador to Moscow in the early 1950s and who has devoted his entire life career to the problem of East-West relations, deplored the current state of the United States-Soviet relationship. According to Mr Kennan, ordinary communication with the Soviet Union has virtually ceased. Our leaders talk about the relationship more and more in military terms to the point where the ordinary citizen is compelled to conclude that some sort of military showdown is the only conceivable denouement.
If that is what the American administration has been striving for in its policy, then it is having a field day now. While understandably concerned abou the heightened world tensions, the Soviet Union cannot be possibly intimidated into submission by the Reagan Administration's policies. As Yuriy Andropov put it in his statement, the Soviet state has successfully overcome many trials, including crucial ones, during the six and a half decades of its existence. Those who encroached on the integrity of our state, its independence and our system, found themselves on the garbage heap of history. And we shall be able, said the Soviet leader, to ensure the security of our friends and allies, under any circumstances.

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts

January 16, 1984, Monday

US Strategy Aimed at ''Confrontation'' and a ''Victorious Nuclear War''

SOURCE: Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union in Russian

Text of report of article by Prof Aleksandr Yakovlev in the January issue of 'World Economy and International Relations'

The heart of the present strategy of the ruling US oligarchy is a desire for confrontation with the Soviet Union on every pretext and the achievement of ''victory'' in a nuclear war, Prof Aleksandr Yakovlev said in the January edition of the magazine 'World Economy and International Relations' (Russian: Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnyye otnosheniya). The foundation of its military doctrine for the 1980s is ''outright confrontation'' between the USA and the USSR.

One cannot fail to see, the magazine noted, that the leaders of the American administration have lost their political, psychological and behavioural brakes in inter- national affairs. Bellicosity and hysteria are now uppermost in their relations with other countries.

In the post-war period Washington's tactics for achieving hegemonistic ambitions have undergone several transformations, but the strategy has remained unchanged. Nuclear blackmail has become firmly based at the centre of US military strategy. Virtually all the post-war presidents have threatened to use nuclear weapons. But, follow- ing Carter, Reagan has openly begun to speak of the USA's ''right'' to carry out a first nuclear strike, and also of the possibility of ''localized'' nuclear war and ''protracted'' nuclear war and victory in it.

Reagan's anti-Sovietism and anti-communism are not ''a surprise'', the magazine noted. The current US President has professed this primitive ideology for many years. With it he sought election on two previous occasions. His paranoic hate of the Soviet Union has always been ostentatious and remains so till this day, while hysterics are normal behaviour. But however provocative the behaviour of some American leaders may look, with all its subjective colouring it is impossible not to see in it how the US ruling circles are fundamentally geared (Russian: zaryazhennost) for achieving imperial aims. Behind the political course as a whole there stands the fully conscious class interests - economic and political - of the ruling forces of that country.

The militarism and bellicose chauvinism of the Reagan administration, Aleksandr Yakovlev stressed, present in themselves a logical continuation - prepared over many years years - of American imperialism's strategy. The approach to world affairs in principle remains unchanged; their strategic essence is directed at achieving a world empire through a victorious nuclear war.


United Press International

November 19, 1983, Saturday, AM cycle

Democrats Use Film to Blast Reagan

Rep. Dave McCurdy, D-Okla., said Saturday the United States needs to maintain a nuclear deterrent, but President Reagan's search for nuclear superiority has triggered worldwide fear that ''a nuclear holocaust is just around the corner.''

McCurdy, in the Democratic response to Reagan's weekly radio address, noted that many of his listeners will be watching the ABC television movie, ''The Day After,'' Sunday night. [This movie graphically presented a Soviet nuclear attack on an American city. ~NV]

''I have seen the movie, and it is frightening,'' he said. ''But because it is frightening, it performs a valuable service. It reminds us that nuclear war is neither winnable nor survivable. It must be prevented.''

The Oklahoma Democrat, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and of the House Intelligence Committee, said every president beginning with Harry Truman had tried to stop the nuclear arms race.

John Kennedy, he said, came ''the closest ... facing nuclear war'' during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

McCurdy said it would be ''well to remember'' Kennedy's words: ''Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.''

Ever since the Cuban crisis, he said, both the United States and the Soviet Union had made ''a conscious effort'' to avoid situations that could lead to war.

''Yet there is a growing fear in this country -- and throughout the world -- tat a nuclear holocaust is just around the corner,'' he said.

Until Reagan came into office, McCurdy said, arms control efforts had been based on the belief that ''the only use for nuclear weapons was to prevent their use by others.''

''The Reagan administration came to office with a radically different concept: That the United States should make military superiority its goal,'' McCurdy said.

He said Reagan's belief that there could be nuclear superiority had ''spread fear and confusion'' and created an image of an American administration ''bent on accelerating the nuclear arms race.''

''President Reagan's failure to construct a viable foreign policy - one that can be understood by the American people -- has further increased tensions,'' he said. ''Relations with the Soviet Union have deteriorated to their worst state in 20 years.''

''But we cannot blind ourselves to the threat posed by the Soviet Union,'' McCurdy said. ''Make no mistake. The Soviet regime is both hostile and aggressive.''

''While leaving open the opportunity for improve relations, we must continue to maintain a balanced and strong national defense, including a viable nuclear deterrent.''

The New York Times

September 30, 1983, Friday, Late City Final Edition


BYLINE: By Tom Wicker

All wars are boyish, and are fought by boys. - Herman Melville

The name-calling has now reached such heights that Soviet-American relations must be at the lowest point since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. Not even the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in l979 led to such unrestrained animosity, or to such a bitter breakdown of mature diplomacy.

No one should think that this is a temporary matter or just one more international controversy to be taken in stride. At such dangerous moments of passion and defiance, antagonists indulge in deeds and words of long, perhaps dire consequence; and because nations, like boys, are most fearful of ''backing down'' or ''reacting to pressure,'' fruitful actions that might otherwise have been taken are set aside. Misunderstandings apt to produce disaster become all too likely.

This highly charged state of affairs, moreover, is about to be made even more dangerous. American deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Western Europe will almost surely go forward in December, since there's little hope for a Soviet-American agreement that once seemed possible but now appears lost in the intransigence of both sides.

That deployment, it can hardly be doubted, will be followed by Soviet actions to counter what Moscow insists is a destabilization of the nuclear power balance. Whether those actions are confined to Europe - the installation, say, of more modern SS-20 missiles - or are calculated on a larger scale remains to be seen. But it's certain that a new and chilling round of nuclear escalation will then have taken place.

That escalation not only could have been avoided, had it not been for the rising tensions, suspicions and mud- slinging between Washington and Moscow (culminating in the two most powerful leaders in the world spitting epithets at each other); but it won't yield either side any gains worth having.

The Russians have achieved no usable military advantage by modernizing their European missile force; nor will matching that force redress or seize such an advantage for the West (which saw no need for intermediate-range missiles in Europe between l962 and 1977, while Moscow deployed more than 600); and whatever actions the Russians take to counter American deployment won't do them any good either, since the U.S. will then make its own countermoves. And so the game of lethal leapfrog will go on to its predictable end; perhaps it might better be called ''chicken.'' The responsibility for this failure, as for the runaway deterioration in Soviet-American relations, obviously can't be charged entirely to Ronald Reagan. But it can't be laid completely at the doors of the Kremlin either - not even when the destruction of Korean Air Lines Flight 7 is taken into account. And just as we might wish the Russians to reassess where their course is leading, Americans should be asking themselves some questions too:

* Is this really what hawks and conservatives wanted, when they charged every President from John Kennedy to Jimmy Carter with being ''soft'' on Communism and the Soviet Union?

* Has Ronald Reagan's management of foreign affairs, compared with that of his predecessors, reduced or heightened Soviet-American animosities? If the latter, for what purpose? Are we more secure, for example, for his having personally labeled Moscow's an ''evil empire''?

* Indefensible as the Flight 7 disaster was, has it been wise to proclaim it so repeatedly to the world as the inevitable product of an inhuman system? Was that likely to make Moscow more or less willing to deal with others more openly, with less hostility?

* Even if the Reagan Administration's characterization of the Soviet Union were taken at face value, is there no more effective way to deal with it than confrontation and armed force? If Mr. Reagan has given the U.S. more raw military strength, has he given us more security, or made it less likely that that strength will have to be used? Neither Mr. Reagan nor Yuri Andropov is a schoolboy. The President, for instance, spoke the truth of the age in his address to the U.N.: ''A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.'' And Mr. Andropov, in his harsh response, nevertheless expressed the same truth almost as explicitly: ''Responsible statesmen have only one choice - to do everything possible to prevent a nuclear catastrophe. Any other position is shortsighted; more so, it is suicidal.'' So both know the dangers they have the ultimate responsibility to avert, which is the only ground they really need to share. And surely the present situation is more than threatening enough for each to put aside boyish games, to question whether his course - not just the other's - brings us closer to that unwinnable conflict in which earth itself will not be ''tomb enough and continent to hide the slain.''

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