America's Power Politics Hampers Peace Process

Nikolai Shishlin is a member of the Soviet Communist Party's Central Committee. His commentary was distributed by the Novosti Press Agency.

The views concerning the character of the current stage of social evolution and proposals for possible steps to improve international relations, voiced by Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev at the 27th Communist Party Congress, were addressed not only to the Soviet public. Instead, they were addressed to the whole world--the United States included.

What is the core of the Soviet Union's approach to the current global problems? It thinks that a controversial but interdependent, and to a large extent wholesome, world is laboriously emerging.

This interdependence is of an objective kind. Take, for example, environmental protection, which is becoming a burning need and primary concern for all states.

The crying needs of the Third World call for greatly increased participation on the part of the developed nations to help eliminate the poverty, desperation and conflicts, which reign over everything.

And certainly, there also is the universal problem of survival facing the whole of mankind. As regards Soviet-American relations, the two countries are faced with the choice of learning to live together in peace--or perishing together.

The Soviet Union is seeking to assert a new approach to international relations, to overcome the "balance of fear" and to build a balance of reason and political good will. This is precisely the objective of Moscow's proposals for eliminating all nuclear and chemical weapons, and for sharply reducing the conventional armaments, by the end of this century.

In calling for broader peaceful cooperation among states, the Soviet Union does not ignore the existing differences between our country and the United States, and between the two social systems. But peaceful competition does not rule out mutually beneficial cooperation in economics, culture and politics, too. In fact, this was already stressed at the memorable Soviet-American summit last November in Geneva.

The Soviet Union has put forward far- reaching proposals for curbing the arms race on the ground and for keeping it out of space, but it does not not say that these proposals cannot be expanded or specified. On the contrary, the Soviet Union will welcome any new constructive ideas aimed at removing the threat of nuclear nightmare from the life of mankind.

So what is the American response to the latest Soviet peace initiatives?

It is nothing but profound obeisance to the American military might that, according to Washington's logic, will bless the world. None of the U.S. military programs has been questioned by President Reagan. Power politics is advertised by Reagan as a run into the future. It can be better described as a slide into oblivion.

It appears that the American response to the Soviet peace initiative consists to a large extent of continued attempts by U.S. officials and the mass media to portray the Soviet Union as an "evil empire." This American propaganda fusillade obviously has a fairly negative impact on the political weather.

But let us leave this aside for the time being. Let us agree for a moment with President Reagan, who claims that the Soviet Union possesses such a strong military might and such great military capabilities that the United States cannot trust its peaceful intentions. If so, why should the Soviet Union trust the United States, which is stubbornly engrossed in a runaway arms race?

Whatever the American President may claim, the drive for military superiority cannot produce agreement or trust. The continuation of power politics makes the future of mankind unpredictable. With today's rapid development of arms technology, the stake on armed strength inevitably leads to a situation where the future of mankind will rest on the possibility of a single computer error.

The Soviet Union sees a real opportunity for strengthening peace in the measures to curb the arms race, but for that to happen it is imperative to take the first step away from the lethal brink. Such a first step could be complete cessation of nuclear tests or elimination of medium-range nuclear systems in Europe. These Soviet proposals are on the table of the Geneva talks on space and nuclear armaments.

Regretfully, however, the emphasis in U.S. policy still remains on confrontation.

Opportunities for a radical improvement of the international political climate do exist, just as do the opportunities for a turn for the better in Soviet-American relations. The only thing required is that Washington should grasp a number of simple truths.

The Soviet Union is not seeking a greater security for itself and its friends, but it will never settle for a lesser security than that of the United States and its allies.

Our planet is not a sphere of anyone's influence--Soviet or American. It belongs to the entire human community, and the Soviet Union and the United States as the two greatest powers bear special responsibility for the preservation of peace.

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