Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans
for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be
limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI
all over again?
The problems Solzenietsyn had here bother me a good deal more.
When people can't communicate, the tendency is to dehumanize each
I've already suggested a journalistic exercise, and I can
reference the postings that refer to these things again.
Just now, let me ask this.
. How many times have Russian staff people,
around NY or DC, tried to discuss "little things" only
tangentially connected with peace and war, with knowledgeable
Americans, where there were clear differences?
For example, talking with authors of books, not just about things
that were positive, but also about ways the books did not make
sense, or seemed distorted or seemed strange, in russian eyes?
I think a lot might be learned, on both sides, about the
mechanics of peaceful and productive conversation. Especially if the
negatives were frankly, clearly discussed.
If a CIA officer was invited to the conversations, that would be
I think many, if not most, of the communication problems that are
chronic between our two very different cultures could be ironed out
in that way but it would be essential to talk about differences
without apology, and clearly, not just about sympathies.
Let me list some books I've thought about today -- too many for
you to read, but if each was read by another person, who talked to
you for five minutes about it, you might learn essential things, and
get contacts with essential logical-social patterns. I haven't
finished typing the list.
But they are all hard books for Russians. And if Russians had
good communications with ten of these authors (and therefore, if
sympathy was real, with people they knew) some fundamental "secrets"
of our cultures would be "penetrated" from each sides point of view.
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