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Those Reprehensible Russians

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To the editors:

The article on the April 7 Test Ban Referendum by Ben Joravsky in the March 27th issue was most welcome since the Chicago media has for the most part chosen to ignore the issue.

I was, however, disturbed by the tone of the interview with Mike Kelly, associate director of the Illinois Nuclear Freeze Campaign. I realize that Mike was presenting a scenario, as he sees it, of the administration's raison d'etre for SDI.

However, Mike's personal view of the Soviet Union as a "reprehensible, repressive country" coincides with the views of the most rabidly antitest ban forces. One cannot understand the Soviet Union without seeing it firsthand and being fully cognizant of its history. Its development as a world power did not take place in a vacuum. One does not have to be an "apologist" for the Soviet Union to admit that it is straining every effort to win the Reagan administration to concrete disarmament proposals and simultaneously engaged in a dynamic internal process of renovation and reform.

Much of the Soviet reaction to the West and its internal policies stems from a constant, determined effort by western powers to destroy the Soviet Union, or at least to force it to give up its political and economic system. One does not have to approve every step of its socialist path in the past 70 years, but one cannot ignore the fact that there have always been forces who have desired its destruction.

The Soviet Union for a year and a half unilaterally observed a moratorium on nuclear testing and urged the Reagan Administration to join them. A brief look at the history of nuclear arms shows that the initiative to escalate the arms race has unfortunately come from us, while most initiatives to halt the arms race have come from this "reprehensible, repressive country."

On March 24 I attended a conference on U.S.-Soviet exchanges at the Circle Campus of the U. of I. The main speaker, Ambassador Rhinesmith, Reagan's representative, stated that the American Peace Movement was a "dupe" of the Soviets, that the National Council for American-Soviet Friendship, to which the Chicago Council is affiliated, and the National Council of Churches are "front" organizations for the CPSU.

With the administration holding such a view of the American Peace Movement, I am afraid all the "anti-Soviet" statements in the world by peace advocates will not convince the administration one iota that we are still not "dupes."

Let's stand up for the test ban, now -- because it is in the best interest of the people of the United States. Let's welcome the peace initiatives of the Soviet Union and be glad that we both see the stupidity of a no-win nuclear arms race.

Larry McGurty

Chairman

Chicago Council for USA-USSR Friendship

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