Web Letters | The Nation

A Colder War > Letters

Web Letter

One of my favorite movies is Wargames, which came out in 1983. It is pure Hollywood and pure entertainment, but the basic message of the film is that there are no winners in a nuclear war. However, I needed no convincing, the Cuban Missile Crisis certainly scared me. I would place it in the same category as H.G. Wells's short story "The Country Of the Blind," which celebrated the value of minority opinion. Sometimes fiction illuminates facts on the ground, but one must be careful that historical analysis is not colored by popular generalizations. I am sure the books reviewed are excellent, but we need the information they contain in short form for the general public.

Pervis J. casey

Riverside, CA

Nov 29 2007 - 6:01pm

Web Letter

I just finished Jonathan Schell's very informative "A Colder War". One aspect of it troubles me. That is the congealing myth of Ronald Reagan's nuclear abolitionism, a myth apparently supported by both Rhodes and Schelle.

On what is this based? Words alone (and a selective few at that), but certainly not deeds. If one looks at the Reagan record, the illusion of abolitionism evaporates: Euro-missiles, MX [excuse me; "Peacekeeper"] missiles, Gargantuan--and escalating--nuclear weapons budgets, foxes-in-the-henhouse at the ACDA and Peace Institute, with-enough-shovels nuclear madmen hired at the Pentagon, and, unforgettably, "...we begin bombing in five minutes." One could go on and on, but this is a letter, not a book.

So, where's the abolitionist beef? In a few sentences spoken in Iceland? Please.

By this time, Reagan was surely well into his doddering denouement. That, combined with his affinity for the visionary Gorbachev, is a more likely explanation for his anomalous, cheap "abolitionism."

Daniel Fleisher

Baltimore, MD

Nov 28 2007 - 1:29pm

Before commenting, please read our Community Guidelines.