Click for next page ( 68

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement

Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 67
Nuclear War. However, ~ do not know of any Soviet member of that organization who has publicly criticized the nuclear arms policies of his government. ~ believe many of the Soviet members are silent because, lacking information, they believe that the United States is the sole source of the arms race. Others are silent, knowing that the Soviet government wouIc] consider any criticism an intolerable attack on its image. So the Soviet participation in the physicians' organization has made no demonstrable contribution to international peace. The only effect of Soviet participation has been on the Soviet government's image in the West (as the government intended), not on its military policies. But do Soviet military policies, in fact, deserve criticism? Of course, the Soviet government does not want a new world war. Yet it has grabbed and continues to grab and keep one country after another by military force-which, by itself, is dangerous for the future of the world. Before Afghanistan, there was Czechoslovakia in 1968 and before that, Hungary in 1956. Before that, there was the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states and the division of Poland with Nazi Germany that marked the beginning of World War IT. There was also the Winter War with Finland in 1940. No, the Soviet government cannot be called peaceloving. The world will therefore benefit when the Soviet Union grants its citizens the human rights to criticize their government's military policies. In conclusion, ~ want to stress that, as a first approximation, the issue of human rights is independent of the issue of disarmament. Both issues are important for the cause of peace and international security. But to me it is plain that the democratization of the USSR in the sense that ~ have discussed earlier the inclusion of the USSR in the Western system of democracies" is a necessary condition for real peace ant] security in the world. Scientists can help achieve it. It is difficult, but possible, and it is important. A peace based on fear cannot be stable. Thank you. COMMENTS Victor We~8kopfi3 There are two obvious facts. One, human survival depends on avoiding a nuclear war between the United States and the USSR. i3At the last minute Dr. Weisskopf was unable to travel to Washington to present his comments at the symposium. They were read by Francis Low.

OCR for page 67
Two, human rights are severely curtailed in the USSR in spite of some recent improvements under Gorbachev, including the liberation of some well-known dissidents. There are two extreme positions that can be taken in response to these facts. The first states that in order to avoid the nuclear holocaust, we need much better cultural, commercial, and political relations between the superpowers. To raise the human rights issue obstructs the attainment of a better understanding and should be avoided. The second assumes that arms control or reduction of nuclear or other weapons is impossible as long as the USSR curtails human rights, since a country that does not trust its own citizens to be free is not a country that can be trusted on the international level to abide by its commitments. ~ believe both positions go too far. The first one is, to some extent, clisproved by recent events. The insistence of the West on criticizing violations of human rights has not diminished the ea- gerness of the Soviets to go on with arms control negotiations and improve relations with the West. On the contrary, it may have con- tributed to Gorbachev's recent release of a relatively large number of, but by far not all, dissidents. Probably part of the reason for these releases was the recognition that some progress in human rights may make the West more welling to improve relations. The second extreme position is based on the wrong assumption that a regime wiD change the foundations of its stability when put under pressure by other countries. Freedom to dissent, free immigra- tion, and the like are believed by the Soviet leadership to seriously weaken the power of the present regime. External military pressure can only reinforce this view. The policy "If you don't change your system, we will go on with the arms race" cannot be successful and would make nuclear war more probable in the future. Some proponents of the second extreme position also argue that a totalitarian regime cannot be trusted to abide by international agreements. This is not borne out by experience. The Soviets, by and large, did abide by past treaties, apart from a few Moor infringements, without much military significance. The right position must be a compromise between the two ex- tremes. In order to avoid war, the United States must arrive at better relations with the USSR through a mutual understanding of our problems. The security and stability of the Soviet regime is nec- essary for our own security. A regune that feels threatened is more dangerous than one that feels secure.

OCR for page 67
v" This is why we need a detente between the superpowers together with verifiable treaties preventing both sides from arriving at a sig- nificant military or political superiority. It is the right moment for detente because we have reached military parity and because both powers should be interested in a political stabilization of their rela- tions with foreign countries where they have run into considerable difficulties. The search for political understanding with the USSR should not prevent the West from publicizing and protesting human rights in- fringements. Those protests have contributed to Gorbachev's recent actions. The United States should be known all over the world as a defender of human rights. However, this is only possible if we attack with equal force the infringements of human rights in countries with totalitarian anticommunist regimes, which our government has not done so far. Criticism and protest need not exclude collaboration in other areas such as arms control, political stabilization, environmental problems, or scientific and commercial exchanges. Such colIabora- tions reduce the danger of military conflicts. Preventing war between the superpowers must have the highest priority, for there will be few victims to liberate after a nuclear war. Moreover, as Sakharov has often stressed, when U.S.-Soviet re- lations turn from collaboration to increased confrontation, the result is always an increase in human rights violations within the Soviet Union. Our present military policy, such as the deployment of MX, the placing of missiles in Europe, and the eagerness to employ SD! as early as possible must arouse fear in the USSR of a first strike and distrust in regard to our intentions of peaceful coexistence. An improvement of human rights in the Soviet Union may be possible, but only if fear and distrust can be dispelled. Then per- haps new leaders may come to power for whom thought control and oppression would be of less importance. But such a development takes much time and can only happen after a reasonably successful period of increasing collaboration between East and West, leading to an avoidance of crisis situations, to effective arms control, and to a common effort to counter other important threats to mankind in the environmental field. In short, we should uncover and protest infringements of human rights in the USSR and elsewhere. At the same time, we should negm tiate arms reductions and controls and avoid measures that increase fear on the other side. We must improve contacts and collaborative