Professors discuss Gorbachev’s visit

By Tammy Sholer

With President-elect George Bush’s administration on the brink of beginning, two NIU professors believe he will not jump into arms talks with Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev during his visit to the United States, which began Tuesday.

Gorbachev will visit Cuba and Britain and attempt to polish his image as a statesman and rid the Soviet Union of its image as the enemy during his trip to the United States, a Dec. 6 article of the Associated Press states.

On Wednesday, Gorbachev met with President Ronald Reagan and Bush in New York, a meeting that Tass, the official Soviet news agency, called “an extraordinary event” because superpower relations are a determining factor for “the very essence of the world process,” the AP article states.

Daniel Kempton, NIU political science assistant professor, said the meeting is not a summit. He said the leaders are not getting together to make or receive arms proposals.

The meeting will not accomplish much because the United States has a president who is leaving office in a month and cannot make decisions. Also, Bush’s administration is not fully formed, Kempton said.

A Nov. 7 AP article states the Americans do not foresee an agreement from the luncheon Wednesday among the two superpowers. It states the most the Americans will do is commit to a formal summit early in Bush’s administration.

Martin Dubin, NIU political science associate professor, said, “It is alway productive to have international discussions.” He said he believes no decisions would be made at Wednesday’s meeting, but an exchange of opinion is productive.

Superpower relations are “essential,” Dubin said. “If in fact they (the leaders) have a nice lunch (Wednesday) and enjoy each others’ presence, it will not be much of a meeting.”

However, he said if Reagan, Bush and Gorbachev talk about future agendas, the meeting will take on more importance than just a casual lunch.

The discussion may help set the pace for future arms talks, Dubin said, but he did not comment on how he believes arms talks will be made in the future.

Kempton said the meeting “can help soothe future relations” between the United States and the Soviets. He said Gorbachev is looking to see to what extent negotiations will stretch in the future.

At the beginning of the Reagan administration, Reagan was not interested in arms talks with the Soviets, but Reagan’s philosophy has changed considerably in the past few years, Kempton said.

“Gorbachev is looking for the latter (philosophy to) continue improving relations,” he said.

White House Spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said in the Nov. 7 AP article, “We are being very realistic. We find nothing embarrassing or in any way negative about characterizing this meeting as a friendly discussion, an open airing of issues between us and a healthy approach toward continuity.”