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May 18, 1982 - Image 6

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Michigan Daily, 1982-05-18

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Opinion

Page 6
The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCII, No. 10S
Ninety Years of Editorial Freedom
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan
Investment loss
in apartheid
T HE STUBBORN refusal of the University
Regents to sell off all its investments in
companies which do business in South Africa
has long been a sore point for those who argue
that such investments are unworthy of an in-
stitution of higher learning.
Despite the years of student protests, despite
the admonitions that companies which do
business in South Africa are implicitly suppor-
ting the South Africa government's policy of
apartheid, the Regents have refused to divest.
Finally, it seems, they may be about to get their
wings clipped.
The state House of Representatives has taken
the necessary steps toward enacting a law
which would require state colleges and univer-
sities to divest from businesses operating in
South Africa.
Not surprisingly, reaction from the Regents
and University officials has been decidedly
negative. Instead of taking divestment steps of
their own, the Regents have protested
diminution of their "complete power" over
University funds.
But, as supporters of the bill have pointed out,
the bill falls under the state's police power to
enforce civil rights legislation. While other in-
terference in the operations of the University
could be argued to be unnecessary and unwise,
this bill is a valid and needed step toward en-
ding the University's implicit support of racial
discrimination.
Efforts must be made to force the gover-
nment of South Africa to initiate social change
toward equality for all its citizens. American
businesses involved in the segregated nation
can play a more positive and forceful role by
pressuring South Africa to share the fruits of its
political and economic system.
The University has its role in fostering real
democracy in South Africa by divesting of its
holdings in such companies whether the state
tells it to or not.
Editorials appearing on the left side of
the page beneath The Michigan Daily logo
represent a majority opinion of the Daily's
staff.

Tuesday, May 18, 1982

The Michigan Daily

Nuclear reductions:
talkbut no action

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By Jon Stewart
Preaident Reagan's proposals
for mutual reductions in U.S. and
Soviet nuclear warheads may
prove an important juncture on
the difficult road to improved
superpower relationa. But only in
that reapect do the specific
proposals themselves have
anything to do with arms control.
The key ingredient in the
president's Eureka College
speech was its tone, not its con-
tent. He adopted a decidedly
more conciliatory line toward the
Soviet Union. He called for
negotiations to commence forth-
with, evidently abandoning his
previous hardline insistence that
the situation in Poland must im-
prove before serious U.S.-Soviet
talks could begin.
ALL OF THIS means little or
nothing for the specific goal of a
nuclear arms agreement,
however. At this stagethere
seems to be little reason to
believe that any new agreement,
beyond the limits of SALT II, is
likely to succeed in the near
future.
One can easily observe that
public pronouncements on arms
control issued by Moscow and
Washington are merely the
dialogue of a drawn-out
propaganda drama known as the
"peace offensive." Moscow
struts the stage, appealing to the
anti-war masses in Western
Europe. Washington, reluctant to
be upstaged, issues a clarion call
for the "zero option" on Euro-
missiles, or a one-third reduction
in the strategic, land-based ar-
senal.
The paying public, meanwhile,
is clamoring for some action, but
any movement toward real arms
reductions may be nearly im-
possible. Neither side has the will
to reach an accord.
THE SOVIETS understandably
are reluctant to give up their
strong suit in intermediate-range
nuclear missiles in exchange for
a U.S. pledge not to play a card
that hasn't even been dealt
yet-the cruise missiles. And
Washington can feel safe in of-
fering such a gambit, confident of
the Soviet rejection. By the
same token the Soviets can
safely propose to freeze or even
scale ' back Euro-missiles,
knowing that Washington, which
still has not deployed new inter-
mediate-range missiles, must
reject the bid.
The same kind of stalemate can
be expected to apply to intercon-
tinental weapons talks once they
get under way, as it now looks
like they will. Neither side ha
suffscient commitment actually

to undertake arms reductions. As
the current U.S. arms negotiator,
Gen. Edward Rowny, said at a
National Defense University con-
ference two years ago: "My six
and a half years with SALT have
led me to the conclusion that we
have put too much emphasis on
the control of arms and too little
on the provision of arms."
The latest U.S. proposal to the
Soviets would allow the Pentagon
to increase dramatically the
provision of new and more
sophisticated arms while con-
trolling only those which are
nearly obsolete already. Land-
based strategic missiles, which
are the weapons primarily dealt
with in the proposal, may be im-
portant to Soviet strategy (they
constitute 70 percent of the Soviet
nuclear arsenal), but they are of
minor consequence to U.S.
strategy (only about 20 percent of
the total arsenal.
CERTAINLY NO Pentagon or
administration official would
admit as much publicly, but the
facts are obvious. The aging
Minutemen missiles are ten-
tatively scheduled to be replaced
by the new MX missile, when and
if a basing mode can be found. In
effect, the Soviets are asked to
CHARIOTS OF FIRE
reduce their modern land
missiles in exchange for the
United States' reducing the old
Minuteman and the new MX, a
weapon that literally may never
fly, given the growing
congressional hostility toit.
In the meantime, the United
States would be free to deploy a
planned 4,000 cruise missiles,

many of them nuclear-armed,
which the Russians view as a
greater threat than even the
Minuteman. The U.S. proposals
carefully and deliberately side-
stepped any mention of the
cruise, which is the one weapon in
which the United States hasclear
and undisputed superiority.
Yet the cruise missile, accor-
ding to the private Arms Control
Association, "could mean the end
of arms control" because there is
virtually no way to verify any
future limitations on the sea-
launched versions. "Once they
have been developed, no one will
want to sign a strategic arms
limitation agreement ...," said
the association. Yet cruise
missiles are not mentioned in the
U.S. proposals.
IN ANY CASE, it makes little
sense to challenge the specifics of
the proposals. They are sent up in
full knowledge that they will be
shot down; they are meant
merely as crowd pleasers, not
serious negotiating positions.
This would not necessarily be
disappointing if there were
reason to believe that serious
bargaining from a realistic arms
control position was going on in
the background.
In fact, many observers doubt
that the administration has
developed an arms control
position at all, on either Euro-
missiles or strategic weapons.
The only discernible strategy
seems to be the propagandistic
peace offense-all words and no
action.
Of course words are better than
silence, and the ongoing arms
control dialogue marks an impor-
tant shift from the soliloquies of
last fall, when the president was
talking about winnable nuclear
wars. If we are not entering a
new era of arms control, at least
we may be entering a period
when arms control is thinkable,
and nuclear war again is con-
signed to the unthinkable. And
there is always the hope, when
leaders are talking, that
something concrete might even-
tually emerge, if only symbolic.
Stewart is an editor for the
Pacific News Service.

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Letters and columns represent the opinions of the
individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the
attitudes or beliefs of the Daily.

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