Robert G. Kaiser's article ("No Desire to Fight, So Why Can't the Superpowers Get Along?" Outlook, Nov. 17) was astonishing. Kaiser seems to regard the United States and Russia as akin to businesses competing for a share of the market, the American and Russian systems merely "different" as Chrysler and Ford automobiles are "different." Absent from his analysis is any hint that the conflict between the two superpowers is at root a conflict of values -- a conflict clearly defined by every communist leader from Lenin through Andropov as irreconcilable.
If I could not perceive basic value differences between criminals and honest citizens, I certainly would find it difficult to understand why they don't get along. I believe that society exists to protect certain fundamental individual human rights among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Lucky me: I happen to live in a nation founded for that purpose.
These fundamental values have great ramifications for the behavior of our government and society but also are anathema in the communist dialectic. The business of communism, abundantly proven in practice, is the murder of liberty as we have struggled to define it for two centuries. I can understand Kaiser's claim that the United States and Russia are "two countries that have noth he cannot perceive any seminal difference between the workman and the thief or the free man and the slave. And I feel sorry for anyone with such "value-free" perceptions.
Kaiser also seems to believe that the absence of nuclear war for 40 years shows there is no "real" casus belli, stating that a 40-year absence of war between rival major powers is unique. Untrue. Britain and France, for example, were major power rivals for well over a century, yet they coexisted for long periods without becoming involved in a war with each other. They were not, however, periods of nonrivalry. War exists in a continuum ranging from bluff, sanctions, war by proxy to total war; the absence of the last has never meant the lack of valid grounds for conflict. All that can be said is that within the framework of their opposing value systems, neither power has yet concluded that World War III is the best or only option.
Imperialism and state-imposed human misery have been constant themes in Russian history. Soviet communism simply adds to the dismal process a veneer of sophistry that apparently befuddles many "value-free" observers.