Competing With Russia
To the Editor:
Wayland and Elizabeth Young in their article on disarmament [“Disarmament vs. Arms Control,” August] state: “Only those who despair of the West’s ability to compete constructively with Communism can still put their trust in the arms race.” No mention is made of Soviet despair of its ability to compete constructively with the West. It is precisely here where the danger lies. They can only compete destructively. The fact is that the Soviet Union has surpassed us in the thrust of their rockets and the size of their army—nowhere else. . . . It is the falseness of the [Youngs'] first assumption that makes a good deal of the article irrelevant.
Arthur J. Levenson
Silver Spring, Maryland
Wayland and Elizabeth Young write:
We are surprised Mr. Levenson has these doubts about Soviet belief in their own economic competitiveness. The likelihood is that their standard of living will reach America’s present level in the mid-70′s and actually catch up with the United States in about 1980. Mr. Levenson might also refer to “Comparisons of United States and Soviet Economics” (Sub-Committee of Economic Statistics of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, 1959) which deals with Russian economic competition. But apart from how much confidence the Soviet Union displays in its system, we in the West are not responsible for that system. We are responsible for our own system and for seeing that it is one in which we can have confidence. Lenin certainly believed that war and armaments were necessary to keep capitalism going, but need we believe it?