Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 15, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDQC HERALD Friday, February 15, 1OT4 mmammmn Solzhenitsyn and Medvedev Solzhenitsyn determination uplifting Anthony Lewis, New York Times commentator Foreign embassies in Ottawa regularly send information bulletins in various forms to the Canadian press. Those from the embassy of the U.S.S.R., in mimeographed form, usually contain a collection of routine stories of Russian accomplishment. The most recent issue, however, was devoted entirely to diatribes against Soviet writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn and his latest book, The Gulag Archipelago. The articles are so emotional that they must have been designed originally for home consumption. The only conviction they carry with them here is that the embassy staff in Ottawa must be suffering some embarrassment at having to circulate them to a more sophisticated audience to whom such outpourings will likely be regarded as hysteria. While these denunciations are being circulated abroad with official blessing, a surprisingly favorable review of the Solzhenitsyn book is circulating privately in Moscow and one can only assume that at the least it has unofficial acquies- cence It was written by Soviet historian Roy Medvedev, who has serious tactical and philosophical disagreements with Solz- henitsyn but who compares his writing favorably with that of Dostoevski. The Medvedev review, written for unofficial distribution to intellectuals in Moscow, has also circulated among the foreign press. The argument between the two men is a synthesis of the debate which has been going on within and without the Soviet Union for some time about how best to achieve individual liberty and civil rights for Soviet citizens, and even how to define them. Medvedev, representing a group of resident dissidents, believes civil liberties should be achieved by working quietly through the system and he has expressed concern that foreign pressures will only lead to reprisals within the country and a hardening of official attitudes toward individual freedoms. On this point he is in sharp disagreement with Solzhenitsyn, nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov and others, who feel that foreign pressure and world public opinion are necessary instruments of reform. The historian and the writer also disagree philosophically; while both regard Stalinism with horror, Medvedev regards it as an aberration of the revolution and Solzhenitsyn contends it is an evil inherent in the system. The debate between the two groups is not settled by the expulsion from the Soviet Union of the dissident writer. In treating him only as a public nuisance, the Russian government may be showing- signs of home-grown maturity and'self- confidence. On the other hand, Soviet leaders may simply be aware that the whole world is watching and they must be circumspect in getting rid of a trouble-maker. A stronger indication of the trend in the official Russian attitude toward dissent will come when the fate is known of those whose true stories and true identities are contained in The Gulag Archipelago. It was concern for their safety that led the author to hide the manuscript for five years and to have it published only after Soviet police had pried a copy from a friend who later committed suicide. Incidents of this sort make it difficult to be absolutely sanguine about the fate of people who do not live in Moscow under the scrutiny of the foreign press. BOSTON In Leningrad last April, I met a Soviet systems analyst. He wai a clever and a supremely confident man who saw himself as an engineer not only of computers but of human souls. He foresaw the day of a new Soviet man, with his psychological drives all channeled into "socially useful" activity. What about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, he was asked. There will be no problem in the future, he replied. People will be conditioned so that there is no disruptive individualism in their makeup. There will be no more Solzhcnitsyns. Viewed in the light of that conversation, the banishing of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is an extraordinary confession of failure. It tells us that the Soviet government has no confidence in its professions of psychological transformation or government by social consent. It still desperately fears the power of the individual spirit; in the end, it still relies on force. But it is not only for Russians that this event has deep significance. What is fascinating is to see, really to feel, how the exiling of one man means more to many people everywhere than does a world energy conference or some other objectively more important matter. We live by symbols. For Americans, the Solzhenitsyn affair raises hard political questions. Is all of-Henry Kissinger's talk about detente with the Soviet Union a pious fraud? Might the reality be something even worse, a collaboration in repression? Should we now renounce the whole idea? The immediate effects of these last few years of better official Soviet-American relations have undoubtedly been repressive inside the U.S.S.R. Those of us who hoped for a gradual easing of the restraints on political and artistic expression have been bitterly disappointed by the brutal facts of arrests, intimidation, long sentences to labor camps, confinement of dissidents in mental hospitals. Worse yet, from the viewpoint of American responsibility, has been one's sense that the very idea of detente has lent legitimacy to the Soviet regime as it carries out repression. Or so at least it has seemed to the dissidents as if their oppressors were being supported by the country that was their last best hope. Conversely, detente has been used to political advantage by a reactionary administration in the United States: it gave Richard Nixon greater freedom to kill Vietnamese. And so detente has increasingly appeared to some as an arrangement between two insensitive regimes vastly different, to be sure, but alike in their overwhelming concern with self-preservation. There is something to those unhappy views. But they do not fairly appraise the long- Europe's dishevelment The European Common Market was in a state of dishevelment before the energy conference in Washington; the onset of the energy crisis with the Arab oil embargo bad revealed the lack of real unity earlier. The position taken by the French in Washington merely dramatized the sad state of affairs in Europe. Visions of a united Europe have always been haunted by the ghost of General Charles de Gaulle. His grandiose notions of France calling the shots on the world scene have always been inimical to any plan for federating the European nations. The stubborn isolationism of French Foreign Minister Michel Jobert at the energy conference was in keeping with the Gaullist tradition. Expressions of outrage by representatives of the other eight members of the Common Market are somewhat hypocritical in view of the fact that France is not the only country that has been going its own way and looking after its own interests. Separate deals for oil with Middle East producers are not the only expressions of independence on the part of other members of the Common Market. Now that the nakedness of the emperor has been admitted there may be some hope of honest effort at revamping the setup. Maybe France will have to be cut loose to drift awhile in the illusions of its grandeur. Perhaps if the British election gives the Labor party a mandate its insistence on renegotiating the terms of entry into the Market will provide the occasion for a complete overhaul. At the moment the prospect of a strong united Europe looks bleak. Those who have been encouraged by the remarkable recovery of Europe from the ravages of the Second World War partly as a result of the establishment of an economic community, and who have hoped it might develop into a political union are now sadly disillusioned. Public ownership The British coal strike graphically illustrates one of the problems of "public ownership." Many years ago the government took over all the coal mines and became the employer. The workers, in striking against management, had to strike against the government. The government, as the people's agent in trying to control inflation, happened also to be the employer of the coal miners. It could not separate one role from the other, naturally, and thus any serious attempt by the miners to force management into paying higher wages could be interpreted as an assault on the government's right to govern. Prime Minister Heath says the issue is who runs the country, the miners' union or the government. But in other situations, where the government does not own and operate the industry, the strike is not against the government and the government can be a disinterested third party and therefore better able to conciliate the dispute. "Here, try a couple of these and see if you don't jjivejrourself a clean bill of health, too." Canada sends a nuclear salesman By E. C. Farrell, London Observer commentator 'He's waitiax for Fred Davis to tell Mm kew easy and bow nrnch fm it is to file ai income tax retwm." TORONTO Energy Minister Donald Macdonald, went to Britain last week to try to sell to the British government the world's "forgotten nuclear system" the so-called CANDU reactor, successfully developed over many years in Canada. He could hardly have chosen a better moment Britain is in the process of selecting a new nuclear system to provide electricity in the 1980s. A fierce battle has broken out over the proposal that this new system should be American-designed, and a select committee of the House of Commons has produced a report opposing the choice. Like opponents of American nuclear technology in the United States, most of the opposition in Britain has centred upon the alleged safety defects of the American reactors. Britain's largest electrical utility, the Central Electricity Generating Board, has announced that it wants to build reactors of American design because they will be cheaper, quicker to build and more reliable than British technology. But the proposal has been hotly contested by MMl-M-mt euvuunmffltaiists, woo see their work being overlooked in favor of American designs they consider inferior. In all the argument little has been heard of the CANDU system, though it can claim to be one of the most attractive yet aesffMQ. une eminent American scientist, Professor Lew Kowanki, even foes so far as to say that there is a "conspiracy of silence" against the CANDU system. Professor Kowarski, born in Leningrad, went to university in Ghent, Lyons and Paris, where he worked with Professor Jollot-Corie and Hans Halban. Three weeks before Norway was over-ran by the Nazis and only two months before the same fate befell France, KowarsU and Halban manafed to obtain the only stock of heavy water then available (Ml from Norway, and embarked with it from France OB a ScottMi coal boat for England The two scientists set up their equipment at Cambridge University, using the heavy water in their experiments. Later Dr. Kowarski was one of the leading members of the Manhattan Project, set up during the Second World War, to produce the atomic bomb. What any nuclear system must do is use the heat of the process of nuclear fission to generate steam. Each of the rival systems carries out this basic function in a different way, using different types of uranium fuel, different moderators to control the rate of the reaction, and different Letters Thrilling Television had several thrilling experiences for us on Tuesday right First on the Front Page Challenge show we heard Mrs. Beryl Phonptre teli us in her sweet English accent that we could expect higher prices for food. So what else is new? As chairman of the Prices Review Board, Mrs. isn't trying to do about Ufa prices even if she could. She is Just there to act as an apologist for the price gangers. I sanest she go back to jolly old England and five Mr. Heath a hand in his election. He may need some help. On the same profram we teamed that Gordon Sinclair bad accepted an tevttatioato make a coople of appearances in the United States this summer to receive accolades from the Americans. Good old Gordon! Then on tbe Pat Watson show we saw that dynamic Mr. Stanfleld pot Us case before tbe people. Our hearts sank again. Watching Mr. StanfieU makes you wish yon could pat a stethoscope on him to see if be is sttD breathing. What a Canada needs someone to stand on guard before toe whole issue goes oat the E A THOMPSON CoaMate fluids to extract the heat from tbe nuclear core. The CANDU system uses heavy water as a moderator water in which all the atoms of hydrogen have been replaced by the heavy isotope of hydrogen, deuterium. Its fuel is natural uranium, which means that it does not require the expensive enrichment process needed for the fuel of American reactors, or the advanced reactors of the British series. Hence the name from Canadian deuterium uranium. Tbe capital costs of building the system are higher than they are for rival systems, but once that hurdle is crossed tbe generating cost is comparatively km. Why, then, has tbe CANDU system been forgotten by international nuclear business? Professor Kowanki believes it is because tbe interests of international corporations and the credibility of governments is at stake. Toe result may be, be says, that most of the world opts for nuclear systems which are inferior to the Canadian system. While Mr. L. R Haywood, vice-president of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) says that be does not believe that there is an international conspiracy against CANDU, but be does agree that it is receiving less notice than it deserves. The system's record is undoubtedly impressive. Tbe first fun-scale nuclear plant Douglas Point in Ontario, was completed in ItM. It overcame its early problems, and Ontario Hydro and AECL committed themselves to a much bigger plant at Pickering, 90 miles east of Toronto. It is this plant which has proved tbe basic soundness of tbe CANDU design. Operating at near to 100 per cent of its design power of MW, Pickering's production now exceeds mat of any otber nuclear station in the world. Sparred on by this success, Ontario Hydro Is putting most of tbe emphasis million expansion brto nBdear A big MW plant on Lake Huron is scheduled to produce its first power in 1975, and further plants are planned at Pickering (next to the existing Bruce, and at Bowmanville on Lake Ontario. Bv contrast, nuclear plans in Britain and the United States have run into considerable difficulties. Britain's early stations, although they work well, have suffered from unexpected corrosion and have had to have their output cut. The present series of reactors being built, tbe advanced gas- cooled reactors, have been seriously delayed by technical problems and will cost far more than expected. In the United States, nuclear plants have been plagued by a series of breakdowns. The Vermont Yankee plant was recently described by state public services board chairman, William Gilbert, as an "unmitigated financial calamity." In this atmosphere of disillusionment with nuclear power, CANDU may have its best chance yet Already full- scale reactors have been exported to India, Pakistan and Taiwan, and contracts were recently signed for tbe supply of CANDU systems to Argentina and South Korea. Britain's Financial Times, in a survey of the rival systems, bas remarked that tbe CANDU's export potential is "beginning to look very promising." run purpose, or the prospect, of better Soviet-American relations. It is true, for example, that Soviet security forces have made tighter internal controls their price for agreeing to an easier foreign policy. They fear that relaxation abroad may have effects at home. But they could be right. At least we cannot yet exclude the possibility that over time, say a decade, detente may encourage healthy changes in Soviet society. And there is a more immediate purpose in better Soviet-American relations. That is to reduce tensions between us; to reduce the danger of nuclear war. That is an aim so vital to both sides that we really should not forget it in our distress at ideological brutality. Gains in arms control are their own reward. In short, the question to ask ourselves as we react to the news of Solzhenitsyn is what alternative there is to carrying on the attempt at more rational relations between our countries Is it to engage in economic warfare, or actual military confrontation? How would that help anyone? The ques- tion answers itself. What, then, should we do? One thing is to drop all the rosy rhetoric about detente, the ad man's oversell. The next time President Nixon talks about "a new structure of peace" in the world, based on his intimacy with Soviet leaders, we ought to recognize it for the stuff it is. In fact, we would do well to drop the word detente. That has moral overtones wholly lacking in the arrangements of power between a Nixon and a Brezhnev. What we have, at best, is a process for regularizing the continuing competition between our systems. The other essential is for our country to live up to its own ideals to renew its concern for the integrity of the individual soul. An American who often visits the Soviet Union remarks that the deepest disappointment among the dissidents there has been their feeling of America turning cynical or being governed by cynical men. We can best offer hope to the repressed there, as to ourselves, by living the ideas of freedom we profess. Wo cannot expect such a revival of the spirit from Richard Nixon. The idea of a Solzhenitsyn, that the integrity of one soul matters more than all the temporal power of the state, is quite beyond his understanding. It will be up to individual Americans to live Solzhenitsyn's words: "We cannot accept that the murderous course of history is irremediable and that the human spirit that believes in itself cannot influence the most powerful force in the world. The experience of recent generations convinces me that only the unbending human spirit taking its stand on the front line against the violence that threatens it, ready to sacrifice itself and to die proclaiming, not one step further only this inflexibility of the spirit can be the real defender of personal peace, universal peace and all humanity." crazy I'd lake to know more details before I renounce my worldly goods The LethbruUje Herald S leTrfcrtdge Alberta LCTHBRtDGE HEHW.D CO I TO P-oprlelOTS and Second Clan Mall Registration No 0012 CJ.EO MOWERS Editor OON H PJLUMG Managing DQNA10 R DORfcM General Manager HOY f MILES Advertising Manager OO'JGLAS K EdtorW Page M FENTON Circulation Manager KEMWETH E. SAfWETT Business Manager HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"