The Bear and the Bomb
Bear-baiting has been quite popular in Eastern Europe recently, but apparently the Bear's full attention has not been taken up with such sport. Despite some rather momentous political problems nearby, the Russians have seen fit to involve themselves in the American elections as well.
Not only was the release of Premier Bulganin's note on H-bomb tests released by Moscow before President Eisenhower had studied it, but the message itself referred none too subtly to the election campaign. Clearly its timing was calculated to make it an election maneuver.
But although the attempt to influence internal politics is transparent, some elements of the press have succeeded in masking the Soviet intent. They conclude that Bulganin was trying to boost Governor Stevenson's candidacy by making it appear that Eisenhower is the only obstacle to ending tests and harmful radiation.
Yet it seems strange that the Russians, who have frequently stated their approval of the Eisenhower regime should seek its demise. The Russians are undoubtedly well satisfied with Secretary Dulles' conduct of foreign affairs, and probably feel, as Molotov has suggested to the Supreme Soviet, that this Administration is more inclined to appeasement than its predecessor. It seems far more likely that the latest Soviet maneuver is calculated to perpetuate the General's presidency rather than end it.
Their method is clear. They have provided President Eisenhower with an opportunity to run not against Governor Stevenson, but against Premier Bulganin, feeling that the average American voter will naturally equate all those who agree about H-bombs and disagree with Eisenhower. The Soviets must realize that it is unlikely that voters will follow the reasoning of Bulganin's note to the conclusion that Eisenhower is a roadblock on the highway to peace.
Unfortunately, the President has been eager to play their game and reply politically to a message at least technically diplomatic. The worst aspect of the entire interchange is that in squabbling with Bulganin to gain a political advantage, President Eisenhower has lost sight of the H-bomb test-radiation issue itself. In order to oppose what he approaches as the combined forces of Bulganin and Stevenson, he has set himself up in an immovable, inflexible position, without bothering to give a reasoned reply to their collective arguments.