Written Responses to Questions Submitted by the Swedish Newspaper Svenska Dagbladet
The President's Political Philosophy
Q. Would you tell us some key tenets of your political philosophy so that the Swedes can compare it with the philosophy of their own Premier, Ingvar Carlsson?
The President. I was elected, and reelected, on a platform that pledged to decentralize Federal programs, reduce the size and spending of the Federal Government, strengthen the national defense, restore economic prosperity through private enterprise, and foster individual initiative. As you know, I believe that individual initiative is the key to a vibrant, strong, and healthy nation. People who decide for themselves what risks to take and how hard to push for what level of personal fulfillment are the people who contribute the most to society. I strongly believe the best way to encourage economic growth is through private enterprise.
The distrust between the
The President. I think that we are
still a long way from the point where either the
Q. The prospect of nuclear disarmament gives the European public an enhanced sense of psychological security. But our real security, in terms of coping with the legacy of historical hostilities -- imbalance of conventional armed forces, territorial claims, ethnic loyalties, trading restrictions, etc. -- is hardly affected by a mutual and balanced scaling-down of nuclear capabilities. What advice do you have to Europeans to turn the psychological security of denuclearization into a real security of removed sources of conflicts?
The President. The real source of East-West tension is the fundamental difference between societies that are based on freedom and those that are not. Weapons, even nuclear weapons, are a result of this difference, not the cause of it. I have often spoken of our ultimate goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons. But we must not delude ourselves; to achieve this goal will be a long and slow process. For the foreseeable future, all of us will continue to depend on nuclear deterrence to preserve both peace and freedom.
even if we are able to reach a verifiable INF agreement to eliminate a whole
category of nuclear weapons, it is very misleading to talk about
Q. What are the remaining obstacles, if any, for your next summit meeting with Mr. Gorbachev?
The President. I would very much like
for the General Secretary to see this country. At
Central American Peace Process
What role will the
The President. The
acceptance of full democracy -- including political pluralism; freedom of the
press, religion, and assembly -- is an essential element of the peace plan
adopted by the five Central American Presidents. I believe that all democratic
states need to do everything they can to encourage this development. In
particular, they need to press the Sandinistas to fulfill the commitments they
have made under the
Q. Do you accept the idea that small countries have a common cause in the world today and should give voice to it?
The President. Your question implies that there is somehow a difference between the cause or causes small countries should stand for -- or that simply because they are small countries -- in the ones they are compelled to stand for -- and those that large countries support. I'm not at all sure I accept that premise.
Fundamentally all countries, large or small, should have common cause in the world today to live in peace and to prosper. Domestically, people have a right to a system based on a government of choice. Internationally, we have a right to an environment which allows people to live free from the constant fear that their national sovereignty will be encroached upon through the aggressive actions of others. The small countries certainly do have a common interest in the preservation of peace, and believe me, the big countries share the same interest.
as one considers the idea of common cause from the perspective of those broad
principles, I think all countries share a common cause, and of course they
should give voice to it. The
Northern European Nuclear-Free Zone
Do you think that a nuclear-free zone in northern
The President. I do not think that a
northern European nuclear-free zone would increase security in
Public Opinion Polls
Q. It has been generally noticed that the influence of your arguments with Congress is higher when your rating in the polls is higher. The very same or an equally good White House argument seems to carry less weight when your rating goes down. Do you have any comments on the conditions of a President's effectiveness set by the opinion polls?
The President. The
Again, one of the key features and greatest strengths of our system -- and one particularly worth noting now at the 200th anniversary of our Constitution, the document which provides for the system itself -- is the checks and balances between the different branches of the Government. While I may not always like a particular point of opposition, I don't think it's too surprising that some segments of Congress respond very quickly to the opinion polls and perhaps feel they can push harder at some times than others. I don't think, however, that a President's decisions regarding central issues of peace, security, and the economic health of this nation are really determined by the shifts, up and down, in the opinion polls. That's something every modern President just has to live with, and you go on and put through the programs you know are the right ones.
Note: The questions and answers were released by the Office of the Press Secretary on September 28.