During 1984-89, Homet, who has served in all three branches of government, moderated some 50 separate meetings of American specialists on the Soviet Union. This provocative book is a distillation of the findings of those meetings. Homet declares that ""a great power has neither permanent friends nor permanent enemies; it has durable interests and changing opportunities."" In regard to the Soviet Union--which, despite recent upheavals, is still, he points out, the only power that can destroy us--Homet argues that we should disregard both past antipathies and current desires for friendship. Instead, we must recognize where mutuality of interest lies. We must, he says, learn to distinguish between US-Soviet agreements that are worth seeking and those that are not. For example, since it is in the clear interest of both countries to avoid a nuclear conflict, an arms agreement is worth seeking and stands a good chance of success. On the other hand, other agreements reached strictly for symbolic reasons may quickly languish, as they have in the past. Homet proposes a course of action he calls ""constructive detachment,"" wherein we respond only to those Soviet moves that directly affect us and do not try to impose our values upon them--e.g., in the area of human rights. We and the Soviets, Homet argues, have a relatively narrow, though vitally important, common field of concern that can be made ""more manageable by excluding the unnecessary."" Though somewhat overtaken by current events--e.g., German reunification and the current debate on financial aid to the Soviets--noteworthy for its frank call for a reasoned foreign policy based on self-interest.