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The recent meeting of NATO defense and foreign ministers at Athens ended with the usual proclamations of Allied unity. A great deal was made of the United States commitment of five-and later more-Polaris submarines to NATO. Yet the significance of the meeting went far beyond this largely symbolic gesture. The Athens conference marked the point at which a reassessment of NATO strategy could no longer be avoided. It underlined the urgent need to resolve the debate of the past years about the relative role of nuclear and conventional forces, the relationship of deterrence to strategy and the control and use of nuclear weapons.
Nato gave proof that the United States was determined to save and consolidate the democracies of Western Europe after World War II. Following the economic underpinning provided by the Marshall Plan it constituted a fairly satisfactory solution to the problems which both they and the United States then had to face. Having subjugated Eastern Europe, Stalin was turning to the West; his prime aim was to undermine democracy there before it could get firmly on its feet. By assuming the leadership in organizing Western defense, the United States provided an effective answer to this challenge.
Is Communism gaining strength as a world ideology? Is it really destined to sweep new nations and old peoples before it with the force and inevitability that it still claims? Or has it unhinged itself from historical truth and modern reality, thus losing both relevance and momentum?
Unconventional warfare has become all too conventional, even if it is not yet adequately understood. It is paradoxical that the coming of mighty engines of war that literally extend war "out of this world" and threaten violence measured in megadeaths should, in fact, lend strength to the resurgence of a kind of hostilities marked by poisoned bamboo spears, bazooka ambushes and civil war. In a recent article in these pages, the nature and dimensions of the problem have been thoughtfully analyzed.1 In the present discussion, I should like to focus attention on a series of 12 propositions derived from study of Communist theory and practice regarding the seizure of power by unconventional warfare.
Nine years ago, Khrushchev addressed the first "agricultural" plenum of the Central Committee since Stalin's death. His frank exposure of the poor state of Soviet agriculture was followed by action along a wide front. Prices paid by the state for farm produce were substantially raised, investments in agriculture increased, peasant incomes showed a much needed and rapid rise from very low levels. Tax and other burdens on the private activities of peasants were eased, to the benefit of all concerned; for example, in five years the number of privately owned cows increased 25 percent. In 1958 a major organizational weakness was corrected: Tractors and other machinery formerly owned and operated by the Machine Tractor Stations (M.T.S.) were sold to the collective farms which the M.T.S. had previously "serviced" (and also supervised). In 1958, too, the government dropped its complex multiple-price system, under which farms received a low price for a quota of produce and a higher one for deliveries in excess of their quota; this was replaced by a single price for each product, with zonal variations.
The spectacular story of the decline in Japan's population growth continues with that regularity in the extraordinary which has characterized the country over the past hundred years. Death rates are low, but so are the birth rates. Growth continues slowly, but only because the age structure is inherited from a period when birth rates were higher. Official views remain pessimistic-no longer because of excessive growth, however, but because growth itself may cease late in the century and might then be replaced by a decline that eventually could reach 10 percent a generation. Quiet inquiries are already being made concerning the pursuit and the timing of policies to increase birth rates.
From the statements of M. Georges Pompidou, the new head of the French Government, one would infer that the Algerian conflict is a thing of the past. On the theory that he is now freed from that incubus, he has serenely set about dealing with French social questions and above all with the international problems which, to tell the truth, have always been General de Gaulle's sole, indeed almost obsessive, preoccupation.
The course of Indonesian policy today must cause doubt and deep concern regarding the future of the world's fifth largest nation. Since Premier Khrushchev's ten-day visit in February 1960, Indonesia has become a major target of Soviet aid and influence, and only massive Western efforts can now prevent its gradual incorporation into the Communist bloc. All the instrumentalities available to the Kremlin-overt and covert, domestic and international-are concentrated on the elimination of Western influences from Indonesia, its isolation from the new nations of Asia and Africa, erosion of the will of domestic anti-Communist political forces to resist capture of the government by the Communist Party, and eventual alignment with the Soviet Union. What the West faces in Indonesia is not simply harassment from a group of conspirators, in usual cold-war fashion, but an all-out challenge from a great power. Indonesia has become a testing ground for the new techniques of power politics, with the local Communist Party only one of various instruments used by the Soviet state to supplant Western influence.
Most of us think of the oil industry as a modern development, but actually its roots lie far back in history. Noah, the tourist from Ur, pitched his Ark inside and out with tar from the seepages near his native city, and Herodotus reports that Alexander was astounded in Kirkuk by natives who wet down the streets with naphtha and then set fire to them. Bricks from Ur tell us that the ratio between the price of wheat and of asphalt was much the same three thousand years ago as it is today.
It is an old truth that in the long run the foreign policy of any country is determined less by ideological forces than by the facts of geography and history. And so it is in postwar Poland. The striking feature of the political scene in Poland today is that, while Communist ideology has failed to take any firm roots among the Polish people, the government's foreign policy is endorsed by an increasing number of Poles. The explanation of this apparent paradox is that since 1945 the gap between Communist goals in the international sphere and Polish national interests has considerably narrowed.
The principle of equality is having a revolutionary effect on life in contemporary India. The impact is more dramatic there than elsewhere because perhaps no other major society in recent history has known inequalities so gross or so long preserved. In the traditional civilizations of Islam and China, the ideal if not always the practice of equality had an honorable and often commanding place in the culture. But in India the notion that men should remain in the same occupation and station of life as their forefathers was enshrined in religious precepts and social custom. While life was not as immobile as theory prescribed, and from time to time revolts against the dominance of particular social classes occurred, the idea of social equality never became as widespread in Hinduism as it did in other great traditions.
The role of the Soviet Union in the struggle against Japan has received considerable attention from politicians and publicists as well as scholars, and the subject continues to hold great interest for a wider audience than is ordinarily available to the academician. The reasons for this interest are not hard to find. They stern, in part, from the controversies aroused by the Yalta Agreement and the decision to use the atomic bomb in 1945. But more fundamentally they reflect a concern over the mounting tensions of the cold war and an effort to find in our wartime relations with the Soviet Union some explanation for the failure to achieve a just settlement and a lasting peace after the greatest war in history.