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We are evidently at the beginning of the third major effort since 1945 to establish whether or not it is possible for the Soviet Union and the West to live together on this planet under conditions of tolerable stability and low tension. The first effort occurred in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War; the second, in the years after Stalin's death; and historians may well date the third from the aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis of last October.
The long-heralded and twice-postponed conference between the Chinese and Soviet Communist spokesmen, held at Moscow in July, was overshadowed, at least for the outside world, by the dramatic publication of the exchange of letters between the two Central Committees. The breakup of the conference was hardly softened by halfhearted assertions of a mutual intention to continue the discussions. It is hard to discern any useful topics for new negotiations until one or another or both parties to the quarrel have made some rather drastic changes in their ideological claims or their practical policy aims. The two facets are inseparable, of course. Quarrels among Communists have been a recurring feature of a movement that claims political omniscience and a monopoly of messianic foresight, and are normally clothed in recondite scholastic terms. But their ideological disputes are always waged over real questions of power and policy.
The documents that gave formal birth to the Alliance for Progress were signed at Punta del Este, Uruguay, on August 17, 1961. That date does not mark, however, the sudden commencement of a new stage in inter-American relations, but the culmination of a laborious process in which all the countries forming the Organization of American States (O.A.S.) took an active part.
In the Security Council on August 7 the United States voted for a ban on the shipment of arms to the South African Government, and in the course of the debate the American representative announced that the United States would suspend all arms shipments at the end of the year. Since South Africa has in the past found it difficult to obtain licenses for the purchase of American arms, this decision represented only a small shift in policy. But as the vote was taken under African pressure, and as it separated the United States from Britain and France (which abstained), the shift was significant; for it showed that when faced with a choice, the United States is more prepared than before to take a stand against apartheid.
THE discord among the Atlantic nations arises from a basic issue: how to organize the West. What form shall Europe take? How shall it be related to the United States? For a decade and a half, the shared goal has been to build a strong integrated Europe linked in partnership with the United States for the pursuit of common purposes. A great deal has been achieved; but deep cleavages now put the prospects in doubt.
STRATEGIC problems are no longer the exclusive province of the military; on the contrary, now that strategy has invaded politics and diplomacy, it is primarily the statesman who must analyze it down to its components. If this gives pause to a soldier who essays to write in a primarily political journal, a second consideration is that whatever a European or even a Frenchman (on the assumption that the French are the "hard core" of Europe) may have to say on the problems posed by the advent of thermonuclear weapons has already been said by Americans, who did not wait until 1963 to discuss frankly and objectively the problems of deterrence, the control of nuclear weapons and the maintenance of the world balance of power-in other words, peace. Indeed, the European point of view on all these subjects could be presented by putting together excerpts from Henry A. Kissinger, Bernard Brodie, Herman Kahn and less specialized authors such as Walter Lippmann and Nelson A. Rockefeller.
THE crisis in NATO and in the European Communities is not over. It has destroyed the chance for a Western diplomatic offensive following the firm reaction of the United States against the establishment of Soviet atomic weapons in Cuba. The only reason the damage has not been greater is that the Soviet Union has troubles of its own with China, a conflict which the West could have turned to advantage if the Soviet Union had not still hoped to exploit the differences within the Western Alliance. There is no use in trying to place responsibility for this on nations or personalities. The task is to strengthen Western unity, Atlantic solidarity and the European Community. What are the problems in these three fields?
IT is hardly too much to say that the future not only of NATO but of the Atlantic Community as a whole depends today on the ability of Western statesmanship to find a politically acceptable and militarily sensible solution to the problem of how to give all the NATO allies a share in a common responsibility for defense of the West in the nuclear age. This is not merely a question of satisfying the amour propre of General de Gaulle; nor of whether or not a future government in Bonn will remain satisfied with the present limited status of Germany in the nuclear field-a question on which some divergence of views in Washington and London is relevant but not critical. It is a problem simple in conception but infinitely complex in definition, which has been stated succinctly by M. Jean Monnet. ". . . the United States," he said in New York on January 23, "must realize that the claims of Europe to share common responsibility and authority for decision on defense, including nuclear weapons, is natural, since any decision involves the very existence of the European peoples. On the other hand .. . Europeans must understand that the nuclear terror is indivisible and that they too must shoulder an adequate share of the common defense."
Since the return of convertibility among the currencies of most major industrial countries at the beginning of 1959, a crisis affecting at least one major currency has threatened each year; the U.S. balance of payments has been in continuous large deficit; and the stability of the convertible gold-dollar and sterling system has been increasingly questioned. With the transition to convertibility proving to be so turbulent, doubts have arisen over the adequacy of liquidity arrangements for the future and calls for a great reform of the international monetary system have quite understandably been intensified.
Early in the nineteenth century, there began in the Near East a change from one system of social thought to another. The old system started from the idea that there is some principle which stands above the state and society, guiding and judging the life of society and the actions of governments; it found this principle in the teachings of a revealed religion, Islam. The new system also believed that a principle existed, but it thought it could be found by human reason. From this idea it derived a program of action which could, in some circumstances, be one of revolution: if the institutions of society are not what reason says they should be, men are not obliged to obey them; rather, they should replace them by others more rational and remake the social world in the light of their image of perfection.
What area of the world has given the Western nations the least trouble since World War II? What is the only large geographic area of the world without significant Communist penetration? What is the only underdeveloped area of the world in which the Western nations have the active sympathetic support of the native populations? What large area of the world having great strategic value for the weapons systems on which the Western nations now rely is under Western control and wants to remain so? What area of the world receives the least monetary aid from the United States in relation to size or American interest?