- New Issue
- Books & Reviews
- About Us
- Browse by Issue:
Much of the discussion in Western countries today of the problem of relations with world Communism centers around the recent disintegration of that extreme concentration of power in Moscow which characterized the Communist bloc in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, and the emergence in its place of a plurality of independent or partially independent centers of political authority within the bloc: the growth, in other words, of what has come to be described as "polycentrism." There is widespread recognition that this process represents a fundamental change in the nature of world Communism as a political force on the world scene; and there is an instinctive awareness throughout Western opinion that no change of this order could fail to have important connotations for Western policy. But just what these connotations are is a question on which much uncertainty and confusion still prevail.
SOME 15 years ago the editor of this journal wrote that "the present risk of war seems to me to come chiefly from allowing the world to continue in a twilight zone where one side assumes that collective security exists and the other counts on taking advantage of the fact that it does not."[i] At that time, the United Nations had disappointed many people in their belief that the provisions of the Charter, and in particular the powers attributed to the Security Council, would not only be a means of bringing the world powers together around the conference table but would also help to create the collective instrument of a U.N. Force which would be able to bring to bear the wish of all mankind for peace.
IT is nearly ten years since Pakistan became an ally of the West. In May 1954, Pakistan signed the Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement with the United States. Later in that year it became a member of SEATO along with the United States, Britain, France, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. A year later, it joined the Baghdad Pact, another mutual defense organization, with Britain, Turkey, Iran and Iraq. The United States has not joined this organization, but has remained closely associated with it since its inception. In 1958, when Iraq left this pact, it was renamed CENTO (Central Treaty Organization): it continued to comprise Turkey, Iran and Pakistan as its regional members. Early in 1959, Pakistan signed (as did Turkey and Iran) a bilateral Agreement of Coöperation with the United States, which was designed further to reinforce the defensive purposes of CENTO.
IN the spring of 1964 representatives of more than 110 countries will gather in Geneva for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. To say that the less developed countries have high hopes for this event would be the understatement of the year. Again and again at meetings of the Preparatory Committee for the Conference the refrain was that the Conference would be the single most important international event for the less developed countries since the founding of the United Nations. These countries look to the Conference to lay the foundations for a "new international division of labor"; to formulate a new and "dynamic international trade policy"; and, as one representative to the Preparatory Committee recently wrote, to advance the goal of "economic emancipation" from the neo-colonialism implicit in present trade relations between rich and poor countries.
OVER the past century and a half, periods of falling commodity prices have raised great political issues. In our history, for example, they profoundly affected the age of Jackson, the era of Bryan and the Populists, and the New Deal. These ferments, so familiar in our national experience, now beset us on a world scale. Food and raw-materials prices have been drifting downward, and the underdeveloped areas which bear the brunt offer their protests in various international forums. The past year's upturn in prices has not diminished the pressures for reform of commodity policies. The less developed countries' representatives believe that current price improvements are only a temporary fluctuation around an unfavorable trend. Their concern may be exaggerated, but a review of the record and prospects shows that it is far from groundless.
THE Sino-Soviet rift and the first improvements in Soviet- American relations affect not only relations between East and West but also between North and South. The problems of the Southern Hemisphere are predominantly economic. Policies of trade and aid pursued thus far toward the developing countries, evolving as they did within the terms of the cold war, have not yielded encouraging results. The developing countries can no longer be an object in world policy; they must become a subject of policy on an equal footing with others. In order to attain that status, however, they must be able to exploit fully their own resources, both material and human, International action can serve as a catalyst. But for it to do so successfully, there must be a thorough reconsideration not only of present aid policy but also of international trade and financial policy. China's challenge introduces new elements in this field. The new international economic policy should not rest on political alliances, pacts and blocs but must try to assist the transformation of the developing countries internally so as to promote their consolidation and stabilization.
The mounting tension in civil-military relations within our Government is made up of many factors-especially, perhaps, the tightening of civilian control and the postwar changes in the nature of war and of the military profession itself. The conflicts are reported almost daily by the Pentagon press corps, and the frustrations of the military are made evident in the writings of Generals Gavin, Ridgway, Taylor, Medaris, White and Admiral Anderson. It is not that these men question the principle of civilian control. Nor is the struggle simply a contest for power. What the military are principally reacting to is the implicit challenge to their professionalism.
No one who looked down from the galleries last May on the glittering array of African heads of state assembled in Africa Hall at Addis Ababa could fail to see that this meeting constituted an historic landmark. But just what sort of landmark was it? Clearly it had greater significance than a gathering of emperors, kings, presidents and prime ministers at a single sparkling event-like, say, a coronation in Britain. But was there as much common purpose in Addis as moved the 55 men who met in Philadelphia in May 1787? President Nkrumah of Ghana had hoped and intended that there should be; in speeches, memoranda and even a full-length book he had urged the states to form a single parliament forthwith. But gazing down on the patrician head of the Mwami of Burundi facing the taut Ben Bella, observers must have realized that the differences of past experience and future problems impeded any such swift fusion into one close entity. It is still too early to assess the full achievements of the Addis conference-how far short it fell of Nkrumah's ideal, how much more important it was than just an imperial jamboree. But enough has happened in the months since May to attempt at least a progress report.
Mr. Harold Wilson has been leader of the Labor Party for nearly a year; in 1964 he may well become Britain's first Socialist Prime Minister in 13 years. Around his aims and methods, and in particular his expressed belief in the possibility of a new society created by technological as much as by political change, have gathered much speculation and comment. However, he is by nature cautious, anxious to nourish growing party aspirations rather than initiate controversial debate, and therefore unlikely to be hasty in making innovations in either domestic or foreign policies. It is the latter which will be considered here.
"The war and the aeroplane have driven home to Canadians the importance of their Northland, in strategy, in resources and in communications," Lester B. Pearson wrote in these pages some years ago.[i] They have learned, he said, that the earth is still round and that the shortest routes between many important spots in it lie over the North Pole.
In the endless campaign for ideological purification which goes on in the Soviet Union, the "historical front" is accorded high priority. No academic discipline has received such constant attention and supervision from the Party as that called "historical science," and no group of scholars has been so frequently out of step.
For the first time since the Communist take-over in Czechoslovakia, liberalizing forces are emerging and making headway. In 1963, ten years after Stalin's death, one of the last bastions of classical Stalinism began cautiously to de-Stalinize, rehabilitating the ghosts of the Slansky trial and purging from the government some of those who were most responsible for Stalinist crimes. Up to the fall of 1963 the most significant event in this evolution was the dismissal, on September 20, of the Prime Minister, Viliam Siroky, an old-time Stalinist wheel in the Slovak Communist Party, along with a number of other members of the government who had been deeply compromised by their activities during the period of the "cult of personality." But others, primarily President Antonin Novotny himself, still held the reins of power and were consequently dragging their feet in implementing a process that ultimately was bound to cause their own downfall.