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Søren Kierkegaard once said that "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." As applied to public policy in general, and to foreign policy in particular, this is a counsel of despair because it implies that men must govern themselves and shape their policies without really knowing what they are about or why. But if this observation is to be disproved, and the historian unseated as the only proper analyst of human affairs, then men must be prepared resolutely to try to follow Aldous Huxley's advice "to look at the world directly and not through the half- opaque medium of concepts, which distorts every given fact into the all too familiar likeness of some generic label or explanatory abstraction."
The provisions of the Japanese Constitution barring the resort to war as an instrument of Japanese policy, and effectively committing Japan not to maintain armed forces on a major scale, has long raised the question how Japan's security is to be assured in a world still replete with sources of international conflict. As late as 1948 it was still General MacArthur's view, if the writer of these lines understood him correctly, that it would not be essential for the United States to maintain armed forces on the Japanese archipelago permanently or for a protracted time either for its own security or for that of Japan; in his view, the most suitable status for Japan would be one of permanent demilitarization and neutralization under such general protection as might be afforded by the United Nations and by the friendly interest of the United States. He appeared to believe, as did this writer, that if such a status could be arranged with the concurrence of the Soviet Government, the likelihood of a Soviet attack on Japan would be minimal; and it was not easy to see from what other quarter Japan could be seriously threatened. This concept assumed, of course, an eventual agreement between the Soviet Union, the United States and other interested parties, on the terms of a Japanese peace settlement.
For over 150 years after the fall of Quebec to the British in 1759, the Province of Quebec was a poor, agrarian, patriarchal, clerical society. It wanted little more from the English Canadians than to be let alone to slumber peacefully and to preserve its language and (like Ireland) its Roman Catholic religion. But little by little, and particularly since World War II, the industrialization and prosperity of the United States and of the rest of Canada have brought great changes. Less than half of the people of Quebec now live on farms; the growth of its cities has been enormous (Montreal now has more than a million people); and its rich natural resources-minerals, timber and hydroelectric power-have been rapidly developed.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development-UNCTAD-was not only the biggest trade conference in history, it was the biggest international conference in history on any subject, numbering upwards of 2,000 delegates. It is worth repeating what Isaiah Frank noted in his article in the January 1964 issue of this journal, that the developing countries viewed the conference as the single most important event for them since the founding of the U.N. The formal findings and recommendations of the conference, which lasted for 12 weeks ending in mid-June, are embodied in its Final Act. That governments consider this an important document is clear from the long hours and occasional bitter debate that went into its formulation. But it is also clear that the official record of the conference at best can give only official conclusions and that these alone are not the stuff of which future policy is made.
Australia, the sixth continent, lay outside world affairs until settled by Europeans. The 300,000 aborigines, who were its only inhabitants until the end of the eighteenth century, were untouched by the outside world except for infrequent visits by Malays and possibly Chinese to a few points on the northern coastline, and these had no knowledge of or interest in world affairs. But modern Australia is neither isolated nor isolationist. Australians have fought overseas in five wars in the last century, have known hostile bombs on their own soil and at present have a substantial proportion of their armed services on duty in other lands. By its origin in six British colonies, modern Australia was linked to world power contests; by its growth it has become part of them, and today we cannot read our national future except in the language of world politics.
The April coup in Vientiane and the subsequent defeat of the neutralists at the Plain of Jars underscored the fact that the 1962 settlement was only a fig leaf, not a solution, for the country's perennial civil war in Laos. The events of the past two years have left the situation there as complex and explosive as before.
Whatever course the long struggle in Viet Nam finally takes, short of nuclear holocaust, one thing seems certain: the people of Viet Nam still will be there. This is a reminder that war in Viet Nam is a "people's war." As such, it is a constantly recurring phenomenon of this period of man's history. How it is fought and what happens to the Vietnamese people as a result have meanings, therefore, far beyond today or the boundaries of Viet Nam itself. "People's wars" elsewhere will also make demands on the American people to help solve them. Thus, although the hour is late in Viet Nam, terribly so, there is time yet for Americans to consider the war in Viet Nam in its "people" nature, especially as regards what American assistance in these critical months will come to mean to the Vietnamese people in their own future, and to us in ours.
The recent journey of Nikita Khrushchev to the United Arab Republic, and the more extensive travels of Chou En-lai to Asian and African countries, have pointed up the new context of an old dilemma of Soviet and, more generally, of Communist policy. Should Communists-in-power give vigorous political, economic and strategic backing to non-Communist and nationalist régimes in order to strengthen them and thus weaken the "imperialist bloc?" Or will this strategy lead, through the development of effective non- Communist régimes, to blocking the spread of Communism? Or would it be more profitable in the long run for Moscow and Peking to direct their support only to avowed or potential supporters of Communist doctrine and revolutions?
AFRICA poses a challenge largely because of its unpredictability. The Dark Continent, to some extent the Unknown Continent, it has come up politically with a rush; the postwar fever for independence catapulted some 30 states into freedom within a decade. Culturally, vast tracts of Africa have leaped from the Stone Age to the twentieth century in a matter of three generations. Growing industrialization in the cities and towns between the two wars and after has led to a migration from the bush to the developing urban centers which has affected not only the economic but the social and political values of the African; uprooted from his tribal moorings and exposed to a new way of life, thought and civilization, he finds himself embarked on a voyage of rediscovery which concerns not only his individual self but his people and country.
Where does West Germany stand in the Great Debate about the future shape of the Atlantic Alliance? Are the "Atlanticists," represented by Chancellor Erhard and his Foreign Minister Schröder, really on the wane? Is the "Euro- Gaullist" school of thought, led by former Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, former Defense Minister Franz-Josef Strauss and Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg, in the ascendancy?
In the Soviet opposition to the American-sponsored scheme for a Multilateral Force-the NATO nuclear-missile fleet-two themes have been paramount: the M.L.F. is the opening wedge for the German acquisition of nuclear weapons, and the M.L.F. will set in motion the process of nuclear proliferation. According to Soviet spokesmen, the consequences are bound to be dangerous for the peace of the world, and, as if to give credence to these warnings, they have ominously hinted that the "most serious" consequences will follow implementation of this scheme.
AT a time when South Africa, by reason of what are commonly referred to as its "racial" policies, has become the object of such universal censure, it behooves any thinking South African to examine for himself the anatomy of that program which is exciting so much dissent, and not simply to content himself with a public posture suggested by some climate of opinion, whether in South Africa or abroad. The fact that he may not have voted for those who sponsor the program should not prevent him from according it such merits as it seems to him to possess, independent of its parenthood. It need not prevent his seeing many of the strictures currently passed upon it as unwarranted and incorrect.
WILLIAM JAMES divided philosophers into the tender-minded and the tough- minded; similarly, anyone who has given concerned study to South Africa and the present international situation may find it useful to categorize his thoughts into what he would like to happen and what he thinks likely to happen. This article is an attempt to summarize in a highly condensed (and therefore oversimplified) form some personal conclusions from these two angles and to suggest certain maxims or lines of policy for Britain and the United States.
NOT long ago, at a social gathering, I overheard a high-ranking U.S. military officer berating the Korean people for their "mendicant mentality." He was deeply annoyed by the inability of the Koreans to find a way to live independently, without always looking to the United States for financial help. He did not see how the American taxpayers could be made to carry indefinitely the burden of helping a poor nation that seems unable or unwilling to help itself. He cited the billions of dollars of American aid that have been poured into Korea since 1945. If this has not made the Koreans self-supporting by now, could there ever be an end to American almsgiving? The Koreans must be made to realize, he said, that they had to get onto their own feet very soon; otherwise continued American aid would only create what one American news magazine several years ago termed a "handout mentality."