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It may well be the opinion of future historians that the small but fierce engagements which in late 1965 pitted newly-arrived American troops against the Chu-Luc (Main Force) units of the Viet Cong and of North Viet Nam were the First Battle of the Marne of the Vietnamese War. The Battle of the Marne in September 1914 halted the seemingly irresistible onslaught of the Kaiser and thus foreclosed the possibility of an immediate end of the war through a collapse of the French; but the Great War, with its immense human and material losses, still ground on for four years and the enemy would often again come close to victory. The same happened in World War II before Moscow in the winter of 1941, or at Guadalcanal a few months later: no "turning point" as yet, but a halt to the runaway disaster. In South Viet Nam, after being stopped at Chu-Lai, Plei-Mé and the la-Drang, the Communist regulars lost enough of their momentum for the time being not to be able to bring about the military and political collapse of the Saigon government late in 1965-a situation which would have altogether closed out the American "option" of the conflict. But just as at the Marne 52 years ago, or before Moscow a quarter-century ago, nothing had been decided as yet. Years-perhaps a decade-of hard fighting could still be ahead. And the political collapse of the government in Saigon is still a distinct possibility. It is, however, important to assess in detail the military and political elements on which this precarious balance rests and what real possibilities for man?uvre (as against wishful thinking on one side or party rhetoric on the other) exist at present in the Viet Nam situation.
Amazement and concern are often expressed these days that the United Nations seems unable or unwilling to "do anything" about Viet Nam. What is the Security Council for, it is asked, if not to stop wars? If the Council is blocked by a veto, why does not the General Assembly act? Yet neither apparently will even discuss Viet Nam.
The International Court of Justice shall be the principal judicial organ of the United Nations." Article 92 of the United Nations Charter thus rounds out the grand design of what the Court itself has described as the "organized international community." This is the structure or framework for world order, which, however nascent and rudimentary, is an indispensable feature of the modern age.
President Johnson said recently of Europe: "The Europe of today is a new Europe. In place of uncertainty, there is confidence; in place of decay, progress; in place of isolation, partnership; in place of war, peace." Confidence, progress, partnership and peace-what better testimonial could there be to the health and vitality, both political and economic, of Europe today; and what better promise for Europe's future?
Three years after having signed a treaty of coöperation with Dr. Adenauer, designed to make the marriage of France and Germany the foundation for the regrouping of Europe, General de Gaulle has travelled to the Soviet Union to talk of rediscovered friendship, agreement and even "alliance" between the "new France" and the "new Russia." Now the latter, pending information to the contrary, is the principal adversary of the German Federal Republic, and the Soviet leaders do not hide the fact that they look upon the rapprochement with Paris as a means of gaining support against German "revanchism." We may therefore be permitted to question the degree of coherence in the foreign policy of the Fifth Republic and to wonder whether such changes of course-there are other examples-cannot be best explained by psychological factors, the first of them being excessive amour propre.
If the most powerful country and the most populous country in the world could not have a normal diplomatic relationship, they would have to invent a substitute. And they did. For eleven years the United States and the Chinese People's Republic have dealt directly with each other by means of their special if obscure arrangement known as the Ambassadorial Talks, held at irregular intervals, first in Geneva, then in Warsaw. Although the official record of the exchanges between their two Ambassadors has been kept secret by mutual agreement, official statements in Washington and Peking, together with news reports in both countries, provide some material for describing several high points of the "longest established permanent floating" diplomatic game in modern history. The United States has participated in three international conferences with the Chinese People's Republic, but in the course of them few or no bilateral discussions or contacts took place informally on the side; thus the principal American dealings with Peking have occurred in the Ambassadorial Talks. It is time to recognize and appraise these unusual dealings.
"In the middle of the twentieth century," declared Richard Cobden, nineteenth-century apostle of free trade, "there will be only two great powers in the world, the United States and Russia, and they will overshadow all the rest." Alexis de Tocqueville had, of course, said much the same thing at much the same time. But the Frenchman's prophecy, it must be remembered, came a generation after his own country's decisive defeat at Waterloo. The Englishman's, though less familiar, is in a sense more remarkable; for it was made in the heyday of Britain's preëminence in world affairs.
Joseph SCHUMPETER gave us the perfect definition of Marx's scientific socialism when he called it "preaching in the garb of analysis." After observing this illusory fusion of science and ethics for more than a century, we are fully aware of its consequences: the concentration of absolute power in the hands of self-appointed executors of history's "laws," and their easy justification of deprivation and oppression as the "scientifically" necessary price to be paid for a future good society.
For the Chinese Communist Party, this year's "great proletarian cultural revolution" has meant the most serious purge since the disgrace of Defense Minister P'eng Teh-huai and two other Politburo members during the Great Leap Forward. P'eng Chen, effectively the sixth-ranking member of the Chinese Politburo, has been dismissed from the key post of first secretary of the Peking municipal party committee together with his senior colleagues. At least one other Politburo member, propaganda chief Lu Ting- yi, has been sacked along with many subordinates throughout the country. The long-missing Chief-of-Staff of the People's Liberation Army (P.L.A.) has been replaced and the army has undergone its third struggle over professionalism versus political control Finally at a giant rally in Peking on August 18, it was revealed that Mao's heir-apparent of twenty-years standing, head of state Liu Shao-ch'i, had been demoted several steps in the national hierarchy and had been replaced as Number 2 by Defense Minister Lin Piao. It is a startling picture of disarray in a Communist party which for most of the 31 years of Mao's chairmanship has been a model of solidarity at the top. What has happened to dispel the spirit of comradeship in that generation which participated in the Long March? Is the Chinese party now to undergo the periodic purging which has been the fate of the Soviet party ever since the death of Lenin? Are we witnessing a struggle for the succession to China's aging if still active father figure? Or is Mao himself turning into a Stalin in his old age?
Two recent Presidential directives provide the framework for testing the application of the newest tools of information technology to the conduct of foreign affairs. If such tools are effectively applied and gain wider acceptance they could radically affect the management and even the substance of international relations.
On June 29, after almost five months of discussion and preparation, the East German Communist régime denounced an agreement for public debates to be held in both German states between its spokesmen and the leaders of West Germany's opposition Social Democratic Party. The plan for a high-level confrontation, the first of its kind since Germany was partitioned at the end of the Second World War, was the result of an East German initiative. It had aroused intense interest and some exaggerated hopes among Germans on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
When Mr. Jean Lesage, after serving only three and a half years of a five- year mandate as Prime Minister of Quebec, decided to call a general election for June 5 of this year, few observers thought that the incumbent Liberals would be out of office ten days after the election.