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It seems more and more likely that the logic of the situation in Viet Nam will, within the next several months, push the United States into an invasion of North Viet Nam. The vast increase in both American manpower and firepower since 1965 has resulted in heavy casualties for the communist side, but neither the Viet Cong nor the North Vietnamese are about to collapse. On the contrary, as their recent offensive against the cities so dramatically demonstrated, they have the capacity to strike back almost anywhere, provided they have time for the necessary preparations. There is no convincing evidence that the recent offensive was a "desperate last gasp" or that the Viet Cong and North Viet Nam could not continue to take the present rate of casualties for years.
If you wish for peace, understand war-particularly the guerrilla and subversive forms of war." Thus runs an old maxim, as rephrased by Liddell Hart. It seems to me, as an outside observer and commentator (although I was involved in Viet Nam for nearly four years), that understanding the war has been the crux of the American problem and that the two great obstacles to understanding it have been the military and the liberals. Both have failed to understand what Mao Tse-tung calls "the time, place and character" of the war. Moreover, the domestic clash between the two within the United States has led to a polarization of extreme views, as between the doves and the hawks, for withdrawal or further escalation. Both these courses are, in my view, losers, as is the enclave theory, which is no more than an agonizing withdrawal-like Aden. The only difference between the two is that, by withdrawing, you merely lose, but by further escalation, you lose stinking. When I put this view to a leading member of the Administration, he said: "You mean, like barbarians?" It would be just that, and, when the conflict ended, the question would indeed be, in Senator Dirksen's words, "Where will you stand and with whom will you sit?" But the real question is: If these are losing options, is there a winning one?
As the war in Viet Nam grows in bitterness and destructiveness, the call for negotiation grows more insistent. The issue we confront, however, is not simply whether a settlement of the war should be negotiated. The question rather is a threefold one. How should we go about it? What can we expect from it? Can we arrange a settlement that has a fair chance of success? During the next several months, the American people, already emotionally tortured and intellectually frustrated by the war, are destined to be treated to large doses of oratory which will do nothing to lift the veil of confusion surrounding the question of negotiations. It may be worthwhile, then, to explore some of the issues and implications that we (and our allies and our adversaries) will have to deal with if, in fact, negotiations get under way.
Americans tend to think there is a solution to every problem. In a corollary-equally misleading though not unnatural, given the unrivaled material strength of the United States-they imagine that when the problem is international the solution to it will be American. Most international problems, however, do not have final solutions. Only a Carthaginian peace is final; and short of that, as even unconditional enemy surrenders have demonstrated, the distribution of rewards and punishments soon turns out to have results very different from those the victors foresaw or desired. Applying these truths to the situation in Viet Nam, we must reconcile ourselves to the fact that there is not a final solution to the war there; that neither a preliminary nor a lasting solution will be determined by the amount of force which we are able or willing to use; and that in neither case will it correspond to our idea of "victory."
Our foreign policy toward Eastern Europe is concerned with two closely linked areas: the Soviet Union, and the European states to the east and southeast of Germany which are connected with the Soviet Union in many ways. Although our foreign policy toward these states is called "East European policy," this term is relative. Countries like Poland or Czechoslovakia may lie east of Germany, but they have perfectly good geographical, historical and cultural reasons for regarding themselves as part and parcel of Central Europe.
The contemporary strategic era, dominated by ballistic missiles, has appeared to possess a curious kind of stability. Despite its uncertainties and dangers, two factors were apparently beyond dispute. On the one hand, neither the Soviet Union nor the United States could eliminate the other's missile forces in a first strike or effectively defend against a retaliatory missile strike. The offense seemed to have made a quantum jump against the defense: the old pattern of oscillation between defensive and offensive superiority had apparently been superseded by a period in which, for the foreseeable future, defense would be definitely inferior and incapable of matching offensive gains. On the other hand, missiles were so expensive and required so much technical sophistication that very few countries could either afford them or build them. The vexing problem of nuclear proliferation thus appeared in a new light. Even if a state could develop a nuclear bomb, it was assumed that it could not be a truly "effective" member of the nuclear club unless it also developed a missile to deliver it somewhere. The double task of building a bomb and a sophisticated delivery system inevitably seemed so difficult that the problem of preventing a thoroughly destabilizing nuclear proliferation appeared relatively simple. At worst, the process could be "managed."
The devaluation of the pound sterling on November 18, 1967, and the announcement on January 16, 1968, of a firm timetable for Britain's withdrawal east of Suez have been widely lamented as marking the "end of an era." Along with such spectacular domestic reversals as the imposition of charges for medical care and the promise of still heavier taxation, the events of the past several months may at least justify the clichés, so often repeated, that Britain is at a "turning point" or has reached a "crossroads." But does all of this necessarily mean continuing deterioration or indicate that Britain's economic base can no longer support her as a major power? Or can those of us looking on from outside reasonably hope that what Labor Ministers have called the "second Battle of Britain,"1 will result in new patterns of economic expansion?
THE fall in India's stock with her friends abroad is matched by the doubts that assail her own people. To misgivings about economic prospects have now been added a deep disquiet about the political future. The marked increase in tensions within Indian society, accelerated by intensified competition between the political parties since the general election in February 1967, raises fears that the consensus which has so far sustained the Indian experiment in democracy may break down. These fears, now at the center of the political debate within the country, testify to a crisis of confidence which is far more debilitating than the actual difficulties faced by India as a result of the loss of economic momentum and political coherence. But, paradoxically, the crisis is also a sign of hope. India has reasonably well- evolved political institutions and a fair leavening of educated public opinion, and these give her a sporting chance of pulling through. The practical solutions are still difficult to perceive, but the fact that all political elements are searching for them is itself reassuring.
OF the many experiments in the purposeful promotion of economic development which the world has witnessed since the end of World War II, incomparably the most important among underdeveloped countries is India's. The population involved in this experiment constitutes a third of the people of the non-communist underdeveloped world-more human beings than are to be found in all the underdeveloped countries of Africa and Latin America put together. The development planning effort undertaken by the Indians is one of the oldest and probably the most sophisticated to be found in any of these countries. Finally, it has been conducted in the context of a genuinely democratic political system, with repeated free elections, substantial freedom of expression by opposition groups and two orderly changes of top leadership. Three five-year plans have been completed since Independence, and India is in its fourth quinquennium of serious development effort.
INDIA has now been an independent nation for twenty years. While such a period is but a moment in the history of Indian civilization, those who struggled for freedom and worked to consolidate it looked upon the early years of Independence as a crucial period in establishing India's domestic institutions and its position in the world. Nehru's eloquent words on the eve of Independence reflected the widespread awareness that a unique moment was at hand:
New general elections will be held in Italy in May. The present government coalition (formed by Christian Democrats and Socialists, with the addition of the very few but earnest Republicans) will defend itself on two fronts. From the radical Right will come the assaults of the not-numerous neo- Fascists and the still scarcer last-stand Monarchists; much more vigorous and dangerous attacks will be launched by the radical Left, the Communists and the revolutionary Socialists. Both radical Right and Left are theoretically sworn to destroy the present state of things and erect diametrically opposite régimes on the smoking ruins and the carnage. Such apocalyptic prospectives are not difficult to defeat, as they provoke more fear than hope in large sectors of the electorate.
Trade between the United States and the Soviet Union is unlikely ever to reach mammoth proportions, regardless of political considerations or even economic systems. It is equally unlikely that either nation would ever consider such trade economically indispensable or even significantly beneficial. Nevertheless, the tendency in some quarters in the United States to dismiss both the prospects and the political importance of such trade should be less readily accepted.
It is the privilege of the famous and the infamous to be little known: their myths are often so much more convincing than the men themselves. Africa, a fruitful field for detractors and apologists, has produced myths about people and events that fiction would disown. The gilding and blackening of characters have disregarded widely known and widely reported facts. And the great open book of African history, where our ignorance still exceeds our knowledge, has been used with impunity to justify different sentimental attitudes.