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Despite the willingness of many Americans to settle for less than a satisfactory settlement in Viet Nam, and despite the possibility that events may foreclose the alternatives, it seems useful to examine just how "bad" a settlement we really are willing to accept and what the alternatives to such a settlement are. Despite heated discussion, some of the central issues involved in negotiations have not been debated-or at least not in sufficient detail and concreteness to make them clear. Indeed, so far each side is demanding victory on its own terms, the only difference being that we have offered North Viet Nam some face-saving devices, while Hanoi talks as if it is determined to humiliate us. Thus many people have dismissed these public positions as debating stances or meaningless rhetoric designed to raise morale or inspire confidence among allies and supporters-not serious approaches to settlement.
Aviable political settlement in South Viet Nam will reflect and give some legitimacy to the balance of political, military and social forces produced by a decade of internal conflict and five years of large-scale warfare. A successful settlement can also inaugurate a process of political accommodation through which the various elements of Vietnamese society may eventually be brought together into a functioning polity. American objectives and American expectations of what can be achieved at the conference table and on the battlefield should, correspondingly, be based on the realities of power and the opportunities for accommodation.
Whatever else we may say of the dissent to the war in Viet Nam, it has effectively reminded us that we are still a democracy. Some may demur that we did not need to be reminded so noisily, but the fact remains: so many Americans turned from indifference or passive skepticism to outright opposition that the policy had to be changed. There comes a time, in foreign affairs as in domestic policies, when "the people" will be heard.
The Soviet Union and the United States are rival superpowers not simply because of their wealth, numbers, size, geographical position, social cohesion, strong government, but because they have translated these potentialities into overwhelmingly strong military forces which, measured on any historic or current standard, are comparable only with each other. For nearly fifteen years, the central strength of these forces has been their respective long-range strategic striking arms, each designed to be capable of a large-scale attack with nuclear weapons on the home territory of the other. Over the past decade, more or less, each nation has become increasingly aware that the chief utility of his strategic force was to prevent his adversary from using his own. This result was achieved primarily by offering the adversary the prospect that any attack by his strategic forces would be met by a counterblow so devastating as to convert a decision to attack into a suicide pact. So the strategic equilibrium commonly termed "mutual deterrence" was recognized.
"The Russians seem to me more bent on taking ports in the Mediterranean than in destroying Bonaparte in Egypt." So wrote Horatio Nelson in 1799. Whether "Bonaparte" is regarded as a synonym for President Nasser or for the Sixth Fleet, these words could hardly be improved upon as a reflection of the present state of Western consternation about Soviet objectives in the Mediterranean. Do the beginnings of a Soviet naval presence there mark the end of an era during which the Mediterranean has been dominated by a succession of single powers?
For those whose thinking of Asia is conditioned by the food crises of 1965 and 1966, the news of an agricultural revolution may come as a surprise. But the change and ferment now evident in the Asian countryside stretching from Turkey to the Philippines, and including the pivotal countries of India and Pakistan, cannot be described as anything less. This rural revolution, largely obscured in its early years by the two consecutive failures of the monsoon, is further advanced in some countries-Pakistan, the Philippines and India-than in others, but there is little prospect that it will abort, so powerful and pervasive are the forces behind it.
On January 20, a new American President will appear on the East Portico of the Capitol to speak, among other things, to the question: What lies ahead in foreign policy? The question will be posed not merely by the advent of a new administration; in greater degree than at any time since 1945, Americans are questioning the concepts which in recent years have shaped their country's role in world affairs.
A World economy must be managed (de facto or de jure) by a mix of national dominance and international policy coördination. As the dominance of the United States shrank over the past decade-in fact if not in the consciousness of all U.S. policy-makers-some degree of integration of policy became necessary, at least among the major nations. The alternative was to risk the benefits of international intercourse by reverting to uncoördinated exercise of autonomous national policies.
Like many other observers, Karl Marx noted that from the time of Peter the Great Russian foreign policy showed a general tendency not merely to expansionism, but to "unlimited" power. He put this even more strongly in a speech of January 1876, when he spoke of Russia's lodestar being "the empire of the world." Engels, too, wrote of her "dreaming about universal supremacy." They were referring not to any fixed plan, or wholly explicit intention, but rather to the spirit and character of the Russian State. The extent to which this general tendency (though, of course, with different content) still subsists, and the degree to which it is expressed in actual practice, are clearly central to any but a superficial estimate of Soviet foreign policy.
The southern segment of the African continent includes: Angola and Mozambique, two vast Portuguese colonies whose peoples are in revolt; Rhodesia, a British possession whose government is in rebellion; the Republic of South Africa, officially committed to a racist ideology; and the international Territory of South West Africa, illegally occupied by the neighboring Republic. These diverse lands share a common attribute, which is both unique and menacing: domination by white minorities of black populations many times their number.
Two simultaneous revolutions in the developing countries-in education and in communications-can be expected separately and through their interaction to have an impact which is as yet only vaguely foreseen. They promise changes not merely in degree but in kind. As education pushes toward universality, and as the communications network makes more and more sweeping use of printing, broadcasting, film-making and other new methods, the effects will be not only on the economy but perhaps on the basic civic structure of the societies concerned. Whether the long-run political results will be beneficial is another and quite different question. And whether the side effects will strengthen the social fabric is likewise in doubt. But, whether for good or ill, overwhelming changes are going to occur. We should think about them if we are concerned with the welfare of Asia and Africa and Latin America, or with the relations of their societies with the rest of the world.
A Diplomat, after a seven-year tour of duty in the Philippines, once christened the islands an "enchanting archipelago." Whether he was merely being polite, or had succumbed to government pitchmen, or had himself become enchanted by the lush tropical beauty of the islands, he should also have seen a country wracked by afflictions, some common to all countries engaged in the desperate race to develop, some peculiar to the Philippines.