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VIET Nam remains unquestionably the transcendent problem that confronts our nation. Though the escalation has ceased, we seem to be no closer to finding our way out of this infinitely complex difficulty. The confidence of the past has become the frustration of the present. Predictions of progress and of military success, made so often by so many, have proved to be illusory as the fighting and the dying continue at a tragic rate. Within our country, the dialogue quickens and the debate sharpens. There is a growing impatience among our people, and questions regarding the war and our participation in it are being asked with increasing vehemence.
Someone is always devising a slogan or aphorism to dispose of an idea that is too complex for facile solution. At any given moment of time there are a number of such bromides in the public domain, but today the most popular is "No more Viet Nams." It is a phrase usually proclaimed with heavy emphasis as a statement of ultimate truth, but just what course of action it calls for is obscure. Like most serviceable utterances of this genre, it is artfully ambiguous, meaning quite conveniently whatever the user wishes it to mean. Thus, it may serve as a bugle note sounding the retreat to isolationism-or an argument that we should abandon Southeast Asia altogether-or an insistence that we should never again commit American power so uncritically-or a hawkish demand that we cast aside the restraints of limited war, unleash the military and drop lethal bombs without inhibition.
During the months that followed the Arab-Israeli war of June 1967, the view gradually gained ground in the West that the Arab defeat represented a considerable Russian victory. Some more imaginative observers argued that the Russians had deliberately engineered both the war and the defeat in order to achieve this result; others, without going as far as to ascribe conscious purpose, nevertheless agreed that, by increasing the hostility of the Arabs to the West and their dependence on the Soviet Union, the crisis, the war and their aftermath had greatly strengthened the Soviet political and strategic position in the Middle East and correspondingly weakened that of the United States. Observers and commentators spoke with mounting anxiety about the growth of Soviet influence in the area and the threat which it offered to the interests of the free world.
In 1770 Edmund Burke, that greatest of late eighteenth-century English conservatives and friend of America, published his famous tract entitled "Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents." Among its opening lines are some which, reread today, carry a contemporaneousness that is as inescapable as it is striking:
Of all the upheavals that have marked Africa's transition from colonialism to political independence, none has been more tragic than Nigeria's civil war, either in terms of the immediate human suffering it has caused or the shadow it has cast on the continent's prospects for harmony and prosperity. After two years of inconclusive warfare and the collapse of three major initiatives toward negotiations, genuine peace in Nigeria seems very far away. One prerequisite to bringing it closer is the identification of the issues with which the peacemakers must deal. The present article undertakes this task, first briefly reviewing the war's background and then outlining the questions that must be considered in negotiating a settlement.
It is surely a suggestive irony that just at the point when younger American historians had made serious intellectual headway with their reinterpretation of the cold war, fixing historical responsibility in terms of the mistakes, delusions and imperatives of United States policy, the Soviet Union astonished friends and foes by overwhelming Czechoslovakia and turning its clock of history backwards. If the cold war has not revived, small thanks are due the Soviet leaders. Their extraordinary nervousness, their man?uvres to propitiate both the outgoing and incoming American Administrations, indicate very plainly how much they have feared political retaliation; this in itself is a comment on where responsibility for the cold war today should rest. That Prague should have been the vortex in 1968 as it was in 1948 of critical problems within communism is uncanny, but on deeper examination it may not be fortuitous.
Trouble is no stranger in Brussels. From the beginning, the European Economic Community has lived from crisis to crisis. One ought not, therefore, to conclude, simply because the Community is now confronted by rapidly mounting agricultural surpluses and a serious disequilibrium between the French franc and the German mark, that this resourceful institution is in serious trouble. And conversely, one should not assume that President de Gaulle's retirement will put things right.
AUSTRALIA'S decision to keep forces in Malaysia and Singapore after Britain leaves in 1971 was taken in an election year, after the most searching public debate on defense and foreign policy in Australia's history and after a substantial official review. It represents, therefore, one country's practical assessment of Southeast Asia "after Viet Nam." In this sense, the decision may have significance outside Australia, for the light it throws on the development of Australian thinking, for the contribution it is intended to make to the security of the immediate subregional neighborhood and for the assumptions it appears to make about the broader question of stability in Asia, especially the role of the United States.
Heretofore, Western observers of economic reform in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe have concentrated almost exclusively on internal changes. Most of us have been fascinated by the provocative debate and by the subsequent decision of the East European governments to emphasize such concepts as profit, interest, rent and managerial autonomy and to deëmphasize centralized planning. This concentration on internal economic reforms has tended to divert attention from the equally significant changes that the East Europeans have introduced into their international economic structure.
We are confronting in Latin America what is in essence an ideological crisis-a question of purpose. Given our national predilections this is the kind of problem we find most difficult to deal with. The temptation is to retreat, retrench and look inward. This is an impossibility: our wealth is too great not to share, our enterprise too successful and too useful not to expand, our interests-and the peace of the world-too vulnerable not to protect.
The thirteenth Dalai Lama, Thupten Gyatso, the incarnation of Tibet's patron deity, Chenresi, "the Buddha of mercy," passed on to "the Honorable Field" in 1933, there to await rebirth as the present Dalai Lama in 1935. Toward the end of his long rule he was gravely worried by the communist suppression of Lamaist Buddhism in Mongolia, which for almost four hundred years had been dominated by the Tibetan form of religion. In creating a Mongolian nation on the Soviet pattern in the 1920s and early 1930s, Mongolian Communists destroyed almost all the monasteries which regarded the Dalai Lama in Lhasa as their spiritual leader, reducing organized religion to a few showpiece relics. The Dalai Lama warned his people that "unless we can guard our own country, it will now happen that the Dalai and Panchen Lamas, the Father and the Son, the Holders of the Faith, the glorious Rebirths, will be broken down and left without a name . . . the officers of the state, ecclesiastical and secular, will find their lands seized and their other property confiscated, and they themselves made to serve their enemies, or wander about the country as beggars do. All beings will be sunk in great hardship and in overpowering fear; the days and the nights will drag on slowly in suffering."