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The summer of 1969 has seen men on the moon and almost half the American Senate voting against a defense decision supported by two Presidents. In the summer pride of the moon landing it is not pleasant to turn the mind back to the terrible topic of nuclear danger. Yet the splendid technical achievement of Apollo contains its own reminder that similar skills applied with similar single-mindedness have now led the two greatest powers of our generation into an arms race totally unprecedented in size and danger.
For a nation whose founding is lost in the mists of antiquity, Japan is in many respects a very new country. Last year we celebrated the hundredth anniversary of the Meiji Restoration, which marked our entry into the modern world. This year the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which I am honored to head, observed its centennial. By contrast, the United States, which is in every respect a young nation, possesses a number of institutions that are far older than many of Japan's. The Department of State, for example, is only a dozen years short of its bicentennial, and Harvard University, with its 333-year old history, is more than three times the age of my own alma mater, Tokyo University, now in its ninety-second year.
Looking back at the foreign policies of Britain and the United States since 1800 one sees two strands woven closely together-the strands of idealism and realism. In both countries, governments, parliaments and peoples have been happiest when these two elements have been brought together in apparent harmony. Take for example two quotations from nineteenth-century England:
Nineteen sixty-nine may be remembered as the year Americans woke up to the importance of an issue that was to be a dominant one in the 1970s. The question of Viet Nam still had the emotional clout. The great ABM debate still captured most of the headlines. But more and more people were beginning to see that bigger and more permanent than both of these was the question of whether America's military spending could be brought under more rational control. In the winter of 1969 it became increasingly clear that we had to find a way to reorient our national priorities so that imperative human needs on the home front were not always being shunted aside because of the claims of "national security." No longer could it be successfully argued that we could afford the needed amounts of "guns and butter." A difficult choice-or at least choices-had to be made, and would have to be made repeatedly, for many years to come.
It is hard to remember now how much excitement was generated seven years ago by the first live transatlantic television broadcast. The facilities in July 1962 were primitive. The signal held up for only twenty-two minutes and then died as the Telstar satellite which relayed the picture passed out of range of the earth stations at Andover, Maine, and Pleumeur Boudeau, France, both of which sent signals to Telstar and received from it. It was something less than a "smash hit," but it ushered in a new era in international communications.
IT is time to make a fundamental review of our NATO policy. For regardless of what we might prefer and despite assurances to the contrary, several factors are going to force some important changes in our relation to NATO over the next few years. The basic choice is whether we are going to recognize these facts of life early enough to plan and implement effective solutions, or whether we are going to try to hold onto the status quo in all respects. If we choose the latter, we choose an inevitable deterioration in the Alliance and in European security in general.
Just a decade ago, "agrarian reform" was anathema throughout most of the Western hemisphere. Only visionaries, revolutionaries and a few staff members of international agencies paid it any heed. Latin American governments spurned it, and the U.S. Government ignored or disapproved of it. In the two countries where it had taken place, Mexico and Bolivia, it was the product of violent revolution.
A reviewer of Senator Fulbright's Indictment of President Johnson's policy in Viet Nam has pointed out that "it is possible to argue that the false starts of American policy in Asia and elsewhere have been at least as much due to the illusions of liberalism as to the 'arrogance of power'."[i] Obviously, particular policies and actions may be judged as making a bad situation worse, but they may not be the cause of its being bad in the first place. Much of the hawk-versus-dove dispute stems from shared misconceptions about communist insurgencies in Southeast Asia and therefore also about the resulting counterinsur-gency actions-misconceptions which form part of an ethos largely inapplicable to that troubled region today.
Problems loom larger in the world today than the power or the policies to solve them. The American decision to halt military escalation in Viet Nam; the British decision to withdraw from Singapore in 1971; the Russian decision to occupy Czechoslovakia; the French decision to devalue-these are not confident, controlled decisions foreseen or foreseeable as planned projections of previously defined policies and aspirations, or as consistent with the image each country sought to create of itself and for itself. They are adjustments to the unfulfilled or the unexpected. Similarly, the international organizations-the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the Organization of American States, the Afro-Asian grouping- have found that new names do not dissolve old realities. The decline of the arrogance of idealist power is matched by the decline of the arrogance of military power, leaving a climate for mutually conceding and mutually beneficial compromises of interests. Leadership is at a discount: the crescendo of charismatic contrivance has passed even in Communist China, and none too soon; with it has gone the illusion of morally legitimate and psychologically satisfying fulfillment of inevitable and predictable destiny. A new generation of leaders capable of achieving an institutional and pragmatic fulfillment of previous promise has yet to emerge.
Before the end of this year, the Special Drawing Rights machinery of the International Monetary Fund should come into operation, ushering in a new era of multilaterally created international reserves. This is no small matter. The international community has not heretofore created anything so deadly serious as money.
In civil war, hatreds are more intimate than in international conflict. The enemy is less awesome; he is killed with more conviction that he deserves it. Invariably-inevitably-the death tolls are higher. The American Civil War set records for its day. Despite the limited weaponry and skill, the Biafran war has taken the lives of an estimated two million people, mostly starved children. And now a war that is already engaging about 26,000 black guerrillas and approximately a quarter-million white or white-officered troops in Mozambique, Angola, Rhodesia, South Africa and Namibia (the United Nations' new name for South West Africa) offers such a prospect of escalation that it can hardly help but be bigger, in cemetery terms, than Viet Nam. In this corner of the globe, whose fair hills make a savage contrast with the ugliness wrought by man, the restless spirit of Nazism, with its accent on genetic myth and legal caste, will perhaps be put to rest in a swamp of blood.
Last year both South and North Korea celebrated the twentieth anniversary of their establishment as separate political entities. Each had, at its inception, claimed the entire Korean nation as its legitimate domain, and each vowed to rid the other of the foreign power that was said to have created it. The year 1968 was also an anniversary of two other events. It was the 4300th anniversary of the legendary founding of the Korean nation, and the 1300th anniversary of the Silla Unification in A.D. 668, when the nation was brought under a single, centralized political rule. The irony of commemorating concurrently two decades of cold-war division and thirteen centuries of unified nationhood under a highly centralized political system was not lost on the Korean people.