- New Issue
- Books & Reviews
- About Us
- Browse by Issue:
Past civilizations are buried in the graveyards of their own mistakes, but as each died of its greed, its carelessness or its effeteness another took its place. That was because such civilizations took their character from a locality or region. Today ours is a global civilization; it is not bounded by the Tigris and the Euphrates nor even the Hellespont and the Indus; it is the whole world. Its planet has shrunk to a neighborhood round which a man-made satellite can patrol sixteen times a day, riding the gravitational fences of Man's family estate. It is a community so interdependent that our mistakes are exaggerated on a world scale.
In the field of foreign policy the constitutional powers delegated under Articles I and II to the Congress are keyed to the phrase "advise and consent" However, in America's greatest moments of external crisis the emphasis has been on "consent." The exercise of the right to advise has, on many occasions, been less than welcome to the executive recipient of Senatorial recommendations.
In Germany as in France, 1969 will be remembered as the year of the break in continuity. The principal break is in each case obvious: the departure of General de Gaulle after eleven years in power and the relegation of the Christian Democrats to the opposition after twenty years in power. But the nature and import of these breaks call for interpretation.
NOT since World War II have Americans been so uncertain about the proper role of the United States in the world. The broad bipartisan consensus that characterized American foreign policy for two decades after the war has been overcome by widespread, bipartisan confusion about the nature of the world, the character of the challenges that policymakers confront, and the proper employment of non-nuclear forces. Viet Nam is not the only cause of this confusion. Changes In American perceptions were evident earlier: as the fear of monolithic communism waned, hope grew that the United States and the Soviet Union could coexist peacefully; and the public showed diminishing interest in providing aid to less developed countries. But the expenditure of blood and treasure in Viet Nam has deepened fundamental doubts throughout our society-from the highest levels of government to college campuses and midwestern farms-as to whether the United States should in any circumstances become involved again in a limited war. A Time- Louis Harris Poll in May indicated that only a minority of Americans are willing to see United States troops used to resist overt communist aggression against our allies: in Berlin, 26 percent; in Thailand, 25 percent; and in Japan, 27 percent.
SERIOUS arms-control talks seem to have begun but the question of how best to exploit their promise persists. In the past, our national strategy with regard to armaments had to be consistent with many fixed domestic political (and bureaucratic) facts of life: the attitudes of Congress, the power of the Pentagon, the prevalence of cold-war ideologies, and so on. Today these presuppositions of arms policy are in flux. Conscious efforts to reshape these domestic factors have become an integral part of the problem of managing the arms race. Indeed, they can in large measure substitute for formal treaties which are much more difficult to achieve. In developing a strategy for the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT), arms controllers must therefore answer the question: How much really needs to be negotiated to end the arms race? The answer to this question will illuminate such important issues as the emphasis to be placed upon the talks at this time and the way in which the discussions should be used.
THE United States' practice of selling or giving large quantities of military equipment to foreign countries gives rise to a series of policy problems which, though often simple to identify, are not easy to resolve. Over the past two years, in an effort to exercise more control over the transfer of arms, Congress has added several restrictive clauses to the Foreign Assistance Act, which authorizes military aid, and a new Foreign Military Sales Act, which controls sales. Although tighter control may have a marked effect upon the overall nature and size of military aid and sales programs, the basic issues at stake inevitably escape the somewhat cumbersome and general language of legislation. In essence, the problems are ones of judgment in particular and highly differentiated cases.
The Roman Catholic Church in Latin America has long been criticized for helping to maintain an anachronistic social system and economic underdevelopment-low levels of education, a rigid class system, disinterest in economic achievement and valorization of order and tradition. Catholics themselves admit that few creative thinkers have come from Latin America, that theologically and administratively the institution has conformed to patterns drawn chiefly from southern Europe. Yet today no institution in Latin America is changing more rapidly than the Catholic Church, and in directions that have important implications not only for defining new relationships between Christianity and the values of society, but also for the role that the Church will play in the region's development.
There have been three widely separated political Greeces: the ancient city- states, the Byzantine empire and modern Greece, which won its independence from the Turks less than a century and a half ago. In essence, there is little relationship between the governance of these three Greeces but, because of classical influence on contemporary education and because the early Athenians were so gifted in defining and elaborating systems of thought, there is a persistent tendency to regard contemporary Greece in terms of its antique glory. Nowadays above all, when the country is governed by a stolid group of Colonels, it is fashionable to decry dictatorship in the birthplace of democracy.
A Russian oil tanker moves slowly past the sixteenth-century Spanish castle guarding the narrow entrance to Havana harbor. Castle and tanker symbolize dominion, but of very different kinds. To the Spaniards, Cuba was first and foremost a source of wealth-its own wealth and the wealth of Latin America to which it held the strategic key. To the Russians, it represents an economic loss on the order of some $350 to $400 million a year. The payoff for them is in the coin of political strategy: an extension of the frontiers of communism to the Western Hemisphere.
Because many Palestine Arabs are stateless under inter national law, their importance has frequently been overlooked in the numerous parleys and in the skein of complex international negotiations over the Middle East crisis. The Palestine dispute, as it is euphemistically labeled in the United Nations, has appeared on the annual agenda of the U. N. General Assembly for over twenty years, generally under the guise of assistance to refugees. Neither the principal antagonists nor the major powers officially acknowledge existence of the Palestinians as a nation-party to the dispute.
CIVIL war on the mainland of Asia, in a small country with a tradition of disorder and yet with a millennial record of persistent national identity, has mushroomed into the biggest politico-military issue of the times, comparable to the Arab-Israeli conflict in outside repercussions but far exceeding it in scale of operations. Exceeding it also in complexity. In the Middle East the issues are relatively simple and plain to see. In Viet Nam they are blurred. In the South the fighting is not even recognized as civil war but viewed as insurgency aggravated by intervention from the North.
Over four hundred years ago, the first Occidentals to come to Japan, the Portuguese, wrote letters home stating that the Japanese were different from other Asians and Africans and more like Europeans than any people yet discovered. Visitors from Europe and the Americas are still writing the same kind of letters, but whether the Japanese are really more like Europeans is open to question.
Despite the amount of attention devoted to the "brain drain" in recent years, no firm consensus has emerged as to whether or not one exists. Today we know much more about the international migration of professional manpower than we did five, four or even three years ago. But the "more" we know is mainly facts, and not all that many; men still have difficulty saying what the facts mean and deciding whether or not the brain drain constitutes a problem of "disturbing dimensions"-as the Pearson Commission called it.