- Browse by Issue:
In the summer of 1971, President Nixon and Secretary Connally revolutionized U.S. foreign economic policy. In so doing, they promoted a protectionist trend which raises questions about the future of the U.S. economy at least as fundamental as those raised by the abrupt adoption of wage-price controls. In so doing, they have also encouraged a disastrous isolationist trend which raises questions about the future of U.S. foreign policy at least as fundamental as those raised by the President's essentially positive and decidedly non-isolationist China initiative, Vietnam policy and negotiations with the Soviet Union. Both the U.S. economy and U.S. foreign policy for the relevant future hang in the balance.
"The most fundamental method of work ... is to determine our working policies according to the actual conditions. When we study the causes of the mistakes we have made, we find that they all arose because we departed from the actual situation . . . and were subjective in determining our working policies."-"The Thoughts of Mao Tse-tung."
Each year, at a place called "Magnetic Hill," visitors to Canada by the thousands park their cars at the bottom, place the gearshift in neutral, and sit in delighted astonishment as they glide gradually but inexorably up the hill. The whole exercise is an optical illusion, of course. The cars only seem to be coasting uphill; they are actually going down. The tourists know this, but they come anyway. It's not the feat that is the attraction; it's the illusion.
The situation in South Vietnam grew perceptibly more fluid in 1971. With the continuing withdrawal of U.S. forces, the reverses suffered by the South Vietnamese troops in southern Laos in the spring and the political crisis of the autumn, the Saigon régime weakened and "Vietnamization" was dealt a hard blow. The structure which had stood for three years buttressed by American military power revealed its fragility at the very moment when public opinion in Vietnam and in the United States was showing ever- increasing war-weariness. As the American grip gradually loosened, unrest spread in a society overwhelmed by the disorder of the times, for which war had become a way of life. Even before the American military engagement was definitely coming to its end, the rhythm of public life had begun to change. It was as if South Vietnam were preparing to search-with much effort and difficulty, to be sure-for a new balance.
It is now customary for both Americans and Japanese to reiterate on every major occasion the overriding importance of the ties binding America and Japan. There is much talk of partnership, of close consultations, of common interests and of friendship. Yet for a close relationship between two major powers-which the American-Japanese relationship undoubtedly is-there are disturbing imbalances in it which portend some difficult years ahead. In essence, politically, and even more psychologically, American-Japanese ties are more important to the Japanese than to the Americans, and this the Japanese sense and resent; economically, the relationship now favors the Japanese, and this the Americans increasingly begrudge. The interaction of the two makes for trouble, unless each side accepts major adjustments.
The white minority régime in South Africa should not be thought of as a conservative government It is, instead, a radical right-wing government which has successfully transformed South African society to conform to the ideology of apartheid. Apartheid is an élitist ideology advocating racial separation and the entrenchment and perpetuation of white domination. Apartheid has fragmented South Africa into racial and ethnic groups, and established an authoritarian racial hierarchy which permeates all aspects of society and concentrates political, economic and military power in the hands of the state; the entire apparatus is controlled by the Afrikaners- the dominant group among the whites, who in turn are the dominant group in the society as a whole.
Seventeen months of intricate negotiation involving the four powers responsible for Germany, the two German states and the North Atlantic and Warsaw Treaty alliances have finally yielded a Berlin agreement. It is the first major East-West accord in Europe since the Austrian State Treaty in 1955 and suggests that old-fashioned diplomacy still has its virtues. The agreement's provisions, which are far better than Western foreign offices dared hope when the negotiations began, regulate the thorniest aspects of the Berlin problem, notably the access issue. But they do not solve the problem in the sense of establishing a new status for the city. Indeed, whether the agreement holds up at all depends on whether the present détente in Europe continues. Experience with Soviet policy has taught that this is not predictable. One result is, however, certain: the agreement compels the West to come fully to terms soon with the second German state. The German Democratic Republic is becoming, as Alice might put it, permanenter and permanenter.
All Presidents are dependent on the permanent bureaucracies of government inherited from their predecessors. A President must have the information and analysis of options which the bureaucracies provide in order to anticipate problems and make educated choices. He must, in most cases, also have the coöperation of the bureaucracies to turn his decisions into governmental action. A bureaucracy can effectively defuse a presidential decision by refusing to support it with influential members of Congress or to implement it faithfully.
The same environmental concerns that have found public and political voice in the United States over the past five years have emerged in other countries and governments and in international organizations as well. For the most part, however, international action has not yet taken an effective form. The organizations and individuals who have attempted to identify aspects of pollution that have international effects have done so with varying success. Their efforts are characteristic of our own examination of pollution problems: two conflicting definitions of pollution and correspondingly conflicting approaches to pollution control repeatedly emerge. A dispute continues between the absolute duty to release nothing harmful and the relative duty to do no more harm than is reasonable under the circumstances.
Even before the Nixon Doctrine was enunciated in the summer of 1969, the international power alignments in East Asia had already been undergoing a fundamental change. The phenomenal growth of Japanese industrial might was clearly making itself felt throughout the world. The polite Japanese did not have to force themselves to be querulous in compelling the world to sit up and take notice of this new Asian industrial state. Their economy was enough of a "miracle" to attract everyone's attention. Indeed, they did everything in their power to belittle their own economic achievement. It was the prodigious yearly jump in their international trade surplus which advertised their truly embarrassing riches almost against their wish.
THE most remarkable thing about the Weimar Republic is not that it existed for only fifteen years but that it ever survived the circumstances of its nativity. Never was the idea of a republican form of government less welcome. The birthpangs of the ill-fated French Third Republic in 1870 were at least suffered to the accompaniment of demonstrations of enthusiasm, but the natal processes in November 1918 of what came to be known as the Weimar Republic were not only lacking in acclaim but were attended by more "bad fairies" than darkened any of Grimm's gruesome tales. Some there were, however, who pursued the dangerous illusion that a change of régime would ensure a "soft peace" from the Allies-and especially the Americans. This insincere opportunism brought into the ranks of the supporters of the Republic many who would otherwise have been among its strong opponents.