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It is a somber thought that, at a time when so large a proportion of the human race remains near starvation level, about six percent of the world's resources, or something under $200 billion, is still being devoted to military expenditure, with no serious likelihood of this situation fundamentally changing during the remainder of this century. Social scientists will continue to seek basic causes in the hope of offering total solutions, but at the political working level the explanation is simple enough. Any sovereign state-that is, any community which wishes to maintain a capacity for independent political action-may have to use or indicate its capacity and readiness to use force-functional and purposive violence-to protect itself against coercion by other states. Given the state system, peace is possible only when there is freedom from all fear of coercion; and in the absence of any supranational authority enforcing a universal rule of law, such freedom from fear still depends at least partly on independent or collective military capability. Such is the conventional wisdom which will continue to rule mankind until we develop a viable alternative, or until there develops so strong a global sense of community that coercion, the use of force to impose one's will on others, becomes literally unthinkable. At present, unfortunately, such coercion is by no means unthinkable even within the most stable of communities and the most powerful of sovereign states.
We all turn away, however, from the thought that nuclear war may be as inescapable as death, and may end our lives and our society within this generation or the next. We plan and work every day for the twenty-first century-as parents educating our children, as young workers saving for retirement, as a nation that seeks to preserve its physical environment, its political traditions, its cultural heritage. For this larger horizon- encompassing for the younger generation simply the common expectation of a healthy life-we do in fact assume "nuclear immortality." We believe, or we act as if we believe, that thanks to a certain international order, the existing arsenals of nuclear weapons with their almost incomprehensible destructiveness will never be used.
Today's political flux features on its diplomatic surface three interacting trends: a disintegration of the cold-war coalitions, the rise of nonsecurity issues to the top of diplomatic agendas, and a diversification of friendships and adversary relations. These surface movements are the expression of deeper currents, which, if appropriately exploited by providential statesmanship, could fundamentally alter the essence of world politics, changing the structures and ingredients of power itself.
The great hurrahs of the Cultural Revolution, the slogans, the messianic fervor, the public humiliation of the heretics are all gone. A visitor to Peking is impressed by nothing so much as by the return to normalcy, by pragmatism and-if one could imagine it in a Spartan land-a feeling of relaxation. Indeed, one might easily think that there had never been the awesome upheaval of 1966-69 "to change men's souls." Human frailty is once again understood, and there is at least an implied recognition that man does not live by faith alone.
In July 1972, amid mounting public clamor for "a change in the political current," Kakuei Tanaka became Prime Minister of Japan. He pledged a policy of "resolution and action." Two months later, in the course of a five-day visit to China, Tanaka turned Japan's China policy completely around.
The implications of an uncertain ceasefire in Indochina and the possible beginning of separate political dialogues in Laos and Cambodia have again focused attention on Washington's alliance with Thailand, the only nation on the mainland of Southeast Asia which the United States is bound by treaty to defend. Significantly too, Thailand faces an increasingly serious, if not yet critical, insurgency. No matter how the situation in each of the three Indochina states is finally resolved, President Nixon's decisions on Thailand in the next year will largely determine the future course of American policy and involvement in Southeast Asia during the decade ahead.
Growth is a beseiged deity. An increasing number of economists and policy- makers are becoming convinced that it is imprudent for a country to devote all its efforts toward maximizing the rates of overall growth-and wait for the benefits to trickle down to all sections of the population. Trickle- downism is thus on the wane. Developing countries are now being warned that rapid growth is liable to take too long to alleviate the miseries of the poor, and that for long periods rapid growth may indeed worsen the lot of large numbers-hence they should launch "direct attacks" on poverty.
Politically, Western Europe is enfeebled if not paralyzed. And the dilemma of the world's most civilized concentration of peoples, deploying more economic power than any region save North America, is more than paradoxical. It is disturbing and potentially troublesome. One wonders if there is still time for Europeans to do anything about it, and, if so, what. Western Europe is caught up in fresh political currents strong enough to restrain any serious efforts by the European Community to enlarge significantly the political influence of the member states and to reduce their dependence on America.
The Paris summit of the heads of the nine member-governments of the European Communities last October presented another in a long series of theatrical non-events that have come to characterize international politics in Western Europe. To be sure, the final declaration of the meetings paid lip-service to a list of central problems that now confront the EC group: the need to coördinate economic and monetary policies and to establish communal regional, social, energy, environmental and industrial policies; and finally the desirability of creating institutional structures for the development of common policies toward the outside world. But the vague final reference to the transformation of the current institutions into a "European union" by the end of this decade was an attempt to camouflage continued political divisions among the nine and the paralysis of each of their governments.
A European Security Conference (ESC) will almost certainly take place in 1973. It will convene with active, if reluctant, American participation. This unfortunate reluctance is especially pronounced in Washington. The United States now has not only an opportunity but a responsibility to lead the Western nations in a search for a new system in Europe. In view of the inevitability of the conference, it would be especially short-sighted to forsake the dynamic and innovative role we could play. Unhappily, I see no signs, at least from a vantage point on Capitol Hill, that the United States will enter this decisive stage with any policy ideas which might wrest the initiative from the East. The Western impetus for a constructive conference comes almost entirely from some of our NATO allies, whose cautious enthusiasm is under a steady restraint from the Washington flagship of the Atlantic Alliance.
In February 1972, just two years after Biafra's sudden collapse, a news- magazine cover featured "Africa's Forgotten War." Nigerians who saw it thought: now at last the world may learn what has been happening here. In fact, the article was on the Sudan, but the reaction meant something. For all the keen and colorful attention to the civil war by the foreign press, there has been scant interest since the secessionist surrender. Because there was no genocide, the world's attention wandered. But while there has not been reconciliation in, say, Northern Ireland, Bangladesh or Burundi, there has been in Nigeria. This is one thing that makes Nigeria important; another is that, taught by world reaction, Nigeria really does want to go it alone, quietly and without much rhetoric, within a 12-state structure that gives her new opportunities.