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Twenty-FIVE years ago the Jewish state proclaimed its independence in a part of Palestine. Six months earlier, the General Assembly of the United Nations had recommended its establishment. This act of historic justice strove to fulfill the earlier pledge of the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate which gave recognition not only to an immediate Jewish need but also to the principle of a Jewish right to national self- expression. Zionism, as an aspiration, is as old as the Exile. As a political movement it goes back a hundred years. The vision of a Jewish return to the original homeland is far older than the solemn international commitments of 25 and 55 years ago. An independent Jewish state arose as the culmination of a long process of national liberation, which eventually won formal sanction through the moral sense of the community of nations.
Oil experts, economists and government officials who have attempted in recent years to predict future demand and prices for oil have had only marginally better success than those who foretell the advent of earthquakes or the second coming of the Messiah. The recent records of those who have told us we were running out of petroleum and gas are an example. Oil shortages were predicted in the 1920s, again in the late thirties, and after the Second World War. None occurred, and supply forecasters went to the other extreme: past predictions of shortages had been wrong, they reasoned, therefore all such future predictions must be wrong and we could count on an ample supply of oil for as long as we would need it.
The Arabs are unhappy with their present condition and want to change it. This is a very general statement, but it expresses the basic fact about the Arab position in the Middle East and in the world today. What exactly are they unhappy about? This is quite difficult to answer. They have specific grievances such as the occupation of Arab territories by Israel since 1967. Underneath, other reasons for Arab discontent can be detected, such as the existence of Israel per se; "colonialist," "Zionist" and "imperialist" pressure and alleged exploitation; internal injustices and divisions which place imposing obstacles in the path of progress toward the ideal of Arab unity; social injustices and lack of progress in reducing them; and economic and social underdevelopment (frequently called by the Arabs themselves takhalluf, i.e. "retardation").
Characteristic of American foreign policy since World War II has been the quest for a certain minimum of world order and a practical maximum of American control. Successive schemes for the regulation of power-collective security, bipolar confrontation, and now perhaps the balance of power-have differed in their objects and style. But interventionism-structuring the external political-military environment and determining the behavior of other nations, whether in collaboration, conflict or contention with them- has been the main underlying dimension of our policy. There has been no serious substantive challenge to this premise since the eve of our entry into World War II. The last "great debate," in 1951, over the dispatch of American troops to Europe, was about implementation and constitutional procedure.
In almost any debate about American foreign and defense policies, there is one element upon which both protagonists can usually agree-that economic considerations play a major role in shaping the substance of those policies. Indeed, the economics of national security policy makes strange bedfellows. The radical New Left is convinced that a conspiracy of vested interests shapes American foreign policy toward the protection of U.S. investments abroad and the economic exploitation of other peoples. But when pressed to articulate a rationale for an internationalist and interventionist approach to foreign policy, eminently conservative Establishment types also advance arguments of economic self-interest, citing the need to preserve American access to vital raw materials abroad and warning of the blow to general living standards which would occur should America become isolated from the mainstream of world commerce.[i]
There is no parallel in contemporary history to the cataclysm which engulfed Pakistan in 1971. A tragic civil war, which rent asunder the people of the two parts of Pakistan, was seized by India as an opportunity for armed intervention. The country was dismembered, its economy shattered and the nation's self-confidence totally undermined. Ninety-three thousand prisoners of war were taken, including 15,000 civilian men, women and children. Considerable territory on the western front was overrun and occupied by India.
The second Nixon administration starts amid growing concern about a decline in American competitiveness in the world economy, ascribed to our loss of technological lead in a number of fields. It would be easy to follow very mistaken policies at such a time, because of what some people would call "natural political reactions," others our sad institutional habit of fighting against, instead of working to take advantage of, desirable trends for mankind.
A PROFOUND shift is taking place in the relations between the United States and Western Europe. Though there is a temptation to think of the shift as the result of yesterday's headlines, its causes run a good deal deeper, and its consequences are likely to remain for a long time. For those who assume that the achievement of a moderate world order depends on some sort of working coöperation in the Atlantic area, the implications of the change are deeply disturbing.
In our nuclear age, questions of defense planning-once a fairly simple matter of estimating the amounts expended by the various nations, totting up numbers of mobilizable men, evaluating weapons (as in Janes Fighting Ships), appreciating the contributions of allies and so on-have passed into a surrealistic sphere of bluff, counterbluff, nightmare and potential extinction of the human race. Reassuringly, neither of the superpowers, even when one held a monopoly or a vast preponderance of nuclear power, has so far been willing to use, or to threaten the use of, the superweapon in pursuit of its political aims-even (as in Vietnam) against a tiny nonnuclear adversary. (Khrushchev's empty threat at the time of Suez was the exception that proves the rule.) Indeed, its possession has so far simply resulted in a perpetuation of the political status quo. Any negotiated arrangement between the superpowers on the limitation or even reduction of their nuclear panoply will also, most likely, only be possible on such a basis.
It is now commonly admitted that the United States has no Latin American policy, save one of "benign neglect." That may be better than having the wrong one, but it is clearly impossible to coast along indefinitely. There is not much time left to develop new ideas and make a new approach before events will overtake and "surprise" the State Department.
THE defeat of Japan in 1945 brought with it a wave of decolonization throughout East Asia. To an extent few in the West had realized, the Japanese humiliation of the white man in 1941 and 1942-together with worldwide currents at work in India and elsewhere-had prepared the way for the rapid end of colonial rule. In this process, the Philippines had only to grasp the independence already promised before the war by the United States; the same promise had been made to India under the pressure of the war, and its early realization under Lord Mountbatten and a Labour government contributed to the rapid grant of independence to Burma and the extension of believed assurances for the ultimate independence of Malaya and Singapore. Only the Netherlands East Indies-already styled by its nationalists the Republic of Indonesia-and French Indochina stood out from the first as deeply contested cases, where the colonial power was not ready to yield and where powerful nationalist movements were at work.