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Since the end of the Yom Kippur War, the main attempt at resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict has been the step-by-step approach initiated by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Enormous energy has been spent in Washington and in Israel on negotiating disengagement agreements with Egypt and with Syria, and on preparing for a new limited agreement with Egypt. But whether or not the current effort succeeds, we are reaching the end of this particular road. The time has come to look at the long term, to learn lessons from the obstacles the current method has met, and to resort to a new diplomatic strategy.
We are experiencing on a massively universal scale a convulsive ingathering of men in their numberless groupings of kinds, a great clustering of separatenesses in which people feel they can find the physical and emotional security they find nowhere else. These are the basic group identities that all people possess by virtue of having been born into a particular family at a given time in a given place. They are tribal, racial, religious, national. These elements cluster in each person in endlessly varying ways. Their sources and their power are rooted in physical facts, in history, in language, in systems of belief and values that make up our cultures. For most of the people on earth in our own time, these elements of identity have come to be embraced in what we call our "nations." It has to be seen in its other shapes and guises, but basic group identity does come most largely into view dressed in its national colors, marching under its national flag, wearing its national tag. In its many definitions and usages, the "nation" or "nationality" appears as the ultimate, the most political, the most inclusive, even the "terminal" form of the basic group identity itself.
Much water has flowed under the bridge since Henry Kissinger made his much-publicized "Year of Europe" speech in April 1973. It was, one will remember, rapidly construed by some member countries of the European Economic Community as a device to restore American leadership in an Alliance weakened by years of tussle between the EEC and the United States. The two sides had been at variance over money, trade and defense, to mention only the major issues. And the then-Special Assistant to the President already perceived the emerging issue of energy as one of the most ominous problems that faced the industrialized countries. Unfortunately, although he referred to this issue in the April 1973 speech, the United States itself was hardly moving toward a national energy policy, while in Europe the EEC preferred to ignore the problem almost completely, as was evidenced by the abortive meeting of the Energy Ministers of the Community in May of 1973.
The U.S.-Soviet détente is neither fully understood nor certain to endure. The sheer complexity of détente balancing-holding the Soviet Union, China, the Western allies and Japan in a complicated network of associations with the United States which involve conflict as well as cooperation-may not last. Even if it could be sustained, some argue that American interests dictate that it should be dropped or radically modified. To others détente is an attitude, but not a policy. It represents a desirable and overdue recognition of realities in foreign policy-the need to achieve better relations with the Soviet Union and China. But it does not specify where the United States should go from there. Détente without a positive core of policy goals could jeopardize American relations with Japan and Western Europe without gaining any durable benefit from the Soviet Union. The collapse of the Soviet-American trade agreement makes it seem even less likely that the United States can use détente as a means to extract important concessions from the U.S.S.R.
There is a growing feeling, in the West as well as in the Soviet Union itself, that there are prospects, growing prospects, of a "New Russia." There is a feeling, whatever the immediate state of Brezhnev's health, that the fairly near future must see a breakup of the logjam created by a top leadership all of whose members are aged around 70. But the impression, one feels, goes deeper than this. Russia is seen to be at a social and economic dead end. Forthcoming political changes must, in this view, lead to radical and beneficial change over the whole field.
In recent weeks, a growing number of Brazilians are leaning toward the belief that the political regime of the country has finally made it round its Cape of Good Hope. Actually, since the middle of 1974, Brasília has appeared to be sailing on relatively smooth waters toward the reestablishment of the rule of law. Virtually no one questions the sincerity of purpose of President Ernesto Geisel-the fourth General-President since 1964, now completing his first year in office-and many are beginning to believe he will be successful in a task in which his predecessors met with painful failure.
Distinguished Senators ask, "What should we tell our constituents when they ask why we should keep American troops in Europe 30 years after the end of World War II?"
Thirty years ago, when I first traveled through Southeast Asia, there was everywhere an exhilarating atmosphere of political adventure and zeal. The conviction that justice was on the side of the rebellious and retribution the foregone fate of the outdated colonialists was infectious. Whatever the imperialist rearguard actions, however long they might last, it seemed apparent that these first-stage fights for freedom would succeed, no matter how complicated and difficult they might prove to be or how disorganized the nationalist elements were.
The first European power to arrive in black Africa is now the last to depart. The April 1974 coup in Lisbon, one of those rare instances in history when a change in government reverses a vital national policy, has led to the end of centuries of Portuguese colonization. Such a rapid shift in policy, resulting in the promise of independence for Mozambique on June 25 and Angola on November II of this year, was bound to fundamentally change the character of African politics. This decolonization in the south, together with the Ethiopian revolution, the new power of the oil-producing states, and the tragedy of the Sahel drought in the north, have made 1974-75 a historic time for Africa.