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At the very core of Washington's diplomatic and political consciousness is an issue-the Panama Canal-that is providing a severe and illuminating test of America's post-Vietnam global intentions and of the U.S. government's post-Watergate capacity to compose a responsible foreign policy. The issue centers on the effort, conducted intermittently for the 11 years since the Panamanian "flag riots" of 1964, to negotiate a new treaty replacing the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty of 1903. Signed for Panama by a French commission agent at Secretary of State John Hay's home two hours before the arrival of the official commission Panama had sent to negotiate, that agreement granted the United States "in perpetuity the use, occupation and control" of a ten-mile-wide zone to build, run and protect a canal. "We shall have a Treaty," Hay said, "vastly advantageous to the United States, and we must confess, not so advantageous to Panama."
Today the American people are engaged in a rethinking of U.S. policy toward many parts of the world. In the process, it appears unlikely for the foreseeable future that we will respond to events in the world with major new commitments of arms or men, beyond maintaining established involvements-e.g., NATO, the strategic nuclear balance, and our commitments to countries like Japan and Israel.
Civil aviation-especially international civil aviation-is in deep trouble. Everybody knows this, and everybody who has thought about it has some favorite explanation: excessive expansion and premature conversion to the jumbo jet; the decline in the value of the dollar relative to European currencies; the energy crisis and the high cost of fuel; the worldwide economic slump; excessive growth of charter services; the rigid mechanisms for international rate-making; excessive (or inadequate) subsidies; too much competition, in terms of price or services; arrogant or complacent airline management; discrimination by governments against foreign carriers, especially those of the United States; violation of the basic rules governing international civil aviation; excessive adherence to those rules, and so on. The difference between aviation and, say, textiles, shipping, or nonferrous metals is that aviation directly engages the prestige, the fascination, and the "national interest" of almost all the countries of the world. International aviation is thus not just another problem in a changing international economic system, though it is that; international civil aviation is a serious problem in international relations, affecting the way governments view one another, the way individual citizens view their own and foreign countries, and in a variety of direct and indirect connections the security arrangements by which we live.
Vienna in the prewar years produced a number of stories centered on a fictitious Count Bobby, normally portrayed as a dilettante bachelor getting into carefree scrapes. In one, however, he is married, and the Countess has gone to the hospital for the accouchement. Finally, as he paces the waiting room, a nurse emerges holding a large bassinet with not one but three infants, and tells him that the mother is doing well. At which Count Bobby screws up his monocle, inspects the bassinet, and replies (as told in English): "Ah, please present the Countess with my compliments and tell her that I take thees one."
The world economic order born after World War II, to a large extent fashioned by the United States, was based on two fundamental principles-in monetary terms, the principle of fixed parities and the dollar standard (although the dollar was convertible into gold at the request of the central banks); in commercial terms, the principle of non-discrimination and free trade. Practically speaking, the United States was assuming the role played by Britain during its period of greatness. This lasted until August 15, 1971, when President Nixon suspended the convertibility of the dollar. Over the years, we witnessed the fantastic growth and development of the defeated nations, Germany and Japan, and the emergence of the European Community-developments encouraged by the United States. The stupendous economic expansion of the capitalist West is, without a doubt, the most remarkable feature of this postwar period. The even greater expansion of trade (particularly intra-European) appears in this respect to be both a cause and an effect.
The United States has passed in the last decade from the United Nation's most influential state into a position of accelerating isolation as it confronts a very large proportion of the member states over a long agenda of contemporary issues. This is a truly novel development, one which threatens to poison international relations at a time that shrieks with the need for uniquely broad essays in international cooperation.
European integration has grown unfashionable. Those whose interests follow the foundations have long since migrated to "transnationalism," "trilateralism," "globalism" or "problems of advanced societies"; those more attuned to governmental circles reflect the current official displeasure at an "inward-looking" European bloc. Indeed, Europe's collective endeavor seems to provoke American analysts to irritability and even contempt. For those enamored of various versions of Pax Americana, the development of a powerful European bloc is now seen to threaten U.S. hegemony and global order. But even many who presumably desire a strong Europe, and a more plural world order, seem bitterly disappointed with Europe's progress. Europe, it appears, has not measured up to American expectations; it appears to lack will, vision and legitimacy. Its Community has become a supermarket rather than a superpower.
Rather than discuss the day-to-day tactics of all the governments involved in or formulating concrete proposals for the solution of the various detailed issues, I should like, in this article, to look at the problem of the Middle East from a larger historical point of view. Too many proposals have been made already and are being made daily. Nearly every Israeli minister and general has ideas of his own-which they tend to publicize-and I am sure that in the foreign ministries of the various powers involved, especially in Washington, committees of experts, planning groups and the like are working on all kinds of schemes covering possible eventualities. What seems to me most important, however, is to examine the deeper motivations which brought about the present very difficult situation.
As these words are written, it is not clear whether the mediation of Mr. Henry Kissinger will recover from its March setback and produce a second "disengagement" agreement between Egypt and Israel, exchanging another area of the Sinai desert for necessarily uncertain assurances. But whether or not there is such an agreement, it is by now absolutely clear to everyone that the limits of that procedure have been reached. Furthermore, one must sadly admit that much time has been wasted in the effort. The truth probably is that the Secretary of State's aims have really been not to achieve peace but rather to ease tensions and in the process to extricate America from embarrassing or intolerable situations.
In June 1971, a month before Henry Kissinger's secret trip to Peking, the United States lifted the trade and payments embargo that had been in effect on the Chinese People's Republic ever since 1949. The move followed a number of lesser measures of relaxation taken from 1969 onward, and of course set the stage for the Kissinger visit and President Nixon's trip in February 1972. In the Shanghai Communiqué, the two nations agreed "to facilitate the progressive development of trade between their two countries."
"We, the Japanese people . . . have determined to preserve our security and existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world." This passage from the preamble of the Japanese Constitution, in effect since May 1947, expresses the principle behind the nation's unarmed foreign policy. The present international situation, however, is a bit too austere for such noble idealism, leading to criticism that Japan has failed to adapt herself to contemporary international realities. The need is for a "new realism"-a foreign policy that is more clear and positive, and yet retains basic idealistic purposes.
Not since Adam and Eve ate the apple has this earth been faced with a social issue as complex as that which drew the delegates to the International Women's Year Conference in Mexico City last June. The delegates, who were mostly women, came as representatives of their governments, which were mostly men, to talk about profound alterations in the balance of everything between the two sexes.