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Does the American government require a single over-arching concept in order to build domestic support for foreign policy objectives? At a time when foreign policy is clearly vulnerable to pressures from a variety of interest groups, is it even possible to erect a broad foreign policy consensus as was done in the cold war era?
The United States is faced with a critical problem today. How can Congress and the President work together most effectively to formulate and implement a foreign policy that is attuned to our national interests, consistent in all its facets, well understood at home and respected abroad?
Congress has asserted its authority in foreign policy over the last dozen years. Is this phenomenon temporary or permanent? Good or bad? Workable or not? The thesis here is that active congressional participation is both desirable and unavoidable, and that the executive and Congress share responsibility for making it constructive rather than otherwise. To the degree that this joint effort fails, so does our democracy.
Despite the hectic diplomatic activity of the last few months, peace in the Middle East seems as elusive today as ever. Sadat's dramatic visit to Jerusalem less than a year ago appears now as a semi-legendary event that must have happened eons ago, hardly related to the real texture of Israeli-Arab relations. Both sides have reverted to accusations and counter-accusations, questions and counter-questions, and appear to be bogged down in a procedural quagmire, with a harassed United States serving as a go-between, desperately trying to keep the flicker of hope from being extinguished.
The purpose of this article is to review the situation of Israel from a Zionist point of view, at this most critical moment - in the real sense of the word "crisis," which, in medical terms, may lead either to full recovery or to a tragic end. I am now 83 years old and, having made my first Zionist speech at the age of 13, I can look back on a Zionist career of 70 years. I asked myself whether my views at this particular time should not rather be published in a Jewish paper. But the fact is that the issue of Israel and Zionism has been and continues to be much more than a purely Jewish problem: it is a front-page international one, in which the United States has been getting more and more intensely involved, both directly and through the United Nations.
Cuba has approximately 35,000 troops in Africa today. Relative to its population, that is comparable to U.S. involvement in Vietnam at the height of the war. The Cuban military presence in Africa, with Soviet support, has become a major and divisive concern of the Carter Administration, leading in the spring of 1978 to a public shouting match between Presidents Castro and Carter over the degree of Cuban involvement in the invasion of Zaïre's Shaba province by former Katanga gendarmes based in Angola.
International competition and political action sometimes appear to be channeled between frail dikes. To put the thought another way, it is as if the seething mass of ambition and potential violence so characteristic of international relationships is contained in quieter times behind a thin shell of a veneer. Once the shell of constraint is broken, subsequent adventures become easier to contemplate. It is for some of these reasons that we should, perhaps, examine how the confines of restraint in Angola were broken through, and whether a different American policy in the period before the Soviet/Cuban intervention in 1975 might have produce a different result.
Since the death of Mao Tse-tung on September 9, 1976, two sets of influences have combined to produce significant movement in Chinese foreign policy. The first impetus to change, and certainly the most important, has been the domestic political requirements of the new leaders for legitimacy and stability. The second has been external developments to which the Chinese government has had to be responsive.
In the river traffic that swings past the great Soviet city of Khabarovsk this summer, down the Amur and back up the Ussuri and in the opposite direction, there are Chinese as well as Soviet vessels. The great bulk of the traffic is Soviet: passenger ferries, freighters, barge trains loaded with raw materials, agricultural machinery and other cargo for the development of Siberia and the Soviet Far East, occasionally a rakish gunboat setting off upstream to its patrol station. But now, after a ten-year break, some Chinese ferries and cargo boats carrying coal or agricultural produce pass that way too.
Last year, the United States ran an eight billion dollar trade deficit with Japan, and this year the figure is running 50 percent higher. As a key component in the overall U.S. balance-of-payments deficit, a recurring irritant in U.S.-Japanese overall relations, and a significant factor in the decline of the dollar over the past year, the state of trade between the United States and Japan is now a critically important problem.
Karl Marx once wrote that history always repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Zaïre in 1978 appeared an apt illustration of this aphorism, except the sequence was inverted; farce preceded tragedy. The 1977 invasion (hereafter Shaba I), from Angolan bases, of 1,500 raiders of the Front National pour la Libération du Congo (FNLC), lineal descendants of the old Katanga gendarmes, had the appearance of comic opera. They swept through southwestern Shaba with almost no resistance, then inexplicably stopped at the gates of the rich prize of Kolwezi, to evaporate with few armed encounters before the Moroccan-reinforced Zaïre Army.
Shortly before President Suharto was sworn in last March for a third five-year term as President of Indonesia, he delivered a major state of the nation speech to the People's Consultative Assembly. The trials of his second term, Suharto said, "have made us more mature and more realistic. These experiences have done away with wishful thinking, especially the illusion that development is not a struggle . . . . We grow more conscious that in implementing development we are sometimes confronted with alternatives - which road should we take so we reach our goal safely. At times this choice isn't between the good and the bad, but only which is less bad than others."