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Thirty years ago this October the United States "lost" China. When Mao Zedong and his followers came to power, the new regime seemed to represent not only communist control of the largest single country in the world but the embryonic formation of a massive Sino-Soviet bloc, cemented by the treaty signed in Moscow in February 1950. And almost at once there followed the Soviet-backed North Korean invasion of South Korea in June 1950. American ground forces were nearly thrown off the peninsula, recovered dramatically, and then were hit on their way to the Yalu by the massed forces of China, which inflicted the worst single defeat in American military history and, with the North Koreans, were only driven back to the area of the original 38th parallel boundary in bloody fighting that went on until the armistice of July 1953.
For two decades, the hemispheric policy of the United States has been haunted by the specter of "another Cuba." The fear that Cuba's revolutionary upheaval might be repeated elsewhere energized the Alliance for Progress and, when progress gave way to order, that same fear justified providing counterinsurgency assistance to a continent increasingly dominated by military dictatorships. Lyndon Johnson sent a force of 20,000 men to the Dominican Republic in 1965 to prevent "another Cuba," and Henry Kissinger unleashed the CIA on Chile for the same reason.
The Brezhnev era is clearly ending. This October he will mark his fifteenth year as the head of the Party, a span at least four years longer than Nikita Khrushchev's official term. In December, he will be 73 and next spring he will, if he holds on, pass Stalin as the oldest Soviet leader ever to hold the top Party position. He has already established the precedent of being both chief of state and Party leader; he has matched Stalin in being promoted to Marshal of the Soviet Union. By almost any standard, the past 15 years have to be regarded as his "era." Now the advancing age and physical infirmities of the General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party suggest that a presuccession period is under way and that the process of summing up the Brezhnev period can begin.
With the Polish partitions, czarist Russia acquired a Jewish "problem" which it sought then and in subsequent epochs to solve by a variety of often contradictory means, ranging from integration to repression. Czar Alexander III's principal adviser, Konstantin Pobedonostev, projected a kind of apocalyptic vision of the final resolution of the festering issue: one-third of Russian Jewry would perish; one-third would be totally assimilated; one-third would emigrate. The "problem" would vanish when Jewry ceased to be. If macabre, the formulation proved to be remarkably clairvoyant. The Nazi invasion brought about the liquidation of approximately one-third of Jewry inhabiting the Soviet Union. With the twin polarities of assimilation and emigration currently pulling at Soviet Jews, the likelihood of a Jewish future in the U.S.S.R. is exceedingly dim, probably nonexistent.
No nation that has maintained close relations with the United States for the last generation is so little understood by well-informed Americans as is Turkey. Even West Europeans, from their closer vantage point, are rarely better informed. In part, this lack of understanding may be due simply to limited contact. There is in the United States no sizable Turkish-American community, hence no ready Turkish constituency in American public opinion. In Western Europe, Turks are present in large numbers--but as guest workers living with their families, apart and unassimilated in the more crowded parts of the cities, and eager to save enough of their wages for the ultimate return home to Turkey.
Ten years ago a combination of rising inflation and incipient recession signaled the end of the Soaring Sixties. Yet few contemporary observers perceived that the end of the long postwar expansion was at hand, or that the coming decade would perhaps one day be labeled the Sagging Seventies.
American and Soviet space planners are both familiar with the concept of "windows"--transient time periods when the positions and relative movements of the earth and the target planet or planets are such that a probe vehicle launched during the window can reach the target. In effect, the window exists when a number of variable factors, some independent, some interacting, are in phase at the same time.
In November of 1978 a remarkable conference took place in Germany. It brought together for the first time the Allies' backroom boys of World War II and those whom they had outwitted for nearly six years--the cryptographers of the Third Reich. Together with historians, they discussed what had been the most secret part of the intelligence war. This was the Allied solution of the principal German ciphers and consequent ability to read large segments of high-level military traffic, including the very messages of Adolf Hitler to his generals.