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We are four Americans who have been concerned over many years with the relation between nuclear weapons and the peace and freedom of the members of the Atlantic Alliance. Having learned that each of us separately has been coming to hold new views on this hard but vital question, we decided to see how far our thoughts, and the lessons of our varied experiences, could be put together; the essay that follows is the result. It argues that a new policy can bring great benefits, but it aims to start a discussion, not to end it.
Egypt, for several centuries, has been performing an important function of cultural and political synthesis between Islam and Christianity, the Arab world and Europe, Africa and Asia, and the civilization of the desert and that of the Mediterranean. This reality, together with the perennial character of the citizens of the oldest state in the area, acquired through the ages, constitutes an important factor that conditions the attitudes and behavior of Egypt toward the rest of the world.
Traditionally, the twin goals of Israel's foreign policy have always been peace and security--two concepts that are closely interrelated: Where there is strength, there is peace--at least, shall we say, peace has a chance. Peace will be unattainable if Israel is weak or perceived to be so. This, indeed, is one of the most crucial lessons to be learned from the history of the Middle East since the end of the Second World War--in terms not only of the Arab-Israel conflict, but of the area as a whole.
After more than a third of a century of conflict, the Middle East remains the greatest threat to international peace and security. In a fitting close to 1981, and as if to signal its own recognition of the fact, and further ensure that the so-called Camp David accords can never lead to a general settlement, the Israeli government enacted legislation that for all intents and purposes annexes the Syrian Golan Heights to Israel. And a new chapter in the conflict begins.
For nearly a decade now, the spotlighted fortunes of some oil-exporting countries have been a focus of global interest. Raw materials exporters among the less-developed countries have dreamed of being able one day to establish a producers' association similar to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The industrial powers have helplessly watched their political clout and economic affluence dwindle before the kingdom of oil. The capital-short and aspiring Third World planners have kept telling themselves (and each other) that if only they had this black gold, the magical élan vital for their economic takeoff would be close at hand.
The American labor movement has basically concentrated on domestic issues--with the notable exception of its vigorous efforts to further the cause of human rights, free trade unionism and political democracy throughout the world. This focus on the United States has been the result of both the sheer size of the American economy and work force and the specific circumstances which gave rise to the rapid growth of the labor movement in the 1930s.
Economies are like bicycles. The faster they move, the better they maintain their balance unaided. An economy experiencing rapid growth can adjust with relative ease to changes in supply, demand and technology. Workers whose jobs are threatened because of new products, shifts in consumer tastes, or automation can find new jobs; communities whose major industries are failing can attract new industry; and firms whose products are becoming less competitive can diversify into more competitive lines of business. All these adjustments, in turn, help ensure continued growth.
Moscow again is buying American grain, in spite of the resentment which undoubtedly has remained after the partial embargo of January 1980. Moscow simply cannot help but continue buying great quantities of grain, while the United States remains the biggest producer and exporter of grain, and in addition a less expensive supplier than most others. About 20 years ago such a situation was unthinkable. It was only in 1963-64 that the Soviet Union for the first time after World War II contracted for big grain purchases in the United States, and only in 1972 that it became a regular buyer of increasing quantities. It is a fact that by now the Soviet Union produces 69 percent more grain than it did at that time (five-year average of 1976-80 compared to 1956-60), while its population in 1980 was only 23 percent more than in 1960. And yet it has turned from a net exporter of grain into a net importer.
Brazil is not much in the news these days. Of course, no news is good news to a Reagan Administration beleaguered by internal dissension in the formulation of foreign policy and problems elsewhere in the world that are less tractable than campaign slogans suggested. It seems to confirm the prevailing view in Washington that the U.S.-Brazil relationship is back on course again after the trying Carter years when human-rights concerns and resistance to nuclear proliferation seemed to cause it to go awry.
Italy's Socialist Party is center stage, brought there by political transformations at home and abroad. Internally, changes in the Italian electorate have caught the Communist Party and the Christian Democrats flat-footed, helping to plunge these major protagonists into crisis. Externally, the spectacular performance of the French Socialists, and the recent victory of the Greek Socialists, lead many to argue that in Italy too the Socialists represent the wave of the future.