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Forty years ago, U.S. nuclear power was indispensable in ending World War II. In the postwar era, American nuclear superiority was indispensable in deterring Soviet probes that might have led to World War III. But that era is over, and we live in the age of nuclear parity, when each superpower has the means to destroy the other and the rest of the world.
What wise men had promised has not happened. What the damned fools predicted has actually come to pass," exclaimed Lord Melbourne during one of the British politician's fits of exasperation over the situation in Ireland. Well, viewing the post-World War II course of Soviet-American relations, one is tempted to echo the nineteenth-century statesman's sentiments.
When Yuri Andropov died in February 1984, the Central Committee waited four days to name his successor. It is not clear whether this resulted from a real struggle for power or was simply because of an intervening weekend. In either case, the delay symbolized the stagnation and even the retrogression during Konstantin Chernenko's year in office.
Soviet citizens were probably relieved at the selection of Mikhail Gorbachev as general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, for he stands in sharp contrast to his aging and ailing predecessors. At 54, he is young enough to be their son. More important, the mortality odds are that he will be around for a decade or more to implement those programs he wants. The likelihood of such continuity is in itself an important change. Also impressive are the speed and the purposefulness with which he has assumed control and addressed himself to the country's problems. This is clearly a man in a hurry who realizes he has to deal with some significant dilemmas, particularly in the economic sphere.
Contadora is the code word used to mean the pursuit of peace in Central America through negotiations. Its main alternatives are widely believed to be a U.S. invasion, a regional war or both. Like motherhood and apple pie, Contadora is liked and supported by everyone.
We face many foreign policy decisions--how to respond to the fighting in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Salvador, Angola, Kampuchea, the Philippines and soon, perhaps, South Africa--that involve the legality of intervening in a civil war. The international law journals are full of scholarly discussions on this subject. They are hard for non-scholars to follow. They disagree sharply, as scholars are wont to do, in their argumentation and conclusions. For readers who are not scholars of international law, this article tries to explain how the rules have evolved, where they now stand, and how they might be clarified to relieve the rising tension between the principle of nonintervention and the human rights of self-determination and open democratic elections.
We live at a juncture where U.S. foreign policy is at higher risk than at any point since the end of the Vietnam War. Great and sometimes confused and countervailing interests are at stake in Nicaragua; indeed, across Central America. The Persian Gulf is a tinderbox, which could be engulfed in the flames of Islamic fundamentalism. And we have seen the Middle East_s coastal plain torn and fragmented to the point of anarchy in Lebanon.
Through nearly four decades, the circumstances of its creation and existence have forced the modern state of Israel into a deep-seated preoccupation with security, the precondition for its survival. As the nature of the threats to its continued existence changed at various junctures between 1947 and the present, so have the military and security doctrines guiding national policy. Israel now stands at another turning point, and the time has come for a new security doctrine, a strategy resting upon long-standing principles, but significantly modified to meet the circumstances of 1985 and beyond.
When Eleanor Roosevelt received the 1947 Nansen Award for her work with refugees in postwar Europe, she said she was depressed to know that 70,000 refugees still remained in camps. She and the other humanitarians of her times saw refugees as a transitory phenomenon caused by the great world wars, a problem that could and should be solved promptly with goodwill and appropriate resources.