Courtesy Reuters

Foreign Policy, Public Opinion and Secrecy

What foreign policy will arise from the ashes of Watergate-and how it can gain that public consensus without which no foreign policy can hope to succeed-are questions we need to address now. Drift, debate, division are the inevitable aftermath of recent events; and it will take time and leadership-both in short supply-to discover, to create and to build upon a viable consensus.

The problem, of course, is not simply Watergate-though the destruction of presidential leadership and credibility and the confrontation of Executive and Congress which have accompanied that disaster would be problems enough. What adds infinitely to those difficulties is the clear connection between the sordid revelations of Watergate and the conduct of the Indo-china War (at home and abroad), which in turn is related to the sometime excesses of a foreign policy too oriented to cold-war concepts of "national security." The relationship is neither accidental nor coincidental, and it is important to the future of our foreign policy to understand why this is so.

I have come to this conclusion with considerable reluctance for two reasons: First, I would feel personally more comfortable if all that is associated with Watergate could be blamed on President Nixon-if the lawless and totalitarian overtones of his administration could be seen as purely aberrational, without roots in the past. To a large degree I think they are, but unhappily they are not so rootless as I would wish.

Second, I can give no support either to Henry Kissinger, who understandably would like to segregate Watergate from the real need to consolidate and perhaps even institutionalize the Nixon administration's productive advances in moderating our relations with the Soviet Union and China; or, at the opposite extreme, to the revisionists who rewrite the history of post-World War II foreign policy in ways which adjust the past to their present and future preferences. We have to go through a difficult period if we are to build, as we must, on a solid basis of popular support for

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