Rotten to the Core?
How America’s Political Decay Accelerated During the Trump Era
In the crisis precipitated by the discovery of Russian strategic nuclear weapons and delivery systems in Cuba, many Americans came to a new understanding of the great accretion of strength which membership in our alliances in this hemisphere and in Europe brings to a confrontation of power. They got a new understanding, too, of the vast importance of having choices of means, other than nuclear means, of meeting a hostile threat. These truths, seen in the sharp light of experience, bring into clearer relief the central problem of our European alliance.
In the immediate postwar years, the United States wisely helped Western Europe restore itself to economic health. Equal wisdom led the way in binding together Western Europe and North America in the defense of this center and powerhouse of an environment for free societies. Since then inspired European leadership has brought about economic integration of the Continent, paving the way for even greater development and political unity. At the same time new problems have confronted and new strains divided the Atlantic Alliance. Sometimes they have come from the dissolution of colonial ties which has caused many of our allies the most acute distress and, in the case of Suez, led to conduct, by both this country and its allies, gravely damaging to the alliance. Sometimes strains have come from inherent limitations of our power, as in the case of our balance-of-payments difficulties.
But a principal difficulty of the alliance today—if not its chief difficulty—comes from failure to think through to an agreed solution its primary task: the defense of Europe and America. Let me obviate here at the start, if possible, a distracting misunderstanding. I do not believe that military security, or such as is attainable, solves the problems of the free world, or of the Atlantic nations. On the contrary, I believe that a sound allied military defense must rest upon conviction by the peoples involved that it is essential to protect basic values and lively expectations which stir their deepest loyalty and devotion. To create the basis in truth and reality for these values and expectations requires domestic and international policies of great complexity; and this, in turn, calls for statesmanship in all the allied countries of so high and sustained an order that it is likely to be only approximated. Finally, a military strategy and establishment which by its burdens or methods destroyed what it was intended to preserve would be worse than futile.
In short, a successful military policy is possible when, and only when, it is one of at least three strands of the policies of the allied countries. The other two are the political and the economic. Each of us may have other strands which we may like to add. It is plain, then, that the perfect discussion of alliance policy would be like the performance of an orchestra in which a host of instruments from the kettledrums to the piccolo weave together all the elements of a symphony. But unfortunately an individual can play only one instrument at a time, discuss one subject at a time. I am discussing here only the need of a master military strategy for the alliance, fully aware that it cannot stand self-contained or alone; but aware, also, that unless the alliance is capable of developing—and sooner rather than later—military forces and an effective strategy for their use to provide what security is possible, both political and economic policies within the alliance and in relation to other states may take truly disastrous courses.
Let us begin with a look at the history of NATO's strategy. Its first strategic thoughts were simple and short-lived. The political commitment undertaken in the treaty—"an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all"—combined with the sole possession of nuclear weapons by the United States was to furnish the necessary deterrent to a Soviet move into Western Europe. The treaty, said the State Department in its analysis, with its clear intention of united action by members, "should remove the danger of miscalculation by any potential aggressor that he could succeed in overcoming them one by one."
Second thoughts soon raised doubts about this happy conclusion. Soviet forces in Eastern Europe could, it was pointed out, move westward with only token resistance in Europe. Our nuclear weapons would be worse than useless there, and the use of them in Russia after an attack began might well come too late. Our European allies had no enthusiasm for another occupation and liberation—if the latter would have any meaning. So in 1950 came the unified NATO command and force in Europe under General Eisenhower, and the strategic concept of the shield of conventional forces on the spot to hold and protect until the nuclear sword wielded by the United States struck down the aggressor.
Unhappily, the conventional shield, while by no means negligible, has still a long way to go even to perform that temporary function. At the outset, it could not develop until Germany should become a part of it, which was not even agreed to for another four years. By the time Germany came in, French military power had been absorbed in Algeria, Britain's meager resources had been divided between an attempted nuclear force and garrison needs from Aden to Singapore, leaving little for the army of the Rhine; and the Eisenhower Administration had adopted nuclear retaliation as its defense strategy. The result is that, while there is a quite decent conventional structure to build on, it has not reached the limited shield dimensions, and is wholly inadequate. The nuclear retaliation decision, strangely enough, almost coincided with the first Russian thermonuclear explosion in 1953. NATO took the first step toward reliance on nuclear tactics in 1954, and became deeply committed in 1956 and 1957 as a result of an American effort to meet the near collapse of European confidence brought on by Suez, and the Russian sputniks close afterwards. In 1959 General Norstad proposed that NATO become the fourth nuclear power and be armed with medium-range ballistic missiles based in Europe. The next year Secretary of State Herter endorsed the idea with the amendment that the missiles be on Polaris submarines under what was called "multinational control," to be worked out.
As the years went by without adequate shield forces, our allies became less confident in their defense; and, as Soviet nuclear capabilities increased, the rationalization of allied defense, called "the strategic concept," grew, as Alice remarked in Wonderland, "curiouser and curiouser." Metaphors multiplied. The "shield" melted into a "trip-wire," over which the aggressor would stumble, setting off the retaliatory atomic blast. But the Soviets now had a counterblast; and, since intermediate-range missiles—1,000 to 1,500 miles—were more numerous and accurate in the late 1950s and early 1960s than the intercontinental types, Europe seemed to the Europeans more exposed than the more distant United States.
So the trip-wire was thought not to be enough. Accordingly, nuclear weapons were added in the form of fighter-delivered weapons and army battlefield weapons delivered by artillery as well as by several comparatively short-range missiles. The purpose was to defend Europe against the invading Russians during the general war which would result if the trip-wire were tripped. For a time it was the hope—and, perhaps, the fact, though it is no longer—that the Russians were not adequately supplied with similar battlefield weapons. The next decision came in 1957; in order to counter sputnik and bridge over our development of intercontinental missiles it was decided to send slower-firing, and vulnerable, intermediate-range missiles and nuclear warheads. The custody of all warheads remained, at least theoretically and legally, in the President of the United States. General Norstad explained to the NATO parliamentarians in November 1960 that increasing the firepower of the small NATO force would cause an aggressor to pause at or near the threshold to consider the full consequences of his ill-advised intentions.
This new metaphorical twist seemed to mean that arming European NATO forces with tactical and intermediate-range ballistic missiles gave them a new significance and, to soldiers at least, a more appealing role. They ceased being a rather ignominious tripwire and took on a certain deterrent quality. But a closer look disclosed defects. To General de Gaulle, the defect lay in the fact that the control of the deterrent, such as it was, was not in Europe but in Washington. To others the defect lay in leaving no apparent alternative between yielding to Russian threats and bringing on a nuclear exchange in which Europe was certain to suffer heavily. No comfort came from the suggestion made at just this time that the two nuclear giants might wisely refrain from attempting to destroy one another and confine hostilities to tactical nuclear war in Europe.
The Kennedy Administration has, thus far, given cautious support in principle to a multinationally manned and controlled seaborne nuclear force; has announced that some Polaris submarines (to be followed by more) were on station assigned to the defense of NATO in event of attack; has taken the lead in the development of rules designed to determine in advance when nuclear weapons should and would be used to defend Europe; and has pressed our allies for an increase in NATO's conventional forces. Meanwhile General de Gaulle continues adamant in his determination to develop a French nuclear force; and, due in large part to the Algerian revolt, most of the French Army and all of the Navy were withdrawn from NATO command. The British Government is weary of its disappointing military nuclear venture, but is undecided whether to struggle on or to give up; while the German authorities are making it clear that, whatever decision may be reached on nuclear arms or their control, Germany does not intend to be left out or accept an inferior position.
In short, when President Kennedy in his first State of the Union Message of January 30, 1961, said that the NATO alliance was "unfulfilled and in some disarray . . . weakened by economic rivalry and partially eroded by national interest" and "has not yet fully mobilized its resources nor fully achieved a common outlook," he was not exaggerating its malaise then or now. A beginning cannot be made to end this unhappy and dangerous state until the alliance has a strategic theory, a master plan, for carrying on the defense which it is charged with providing, and an agreement, tacit or expressed, for making the decisions and issuing the commands which are necessary for its execution.
In this discouraging recital, two facts stand out with singular clarity. First, since the development of Soviet nuclear weapons, NATO has never had an adequate long-range plan for the defense of Europe. The military explanations given from time to time—the so-called strategic concepts—were largely rationalizations of what was thought practicable action under varying political and economic circumstances. Second, the United States, by its policy of resting defense in Europe so heavily on nuclear weapons, inevitably made the control of nuclear weapons appear to be the primary and essential requirement for that defense. On the Americans' own strategic theory it could be, and was, said in Europe that European defense was wholly dependent upon the United States. Could the United States be relied upon, it was asked, in view of possible consequences to itself, to use nuclear weapons unless the security of the United States itself was immediately in danger? Europe quite understandably thought it had its answer, when Under Secretary of State Herter, on April 21, 1959, said before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, during the hearing on his nomination to be Secretary: "I can't conceive of the President involving us in an all-out nuclear war unless the facts showed clearly that we are in danger of devastation ourselves, or that actual moves have been made toward devastating ourselves."
At any rate, these ambivalent attitudes of our government and publicists have brought on a series of controversies among and with our allies about the control of nuclear weapons which distracts us from, and obscures, the more fundamental problem of working out and putting in train a strategic plan for forces and their use in the defense of Europe. In this plan, nuclear forces will play a vitally important part. But that part, and also the matter of their placement and control, will look very different in the light of an entire strategic plan with the organization and forces to execute it than it does in isolation. Furthermore, the control of nuclear weapons is impossible to solve at the present moment because of intractable differences between the allies which for their solution require, in part, the erosion of time.
A sound strategic plan or theory for the defense of Europe does not consist of a catch-phrase or slogan around which can be built a speech or a justification of the status quo, or a dream unconnected with reality. It must be a plan of operations based on political objectives, responsive to the needs and interests of those for whose benefit it is devised, which brings together and applies at critical times and places the forces and resources which can be made available to accomplish the result desired with the minimum harm to those doing it. It should not be designed, like the monstrous giants who guard the entrance to the temples at Nikko, to deter evil spirits and the ill-intentioned from entering the sacred precincts, even though they scare the daylights out of the faithful as well.
A strategic plan must be one which the participants are willing to engage in, if they have to, fully conscious that the price, though high, has been kept no higher than necessary and is preferable to accepting the imposition of a hostile will. To devise the plan and all the means for its execution is a vast undertaking of infinite complexity. It requires major attention by the most highly placed civil and military persons with the best brains to help them, a progression of decisions, the wiser the better, firmly adhered to, and a disciplined military establishment which accepts decisions made and builds upon them. The first step in attaining a strategic plan for NATO is for the United States to develop one upon which the entire executive branch, civilian and military, is united, which it is prepared to stand behind and therefore to propose to the other members of NATO.
The test whether a strategic defense plan is sound and workable will lie in millions of details, but enough is known now of the placement of military and economic power in the world, of the state and trend of weapon development, and of the temper and temperament of peoples, to make tentative predictions of some of the major elements in a workable defense plan. They are probably correct enough to show the nature of the political problems which a common defense will soon present, their order of importance, and the way in which we can best go about solving them.
First of all, a sound defense plan should increase the importance and the size of the non-nuclear defense force in Europe and redefine its function. Secondly, the function, positioning and command of strategic nuclear weapons in such a plan should be based, not on fear that the alliance will break up or that the United States will not use them when necessary, but on providing as many alternatives to their use as possible; on defining "when necessary" and tieing the nuclear power of the United States integrally into the plan; and on the most effective use of the weapons. Let us turn to the function of the non-nuclear force.
That force should not be designed as an instrument for bringing on a nuclear response to an armed attack, which is the function inherent in the analogy of a trip-wire. Nor should it be designed to be merely enough more substantial than a trip-wire force to stop something larger than a border raid, or to "produce a pause" in fighting during which an aggressor might reflect on possible nuclear implications. Its purpose should be to deny the Soviet Union the capacity to impose its will in Europe by conventional force. At present, if an issue should be pushed to the point of using force, the options open to the NATO alliance are acquiescence or, very shortly, a nuclear response. If the situation should be reversed and the Soviet Union should itself be faced with the necessity of relying upon nuclear force in attempting to impose its will, more glittering prizes than are now apparent would be required to justify assuming the risks involved. Let us see, therefore, how far this purpose is possible of achievement, being careful not to claim too much.
It can be stated flatly that Western Europe can be defended well to the east of the Rhine in the face of a massive Soviet attack which included forces mobilized, deployed and supported from the Soviet Union. This view flies in the face of much received doctrine, but should not cause surprise if one pauses to consider (1) that the combined manpower and resources of Western Europe and North America far exceed those of the Soviet Union; (2) that the Soviet satellites would be most untrustworthy allies, especially in an offensive operation of this sort; (3) that the Soviet communications system and general war-support apparatus is distinctly inferior to that in Western Europe; and (4) that NATO has more men under arms than the Warsaw Pact countries. So we can conclude that it is entirely feasible to stop conventional forces of the Russians in Europe without the use of nuclear weapons. And without a very large increase in defense budgets.
Nevertheless, the danger of nuclear war would remain and would probably dominate any major crisis or conflict. But the inhibitions against a projected offensive Soviet action would have been greatly increased. A conventional offensive would have been rendered incapable of success, and the risks of attempting one would include the near certainty of an escalation to nuclear war. The suggestion is sometimes made that to increase conventional armaments would carry the implication that the United States would not use nuclear ones. I should suppose that the opposite would be more nearly true. It would clearly carry the implication that the United States wanted an initial alternative to fighting with nuclear weapons. But surely our determination and capacity to fight with conventional weapons, if forced to do so by threat or attack, would make more, rather than less, credible our willingness to throw the nuclear ones into the scales either to protect our troops, if necessary, or to anticipate a blow from a deeply committed enemy.
That this should be credible is essential if the issue presented is, not stopping a Russian advance into Western Europe, but countering the use of Russian force behind the present frontier—for instance, in Berlin. I am not claiming that the conventional force suggested could, without the use or threat of nuclear weapons, prevent an occupation of Berlin. But I submit that the threat to use nuclear weapons, if necessary, in a clash over Berlin, which Mr. McNamara made on September 29, becomes more, and not less, menacing as the number of our own and allied troops at stake along the front increases.
How large a conventional force would be required or how it should be armed or employed is not for an amateur strategist to decide. But one must have some order of magnitude in mind to discuss the matter with any sense of reality. Clearly, larger forces are needed in Europe than now exist there, but it would surprise me if a pretty good job could not be done by a well armed, supplied and supported force on the central NATO front in the neighborhood of the 30 divisions now talked about, with an equal number of quickly mobilized reserves. This is quite within practicable possibility.
One may ask whether it is realistic to talk in terms of this magnitude since in the past our European allies have not provided for NATO the smaller forces asked of them. I think that it is, and that the development of such a strategic plan is an essential precondition to making the talk realistic. In the past, our allies have believed—partly, as I have pointed out, because of our own attitudes—that the conventional effort asked of them had little real military importance and would be a mere curtain-raiser to nuclear blows. Furthermore, they cannot believe that we are asking them to do what we ourselves are unwilling to do—that is, provide conventional forces. Today we have in Europe, including the sailors of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, over 400,000 men. Indeed, our forces in Europe are larger than the total men under arms in any but two NATO countries, Turkey and France.
The removal of Soviet dominance on the eastern front would also have important political effects. The stability of the satellite régimes in Eastern Europe rests upon this dominance. Present Soviet policy toward East Germany and Berlin would be much more difficult without it. Much of allied hesitations and doubts stems directly from it. The essence of Soviet policy in Eastern Europe is to take action supported by force, as in Hungary and East Germany, confident that no counterforce exists capable of supporting local opposition and that "massive retaliation" by nuclear weapons would be regarded as too hazardous. If the Soviet Union were confronted on its western front with equal conventional forces, and in some localities with superior forces, calculations of actions and risks both in the Soviet Union and in Europe would be very different. Calculations of actions and risks make governmental policy.
Consider now the nuclear armament of the alliance. At present a common complaint in Europe is that the Government of the United States has an inordinate control of the calculations of actions and risks because of its vast preëminence in nuclear weapons. But one hears no speculation upon the dramatic change in relative military weight which would occur, if, in accordance with the defense strategy for NATO barely suggested above, Europe provided conventional forces within the magnitudes outlined. In that event, plainly, those who provided the power which would be called upon initially to block a Soviet attempt to impose its will—as, for instance, in an effort to change or impair movement to and from Berlin—would have an immense leverage on political and military strategy in the West. This would be an inevitable reflection of new power assumed by Europe within the alliance. It might stimulate realistic methods of agreeing on action and carrying it out. Obviously, an allied defense force such as suggested, operating on a strategic plan such as suggested, cannot be controlled by a town meeting requiring unanimity for decision. It should surprise no one if the needs of supranational organizations grew fast in this forcing bed. But plainest of all would be the certainty of a greatly enhanced position for Europe—so much so that the United States might not find it easy to obtain a voice equal to the importance of its nuclear capabilities, essential though these would be to policy and strategy but pushed out of the forefront of a confrontation.
In other words, the basic problem before the Atlantic Alliance is not how to control a particular weapon, but what ends the alliance proposes to accomplish, how it proposes to accomplish them, and how to make the decisions to use force to meet force—that is, force of any kind—knowing the full risks involved, but knowing also that its first incidence may be local. Even when all the allies are wholly convinced that nuclear weapons are available and will be used at the critical moment, the basic decision will remain that of entering on a concert of action which may involve them.
Discussion of the positioning and control of nuclear weapons has been bedeviled by its involvement with pride and fear. For instance, it is asserted as a requirement that the defense of France should not depend on any other country. The defense of France—and, indeed, that of Europe—does depend, and throughout this century has depended, on association with the United States, just as the security of the United States is vitally bound up with Europe in no less important—though different—ways than when the sanction behind the Monroe Doctrine was the British fleet.
The same idea is put differently when it springs from fear rather than pride. Then it is said that some day the United States may withdraw from Europe into isolation. Against that day Europe must have an independent European-supported nuclear capability, or it will be without power to deter or resist Soviet domination. The withdrawal of the United States from the defense of Europe would, indeed, be an evil day for the whole free world, and neither Europe nor the United States could long or successfully maintain their free institutions or resist the domination of a Communist system embracing Eurasia, Africa and South America. To plan and act on the assumption of that eventuality will ensure the failure of any common defense plan for Europe. For neither the conventional forces nor the nuclear forces required for that defense can then be made available.
It is an illusion to believe that Europe can or will produce an independent nuclear deterrent within any time relevant to military planning, even if given the necessary technological help. Our European NATO allies spend annually on all defense about $15 billion. Secretary McNamara has told us that in the coming fiscal year the United States will spend $15 billion on nuclear weapons and delivery systems alone. The British nuclear effort over many years has strained available resources, reduced conventional forces to a minimum and produced a nuclear capability that may be, perhaps, 2 percent of the nuclear striking power which the United States could now bring to bear in the NATO area. If we assume that France is capable of equalling that result and that the rest of NATO Europe could add as much again, the total would not be a significant addition to nuclear power contributed by the United States, or to what the United States would be adding to that power during the same time. Furthermore, it would be made, as in England, at the expense of essential strengthening, perhaps even of maintaining, present non-nuclear forces. In other words, a European-produced nuclear force would be a tragic misuse of resources essential to provide basic elements of defense. Nevertheless, we must ask whether this waste would give Europe either a significant deterrent against the Soviet Union, or an increased "say" in the direction and control of NATO, or any other element in the defense of Europe.
Viewed as a deterrent, a European—and certainly a French—nuclear strategic force would contain little threat against Soviet nuclear power. It could cover only a fraction of the targets and plainly it could not disarm the Soviet Union or seriously weaken its nuclear strength. As a weapon in use, it would be soon destroyed or spent. As an anti-city weapon, a small European force could threaten serious damage. But the threat would work both ways and would also impose grave risks to European, and also American, cities by way of retaliation. It would have a measure of deterrent power, like that of a determined man with a drawn revolver. He inhibits some action, but in doing so he incurs risks which eventually mature; and his career ends in violence or reform. Too many have an interest in ending it.
Sometimes it is said that an independent, even though small, European nuclear power would gain Europe a larger "say" in the use and control of nuclear weapons by the ability to initiate a nuclear strike and thus "trigger" the Strategic Air Command. The alliance would, indeed, be in sorry shape if joint planning and control of defense had to be coerced by this sort of blackmail. As Secretary of Defense McNamara has said both publicly, in general terms, and to the NATO Council, in specific terms, in order for us to have the best, indeed the only, chance of survival in case the dread nuclear weapon has to be used, it is indispensable that we have unity of planning and unity of command. A scattered sputtering of feeble shots to begin with spells doom for everyone.
An infinitely more important, possibly controlling, "say" would come to Europe from a defense strategy and the forces to execute it to which Europe would furnish the bulk of the conventional power and the United States the nuclear power, as well as very substantial conventional forces. As I have already pointed out, such a policy would give Europe the dominant voice in adopting a political policy of opposition to Soviet demands and threats, in regard to which some Europeans have feared that the United States might be headstrong. It would also steady and strengthen alliance policy by binding the United States firmly to that policy through a most precise prior assurance of the engagement of our nuclear power at the point where an agreed and adopted defense plan would commit it.
In so far as demand for a European nuclear deterrent does not stem from pride or fear, it stems from lack of knowledge of the facts, for which United States policy has been largely responsible. Secrecy, which is desirable, has been rated ahead of understanding by our allies, which is indispensable.
One hears arguments from time to time, often connected with the claimed obsolescence of manned aircraft, that there should be stationed in Europe, under the command of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, strategic nuclear weapons adequate to cover sources of threatened attack upon Europe. If those charged with high responsibility among our allies could share with us knowledge of the nuclear disposition made for their defense, it would be clearer to them that Europe could not produce weapons adequate for the purpose, and that to transfer from present locations outside Europe weapons now assigned for this purpose, and others available for it, would not strengthen but would greatly weaken the defense and security of Europe. They would know, too, the degree to which the nuclear defense of Europe and that of America are inseparable, and that a comprehensive plan and unified command can provide infinitely greater effectiveness both in the power and versatility of the defense and in the security of the weapons involved. Our partners could then see clearly that participation in devising the master plan and making the force dispositions most desirable for its execution are of the essence of a common defense. Splintering the strategic weapon and its military command would utterly destroy it.
Furthermore, this understanding and participation are the best, and probably the only, way of meeting a divisive and weakening diversion of allied effort into "independent" nuclear forces. Strong-willed persons are not going to be persuaded or beguiled into abandoning cherished plans; nor will other nations long accept an "Uncle-Sam-knows-best" attitude. But, over time, knowledge and intelligent self-interest often mitigate determined courses, or influence others not to join in them.
What is involved in devising and putting into effect a comprehensive plan for the defense of Europe is much more far-reaching than current talk of multinational nuclear forces and other proposals for "nuclear sharing." For the comprehensive agreement proposed here is not merely agreement upon a sound theoretical blueprint of a plan of operations, with a list added of the forces, including reserves, armaments, supplies and logistics necessary to execute it. To accomplish this much is difficult enough to have defied achievement up to the present. It is, of course, an essential prerequisite. Nor does the proposal stop with allied agreement to execute such a plan, nor with the provision of the funds and legislation (military service, etc.) needed to do so. A NATO civilian defense establishment is necessary to coördinate and see that it is carried out. The NATO Secretary General's office, suitably staffed and empowered, might lend itself to this task.
At the very heart of the problem will lie the creation of real intimacy and confidence between the nuclear and non-nuclear components of this combined force and combined operation. Though much has already been done, still more can be done toward allied participation in coördinating the targeting for NATO defense, both European and North American. This has already produced both knowledge of nuclear realities and mutual confidence in those who have experienced it. Selected European personnel could be brought into United States operational units. Already proposals have been made by the President to allocate to the defense of Europe Polaris submarines, armed with intermediate-range ballistic missiles, and kept on station. The plan proposed here would commit all of the United States Strategic Air Command to the same duty. Out of the arrangements, over time and with experience, a real NATO nuclear command could develop.
The great point should be to avoid grandiose proposals and to make progress step by step and with care. Done in this way, the security risks, which would be real, would be far outweighed by European knowledge of the nuclear strength of the United States and confidence in our commitment to Europe's defense.
These tasks, hard enough in all conscience, are enough for the immediate present. If we are successful in performing them, we shall come face-to- face with even greater ones which already loom through the mist around us. I have already suggested them. They involve agreement upon common policies for the Atlantic allies in a number of fields on which judgments are presently divided. After agreement upon policies, there remains the most perplexing problem of all—how to execute policy as tensions rise, how to make the final, critical decisions which are essential to vigorous action. This is hard enough for a national executive. It is much harder for an alliance. But, plainly, the task is made simpler, not more difficult, if a master strategic plan and the forces to carry it out are ready at hand.