The Day After Russia Attacks
What War in Ukraine Would Look Like—and How America Should Respond
THE BASIS OF PARTNERSHIP
THE crisis in NATO and in the European Communities is not over. It has destroyed the chance for a Western diplomatic offensive following the firm reaction of the United States against the establishment of Soviet atomic weapons in Cuba. The only reason the damage has not been greater is that the Soviet Union has troubles of its own with China, a conflict which the West could have turned to advantage if the Soviet Union had not still hoped to exploit the differences within the Western Alliance. There is no use in trying to place responsibility for this on nations or personalities. The task is to strengthen Western unity, Atlantic solidarity and the European Community. What are the problems in these three fields?
The European Community must strengthen its inner structure, deal with the problems involved in enlarging its area and regulate its relationship to other countries and regions. The first was blocked by de Gaulle's opposition to further integration. He opposes the transfer of national sovereignty to supranational or community institutions; he calls them "Aeropegs" and says no nation could place confidence in them. The benefits produced by the Common Market, in which France has shared, have persuaded him to accept the existing institutions, but he remains opposed to any further integration.
A community of the sort now existing in Europe represents more than mere coöperation between governments, for along with community institutions it has developed a community interest and a community spirit. All this adds up to integration. Obviously, integration should not injure national interests but incorporate the interests of each in an over-all body. Since the European Council of Ministers is not a conference of governments but a community institution responsible to the Community as a whole, individual ministers must act in the interest of the Community and not as representatives of their own governments. This is even more true in the case of the European Commission, the members of which do not sit in national governments or other national institutions; their only responsibility is to the whole Community. The existing treaties do not need amendment; as they stand, they provide numerous opportunities for making progress. What is necessary is that the Commission exercise its full powers to make proposals to the other institutions of the Community; the Council of Ministers, in turn, would deal with those proposals in a community spirit. The European Parliament is in favor of such action.
The Commission would be strengthened if the three European Executives (Coal and Steel Community, Common Market and Euratom) were merged into one; the seat of the new single executive would give Europe a capital, a political symbol of unity. The power of the European Parliament should be strengthened also, so as to prove that the European executive is controlled by a European electorate and is not just a bureaucracy without proper parliamentary control. Unfortunately, France opposes both the idea of strengthening the parliament and the proposal for direct elections to it. But the constitutional situation existing at present in France should not persuade the European Community to give up the ideal of parliamentary democracy. The history of Germany and Italy shows how dangerous that could be.
Proposals for a political union without further integration would make sense only if there is to be an opportunity for the discussion of additional questions over which the existing European institutions do not now have control. It would be entirely unacceptable for rights of existing Community institutions to be taken away in the name of political union and given back to a form of government coöperation handicapped by the unanimity rule. That is why the so-called Fouchet Plan was not accepted. But the discussion of these additional questions should at least provide for the participation of the European executive in order to bring the Community spirit into this field too.
The dynamism of the existing treaties points in the direction of certain political decisions. Thus the Common Market asks for a common foreign trade policy, and this leads inevitably to some degree of common foreign policy. The requirement regarding fair competition involves many decisions on common internal policy, from the harmonization of taxation and social legislation to closer coöperation on general economic and monetary policy. As the treaties are brought into operation, the torpidity which overcame the European Community after de Gaulle's press conference of January 14 and the subsequent breakdown of the Brussels negotiations will inevitably be brought to an end.
There are already signs that things are moving. France has agreed that the regular meetings of the Council of the Western European Union (which unites Great Britain with the continental Six) shall automatically discuss relations between the European institutions and Great Britain. The German Government seems to have become more flexible on the delicate problem of corn prices. The long-delayed agreement on the association of a number of African states with the Common Market was signed in July. Although there is still no indication that Great Britain will soon become a full member of the Common Market, it is to be kept informed of what is done on the Continent and the Six will have to avoid any move which might increase the difficulties of its future entry. The Six can even help to break down some barriers. The "Kennedy round" in the GATT negotiations could solve some problems involving the position of the Commonwealth countries, agricultural policy and industrial imports from low-price countries. Steps toward solving some of these problems might also be taken in O.E.C.D., which unites all the free countries of Europe, the United States and Canada. All this would ease the future negotiations with Britain.
The free world must also find a common approach on the political implications of East-West trade. The refusal to trade at all with the Soviet Union will not lead to the breakdown of Communism; nor should we trade without restrictions. The Soviet Union uses foreign trade as a political instrument, and we are acting against our own interests if we do not do the same. The free world is at a disadvantage if one side of the trading relationship is well organized and able to act as both seller and buyer, while the other is split by competition both between countries and between private firms. If Russia is really interested in certain economic activities, credits included, better coördination is necessary in the West if it is to secure the right political price.
With the exception of France, the members of the Common Market aim to bring in Britain and the other candidates for full membership-Norway, Denmark and Ireland. They also consider that the European neutrals-Sweden, Switzerland and Austria-must be given fair terms for associate membership. Austria is an example of why this is so necessary. More than 56 percent of her trade is with the Common Market, and if she were cut off in that direction she would be driven into greater dependence on trade with the East. The free world must recognize its interest in the independence and freedom of the European neutrals.
France's partners also advocate a liberal foreign trade policy for the Community, as laid down in the Rome Treaty. Of course a community gives its members some privileges, for otherwise there is no community; and this creates a certain amount of discrimination against others. But the European Community should not develop a policy of self-sufficiency, as de Gaulle has advocated in some of his speeches. A liberal trade policy is not only necessary in view of the Common Market's responsibility for maintaining a high level of world trade; it is also of vital interest to its member states. Every year Germany exports more than 50 billion marks worth of goods. Obviously she must allow her customers the chance to earn that same amount of money by their exports to Germany. If this liberal trade policy is carried out by all members of the Common Market, a considerable contribution to the solution of the American balance-of-payments problem will result. Last year Germany imported 6.1 billion marks worth of goods from the United States, and exported only 3.86 billion marks in return. This already helps. But just as we must understand that the United States has a problem, so the United States must see that this problem is not created only by its military presence in Europe but in part by its large capital investment in Europe and in the developing countries.
De Gaulle is somewhat opposed to further American investment, but for another reason: he fears American influence on the French economy. To my mind, mutual capital investments strengthen the economic links between countries and therefore interdependence and solidarity. The presence of American troops is a safeguard for Europe against aggression from without, but the presence of American capital is an added reason to defend it. These problems can best be settled by common action, and here President Kennedy's Trade Expansion Act has already provided a useful framework. But it needs the coöperation of the Common Market to achieve its aim.
Agriculture poses another difficult problem. Maintaining high prices for larger production is no solution. The only solution is to subsidize the changes in the European agricultural structure so that European agriculture will become competitive with others and give a fair income to the people who work in it.
The enlarged Common Market would be the world's largest import area, and it could be advantageous to outside countries by increasing their opportunities for export. It could be a powerful partner with the United States in developing their mutual trade as well as world trade, and in coöperating in the monetary field and in development aid. This last task is of primary importance if a social explosion is to be avoided in the developing areas.
In this partnership Europe should not limit her efforts mainly to Africa, as France tries to do. And while we must coördinate our efforts with America and others, we must keep in mind that in some areas, because of traditional relationships and present political conditions, help from European countries is more advisable than help from the United States.
As far as French policy is concerned, Germany may be able to exert some influence, but the possibility should not be overestimated; what the old allies of France have not achieved can hardly be expected of a former enemy and new friend. The German-French Treaty has sealed a reconciliation which began a long time before de Gaulle came to power. For Germany, friendship with France is not a combination against anybody; it is part and parcel of the European Community and Atlantic solidarity, as our Parliament made clear in the preamble to the treaty. Germany cannot and will not make a choice between Paris and Washington. There is no European Community without France, but there also is no European security without the United States.
What is the proper basis for European security? Obviously the French decision to build a national atomic force, the withdrawal of the French fleet from the NATO command and the fact that France is far behind on her conventional commitments to NATO are blows to the Western Alliance. The Federal Republic of Germany is not in agreement with this French military policy and specifically is not in favor of national atomic forces. If certain French statesmen hoped for German solidarity in this field, the vote of our Parliament, the participation of the Federal Republic in the negotiations on a multilateral force, the impressive reception given President Kennedy by the German people and the first consultations within the framework of the German-French Treaty will by now have made the German position clear. We know that Berlin, for example, is mainly protected by the presence of American troops in Berlin, in Germany and on the Continent. President Kennedy went to Berlin to make this plain. For this presence there is no substitute, even in hard speeches.
The discussion of European security has become more intense as a result of changes in the strategic situation since 1955. The threat of massive retaliation was credible when the United States had a monopoly of atomic weapons and strategic air forces. I personally regret that in those years the Soviet fear of this American monopoly, combined with the fear of German militarism, was not utilized in order to see whether security arrangements in the heart of Europe based on one Germany could not have been achieved; now the two parts of Germany have been rearmed in the framework of two opposing military alliances, and the monopoly too is gone. The threat of massive retaliation has become incredible, whether invoked by the United States or by Europe; execution of it would mean terrible losses for the United States, certain extinction for Europe. The belief of some Europeans that Europe has become invulnerable since the United States has become vulnerable is terribly mistaken.
The whole Alliance must free itself from the thought that in case of aggression the only alternatives are suicide and capitulation. The strategy of a controlled flexible response, a graduated deterrence, is not only in the American interest; it is in ours also. Since reliance only on atomic weapons leaves one defenseless against certain forms of aggression, we must strengthen the non-nuclear component of our defense. There are obvious limits, however, to the military effort that Europe can make. Military expenditures and the employment of human resources for military purposes have to take into account the need of maintaining economic health, social security and political stability in areas near the Iron Curtain and more exposed to Communist propaganda than the United States. The Federal Republic's large financial expenditure for the economic, social and cultural life of Berlin must be credited to her as part of the general burden of defense. In the political and psychological competition between East and West, Berlin is the equivalent of several divisions.
The general rule that a certain percentage of the national income should be devoted to defense has to be adapted to the special conditions of each country. A progressive income tax on individuals is generally regarded as more justified than an equal tax rate for everyone, and one can say the same of nations. It is important to know what an individual's per capita income is after taxes have been paid; and so for a nation, one must calculate what its net income is after deduction of military and similar expenditures. When this is done, we see that the United States, even with the high burden it bears for our common defense, still remains the wealthiest country of the Alliance.
The atomic component of defense must exist too, but for use only as a last resort. The Western strategy is to deter aggression and therefore avoid war, but this will be successful only if an aggressor knows that he will meet resistance. The danger that a conflict would, by escalation, develop into atomic war is part of the deterrent. However, a threat to use atomic weapons to deal with any and every form of aggression is not credible; it would be regarded as a bluff and therefore would not deter. We must be able to stop an aggressor immediately, without having to destroy whole nations. Only if our forces were unable to stop the aggressor at the point of attack would it become necessary to have recourse to atomic weapons. Europe cannot be defeated, occupied and then liberated; it must be defended on its present frontiers, the frontiers of liberty. This is the meaning of NATO's "forward strategy." But this modern strategy has to follow the old rule that no military action should be more destructive than is strictly required by the circumstances.
President de Gaulle and some others in Europe do not accept this strategy. They believe in the earliest possible use of atomic weapons. The disposition of French troops shows that for the most part France reserves her forces for her own defense and does not make her full contribution to NATO, which is designed to counter any Soviet move against any Western nation.
The nuclear component of European defense consists of warheads under American or British custody and means of delivery that are in the hands of various military units. In view of this, the European members of the Alliance ask what influence they have on an eventual decision to use these warheads. They have a double fear: that America might destroy Europe by using them when it was not necessary and that it might not use them when it was necessary. The best solution of this problem would be for Europeans to participate in the over-all strategic planning, not only as regards the use of the nuclear potential in Europe but for the whole potential of the Alliance, including the decisive part of it in America.
This would require an upgrading of the NATO Council, which is the central political body of the Alliance, in order to give it greater political authority. The military adviser of the Council should not be a regional commander as at present but a military personality or a military body with competence as regards the whole military potential of the Alliance.
The present military committee does not entirely fulfill this requirement. In an emergency, the President of the United States should make his decision on the basis of a commonly agreed strategy which covers the security requirements not only of the United States but of all the other members of NATO. He would thus become a kind of trustee of the Alliance, without changing the American Constitution. Such a procedure would make his decision a far more credible deterrent than any that might emerge from clumsy bodies that have to act unanimously or even by a majority vote. In either case, of course, the Soviet Union could gamble on the likelihood that there would be no decision at all. However, the fact that the NATO allies participated in the decision-making machinery used by the President would give Europeans the assurance that their contribution in conventional forces gave them a comparable influence on strategy and on future decisions, without making a futile and expensive effort to duplicate the American effort in the atomic field. The United States spends more annually on its atomic arsenal and means of delivery than all the European members of NATO spend on their entire defense budgets.
A start in the right direction was made at Athens. The decision at Ottawa to send European officers to the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command at Omaha was a further step, but only a step. The new command structure, bringing the British Bomber Command and three American Polaris submarines under the command of SACEUR, does not increase NATO's military strength; nevertheless it is a useful regrouping of forces. It is better to prepare sea-based I.R.B.M.s than to place those weapons on the European Continent, where they expose the host countries to Soviet atomic blackmail.
This is one of the merits of the multilateral force now under discussion, if it can be made to include more participants than just Germany and the United States. Italy went so far as to join the discussion; but what would be essential is a British contribution, for both political and military reasons. Negotiations will take time, for operational and political control, finances and integration into the NATO command structure all pose difficult problems. As suggested above, I prefer a looser form of European influence on the whole of the American potential to the appearance of physical control over a very small part of it. But the formation of a multilateral force might be a beginning.
The project may undergo many changes, but we should not give it up as long as we have nothing better. It would diminish the risk of the proliferation of national atomic weapons; further the integration of American and European forces; give Europe a share in strategic planning; add to Europe's technical experience in the atomic field, and therefore contribute toward her education in the strategic concepts based on these weapons and her sense of responsibility in dealing with them. This education should be accompanied by greater training in modern technology, in view especially of the important impact that arms technology has on the non-military economy. Europe, with her dense population, is a great industrial workshop in which the highest standards of quality must be maintained if she is to provide a decent standard of living for the population. If the American monopoly in atomic weapons meant that Europe was excluded from the technological benefits that might be applied to non-military uses, the pressure for developing an independent European nuclear arsenal would become overwhelming.
For all these reasons a multilateral force is better than de Gaulle's policy of developing a national force de frappe, which cannot defend Europe and which leads to neglect of conventional forces. Europe's geographical position and size do not permit the dispersement of the deterrent. And the dangerous conception that a little force like that in view for France will be a credible deterrent, because it can force the United States to enter an atomic war even if it does not want to, destroys the spirit of coöperation in the Alliance and risks driving the United States into isolation.
The French force is national, not European, a fact which sometimes is underestimated. It is a force in Europe; but we already have another atomic force in Europe-the American one-which differs in three ways from the French force: The American one exists; the French one is a hope. The American force will always be more important than the French one. And finally, the other European nations will undoubtedly have more influence on the American force than on the French. By de Gaulle's definition, any foreign influence on the French atomic force is excluded. France is willing, perhaps, to use it in the interest of Europe, but reserves an unlimited right to decide when and how. In this way, France would acquire the position of European leadership. The other European nations recognize the present differences in power between them and the United States and hence accept the difference in influence between each of them individually and the United States, but I doubt that any of them would accept a similar relationship to France, which is one European state among other European states. Not even Great Britain could in the long run hope for a special status.
If Europe wants to bring the alliance with the United States into a better equilibrium it has to unite and it has to accept Great Britain, for only so can it approach equality in partnership. Then it also will play something more like an equal role in the atomic field. The interdependence of Europe and the United States will remain, but decision-making would be by a sort of two-key system, in which the ability to make a decision remains credible and yet gives the two partners equal rights of co-decision.
But we cannot start at the wrong end. Not only will the development of national atomic forces in Europe create new dangers through proliferation; it also will run counter to European unity, for each nation so equipped tends to resist integration. After long years of nationalism and strife the states of Europe are growing together. They should not let integration become a mere pooling of nationalisms, but make it strengthen group responsibility for affairs outside of Europe. If we ask for more influence on the military potential of the United States, we must accept a share in its political responsibilities. A grown-up Europe cannot ask for weapons and reject responsibilities in other fields.
America's policy is to remain strong until there is progress in disarmament under proper inspection, but meanwhile to negotiate seriously on the basis of its present military power. Europe can make a political and intellectual contribution to this process. Every step toward the limitation and control of armaments creates a better climate for the discussion of political problems, and every time political problems are approached in a better spirit the chances for progress toward disarmament are improved.
The German problem stands only to profit from progress in other fields of controversy and negotiation-as, for example, the test-ban agreement. Its main importance is not as a disarmament measure, for it limits activity in only one specific area of the arms race. Nor does it seem likely to make either China or France abandon its plans for nuclear weapons. But world public opinion seems sure to deter others from a similar line and in the end may perhaps even influence those two countries. Thus the dangerous proliferation of nuclear weapons has been limited even if it has not been stopped.
The fact that pollution of our atmosphere by hundreds of nuclear explosions has probably been brought to an end is certainly a considerable advantage. A further agreement covering similar explosions for peaceful purposes is now necessary; the limitation of nuclear military explosions should not hamper scientific and technological progress. Here a timely announcement of programs and proper international inspection of their execution can preclude military abuses.
There are some military disadvantages in the Moscow agreement, but they will exist in any proposal for limiting the arms race and they seem to be equalized between the two sides. Certainly the disadvantages are outweighed by the political advantage. In any case, escape clauses provide ultimate protection. The greatest risk by far lies in an unlimited atomic arms race.
The arms race continues in all fields not affected by the prohibition of certain types of atomic explosions. The relationship of the nuclear powers to each other and to the non-nuclear ones also continues. The full value of the agreements therefore can be judged only in the light of future developments. Will there be agreement on the means of delivery too? With adequate inspection? Will research be internationalized? Will the nuclear powers develop a partnership with their allies or use their stabilized atomic monopoly as an instrument of power politics?
Another prime question is whether measures against surprise attack are to create better protection against aggression by conventional means. This brings us face to face with the German problem, for if such measures are to have any meaning at all they must give better safeguards to Berlin.
The Federal Republic of Germany welcomes the Moscow agreement. Alone for her it does not require any new commitment. She regrets that the Communist régime in Eastern Germany appears as a signatory, but even if this was unavoidable, it must be made quite plain that this signature does not carry recognition of a "second German state," hence of partition.
The Soviet Union's aim in asking now for a non-aggression pact between NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries can only be to legalize its conquests in Central and Eastern Europe. The Soviet Union knows perfectly well that NATO will not attack it. If there is really a need for declarations of intent, all that is necessary is for each side to declare that it will not further its political aims by force or the threat of force. The Federal Republic has made such statements already.
We Germans cannot force the Soviet Union to give up the part of our country which it occupies. But the Soviet Union cannot force the West to accept the partition of Germany and recognize the colonial régime which exists in the Sovietized part of it. Nor can we Germans be forced to give up the political fight for the right of self-determination for our whole people. We therefore have to keep the door open until better conditions for a solution of the problem exist. This means specifically that the West has to remain in Berlin; any other policy would produce a world-wide reaction against the West. Fortunately, President Kennedy fully understands the human problem of the Berliners, especially after having visited them. Berlin is a standing symbol for the entire German problem which awaits a fair solution.
That solution will become possible only when Soviet interests as a whole, which are so much more important than those of the Ulbricht régime, can be brought into play in the combined areas of security, economics and politics. This will happen only if we do not allow the Soviet Union to think that it can exploit differences in the West; if we maintain the social, economic and political stability of the Federal Republic, thus definitely destroying the Communist hope of taking over the whole country; if we maintain the belief of the Germans in the Soviet zone that one day they will recover their freedom (which means we have to avoid upgrading the Communist colonial régime internationally); and if we continue to move toward fuller European integration.
Europe has recovered her economic health and strength. It is from a position of increased importance, then, that she is being called upon to contribute to world policy in partnership with her great ally on the other side of the Atlantic. Europe will arrive at this partnership not by aspirations, but only by performance.