Xi Jinping in His Own Words
What China’s Leader Wants—and How to Stop Him From Getting It
It is well to check one's conclusions against the sweep of events over time. The newspapers must make their daily judgments; the columnists their biweekly syntheses; the monthlies content themselves with prediction of the future or explanation of the past. All of this misses the continuum of events. Those of each day, month and year grow out of what has gone before and will mark, shape and condition what comes after them.
For three hundred years Europe has been the Hinge of Fate for those who have dwelt in the Western Hemisphere. Before the religious wars in Europe had ended in the seventeenth century, all its great nations-Spain, Portugal, France, England, the Netherlands-had established settlements in this hemisphere.
The ensuing century or more of world war in Europe to prevent French domination of the Continent was fought also in New England, the Ohio Valley, Canada, the West Indies, Louisiana and the City of Washington itself. Its various phases-the Wars of the Spanish and Austrian Succession, the Seven Years War and the Napoleonic Wars-all had their American counterparts-King William's, Queen Anne's and King George's Wars, the French and Indian War, and the War of 1812. To General Washington these interruptions in the development of our new land seemed the results of European enmities and collusions from which we should stand apart. But the defeat of French ambitions in Europe defeated them also in America. President Jefferson, who wisely observed that any power in possession of the mouth of the Mississippi was, and must be, our enemy, eliminated the last French possession from North America by the purchase from hard-pressed Napoleon of the Louisiana Territory.
After this century and a half of involvement with the world, the isolation from it which Washington urged in his Farewell Address came not from acts of American statesmanship and power, but from the settlement of Vienna and British seapower.
The Treaty of Vienna produced a real balance of power, and the will to maintain it, in Europe, and a hundred years of peace, economic development and an effective world order-a century unique in human affairs. The world order managed by the great empires of Europe and their colonial systems brought stability to Europe, Asia and Africa. The Western Hemisphere was removed as a cause of European rivalry by Canning's giving sanction to the Monroe Doctrine by the British Fleet. What could have happened without that sanction is shown by what did happen during the Civil War, when Napoleon III's bayonets supported Maximilian's empire in Mexico. Our century of isolation was isolation by grace of a European system. When that system crashed, through self-destruction of the European empires-the Ottoman, the Tsarist, the Austro-Hungarian, the German, the French and the British-in thirty years of European civil war from 1914 to 1945, the United States emerged from the cloister of this continent to play a leading part in the affairs of Europe and the world.
What had brought about the collapse of the European-managed world and the empires which did the managing was the eastward movement of power in Europe. This change, in turn, created a predominance of first one and then a second nation so that a balance of power was no longer possible within Europe. Just as Britain had had to intervene throughout the eighteenth century to prevent French hegemony in Europe, so the United States has had to intervene three times in the twentieth century because all the nations of Europe together were not strong enough to withstand the power, first, of Germany, and, then, of the Soviet Union.
In a few years the nineteenth-century dream of a Parliament of Man, administering universal peace and progress, faded before Soviet refusal to join in the solution of problems left by the war-the international control of atomic energy, the economic reconstruction of Europe, the issues of Berlin and Germany, the future of the Eastern Mediterranean, Korea, Japan and China,
So power had to be found or created, or both, in an area transcending Europe to balance and hold in check that of the Soviet group and preserve in the world an environment of freedom in which peoples might seek their undictated conception of salvation. This was the aim successfully sought by the United States in the decade and a half after the end of the war. That chapter of history is a familiar one. It tells how both our allies who would join in the task and our former enemies were restored to political and economic health; how we joined with them in mutual defense; how opportunity was offered to undeveloped and newly independent peoples to better their lives; in short, the story of the effort to bring security and material development to the free part of the world.
Successful beyond all expectation, this policy was carried on with consistency rare in American history, Our allies were restored and former enemies became allies; by and large the emerging nations were benefited by our aid, some more than others; but new problems arose and some old ones persisted. Helpfulness produces criticism, not love. President Kennedy said in his Inaugural, and President de Gaulle confirms, that the Grand Alliance is in disarray.
Unique among commentators on American foreign policy, I do not believe that the difficulties which the Alliance confronts today are the result of American ignorance, ineptitude or mistakes. Not that our governments since the war have not made mistakes, and serious ones; but our problems do not stem from them. Rather they are the result of our own successful policies and the relaxing effect of prosperity. To this must be added a measure of bad luck in the appearance on the scene at a critical moment of General de Gaulle's atavistic mysticism and its effect on the most promising development in Europe since the Middle Ages.
Today much is said and written of Europe's new-found or recovered power. Much of it is misconception. Mr. Don Cook states the fact correctly in his interesting book, "Floodtide in Europe:" "Today the tide has carried Europe to a plateau of peace and prosperity unmatched in all its long history." The tide rose because of the security and recovery brought to Europe by American policies and by the integrated European economy devised and effectuated under the leadership of Monnet, Schuman and Adenauer. Hence it is a West European prosperity in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and which would be shattered if divided into them.
The industrial society which has arisen in Western Europe is second in importance only to that in the United States-a population of 340,000,000 people skilled and competent, a high standard of living and low unemployment, a collective gold reserve and steel production greater than those of the United States, a gross product in 1964 of $448 billion in value, compared with our $600 billion. Such an impressive industrial area must, of course, be of great significance in international affairs.
Prosperity is not power; nor a guaranty of peace. Power is a combination of population, resources, technology and will. Will is the element lacking in Western Europe as a whole, the will to use the other elements for agreed ends. The whole effort of the European movement just mentioned has been to provide gradually, and step by step5 means for developing a common will regarding common problems to achieve common ends. Without a developing common will, Europe will warrant Napoleon's description of Italy, a geographical expression.
The European movement also provided spaciousness for great development. The areas and the populations within the old national boundaries were too small to permit industry and markets or a military establishment on the needed scale. Former Prime Minister Debré recognized reality when in his book he repeatedly exclaimed: "If we were only a hundred million Frenchmen!" While the new Europe gained stature, the individual states lost it. Relative to their great neighbor to the east they were each weaker than they had been for a century and a half.
Both Great Britain and France have been diminished since the war by the loss of their colonial empires; Germany, by the loss of one-half of its pre- Hitler area and a sixth of its population. Even the names, France, Germany and Great Britain, denote many things, but rarely the societies which exist under those names today. The older ones of us, for instance, think of Great Britain as the vast empire colored red on the map, on which the sun never set, whose hundreds of millions of subjects created a formidable military power and a gigantic market, whose fleet ruled the waves; a great world banking and industrial center, which developed such emerging young countries as the United States-in short, we think of the empire of Kipling and Victoria, R.I. But all that is gone.
Today the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has an area about that of Western Germany, smaller than Italy and half the size of France. The populations of these nations are each a little over 50,000,000. The value of their gross national products, except for Italy's, is about comparable: Western Germany, $94 billion; France, $86 billion; the United Kingdom, $74 billion; Italy, $45 billion.
The very incongruity of a vigorous, prosperous Europe, composed of weakened national states, results in frustrations. The spirit of nationalism revived by affluence finds relief from these and a sense of strength in criticisms leveled against American purposes toward Europe. The call is for independence from the United States. To many in Europe and America the battle seems one of sterile argument about abstract questions of organization-integration or coalition of countries. Why not, they ask, turn from this distasteful dispute with General de Gaulle and engage his coöperation on pressing and practical problems? The answer is that it cannot be engaged without surrendering 15 years' growth of a collective European will. It is wholly practicable and much wiser to enlist the help of those allies who are willing to deal with urgent problems.
General de Gaulle's desire to block further development of the Europe of Monnet, Schuman and Adenauer and to detach his 50,000,000 fellow citizens from confining (and strengthening) commitments to nearly 300,000,000 fellow West Europeans and 200,000,000 North Americans is based upon a gamble, in some respects cynical and in other respects against the odds. It rests, in the first place, on the belief that, if the demand for reunification of Germany is shelved, no political question exists which could lead to hostilities in Europe; in the second place upon reliance on American nuclear power and commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty, regardless of what happens to the treaty organization, NATO.
So the gamble puts at risk the European estate and the American commitment in so far as it rests on the presence of our military forces now in Europe, the largest contribution to the common defense of any nation except Germany. At the same time, no one believes that the European nations could defend themselves without America; without a dependable Atlantic Alliance, they would become hostages to the Soviet Union. The risk, therefore, is a particularly tricky and dangerous one, since it includes a real possibility of alienating both Germany and the United States,
Perhaps the most disingenuous of the General's claims for independence from America is that for nuclear independence. When he urges that Europeans should possess the means of deciding whether or not to launch a nuclear weapon, he means not Europeans in Europe but a Frenchman in France-a very different thing. But in a broader sense this position is wholly without meaning and is reminiscent of an earlier day.
The decision whether or not to launch a nuclear weapon will not arise in vacuo. It can rise only from a clash of vital interests into which one party or the other is willing to inject the element of force. For a decade or more this clash of interests was commonly thought of as aggressive action in Europe by the Soviet Union, which in elemental self-defense must be resisted by force if necessary. If General de Gaulle believes this danger is unlikely, one can hardly doubt that this happy result flows from the military situation which the General views with such pronounced disfavor. Surely to devise military policy in the abstract and apart from political and economic purposes and plans is most unwise. Neither the type and magnitude of military establishment nor its strategy can be intelligently discussed apart from the purposes and dangers of those involved. Nor in this day can loose commitments of relatively weak states to one another and to and from a much larger state amount to an adequate contribution to a balance of power. Yet this is the direction of drift.
The necessities which call for joint action by our allies and ourselves are urgent and interconnected. They begin, in order of urgency, with French insistence upon recasting, or abolishing, the united command and the organization established under the North Atlantic Treaty. In response to French wishes-albeit the wishes of a different French régime-the command and organization were established in France. Hence it is peculiarly vulnerable to French attack. To wait for that before taking counsel with our allies on what may be necessary to be done to preserve the great organs of NATO and meet the costs of doing so would be hardly provident.
Though precipitating urgently the need for consultation and agreement with our allies, military matters cannot stand alone and isolated from common understanding on interrelated political, monetary and commercial matters. It would be helpful if some of our European allies came to see that neither their desire for British and American participation in the security of Europe nor their desire for an expanding economy is consistent with insistence upon international monetary arrangements which have the effect of limiting both; and similarly if all of us realized that Great Britain's adjustment to her new financial necessities conflicts with her ability to do all that is desirable in the defense of Europe and the area east of Suez. We should all understand more clearly that leaving the United Kingdom to live from hand to mouth on short-term credits is not the course of wisdom and that longer-term assistance-requiring the assured coöperation of the British Government-would contribute more effectively to common objectives. The British, after discussion, might conclude that a national Polaris deterrent lies beyond their means; and the Americans and Germans see that in sharing the costs and responsibilities of these submarines they would contribute to easing the United Kingdom's financial problem,, to greater British-German equality in this vital field, and to reversing the trend toward national proliferation. All of us need awakening to the fact that the Kennedy Round's mazy meandering is not meeting the exigencies of trade between the great industrial centers or between them and the developing nations.
Both Europeans and Americans would do well to come to grips with the issues left unsettled by the war and the reconstruction-the future of Central Europe and the division of Germany. It is idle to talk of a European political policy which does not deal with this central situation. Silent acceptance of division cannot hope to command German adherence or loyalty or, in the long run, to keep the peace. Political policies can be devised to bear on this problem and the great issues of security and arms control which are closely related. It is constantly said that Europeans want a common political policy for Europe. Obviously a policy which does not deal with the principal issue is no policy at all. Neither Germans nor their allies have fixed their attention on what needs to be done.
This outline of the subject matter on which allied discussion and agreement upon common action is needed makes clear that much of it lies outside NATO's field and is too delicate for initial examination in large bodies. Quiet bilateral talks with key allies, at the outset with the British arid the Germans, leading, perhaps, to joint discussions, would make a start. No state in Western Europe can take the lead. Germany would not be followed. Britain is at a low point, internally confused, and has stood apart too long, Only close concert between such key allies and the United States can get Europe moving again. The method suggested follows the soundest principles of diplomacy, essential in the position of each of our allies: first, private discussion to see delicate problems together and establish confidence and understanding; then, a consensus of several to be laid before larger groups, In these talks what is needed initially is a compass rather than a chart, a sense of direction rather than a collection of details.
In all of this, the United States will have to play the largest role; this is inherent in its power and substance. It is true that our concerns are worldwide and that we are deeply involved in Asia and Latin America in difficult and dangerous affairs. It should not in any way detract from the effort put into these endeavors to remind ourselves that we shall pay heavily if we neglect anything essential.
The air and the press are full of despondent moans that initiatives cannot be taken in Europe; certainly not by the United States. This is the usual response to any move requiring originality and effort. It was true twenty years ago at the very beginning of the reconstruction of Europe. Then both the obstacles and the odds were much greater against success. Against the great campaign of 1947-53, with its three-pronged thrust of the Greek- Turkish program, the Marshall Plan and the North Atlantic Treaty with its combined command, were arrayed at home the traditions of a century of isolation and abroad the great power and implacable opposition of the Soviet Union. The blockade of Berlin was a formidable counterattack. But all opposition was overcome when the allies fixed on action rather than on despondent contemplation of its risks.
Today, opinion in the United States will respond to a clear lead from the President, as Viet Nam demonstrates. Abroad the inertia of the prosperous, and the persistence and weakness of a determined General de Gaulle, are by no means negligible obstacles but nothing like those overcome in the earlier period. Our own common interests with Western Europe and theirs with us are as strong as they were before.
European integration and Atlantic partnership have as their ultimate object the negotiation of a basic settlement with the Soviet Union. Such a settlement should deal with the present threats to peace and stability in Central Europe, including unification of Germany and the security of its neighbors. If, through a revival of nationalist rivalries in the West and the disappointment of legitimate German expectations, the alliance should fall apart, the Soviet Union would have little incentive to act with moderation or restraint. We could look in the not-so-long run to a European crisis of unpredictable dimensions.
The time to avert a crisis is now-before it arises. The means of averting it is a close coming-together of those key Atlantic allies who can and will inspire collective action on the great issues of our day. If they do this, much that now seems difficult will come to pass. Now, as for the last three centuries, in Europe lies the Hinge of Fate/ For it is there that the peace will be won or lost.