Can Putin Survive?
The Lessons of the Soviet Collapse
Over the full range of contemporary foreign affairs, American policy toward Western Europe has been marked by durability and rare continuity. The change of neither Presidents, Secretaries of State nor political parties has altered the lines of basic policy. The Government marches with American public opinion, for that ubiquitous man in the street still feels deeply that Western Europe is vital to the United States.
NATO has been the symbol of the metamorphosis of our foreign policy-of American rejection of 150 years of isolation, of a willingness to play a leading role and of recognition that American security can be assured only in collaboration with a free Western Europe. Due to our awareness of Europe's increasing importance in the economic affairs of the world, the United States in 1960 took an initiative which led to the establishment of a companion body to NATO, the Organization for Economic Coöperation and Development.
The second major element of American policy has been support for the idea of a united Europe. Even before Robert Schuman's proposal of May 1950 for a European Coal and Steel Community, Congress each year inserted in authorizations for the Marshall Plan an admonition urging Europe to unite. This American reaction is not surprising, since it is natural to assume that political institutions which serve one people well might serve others with equal benefit. One of the first Americans to offer this advice to Europe was Benjamin Franklin, who wrote from Philadelphia to Ferdinand Grand in Paris, on October 22, 1787:
I send you enclos'd the propos'd new Federal Constitution for these States. I was engag'd 4 months of the last Summer in the Convention that form'd it. It is now sent by Congress to the Several States for their Confirmation. If it succeeds, I do not see why you might not in Europe carry the Project of good Henry the 4th into Execution, by forming a Federal Union and One Grand Republick of all its different States and Kingdoms, by means of a like Convention, for we had many Interests to reconcile.
By the fall of 1962 the vision of an Atlantic partnership-of a uniting Europe and America working in constructive harmony-at least seemed within grasp. But our expectations, even our assessment as to where European and Atlantic affairs in fact stood, were strongly colored by our native optimism and, not infrequently, by unreality. As the Lord Privy Seal suggested to the House of Commons in November 1962, it seemed only a matter of weeks, or at most months, until the United Kingdom would have completed her negotiations and become a member of the Common Market.
Reacting to the prospect of great events in Europe, Congress passed the Trade Expansion Act. This legislation gave the President totally unprecedented authority to negotiate tariff reductions. It hinged on expectations that Europe would be taking new steps toward union, that Britain and several other nations would be a part of this Europe, and that the two sides of the Atlantic would see their common interest in reducing trade barriers.
Today the mood is different. Questions and doubts have replaced hope. There are two large questions. First, does not the unhappy state of affairs across the Atlantic prove that the idea of a united Europe remains a shimmering but unattainable goal, as has been the case down the centuries? Is not the real world made up of nation states? On the assumption that the European Community resolves its current difficulties and begins to move again, the next question is whether American interest would in fact be served by a Europe unified economically and politically, with a population larger than ours, with an economic and technical capacity of potentially equal size, and, perhaps the most alarming thought of all, with a mind of its own?
The crisis now confronting the Common Market is part of a conflict far larger than the fortunes of six European nations. What is at stake is how the free world will be organized. Is it to be preeminently along the lines of national states, or is it to be through increasingly intimate forms of coöperation and within the framework of new institutions? While the six nations have more ambitious goals and have created most novel and interesting institutions, NATO and the O.E.C.D. are entirely consistent with the political philosophy that underlies the European Economic Community. Similarly, the general objections that the French Government has offered to NATO, to its integrated command structure and procedures for political consultation, are in essence the same questions the French have raised about the Common Market, as did President de Gaulle, for example, at his press conference on September 9, 1965.
One preliminary question answers itself: Is Western Europe still important? All the old reasons carry the same force. Western Europe is the only stable and prosperous region capable of sharing with us the burden of providing for the security and economic well-being of the free world as a whole. Together, the two sides of the Atlantic have a towering preponderance of strength compared to any other aggregation of power. Should Western Europe slip to the East this shift in the power balance would be disastrous. While Western Europe is stable today, and the common interests of the several European states dominate, even those with short memories should be able to recall the catastrophies visited upon the world by old European quarrels. Prudence dictates a continuing effort to preserve what we have achieved.
What are the long-term prospects for European unity? On the basis of what evidence can reasonable American judgments be drawn? First, there is a vast body of material that defies even summarization. It includes the network of Community institutions, governmental and private groups in support of unity, the European Parliament, the potent Monnet Action Committee for a United States of Europe, the commitment to a united Europe by labor, agriculture and business organizations, and, finally, the public opinion polls. One quotation gives the flavor of this support. Last November, M. George Villiers, President of the Council of French Industries (C.N.P.F.), said: "Our French enterprise wants this [a surmounting of the Common Market crisis] the more strongly because for almost ten years now it has resolutely planned and carried out its investment programs, its modernization and the establishment of its sales networks to fit into the new European competition created by the Common Market." (France Actuelle, November 15, 1965, p. 2.)
One of the most reliable general indicators of the prospects for a united Europe would seem to be the bullish calculations of European and foreign investors. Another is the commitment to the idea by young people in all European countries-and especially in England. In short, in 15 years a broad and deep European movement has developed. After the French presidential election, the distinguished French political economist, Raymond Aron, wrote in Le Figaro: "Judging by the efforts of all candidates for the presidency of the Republic to appear as 'good Europeans,' French opinion remains dedicated to the idea of Europe."
Without French ideas and leadership there would have been no European movement. But beginning with the French rejection of the European Defense Community in 1954, the French attitude toward European unity has become the critical factor. At bottom it is a question of whether France and its people, whose genius and participation are the sine qua non of a united Europe, are in the process of turning away from integration and back to the traditional system of independent national states. An American seeking the answer to this question had best rely on expert and disinterested French opinion.
There are many sides to opinion. Réaltiés in January summarized a thorough study of French views on foreign policy. A distillation of those views is: "Yes, to united Europe, but let's approach it with prudence . . . the French know it is a clear, burning issue that must be solved. Generally they are partisans of unification, but differ on the form it should take. Many want the effectiveness of a strong European government, with an assembly functioning on a majority basis. They want European integration, but the majority want a union which insures the rights of each, which preserves national independence, which permits withdrawal in case of grave disagreement." In these rather contradictory ideas French opinion seems remarkably akin to the desire of all people for change without changing.
Public opinion polls before and after the French election support these general conclusions. After the election, Alain Duhamel (Le Monde, January 1, 1966 ) analyzed the polls of the Institut Français de l'Opinion Publique and concluded that Europe and the Common Market ranked third among major issues-after economic and social questions and the prestige of France. A poll conducted in mid-December by the Institut de Science Politique of Paris University drew the opinion from 79 percent that "Europe represented a major issue in the electoral campaign," against 15 percent who said "no" and 6 percent who had "no opinion." In this same poll, in answer to the question, "Has your own vote been influenced by the positions of the candidates on Europe and the Common Market," 51 percent said "no" and 41 percent "yes," while 8 percent had "no opinion." Another question was, "Do you believe that the Common Market is good or bad for France?" Eighty-two percent replied "good," 6 percent "bad" and 12 percent "no opinion."
Aron draws a conclusion from similar evidence that if the French Government were to press the present crisis to the point where the Common Market dissolved, then it would be running directly counter to the preponderant opinion in France. Aron bases his optimism about the future and expectations for a compromise on the fact that the Government "wants to be the interpreter of the profound aspirations of the country. And the majority of the nation remains sold on the European idea. . . . " (Le Figaro, January 7, 1966.)
One can only conclude that the French are strongly for a united Europe, that foreign policy is certainly an important but still not dominant political issue and, finally, that the average voter had still not been able to sort out the differences among the various candidates on this issue. It would seem that the basic issue of Europe remains obscured in the French mind rather than clearly drawn.
In searching for the main currents of national opinion, we look naturally enough at the major interest groups. In the crop year ending July 1965, France received special payments from the Common Market of over $100,000,000. These payments are in addition to her preferred access to the large European. Community market as a member of the E.E.C. and one of its most efficient producers of farm products. As the Common Agricultural Policy goes into effect, the market for French agriculture should improve and the payments should also rise substantially. French farm organizations do not think it would be easy for the Government to find alternatives should France withdraw or should the Common Market collapse.
The most responsible view from the French business community on this issue was given last November by M. Villiers. "Our C.N.P.F. [Council of French Industries] has always attached and continues to attach great importance to the complete realization of the Common Market." He argued for a true economic union, which, "with a common market for farm products as well as industrial ones, with harmonization of general policies, legislation and regulations, is basic to fair and fertile competition. Already there has been too much delay in these developments of capital importance. . . ." (France Actuelle, November 15, 1965.)
These views are not cited to prove or predict political decisions on the basis of public opinion and the positions taken by interest groups. While these are important, they serve only as guides to and limitations on governmental action. But several important points seem established: that France is Europe-minded; that suspicion and rancor toward Germany have substantially died out; and that the Common Market and European unity have strong support.
In any assessment of European opinion, British views take on special interest. Only recently have doubts entered the minds of this island people that when the fog settles in the Channel it is the Continent that is isolated. Until Macmillan's announcement in 1961 that Britain would seek membership in the Common Market, the general British attitude was to look upon European integration as quixotic, a project at best of dubious merit, and in all probability contrary to British interests. By 1962, however, there had been a considerable shift in British opinion favorable to entry into Europe. But it was an uneasy majority at best.
Last October the National Opinion Poll indicated that 50 percent favored the entry of Britain into the Common Market, 22 percent disapproved and 28 percent had no opinion. The trend is apparent when compared with a poll taken in August 1964 in which only 41 percent gave a favorable response to the same general question, 37 percent wished to have the idea dropped and 22 percent were in the don't-know category.
Again, the most striking element is the attitude of the young people. In the course of a recent seminar at Cambridge University, both Christopher Soames, Shadow Foreign Secretary, and Lord Walston, Parliamentary Under- Secretary in the Foreign Office, were hard-pressed by an undergraduate audience that wanted a much more forthright British policy toward Europe.
Current debate of the issue in England is restricted of necessity to general goals rather than specifics. The British see little chance for an early resumption of negotiations, for the position of the French Government, which led to the breaking off of negotiations in January 1963, seems unchanged.
In outlining the current argument for the European Community and British participation in it, Kenneth Younger of Chatham House develops a point which has become an immediate preoccupation of Europeans on both sides of the Channel and may well be the principal motivation of those committed to the idea of an integrated Europe. He argues that European unity ". . . alone offers any hope of her [Europe] exerting the influence in world affairs to which her industrial and technical skill entitle her." (Listener, November 25, 1965.)
Younger then goes on to raise another basic consideration which strongly influences the thinking of those in Britain, on the Continent and in the United States who favor a united Europe-and that is the German problem. "The future of Germany remains the central problem for Europe's future." He feels that Germany is not seeking world or European hegemony such as led to World Wars I and II, "... but nevertheless there is a grave German problem, deriving from the rivalry of the great powers, the division of Germany in 1945, and the exposed situation in Berlin-a problem made harder by the terrible legacy of recent German history, especially in the Nazi period." Younger argues that "Post-war German statesmen saw the solution not in a revival of purely national German patriotism, nor in the acceptance by Germany of a permanently inferior status among the nations, but in the creation of a wider community in which Germans could find a worthy role without conjuring up among their partners the specter of a new German domination."
I share Younger's conviction that this benign concept is succeeding. In Germany there is almost unanimous support for a united Europe within the framework of North Atlantic institutions, with special emphasis on NATO. These policies have been complementary to a basic and natural German objective: reunification of the country. In this, the Federal Republic has full American support. There is danger to Germany and potentially to her allies in the frustration of the strong and constructive German desires for European integration and Atlantic coöperation. If it were stopped on this front, restless Germany's energy might turn exclusively toward other outlets, particularly reunification, and neglect the important international responsibilities which it must carry. But the German leaders feel that Soviet intransigence makes the prospects of an early movement on this front dim to non-existent. The end result for Germany could be a series of foreign-policy cul-de-sacs and dangerous frustrations.
Younger asks what the Germans will feel if the future we hold up to them is a Europe of national states in which "the badge of nationhood is a national nuclear bomb," while France and Britain both have these weapons and intend to keep them. He suggests that this is, essentially, an invitation to them to fall back upon "their own purely German resources-a hardworking, industrial population in a key geographical position which will enable them, if they wish, to renew the dangerous policy of Realpolitik which they first learned from Frederick the Great."
Finally, in a year-end analysis (January 3, 1966) the London Times summed up the situation: "The new Labour government have seen at firsthand something of Europe and learnt much; their experience has come at a time when the twin pillars of sterling and the Commonwealth both appear to crack . . . when Mr. Michael Stewart, the Foreign Secretary, can tell a Socialist gathering that he favours in Europe something resembling more the European Economic Community principle than the EFTA principle, times have clearly changed. In short, Britain stands far closer to Europe than ever before. The great question is not if, but when."
If we assume that a continued although sporadic movement toward a united Europe will continue, the question remains whether this is desirable from an American point of view. In considering this matter we should have one thing clearly in mind. What the Europeans do will not necessarily match at all points what we conceive to be in our own interests, nor will American conceptions of European organization dominate their thinking. None the less, we have no excuse for failing to think through the kind of Europe that we hope will develop.
First, in the simplest terms, what we wish for-and need-is a politically stable and economically expanding Europe, able and willing to make an equitable contribution to its own and the Alliance's security. Second, it is our objective that Germany, as the central unsolved problem of World War II, should share as an equal the burdens and responsibilities of the Atlantic world; and that she should play this role within the stabilizing framework which she herself seeks-namely, the institutions of the European Community and of NATO. Third, we want Europe-the only really great-power center of the free world outside the United States-to expand rather than contract its efforts for economic development and security elsewhere in the world. Fourth, we hope that Western Europe will coöperate with us in a common search for ways of enlarging the peaceful contacts between East and West, the object being an evolutionary change in the East toward more normal and mutually beneficial relations between the nations of Eastern Europe and those of the North Atlantic.
There are basically three broad alternative ways in which European and North American relations can be organized. There is first the national- state system. Its most evident appeal is that everyone is used to it. It is a system that permits people to continue to do what comes naturally. For those in the United States who look with apprehension on a united Europe and anticipate that such a Europe might have a mind of its own, the nineteenth-century arrangement of nation-states has the advantage of offering the known rather than the unknown dangers. With the largest European state (Germany) having a gross national product about 15 percent of that of the United States, there is not much reason for Americans to fear that even the major European states will individually be able to dictate Western policy. In a word, this pattern of Atlantic organization seems to hold the seductive promise of conscious or unconscious American dominance which some see as a kind of American Commonwealth.
The second arrangement is the Atlantic Union or the federated Atlantic Community. In the late 19403, in the immediate aftermath of a world war that changed all things and for a time made all things seem possible, the goal of a federated Atlantic union attracted considerable attention. Congressional resolutions endorsed the principle. Those who have tirelessly advocated this course do so with the highest of motives. They appreciate the common cultural and political heritage of Europe and America and see clearly the need to organize the great potential strength of the North Atlantic. They urge that Washington take the lead in convening an Atlantic convention, drawing on the historic achievement of the Philadelphia Convention of 1787. They are enthusiastic over the prospect of a twentieth- century conference framing a charter for a North Atlantic federation.
Whatever chance there was for Atlantic Union existed during the dark postwar years. Then a destitute and politically demoralized Europe had few choices and in desperation was ready to explore almost any solution. With new-found strength the United States, freed from the foreign policy restraints of the past, showed a remarkable willingness to innovate and, not least important, had been forced by 1948 to the conclusion that the U.S.S.R. under Stalin was bent on pursuing its crusade for world domination. Yet even in this unique period of ferment and creativity, Atlantic Union never became a matter of serious inter-governmental negotiation. Today, while the goal remains credible and the motivations unassailable, it is hard to discern either popular or governmental support for this approach-especially in Europe. Some advocates of Atlantic federation argue that this approach would appeal to the French Government. But if a central issue in the current intra-European dispute has been French resistance to majority rule among six nations and unwillingness to concede powers to a common executive body, by what jump in logic can one assume French willingness to accept similar political restraints in a larger Atlantic Community, one, moreover, inevitably dominated by the United States?
There are problems common to both the system of national states and Atlantic Union. An overriding issue is the great and growing disparity in power-political, military and economic-between the United States and even the strongest of the European nations. While American dominance in both these systems may seem an attractive advantage to some Americans, the disadvantageous side effects should be recognized. The essential difficulty of a grossly disparate trans-Atlantic relationship is that it forces America to assume the major responsibility for the security of the free world. We have fallen heir to this burden at a time in history when leadership offers none of the real or even the illusory benefits that spurred Europe on in its imperial adventures of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Nor do Americans show any sign of enjoying the isolated splendor of world leadership. Psychologically we are a people who want colleagues and partners.
It is in connection with this point that the disparity of power becomes significant. Given the limited size and capacity of the individual European nations, they are neither willing nor able to play more than supporting roles. And the United States, carrying a large share of the burdens and the costs, cannot realistically share responsibility for policy decisions with reluctant junior associates. The axiom is inverted and becomes "no representation without taxation." A vicious circle sets in. We want European participation, but cannot fully share decisions in the absence of a European contribution commensurate with our own; the Europeans are neither organized to make this contribution nor much interested in doing so.
Some of the smaller members of the Alliance, who profess the greatest contentment with the present arrangement by which American power ensures West European security, are at the same time the NATO members which make the smallest material sacrifice for their own or the common security. They are at the lower end of the spectrum of expenditure, with around 3 percent of their G.N.P. assigned to defense. For most of these NATO nations, there is no military service obligation, and the average tour of duty is about twelve months. In the United States, service is obligatory, and the average term of military service runs from two to four years. For the smaller nations, 1.1 percent of their population is in military service, as compared with 1.5 percent for the United States-about one third more. The conclusion I draw from these rough data is that there is a close correlation between size and responsibility. Why should small countries be ready and eager to pay costly bills for common defense? If they should double their defense efforts, can they persuade themselves that their security has been doubled?
What is alarming is the effect of the more limited European performance on American attitudes. We become irritable as we contemplate a world with Americans cast as the ubiquitous gendarmes, while the affluent Europeans, so the image goes, enjoy the security ensured by our "unappreciated" efforts. We tend to overlook a number of critical points: the European contribution to our common defense is real and substantial; we are in Europe not merely to protect Western Europe but to protect ourselves; we cannot equate ourselves, with our economy of $700 billion, with the several European states. But tides of irrational irritability and criticism can mount and lead to insistent demands that if Europe is unprepared to defend itself, or to provide further help to our balance of payments, or to make a fair contribution in Southeast Asia, then a reduction of the American commitment to Europe is in order.
It is at the scientific frontiers of the modern economy that the difference in power between the United States and the European states becomes striking. A recent O.E.C.D. report gave one of the best analyses of the disparity. It concluded that in 1962 we spent four times as much as Western Europe on research and development, and three to four times as much as the U.S.S.R. (Summary Report 31, April 16, 1965, p. 11). The same picture emerges in what is referred to as the "balance of payments" for technical know-how (patents, licensing and the like), which is running strongly in favor of the United States. A phenomenon much criticized has been the movement of scientists to America. While this country's attraction to skilled Europeans is as old as the Republic, the flow has continued to grow and has become a matter of controversy. Each year from 1952 to 1963, according to the report just cited, scientists and engineers emigrating to the United States "amounted to more than 4 percent of the total number of domestic [U.S.] graduates in engineering and science, reaching a peak of 8 percent in 1957."
The third policy choice is the concept of partnership with a uniting Europe. "Partnership" is a confining word. But as used by President Kennedy in 1962 and subsequently by President Johnson, it conveys a sweeping concept-the idea of a united Europe with which the United States could work in close cooperation and on equal terms.
Such a course of policy would by no means be free of problems or uncertainties. The uncertainties of the moment are all too evident, with the Kennedy Round of tariff negotiations, for instance, effectively stalled due to the unresolved Common Market crisis. Even assuming that agreement is reached among the Europeans and a sense of common purpose restored, the way of the Atlantic partners is bound to be difficult. The sheer magnitude and novelty of the task of unifying Europe will preoccupy the Europeans. Caught up in these affairs, their governments will be less inclined, at least in the short run, to give attention even to what they would agree are common problems, or to give an equal priority to urgent international questions.
A degree of "European nationalism" is also inevitable-not aggressive nationalism but an introspective egocentricity, a primary concern with the development of a united Europe. Nor can we expect that European attitudes will be wholly free of anti-Americanism. Just as giant America is one stimulus toward forming a united Europe, so the evolution of Atlantic relations will be colored by envy, resentment and, on occasion, policies that self-consciously set Europe apart from the United States.
However, seen from any distance and in any perspective, the basic interests of the United States and Europe appear to converge rather than conflict. We have few, if any, doctrinal differences. Our complex industrial societies are theoretically and practically interconnected; we struggle with largely identical problems. We may fall into disagreement on solutions, as Americans or Europeans do among themselves. It is hard to visualize conflict among the Atlantic nations arising out of differing ambitions or objectives toward the less developed world. Outside the minds of propagandists and unregenerate Marxists, there is no European or American colonialist impulse. The problem today is precisely the opposite: how to restrain the European-and our own-instinct to withdraw, to find other shoulders to which the security and development burden can be transferred.
Europeans occasionally see hypocrisy in the American advocacy of European unity. If the loss of national sovereignty is good for Europe, why isn't it good for America? One answer is that Americans today are less aware of a need to consider limits on their freedom of national action. Willingness to consider restraints will presumably occur in time of crisis or when Europe is so organized as to make such changes or restraints attractive, necessary or inevitable. There is some evidence that such a stimulus can bring about fundamental change.
The American decision in 1962 to seek a bold new approach to trade liberalization is clearly traceable to the success of the Common Market and to European ideas on how tariff negotiations should be conducted. The Common Market had demonstrated to the Europeans that their protectionist fears were exaggerated and that economic growth could be stimulated and living standards raised through the removal of trade barriers. The Trade Expansion Act was designed in part to generalize this lesson, to extend the benefits from trade expansion to the rest of the world. Moreover, even the American thinking that lay behind the offer of a 50 percent linear cut had its roots in an earlier French proposal adopted by the Common Market to offer a 20 percent linear cut in the Community's common external tariff. This proposal put the United States under pressure, but at the time of the Dillon Round of negotiations we were unable to reciprocate on the same basis. It was out of this historic and European initiative that the President sought and obtained the new legislative authority.
Another example can be found in the monetary field-in the negotiations that took place in 1961 in the Group of Ten (United States, the major countries of Western Europe, Canada and Japan) on arrangements under which the International Monetary Fund could borrow from these countries to supplement its financial resources in time of need. Under its charter, the Fund makes its operating decisions on the basis of a voting formula weighted according to the size of subscriptions to the Fund. This formula provides the United States with the largest national voting power in the Fund. In the 1961 negotiations, the continental Europeans, whose financial position had by then become greatly strengthened, argued for, and we agreed to, a fundamental change in voting procedure which was in their favor.
While the evidence is merely suggestive, it does seem that in these cases where there was organized European power the United States was responsive to European views. The results in each case were to enhance the general interest-including our own.
In the light of this analysis it is possible to test the three policy alternatives-nationalism, Atlantic union and Atlantic partnership-against the four major interests of the United States.
With regard to the objective of economic growth and a more equitable sharing of the burden of security, neither nationalism nor a loose Atlantic union dominated by the United States is as likely to achieve results as the policy of Atlantic partnership. This conclusion need not be based on political speculation but derives from known attitudes, current contributions of the smaller nations and the diminishing role of the major European states.
With respect to the German problem, both nationalism and the Atlantic- community approach decisively fail. The classical world order of sovereign national states leaves Germany alone once more to seek its own destiny. It was Adenauer's conscious choice in 1950 to place Germany's future within a European community. This has remained the heart of German foreign policy. At the same time Germany has never conceived of European unity outside the context of a strong Atlantic partnership.
As for the problems of the third world-the less developed countries in the Southern Hemisphere-the issue is how to encourage a further sense of European responsibility, and thus greater participation. The current evidence shows a diminishing European interest. Many Europeans today see themselves as playing only a supporting role to the United States. It would seem axiomatic that with a system of nation-states, or a political framework within which the Europeans are merely small components of a loosely organized Atlantic community, this state of mind would continue.
With respect to the complex problem of normalizing relations with the East, it would appear, as Professor Brzezinski has pointed out, that a prosperous, politically stable and unified Western Europe is most apt to induce the kinds of evolutionary changes we seek. Should West European unity fade and the system of nation-states reëmerge, then this present source of magnetic attraction to the East would be lost.
In even this abbreviated analysis it becomes clear that the choice is essentially between a system of national European states and Atlantic partnership. In this context Atlantic union-or federation-runs as a poor third principally because this alternative has so little appeal to the Europeans at the present time. It should be noted, however, that at some point in time interest in Atlantic partnership and in the goal of Atlantic union may very well converge. There is nothing in the concept of Atlantic partnership that precludes an eventual fusing of a united Europe and the United States.
But even if one accepts the validity of Atlantic partnership, it is a policy that for the moment is stalled. There is no effective European partner. Americans are acutely conscious of the fact that the world will not stand still waiting for the Atlantic nations to sort out their affairs. Since we are an impatient people we approach foreign policy with much the same attitude that impels us to turn in two-year-old automobiles. The older a policy, the more suspect it is. But the most suspect is the old policy that doesn't seem to be yielding results. This emotional reaction could hardly be at greater variance with the history of large political or social ideas. All movements that have basically changed men's thoughts or the organization of their affairs have had to overcome deep resistance and inertia.
The tenacity of Cavour in pressing for the unification of Italy is one of a host of examples that bear out this principle. Beginning in the 1830s and 40s, a generation of Italians undertook what must have seemed an overwhelming if not hopeless mission. Cavour was determined to throw off foreign domination and unify the small regional states into a single, independent Italy. The Mazzini uprising of 1833 failed; so did the Young Italy rising of 1834; the Sardinian forces were defeated in 1848 and 1849; it was not until 1860 that the tides changed. Only in March 1861 did the first Italian parliament meet and proclaim the Kingdom of Italy. Three months later Cavour died. In judging the validity of long-term policies there have to be more sophisticated tests than immediate results.
But the fact remains that the policy of Atlantic partnership for the moment is stagnant. What can be done? There should certainly be a clear sense of "strategic direction." This should be in the minds of government officials and of the people who must make their own private decisions. This strategic direction manifests itself in periodic statements, such as President Johnson's speech of May 7, 1965, and the Johnson-Erhard communiqué following their meeting in Washington last December. But there is also the question of how we and the Europeans deal with immediate problems. For instance, despite the importance and urgency of the Kennedy Round negotiations, we and other participants in the discussions have recognized that the E.E.C. must straighten out its own affairs before the talks can be resumed in earnest. At the same time, we have recognized that the E.E.C. is central to these negotiations and that the Community should be dealt with as a unit.
A second example can be found in the European nuclear problem, whatever its ultimate disposition may be. The United States has indicated its willingness, in response to European desires, to envisage a "European clause" in any plan that may eventually emerge. The purpose of this clause would be to assure that certain options remained open. Without predicting what would happen in the organization of Europe, or indeed even indicating an American preference, the intent of this clause would be to say, "if at some juncture in the future a united Europe should come into being, able to make the most fundamental decisions of peace and war, then whatever we have agreed to now should be subject to review and renegotiation in the light of these fundamental changes." We should face the short term, therefore, with two thoughts in mind: to deal with immediate problems when we can in such a fashion as to advance us toward our strategic goals and, when this is not possible, at least to avoid foreclosing any options that both we and the Europeans wish to leave open.
It can be asked whether the sweeping goal of Atlantic partnership is not too ambitious. Today we accept as a matter of course audacity in the pure sciences, but seem reluctant to match it with similar audacity in our political behavior. It is generally argued that great political changes are possible only in times of stress or acute and evident danger. I take issue with this point of view. But if political innovation requires danger as a prod, then we have danger in abundance, even if it appears in ambiguous form. If comprehended, it should produce the stimulus out of which new, creative political ideas should emerge and persevere. One framework within which such ideas should take shape is the embryonic concept of an Atlantic partnership.
I have tried to bring out facts and identify basic interests rather than rely on speculation and hope. Yet the most significant "fact" may well be the tenacious hold the dream of unity has on the European mind. Ideas that lead to profound political change have generally been simple and easily grasped. European union is such an idea. Americans, in all prudence, should weigh this sentiment, recognize that the idea of unity has a firm hold on the minds of Europeans, and note that the new European institutions have worked and begun to meet the challenge of complex industrial societies.
But these conclusions do not help much in predicting the timing or the character of future steps. Not even dedicated Europeans are either optimistic or clear about the short run. A sense of perspective is essential. What the Europeans are about today and tomorrow-and, hopefully, the day after tomorrow in cooperation with the United States-is to penetrate new political frontiers. They are trying to find new methods of coping with the realities of their own political world that will meet the requirements and interests of their people. "Atlantic interdependence" is our way of agreeing that old patterns are inadequate and that we stand ready to consider new relationships. It is inconceivable to me that this nation, with its gift for political thought and record of successful political innovation, will be found wanting in the presence of a united Europe able and prepared to collaborate with us in the tasks that lie ahead.