The beginning of the 1980s has been difficult, and the problems will be mounting as the decade goes on. Judging from the experience of the past year, the Western democracies' firmness, their resolve to stand their ground, and their willingness to cooperate will be tested, above all, in the following areas:
(1) Confrontation and cooperation between East and West. With its arms buildup the Soviet Union has been departing from the principle of military balance. In Afghanistan it has provoked the entire community of nations. At the same time, though, it is apparent that General-Secretary Brezhnev wants to keep the door to talks and negotiations open.
(2) Independence and nonalignment of the Third World nations. Today these are decisive factors in the world's political balance. They are, however, threatened by unsettled political conflicts, the taking of East-West confrontation to the Third World, and by the disastrous consequences of the oil price explosion and unchecked population growth.
(3) The structure of a working world economy. The consequences of the oil price explosion on the world economy affect all nations: in the West, and East, and above all the developing countries. They limit almost every government's room for maneuver in the areas of economic policy and finances. In many countries they are endangering social and political stability. In the process of the necessary reconciliation of differing economic interests, the danger of conflicts and tensions is growing within nations and in international relations.
In this situation there is little on which we can depend in shaping our policy. There are no simple solutions. The search for stability, or at the least calculability or dependability, has been a continual theme in the statements of all politicians at the beginning of this year. At the same time, though, we know that, again and again, political and military balance, as well as economic stability, must be reestablished, that conflicts must be contained or settled in rapidly changing circumstances, and that all nations must soon jointly tackle the great challenges to
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