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It is interesting that, with very few exceptions, even the most enthusiastic supporters of the idea of an Atlantic Community have not clearly defined what nations are embraced within it; nor have they been willing to commit themselves to what they believe might be its best form of political organization. As of this moment, it seems to me both natural and prudent to avoid a dogmatic approach to both questions. However, I believe agreement on certain principles is now possible; and I am convinced that in a comparatively short period of time specifics may be possible as well. A discussion now of both principles and possible alternative solutions is therefore desirable. Whether the eventual answers will evolve from the quiet type of leadership shown by Jean Monnet in his highly successful sponsorship of the European Economic Community, or through a wider discussion, with public pressures forcing decisions, it is impossible to foretell.
With regard to the principles which should govern the organization of the Atlantic Community, it seems to me that the following are essential. First, the Community should comprise those nations of Europe and North America which are willing to accept the benefits and responsibilities of maintaining close political ties. Second, these political ties and the instrumentalities for making them effective should be minimal in character, yet should be strong enough to act as a cement in holding together and giving a degree of permanence to the economic and military agreements which may be reached. Third, the formation of an Atlantic Community should in no way preclude a closer political affiliation of all the free nations, and indeed should open the way toward it. It should not take on the aspect of an exclusive society of rich industrial nations, but should be so framed as to be of maximum benefit for nations in Asia, Africa, and South and Central America which desire to see a more closely knit international society based on common principles. The nations of Latin America have every reason for close association with the Atlantic Community, or even membership in it, for their heritage is Western and the Organization of American States is based on the same principles as NATO. Fourth, the Community should present a common front against Communist aggression; and while it should preserve all those elements of diversity which enrich a free society, its members should nevertheless be in substantial agreement with regard to such principles as the dignity of the individual man, the role of the government as a servant of the people rather than their master, and the respect for an accepted body of law to regulate international disputes that might lead to serious tensions or war.
The Treaty of Rome, signed in March 1957 and in force by January 1958, brought into being the European Economic Community, consisting of France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Its sponsors envisaged specific political agreements which would make of the new Community a strong political entity. It is not yet clear how many of the nations of Europe will become full adherents to the E.E.C., nor just how far it will advance toward political unity. However, it has in existence institutions directed toward the determination of economic questions which might well be broadened so as to be suitable for dealing with a limited number of political questions. In accordance with Western democratic traditions, these institutions parallel the political institutions of most democratic nations in providing for an executive, a legislative and a judicial component. Just how the respective weight of each nation in the Council may be changed by the adherence of new nations is still problematical. At present, the legislative branch is created through the selection of legislators by the national parliaments, much as Senators used to be selected in the United States by state legislatures. The Treaty of Rome, however, provides that at an unspecified future time they will be elected by direct suffrage in the six states acting as a unity. The legislative body, the Assembly, can ask for and receive reports from the executive, discuss those reports and make such recommendations as it sees fit.
Talks with European political leaders and others who have studied the problem of how to achieve greater unity have shown me that the great majority feel that Europe must settle its own political integration before discussing with Canada and the United States the specific constitutional character of any greater Atlantic Community. They all recognize that as Canada and the United States are members of NATO (with the United States obviously playing the leading role in that military alliance), they are already committed in large measure to assuring the military security of Europe; they nevertheless feel that the political relationship of these two countries of North America to Europe (outside of the military alliance) should not be discussed until the principal European nations have themselves integrated to a point where they can speak to that question with a single voice. The same is true in the economic field, even though the terms of their trading partnership will have to be defined at once, regardless of what form the eventual economic association of North America and Europe may take. Canada and the United States are both members of the O.E.C.D., but that body's power is generally limited to making recommendations.
The feelings of the Europeans in this respect are quite understandable. They think that as a unit they will be in a position to negotiate with the North American countries on a basis of equality, and that in such a manner a much more lasting type of partnership can probably be achieved. I believe the present Administration in the United States holds the same view, which has come to be termed the "dumbbell" concept-meaning that an economic or political alliance is stronger if it has been agreed to by partners of equal weight on each side.
It is my own belief that the integration of Europe and discussions for the formulation of a true Atlantic Community can proceed along almost parallel lines.
Should the present efforts toward political integration in Europe become stalled, a new appraisal would of course be required. At present, the danger of this happening lies in the very real differences now existing within the E.E.C. itself. General de Gaulle has made clear that he will support only what he calls the Union des Patries, which presumably means a loose type of confederation in which each nation remains completely sovereign and there is no recognition of the right of any supra-national body to make binding determinations by a weighted vote. There is some support for this position in Germany and Italy, and there surely will be in Britain if it joins the E.E.C.; but it is not in line with Chancellor Adenauer's basic policy and is opposed by the Benelux countries, which believe that a stronger federalism is essential.
Just what the eventual position of France will be in this respect is difficult to predict, but it is interesting to note that in May 1962 five members of de Gaulle's cabinet resigned because of their disagreement with him on this specific issue. In addition, when the French Foreign Minister presented to the National Assembly an outline of France's foreign policy in June 1962, the government then refused to permit a vote of either approbation or censure. Thereupon almost one-half of the members of the legislature walked out. That walkout has been generally interpreted as representing a widespread legislative disagreement with President de Gaulle on the matter of closer European political unity.
Since Canada is our largest trading partner, her relationship to the whole problem of an Atlantic Community is of very real importance to the United States. The recent elections have thrown little light on Canadian thinking on this subject. It is my hope, however, that nationalist sentiment in Canada, which in recent years has often found expression in strong currents of anti-U.S. feeling, will not prevent our two countries from reaching substantial agreement with regard to the role which we can best play together in the development of an Atlantic Community.
A similarly difficult point arises with respect to Japan, which must be convinced that the development of an Atlantic Community will not affect adversely her legitimate hopes of being included in such trade arrangements as may eventually evolve from negotiations between the members of the Common Market and the United States.
It is absolutely essential that we make clear to the less developed areas of the world how valuable closer unity among the industrial nations of the Atlantic Community can be to them. They will be hearing, as they have already heard, continuing attacks by the Communist powers on the Common Market and on the countries of the Atlantic Community, just as 15 years ago Stalin was inveighing against the Marshall Plan. While it is often said that we are oversensitive to the opinion of small nations with negligible influence, their opinion in this kind of matter cannot be ignored, supposing it were to be based on discriminatory actions by the Atlantic Community toward them. This is a real danger.
On the other hand, if our negotiations with the Common Market should be successful, and if an Atlantic Community is created, this development should prove of tremendous assistance to other nations. However one may define an Atlantic Community, it cannot become an exclusive organization. Political and military factors may, indeed must, draw the Atlantic nations closer together in order to increase their own strength and their own well- being; but they must not become a means of economic pressure, deliberate or involuntary, on weaker nations. The Atlantic Community must be so constituted that its own increasing trade and prosperity will be reflected in reciprocal benefits for all the less developed nations of the world, not alone in enlarged assistance but also in the even more important field of increased trade. I cannot emphasize too strongly how important this consideration must be for us in our own negotiations with the Common Market.
Support for the United Nations remains an axiom of American foreign policy, and this is backed by a very strong body of public opinion. For this reason, the public reaction in this country to the idea of a closely knit Atlantic Community will hinge in considerable measure on whether the American people feel that the development of such a regional community might injure the world body's effectiveness. In my view, there ought not to be any basic conflict of interest on policy.
Actually, I think, an honest appraisal of the role of the United Nations in world affairs would indicate a growing skepticism on the part of the American public as to whether it can fulfill all the high hopes held out for it in 1945. This skepticism seems to me justified. The structure of the United Nations as first created presupposed that the nations then identified as the great powers-the United States, Britain, France, the Soviet Union and China-would continue to live in sufficient harmony to be able to maintain peace, and that they would act collectively in requiring the smaller nations to observe certain standards of international conduct. The Charter gave to these five powers special rights, including the veto power in the Security Council which was given the principal responsibility for the maintenance of peace. This concept was shattered at an early stage when Soviet Russia began exercising its power of veto in a manner that vitiated any constructive efforts of the Security Council; and within five years the China sitting in the Security Council had control only of Taiwan and a few smaller islands, while a separate Communist government controlled the whole mainland of China. These two factors led to placing a greater and greater reliance for effective action upon the General Assembly.
This second body, in which every nation admitted to membership in the United Nations has an equal vote, with no consideration of geographic, economic or population differences between them, has changed its character completely in 17 years. During that period the number of member nations has more than doubled, and blocs within the membership, such as the Afro-Asian group, now on occasion can exercise a controlling vote, or at least can prevent the Assembly from deciding any matter of substance for which a two- thirds majority is required. Although they rarely speak with one voice, the less developed nations of the world have the ability, with the help of the Communist votes that are generally available, to force through resolutions when they see fit regardless of the views of the much stronger nations in the Atlantic Community group from whom the principal financing for United Nations activities comes. As a result, resolutions are adopted by the Assembly which are ignored in some instances by the countries most affected by them.
The experiences of the United Nations in Korea, Suez and the Congo show that effective action involving large commitments and large financial expenditures is at best a hazardous undertaking, and that these operations in particular would have been impossible if it had not been for the staunch backing of the United States. It is interesting to note that while in 1960 the General Assembly voted unanimously (70-0) for military action in the Congo, by July 1962 only 19 nations had paid their share of the assessments to carry on the operation. Over 50 have paid nothing at all. This record inevitably creates a degree of skepticism as to just how effective a role the United Nations can play.
Nevertheless, the United Nations provides the only forum in which free discussion of international problems affecting every area of the world can take place. It is still the greatest safeguard for maintaining the independence of the newly created and insecure nations which make up so large a part of its membership. It is still playing an extremely important role through its specialized agencies in such fields as technical assistance, public health, child welfare, education and the care of refugees.
The development of a strong Atlantic Community need not be in conflict with the United Nations, nor should the less developed nations view it with anxiety. The fact is that the development of the Atlantic Community into a closely knit group might well strengthen the existing machinery for the maintenance of peace. I think this is coming to be recognized by the American people.
I am quite clear in my own mind that the development of a true Atlantic Community must come through a process of evolution. As a prerequisite, there must be agreements with regard to the use of nuclear power and the respective roles of the European nations and the United States in the over- all military field. In addition, the trade partnership with Europe envisaged in the Administration's trade policy must advance substantially beyond where it now stands before common political institutional mechanisms can usefully be discussed. Throughout, however, the long-term objective must constantly be kept in mind. I am convinced that neither military alliances nor trade partnerships can of themselves be enduring without the essential cement of political institutions. Yet I am equally convinced that the former are prerequisites for the formulation of the latter. There are those who feel that there should be a reversal in this order of priority, and that we should be working to assure political unity at once, on the theory that the military and economic problems are more likely to fall into place if a federal mechanism is first set up. With these views I disagree.
Timing is of primary importance. The urgency of moving ahead is insufficiently appreciated, particularly in this country. To be sure, the danger exists that the whole concept of a true Atlantic Community could be wrecked by pushing too fast while the integrating processes are still under way within Europe itself, while our trade partnership with that integrated movement is under discussion and while we are still searching for a solution of the problem of nuclear sharing. Yet creation of a true Atlantic Community within the next decade is a realistic and attainable goal. While so many matters hang in the balance, it seems a somewhat futile exercise to try to work out an exact timetable. At the same time, unless there is a consensus that early action is desirable, the sense of urgency may well be lost and the present momentum may be checked.
With respect to the specific steps to be taken now, there obviously can be differences of opinion. I personally favor four lines of action, although I hesitate to say that they alone provide the full answer.[i]
The first recommendation is that the governments of the NATO nations be asked to appoint at the earliest practical moment a special governmental commission charged with the responsibility of drawing up plans for the creation of a true Atlantic Community, suitably organized to meet the challenges of this era. I recognize that proposals for governmental action which such a committee might make could well take some time to work out. That is all the more reason for getting started without delay.
Second, I favor the creation, as an indispensable feature of a true Atlantic Community, of a permanent High Council at the highest political level, to concert and plan, and in agreed cases to decide policy on matters of concern to the Community as a whole. Pending the establishment of this Council, the North Atlantic Council should be strengthened through the delegation of additional responsibilities. The precise make-up and character of the High Council could be left to negotiation, but the purpose is quite clear. It is to try to create a decision-making body which could resolve a number of knotty and long unsettled problems, especially the military problems revolving around the sharing or usage of nuclear military capabilities as well as the degree of conventional military strength which should be maintained by NATO.
Establishment of a High Council would enable the Atlantic nations to confront together those great issues which touch their vital interests. The controversial question of sovereignty would fall into perspective. The words of Sir Winston Churchill, in his historic plea for European unity at The Hague in 1948, apply as well to the choice before the Atlantic nations today:
It is impossible to separate economics and defence from the general political structure. Mutual aid in the economic field and joint military defence must inevitably be accompanied step by step with a parallel policy of closer political unity. It is said with truth that this involves some sacrifice or merger of national sovereignty. But it is also possible and not less agreeable to regard it as the gradual assumption by all the nations concerned of that larger sovereignty which can alone protect their diverse and distinctive customs and characteristics and their national traditions all of which under totalitarian systems, whether Nazi, Fascist, or Communist, would certainly be blotted out for ever.[ii]
Third, the NATO Parliamentarians' Conference should be given additional functions, as a consultative assembly (possibly embracing both NATO and the O.E.C.D.), without specific additional powers. That body is the creation of the legislatures of the NATO states, which send delegations drawn from their own membership to periodical meetings. There they discuss NATO's problems and its future and often make recommendations to the NATO Council or to the member governments. But the Conference is not now a part of the formal institutional structure of NATO. Whereas in Europe each successive step in the setting up of European machinery has been accompanied by the creation of some form of European legislative assembly, to act as a forum for open discussion of policies as well as to exercise a watchdog function, no such body is in existence with respect to NATO or O.E.C.D. or any other Atlantic Community mechanisms which might be established. This recommendation obviously needs to be spelled out, particularly with respect to additional membership where the O.E.C.D. is concerned.
My fourth recommendation is for the establishment of an Atlantic High Court of Justice, to decide specified legal controversies which may arise under the treaties. This step, of course, would have to await the adoption of specific agreements or treaties, since the Court's competence would have to be limited to the resolution of differences arising from the interpretation of those agreements.
All of these recommendations, with the exception of the first, follow more or less the accepted pattern of executive, legislative and judicial components, with the respective roles none too clearly spelled out. The third one, however, is worth some added comment. The role of the proposed consultative assembly follows the pattern of those already set up in the European institutions, and while no powers are presently recommended for that body, it none the less is important to note the historical development of parliamentary influence and responsibilities, as described by Woodrow Wilson many years ago in his book on constitutional government in the United States:
We speak now always of "legislatures," of "law-making" assemblies, are very impatient of prolonged debates, and sneer at parliamentary bodies which cannot get their "business" done. We join with laughing zest in Mr. Carlyle's bitter gibe at "talking shops," at parliaments which spend their days in endless discussion rather than in diligent prosecution of what they came together to "do." And yet to hold such an attitude toward representative assemblies is utterly to forget their history and their first and capital purpose. They were meant to be talking shops. The name "parliament" is no accidental indication of their function. They were meant to be grand parleys with those who were conducting the country's business: parleys concerning laws, concerning administrative acts, concerning policies and plans at home and abroad, in order that nothing which contravened the common understanding should be let pass without comment or stricture, in order that measures should be insisted on which the nation needed, and measures resisted which the nation did not need or might take harm from. Their purpose was watchful criticism, talk that should bring to light the whole intention of the government and apprise those who conducted it of the real feeling and desire of the nation; and how well they performed that function many an uneasy monarch has testified, alike by word and act.
It was as far as possible from the original purpose of representative assemblies that they should conduct government. . . . Their function was common counsel; their standard of action the ancient understandings of a constitutional system,-a system based on understandings, written or implicit in the experiences and principles of English life. They were expected to give their assent where those understandings were served, and to withhold it where they were disregarded. They were to voice the conscience of the nation in the presence of government and the exercise of authority.[iii]
There is no doubt that an Atlantic Assembly, even though it were limited to talk and deliberation, without impinging on the power of decision resting with the individual nations, would have a vital role to play in giving common counsel and in voicing the conscience of the Atlantic Community.
Any discussion in this country of the concept of a true Atlantic Community must of necessity venture into the highly speculative field of assessing American public opinion. Will it act as a drag on governmental moves in that direction, or as a goad to action? One cannot be sure, but certainly there has been a remarkable awakening of public interest in the subject.
Some 18 months ago, little attention had been given in this country to the European Common Market and to its far-reaching implications. It was not until Great Britain applied for entry that we began to awaken to the fact that the movement toward European integration had progressed much faster than we had expected. Suddenly a great stir of interest was aroused in civic groups, in colleges and in high schools throughout the United States. The E.E.C. became the leading topic for discussion. The President's recommendation to the Congress with regard to a new foreign trade policy heightened this interest and brought home to the American people that what was happening in Europe had a direct bearing on our own economic and political future.
It is often said that public opinion moves ahead of official opinion in a matter of this kind. Obviously an assessment of opinion can be only conjecture until actual votes are counted in legislative halls. However, it is heartening in this regard to note the tremendous vote which carried such an advanced piece of legislation as the new Trade Expansion Act through both branches of the Congress. That was, in effect, a reflection of American public opinion. In the testimony given before the Congress, the voices in favor of greater protection and in opposition to the legislation filled many more pages of recorded testimony than did the voices of those who favored the legislation. However, the views of important individuals and important segments of the press, radio and television came from all corners of the country to give this legislation strong support. The trade bill itself was limited to negotiation with the Common Market and other nations in order to achieve a higher level of trade; but in my view there was no illusion as to what the vote on this measure meant. It was a definite vote in favor of what President Kennedy declared to be an interdependent relationship between the United States and an integrated Western Europe, a partner "strong enough to share with us the responsibilities and initiatives of the free world."
The development of a trade partnership between the United States and the Common Market will not be easy to achieve, nor if it is achieved will we be able to hold our own competitive position without increased effort. We will have to bring under control the continuing spiral of increased prices, and this means greater responsibility of labor unions in their demands for higher wages which, unless geared to a corresponding increase in productivity of labor, can only lead to continually higher prices. The business community must likewise gear itself to increased competition. We shall have to use all of our ingenuity and powers of innovation in order to take full advantage of the technological improvements of which we are capable. Somewhat painful adjustments are inevitable. No matter how effective maybe the adjustment assistance which Congress has provided in the current trade legislation, we must be prepared none the less for a certain degree of sacrifice.
In the evolutionary process which I envisage, the Congress of the United States will inevitably have to play an important and, in fact, a controlling role. In the economic field, the two branches of the Congress alone can give to the President the powers to negotiate agreements. In the political field, the President can act only to a limited extent since binding commitments of true importance must be made by our constitutional treaty-making process and not by executive agreements. This means the assent of two-thirds of the Senate of the United States to whatever treaty or treaties the President might propose. This in turn means a very considerable measure of public acceptance, since inevitably individual Senators are greatly influenced by public reaction. Hence the very great importance of public understanding of the point in history at which our nation finds itself, and of the direction in which we must go.
[i] These proposals were among the recommendations of the NATO Citizens' Convention, held in Paris in January 1962, of which I had the honor of being elected Chairman.
[ii] Winston Churchill, "The Grand Design," a speech at the Congress of Europe, May 7, 1948 (London: United Europe Movement, 1948).
[iii] Woodrow Wilson, "Constitutional Government in the United States," New York: Columbia University Press, 1908, p. 10-12.