Lord Carrington used this year's Alastair Buchan Memorial Lecture to make a timely and well-reasoned appeal to the West to take a new approach to East-West relations. He reminded us that:
The West must be true to its own values. It is the Leninist tradition which is one of conflict and not cooperation.
Our own tradition must be for the peaceful resolution of potential conflict through energetic dialogue. The notion that we should face the Russians down in a silent war of nerves, broken only by bursts of megaphone diplomacy, is based on a misconception of our own values, of Soviet behavior, and of the anxious aspirations of our own peoples.
Americans should pay particular attention to Lord Carrington's sensible advice-for American interests are particularly poorly served, and even endangered, by practices which limit our dealings with the Soviets to the most difficult aspects of our common superpower roles. If you think no spoon is long enough to permit us to sup with the Devil, you should read no further. The premise of this essay is that we must share our planet with a dangerous and despised adversary for the foreseeable future.
That being so, we should seek, at a minimum, to develop some functioning rules for our co-tenancy. To arrive at such an arrangement and to keep it working, we need to explore and maintain the widest variety of contacts, the broadest and most diffuse forms of engagement. Instead of restricting our discussions to the gravest and least tractable problems of arms control, we should be pushing our way down paths of less resistance, looking continually for limited openings, marginal advances, small opportunities to create a measure of understanding and shared interest.
It will be weary work. It should not be undertaken with the hope of spinning a restraining net around the Soviet Union. That exercise, attempted a decade ago, failed because it took too little account of the competing forces which shape American foreign policy, and because it
Loading, please wait...