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Foreign Affairs Anthology Series

Essays for the Presidency

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Wikimedia Commons U.S. President Harry Truman with Illinois Senator Adlai Stevenson (seated) and Alabama Senator John Sparkman.
Foreign Affairs From The Anthology: Essays for the Presidency
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Korea in Perspective

THE strength of America is rooted in a great principle--individuals are an end, not a means. That is the American idea. Schools, colleges, labor unions, political parties and the Government of the United States exist for American men and women; never the other way round. The corollary of the idea is that every individual must take responsibility for the whole. He must himself take responsibility for the safety and the wise development of his country, and for the selection of policies which determine its safety and progress. The basic requirement for the success of a democratic system of this sort is, of course, that individuals see their country's problems whole. In a word, they must have perspective.

This is especially true, and especially difficult to achieve, in problems of foreign relations. "Foreign policy," in the year 1952, covers the globe. In no other area is it so easy to have a picture of many single trees and no idea what the forest looks like. But the neatest description of a tree is not a dependable map for making one's way through a forest.

Gaining perspective on American foreign policy begins with gaining a view of America's position in the world--her position as a World Power. This can be indicated in half a dozen words: American interests, power and responsibilities are world-wide. Alongside this must be set two other basic facts which are revealed in any full view of the field of foreign policy. One is that a world-wide imperialist war is now being carried on by the Soviet Union and its Communist satellites. The other is the existence of a world-wide organization of states "united in strength to maintain international peace and security"--the United Nations. The relationship of these three great world forces--the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Nations--are the primary elements in the American problem of foreign policy today.

There is no possibility of doubting (and no reason for ignoring!) the fact that the Soviet objective is

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