THE Administration about to assume power in Washington will find our foreign relations in stalemate. To break it, they will have to fulfill psychological as well as political requirements both at home and abroad. Our people must be freed--helped, rather, to free themselves--from an oppressive sense of unreality, from the feeling that perhaps their great efforts since the end of the war and the sacrifices of their sons in Korea have not been directed to clear and practicable objectives. Our allies must be convinced that there is nothing rash or sinister about what we are trying to do, that the American goal is freedom and peace, and that our efforts to build up defenses against possible Soviet aggression, far from indicating a wish to acquire satellites or a fatalistic acquiescence in a belief in inevitable war, offer the best and only chance of saving freedom and avoiding war.
Two concepts have become basic in our policy toward the Soviets--the "containment" of Soviet expansion, and the hope that once Western forces have been built up sufficiently we shall be able to "negotiate from strength" with the men in the Kremlin. Both need to be clarified.
Containment is generally interpreted as a negative concept. Its virtue when it was first used was that it announced to the world that the United States was willing if necessary to use force to halt Communist aggression. At that period the rest of the Free World still was more worried that we might not do so than that we would. Yet by the very fact of saying to the Russians "thus far and no further" we seemed tacitly to accept their conquests to date. That certainly is not an adequate interpretation of our national intention.
Containment, nevertheless, carries also a more positive implication--that steady pressure exerted on the over-extended Soviet Empire may, in time, cause a contraction and hence a breakup or "mellowing" of Soviet power and policy. It is proper to note, and to remind our
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