The Day After Russia Attacks
What War in Ukraine Would Look Like—and How America Should Respond
SINCE World War II, the United States has faced the difficult task of finding policies which would be adequate for security and peace and at the same time compatible with its traditions. Never before has a great nation been called upon to adjust its thinking and its action so radically in so short a period.
During the nineteenth century the maintenance of peace and order depended largely on Great Britain, with its Navy and the system of naval bases which enabled it to operate with mobility and flexibility throughout the world. By suitable commercial, investment and monetary policies, Great Britain and other nations with surplus capital stimulated economic growth in underdeveloped areas. The French Revolution had aroused men to respect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms. The United States also made its contribution. Our people devoted their energies largely to domestic matters, not because they lacked concern for others but believing that what our founders called "the conduct and example" of freedom would exert a liberating influence everywhere. In fact, it did so. The "great American experiment" was a source of hope and inspiration to men everywhere, and especially to those living under despotism. Our dynamic example of freedom drew many to our shores and inspired others, in the old world and the new, to emulate our course.
All of these influences contributed to giving the world relative peace and security for the 100 years between the ending of the Napoleonic wars and the beginning of the First World War. During this period there were many advances in the practice of political liberty, and generally throughout the world there was a great advance in material and social well-being.
The events of the twentieth century, and especially the two World Wars and their aftermaths, have created an entirely new situation. In large measure the United States has inherited a responsibility for leadership which, in the past, has been shared by several nations. Today there rests upon us, to a unique degree, the threefold task of providing insurance against another world war; of demonstrating the good fruits of freedom which undermine the rule of despots by contrast; and of providing a major part of the effort required for the healthy growth of underdeveloped areas.
The Eisenhower Administration inherited security policies that had much worth. Many of these policies were bipartisan in character. They reflected a national recognition of the peril facing the civilized world, a united determination to meet it, and an acceptance of the rôle of leadership thrust on us by events. We had helped to reëstablish the economies of other countries shattered by the war. We had taken a major part in resisting the aggression in Korea. In the face of the Soviet threat we were engaged in rebuilding our military strength and that of other free countries.
These and like measures were costly. But they were necessary to our security. However, they partook much of an emergency character. By 1953 there was need to review our security planning and to adjust our continuing military effort to the other requirements of a well-rounded, permanent policy.
Under the conditions in which we live, it is not easy to strike a perfect balance between military and non-military efforts and to choose the type of military effort which serves us best. The essential is to recognize that there is an imperative need for a balance which holds military expenditures to a minimum consistent with safety, so that a maximum of liberty may operate as a dynamic force against despotism. That is the goal of our policy.
II. THE NATURE OF THE THREAT
The threat we face is not one that can be adequately dealt with on an emergency basis. It is a threat that may long persist. Our policies must be adapted to this basic fact.
The Soviet menace does not reflect the ambitions of a single ruler, and cannot be measured by his life expectancy. There is no evidence that basic Soviet policies have been changed with the passing of Stalin. Indeed, the Berlin Conference of last February gave positive evidence to the contrary. The Soviet Communists have always professed that they are planning for what they call "an entire historical era."
The assets behind this threat are vast. The Soviet bloc of Communist-controlled countries--a new form of imperialist colonialism--represents a vast central land mass with a population of 800,000,000. About 10,000,000 men are regularly under arms, with many more trained millions in reserve. This land force occupies a central position which permits of striking at any one of about 20 countries along a perimeter of some 20,000 miles. It is supplemented by increasing air power, equipped with atomic weapons, able to strike through northern Arctic routes which bring our industrial areas in range of quick attack.
The threat is not merely military. The Soviet rulers dispose throughout the world of the apparatus of international Communism. It operates with trained agitators and a powerful propaganda organization. It exploits every area of discontent, whether it be political discontent against "colonialism" or social discontent against economic conditions. It seeks to harass the existing order and pave the way for political coups which will install Communist-controlled régimes.
By the use of many types of manœuvres and threats, military and political, the Soviet rulers seek gradually to divide and weaken the free nations and to make their policies appear as bankrupt by overextending them in efforts which, as Lenin put it, are "beyond their strength." Then, said Lenin, "our victory is assured." Then, said Stalin, will be the "moment for the decisive blow."
It is not easy to devise policies which will counter a danger so centralized and so vast, so varied and so sustained. It is no answer to substitute the glitter of steel for the torch of freedom.
An answer can be found by drawing on those basic concepts which have come to be regularly practised within our civic communities. There we have almost wholly given up the idea of relying primarily on house-by-house defense. Instead, primary reliance is placed upon the combining of two concepts, namely, the creation of power on a community basis and the use of that power so as to deter aggression by making it costly to an aggressor. The free nations must apply these same principles in the international sphere.
III. COMMUNITY DEFENSE
The cornerstone of security for the free nations must be a collective system of defense. They clearly cannot achieve security separately. No single nation can develop for itself defensive power of adequate scope and flexibility. In seeking to do so, each would become a garrison state and none would achieve security.
This is true of the United States. Without the coöperation of allies, we would not even be in a position to retaliate massively against the war industries of an attacking nation. That requires international facilities. Without them, our air striking power loses much of its deterrent power. With them, strategic air power becomes what Sir Winston Churchill called the "supreme deterrent." He credited to it the safety of Europe during recent years. But such power, while now a dominant factor, may not have the same significance forever. Furthermore, massive atomic and thermonuclear retaliation is not the kind of power which could most usefully be evoked under all circumstances.
Security for the free world depends, therefore, upon the development of collective security and community power rather than upon purely national potentials. Each nation which shares the security should contribute in accordance with its capabilities and facilities. The Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Pact) of 1947 set a postwar example in establishing the principle that an armed attack against one would be considered as an attack against all. The North Atlantic Treaty is based on the same principle. Its members have gone much further in organizing joint forces and facilities as a part of the integrated security system. NATO provides essential air and naval bases, to which its various members can contribute--each according to its means and capabilities. It provides the planes and ships and weapons which can use these bases. It provides so many points from which an aggressor could be harassed, in so many different ways, that he cannot prudently concentrate his forces for offense against a single victim.
While NATO best exemplifies this collective security concept, there are other areas where the same concept is evolving, although as yet in a more rudimentary form. An example is the Western Pacific, where the United States has a series of collective security treaties which now embrace Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Japan and Korea. Collective arrangements are now in the making in the Middle East, with Turkey-Pakistan as the nucleus. These developments show the growing acceptance of the collective security concept we describe.
The United Nations is striving to make collective security effective on a basis broader than regionalism. The central principle of the Charter is that any armed attack is of universal concern and calls for collective measures of resistance. The Soviet Union, by its veto power, has made it impractical, as yet, to make available to the Security Council the "armed forces, assistance, and facilities" contemplated by Article 43 of the Charter. When aggression occurred in Korea, however, the principle of collective action was invoked by the United Nations and acted on by more than a majority of the members, including 16 which sent armed forces to Korea to repel the aggression. The "Uniting for Peace" Resolution, adopted by the General Assembly in November 1950, grew out of that experience. That resolution will enable members of the United Nations to join in carrying out similar collective measures against any future aggression without being blocked by a Soviet veto.
The free world system of bases is an integral part of its collective security. At the recent Four-Power Conference in Berlin, Mr. Molotov repeatedly attacked these bases as evidence of aggressive purpose. Actually these bases on the territory of other sovereign countries are merely a physical expression of the collective security system. They were constructed only at the request of the host nation and their availability depends upon its consent, usually as a legal condition and always as a practical one. The requisite consent to the use of these bases would never be accorded unless it was clear that their use was in response to open aggression, and reasonably related to its scope and nature. This gives assurance of their community function.
Thus the free world has practical means for achieving collective security both through the United Nations and the various regional arrangements already referred to.
IV. THE STRATEGY TO DETER AGGRESSION
The question remains: How should collective defense be organized by the free world for maximum protection at minimum cost? The heart of the problem is how to deter attack. This, we believe, requires that a potential aggressor be left in no doubt that he would be certain to suffer damage outweighing any possible gains from aggression.
This result would not be assured, even by collective measures, if the free world sought to match the potential Communist forces, man for man and tank for tank, at every point where they might attack. The Soviet-Chinese bloc does not lack manpower and spends it as something that is cheap. If an aggressor knew he could always prescribe the battle conditions that suited him and engage us in struggles mainly involving manpower, aggression might be encouraged. He would be tempted to attack in places and by means where his manpower superiority was decisive and where at little cost he could impose upon us great burdens. If the free world adopted that strategy, it could bankrupt itself and not achieve security over a sustained period.
The free world must devise a better strategy for its defense, based on its own special assets. Its assets include, especially, air and naval power and atomic weapons which are now available in a wide range, suitable not only for strategic bombing but also for extensive tactical use. The free world must make imaginative use of the deterrent capabilities of these new weapons and mobilities and exploit the full potential of collective security. Properly used, they can produce defensive power able to retaliate at once and effectively against any aggression.
To deter aggression, it is important to have the flexibility and the facilities which make various responses available. In many cases, any open assault by Communist forces could only result in starting a general war. But the free world must have the means for responding effectively on a selective basis when it chooses. It must not put itself in the position where the only response open to it is general war. The essential thing is that a potential aggressor should know in advance that he can and will be made to suffer for his aggression more than he can possibly gain by it. This calls for a system in which local defensive strength is reinforced by more mobile deterrent power. The method of doing so will vary according to the character of the various areas.
Some areas are so vital that a special guard should and can be put around them. Western Europe is such an area. Its industrial plant represents so nearly the balance of industrial power in the world that an aggressor might feel that it was a good gamble to seize it--even at the risk of considerable hurt to himself. In this respect, Western Europe is exceptional. Fortunately, the West European countries have both a military tradition and a large military potential, so that through a European Defense Community, and with support by the United States and Britain, they can create an adequate defense of the Continent.
Most areas within the reach of an aggressor offer less value to him than the loss he would suffer from well-conceived retaliatory measures. Even in such areas, however, local defense will always be important. In every endangered area there should be a sufficient military establishment to maintain order against subversion and to resist other forms of indirect aggression and minor satellite aggressions. This serves the indispensable need to demonstrate a purpose to resist, and to compel any aggressor to expose his real intent by such serious fighting as will brand him before all the world and promptly bring collective measures into operation. Potential aggressors have little respect for peoples who have no will to fight for their own protection or to make the sacrifices needed to make that fighting significant. Also, they know that such peoples do not attract allies to fight for their cause. For all of these reasons, local defense is important. But in such areas the main reliance must be on the power of the free community to retaliate with great force by mobile means at places of its own choice.
A would-be aggressor will hesitate to commit aggression if he knows in advance that he thereby not only exposes those particular forces which he chooses to use for his aggression, but also deprives his other assets of "sanctuary" status. That does not mean turning every local war into a world war. It does not mean that if there is a Communist attack somewhere in Asia, atom or hydrogen bombs will necessarily be dropped on the great industrial centers of China or Russia. It does mean that the free world must maintain the collective means and be willing to use them in the way which most effectively makes aggression too risky and expensive to be tempting.
It is sometimes said that this system is inadequate because it assures an invaded country only that it will eventually be liberated and the invader punished. That observation misses the point. The point is that a prospective attacker is not likely to invade if he believes the probable hurt will outbalance the probable gain. A system which compels potential aggressors to face up to that fact indispensably supplements a local defensive system.
V. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
We can already begin to see applications of these policies.
In Korea the forces fighting aggression had been so closely limited that they were forbidden even to apply the doctrine of "hot pursuit" in relation to enemy planes that were based across the Yalu. The airfields from which attacks were mounted were immune, as were the lines and sources of their supply. The fighting there was finally stopped last July on terms which had been proposed many months before. That result was achieved, at least in part, because the aggressor, already denied territorial gains, was faced with the possibility that the fighting might, to his own great peril, soon spread beyond the limits and methods which he had selected, to areas and methods that we would select. In other words, the principle of using methods of our choice was ready to be invoked, and it helped to stop the war which the enemy had begun and had pursued on the theory that it would be a limited war, at places and by means of its choosing.
The 16 members of the United Nations who fought in Korea have invoked the same principle. They have given public notice that if the Communists were to violate the armistice and renew the aggression, the response of the United Nations Command would not necessarily be confined to Korea. Today, if aggression were resumed, the United Nations Command would certainly feel free to inflict heavy damage upon the aggressor beyond the immediate area which he chose for his aggression. That need not mean indulging in atomic warfare throughout Asia. It should not be stated in advance precisely what would be the scope of military action if new aggression occurred. That is a matter as to which the aggressor had best remain ignorant. But he can know and does know, in the light of present policies, that the choice in this respect is ours and not his.
In relation to Indo-China, the United States has publicly stated that if there were open Red Chinese Army aggression there, that would have "grave consequences which might not be confined to Indo-China."
On December 26, 1953, President Eisenhower made an important statement which clearly reflected our present policy as applied to Asia. He announced a progressive reduction of United States ground forces in Korea. However, he went on to point out that United States military forces in the Far East will now feature "highly mobile naval, air and amphibious units;" and he added that in this way, despite some withdrawal of land forces, the United States will have a capacity to oppose aggression "with even greater effect than heretofore." In the same month the United States reaffirmed its intent to maintain in Okinawa the rights made available to us by the Japanese Peace Treaty. This location is needed to ensure striking power to implement the collective security concept.
In Europe, our intentions are primarily expressed by the North Atlantic Treaty. Following the aggression in Korea of June 1950, the Treaty members proceeded to an emergency buildup of military strength in Western Europe. The strength built between 1950 and 1953 has served well the cause of peace. But by 1953, it did not seem necessary to go on at the original pace.
At the April 1953 meeting of the NATO Council, the United States put forward a new concept, now known as that of the "long haul." It meant a steady development of defensive strength at a rate which would preserve and not exhaust the economic strength of our allies and ourselves. This would be reinforced by the availability of new weapons of vastly increased destructive power and by the striking power of an air force based on internationally agreed positions. President Eisenhower is now seeking an amendment of the present law to permit a freer exchange of atomic information with our NATO allies.
When we went back to the NATO Council meeting of last December, we found that there was general acceptance of the "long haul" concept. The result is that most of our NATO allies are now able to achieve budgetary and economic stability, without large dependence on our economic aid.
The growing free-world defensive system, supported by community facilities and coupled with adequate policies for their use, reflects the nearest approach that the world has yet made to a means to achieve effective defense, at minimum cost.
VI. THE CURRENT MILITARY PROGRAM
One of the basic tasks of the new Administration has been to review our military program in the light of the foregoing policies.
In the years 1945-53, our military programs went through wide fluctuations which hindered orderly and efficient administration. During the first part of this period, the policy was to reduce the military establishment drastically. During the latter part of the period, the policy was to increase the military establishment rapidly. During both the decrease and the increase the military budget reflected the so-called "balance of forces" concept. In practical terms, this meant splitting the available funds into three roughly equal slices for the Army, Navy and Air Force.
When the Eisenhower Administration took office, our national security programs, at home and abroad, were costing over 50 billion dollars a year, and were planned at about 55 billion dollars for the next year. Budgetary deficits were of the order of 10 billion dollars, despite taxes comparable to wartime taxes. Inflation was depreciating the purchasing power of the dollar. Our allies were similarly burdened.
The American people have repeatedly shown that they are prepared to make whatever sacrifices are really necessary to insure our national safety. They would no doubt support military expenses at the levels which their government told them were required for security, even at the cost of budget deficits, resultant inflationary pressures and tax-levels which would impair incentives. But the patriotic will to sacrifice is not something to be drawn upon needlessly. Government has the high duty to seek resourcefully and inventively the ways which will provide security without sacrificing economic and social welfare. The security policies we here describe make possible more selective and more efficient programs in terms of the composition of forces and of procurement.
The new Administration has sought to readjust, in an orderly way, the program for the military forces. Before this could be done, it was necessary to clarify the extent of our reliance on collective security; to define more clearly our basic strategy both in Europe and the Far East; to reassert our freedom of action in repelling future aggression; to assess the impact of newer types of weapons; and to relate the composition and size of our ready and potential forces to all these factors.
Inevitably this has taken time. It has required a series of difficult basic decisions by the President with the advice of the National Security Council and with supporting decisions by the Department of State, the Department of Defense and the Treasury Department. It has been necessary to exchange views with Congressional leaders and our principal allies and to inform world opinion so that neither our friends nor our enemies abroad would misinterpret what we were doing. By now, however, the new course is charted and is guiding our military planning. As a result, it is now possible to get, and share, more basic security at less cost. That is reflected in the budget which the President has submitted for the 1955 fiscal year. In this budget, national security expenditures for fiscal year 1955 will amount to 45 billion dollars as compared with 50 billion dollars for 1953 and 49 billion dollars for 1954.
Initially this reshaping of the military program was misconstrued in various respects. Some suggested that the United States intended to rely wholly on large-scale strategic bombing as the sole means to deter and counter aggression. What has already been said should dispose of this erroneous idea. The potential of massive attack will always be kept in a state of instant readiness, but our program will retain a wide variety in the means and scope for responding to aggression. Others interpreted the program as a move away from collective security. The exact opposite is the case, as has been shown. Our policies are based squarely on a collective security system and depend for their success on its continuing vitality. Still others feared that we intended to withdraw our forces from abroad in the interest of mobility. Now that the fighting is ended in Korea, our forces in the Far East will be reduced in numbers, as has previously been announced, but the kind of force that remains will have great striking power. Moreover, the program does not mean that we intend to pull our forces out of Europe. It is, of course, essential that the continental nations themselves provide a harmonious nucleus of integrated defense. If they do so, the United States would expect to maintain substantial forces of its own in Europe, both in support of the forward strategy of defense and for political reasons.
Another consequence of our new policies is that it has become practicable to reduce our economic aid to our allies. The Technical Assistance Program will go on and economic aid is not wholly excluded. There are still some places near the Soviet orbit where the national governments cannot maintain adequate armed forces without help from us. That is notably so in the Middle and Far East. We have contributed largely, ungrudgingly, and I hope constructively, to end aggression and advance freedom in Indo-China. The stakes there are so high that it would be culpable not to contribute to the forces struggling to resist Communist oppression.
But broadly speaking, economic aid in the form of grants is on its way out as a major element of our foreign policy. This is highly desirable from many standpoints. It helps to make our own budget more manageable and it promotes more self-respecting international relationships. That is what our allies want. Trade, broader markets and a flow of investment are far more healthy than intergovernmental grants-in-aid. It is, of course, important that we do actually develop these mutually advantageous substitutes for "aid." To do so is one of the major objectives of the Eisenhower Administration. It is an essential component of the over-all policies already described.
In the ways outlined, the United States and its allies gather strength for the long-term defense of freedom.
VII. OUR NATIONAL PURPOSE
We do not, of course, claim to have found some magic formula that ensures against all forms of Communist successes. Despotism is entrenched as never before. It remains aggressive, particularly in Asia. In Europe, its purposes remain expansive, as shown by Mr. Molotov's plans at the Berlin Conference for Germany, Austria and all Europe. However, time and fundamentals will work for us, if only we will let them.
The dictators face an impossible task when they set themselves to suppress, over a vast area and for a long time, the opportunities which flow from freedom. We can be sure that there is going on, even within the Soviet empire, a silent test of strength between the powerful rulers and the multitudes of human beings. Each individual seems by himself to be helpless in this struggle. But their aspirations in the aggregate make up a mighty force. There are some signs that the Soviet rulers are, in terms of domestic policy, bending to some of the human desires of their people. There are promises of more food, more household goods, more economic freedom. This does not prove that the dictators have themselves been converted. It is rather that they may be dimly perceiving that there are limits to their power indefinitely to suppress the human spirit.
That is a truth which should not be lost sight of as we determine our own policies. Our national purpose is not merely to survive in a world fraught with appalling danger. We want to end this era of danger. We shall not achieve that result merely by developing a vast military establishment. That serves indispensably to defend us and to deter attack. But the sword of Damocles remains suspended. The way to end the peril peacefully is to demonstrate that freedom produces not merely guns, but the spiritual, intellectual and material richness that all men want.
Such are the guiding principles we invoke. We have confidence that if our nation perseveres in applying them, freedom will again win the upper hand in its age-long struggle with despotism, and that the danger of war will steadily recede.