The Day After Russia Attacks
What War in Ukraine Would Look Like—and How America Should Respond
"NEUTRALITY" means different things in different places and at different times. It can even mean different things in the same place and at approximately the same time. In a press conference on June 6, President Eisenhower defended the right of nations to be neutral and remarked that a decision to keep clear of military alliances could be accepted as natural and even prudent; on June 9, his Secretary of State said that neutrality is "an obsolete conception and, except under very exceptional circumstances, is an immoral and shortsighted conception." Within three days, that is, the United States Government issued two descriptions of what it thinks about neutrality, one of which surprised and annoyed our allies, the other of which annoyed the uncommitted states even though it did not surprise them. The explanations, restatements and revisions that followed did not matter except as ex post facto self-discipline; second thoughts seldom catch up with the first headlines.
Something more than a failure to compare and reconcile viewpoints was responsible. The President and Mr. Dulles were talking about different things. The President was speaking from his heart and, knowing more about human psychology than international law, was expressing his instinctive feelings about the relations between peoples, and especially weak and powerful peoples, in very general terms. Mr. Dulles, preoccupied with the conflicts of interest involved in specific problems of those relations as they lie today on his desk, was speaking within the practical confines of policy regarding them as it has been developed thus far.
That is not very far. The State Department is in a quandary, poised on a historic divide. Behind lie the broad trails of the past ten years, with markers recording the bold decisions that saved the world from imminent catastrophe--Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, Berlin, NATO, Korea. These measures of succor or defense were very largely American in initiative and execution, and even if some of the beneficiaries received them with mixed feelings and even if other nations thought some of them reckless and provocative, they accomplished what we had to accomplish in that period--they checked the Communist advance and, in effect, won the first phase of the long holding operation called the cold war.
The tactics (even if no more) of our adversaries having shifted in acknowledgment of that fact, shall ours remain the same? And not just the tactics. The State Department is coming to understand, as the President felt in his bones, that we cannot rely as a matter of course on assumptions that were valid when the initiative was mainly one-sided and our atomic superiority gave us time to make the most of the fact. The Communists have named the new phase of American-Soviet relations "competitive coexistence." The new terms of reference mean that we shall have to manœuvre more subtly and in some cases, perhaps, from different assumptions. However, as Mr. Dulles disclosed, he is finding difficulty in cutting himself free as a practical matter from the old ones and devising substitutes that will hold the Communists in check and still maintain our initiative in the free world.
One assumption that evidently needs rethinking concerns the nature of neutrality. Our program of foreign aid established new relationships between the United States and a large number of underdeveloped countries. We always tried to make plain that our economic and financial help to these countries aimed to strengthen their internal stability and their ability to maintain their independence. Similarly with our military aid programs. Political and military instruments of war are inseparable in Communist doctrine. We looked on military assistance to weak states as necessary to enable them to deal with internal subversion and the infiltration of armed bands.
Our calculation that it was not too risky to try to build up independent strength all over the non-Communist world even without commitments of reciprocal support was based on a double premise. We hoped that since we were not going to pursue an aggressive policy our stand in a great international crisis would have the general approval of any state in a position to think and act for itself. And since our stand would presumably be in harmony with the U.N. Charter we hoped that U.N. members not caught in the Soviet orbit would incline to our side. We mapped this course partly because general economic stability increases American prosperity, partly out of good will for new and struggling states, but mainly because we thought it the natural and direct and peaceable way to counter Communist imperialism and explode the pretensions of Marxism.
Now, however, when Moscow undertakes a vast program of foreign aid in competition with ours many Americans are filled with misgivings. They wonder why the beneficiaries, actual and prospective, do not have misgivings too. Are not Soviet objectives perfectly plain and do they not threaten the independence of any state accepting Moscow's deceptively easy terms? Anyone not agreeing with our diagnosis and suggested reaction must certainly be unfriendly to us at heart, indeed "unneutral."
On the other hand, some of the underdeveloped states that solicit our economic and financial help feel that our policy of trying to build positions of military as well as economic strength may bring on the general war they want above everything to avoid. Not the threatened action but the threatened reaction seems to them the peril. They are new countries; they have not had the experiences with isolationism which Americans have had. They value freedom to make their own mistakes more highly than the possible benefits and accompanying constrictions of any plan of mutual defense. They desire our economic assistance; in fact, some of their leaders speak as though it were due them as a right. They of course claim the privilege of also seeking aid elsewhere, specifically in the Soviet bloc. And by implication they deny that we are entitled to give military support to states in their own neighborhood which feel in need of it and request it.
Replies to American criticisms of this position take a variety of forms. Nehru denies that he is a neutral but immediately undoes the statement by defining India's position as "non-alignment." Nasser even during the crisis of his relations with the West has continued to call Egypt's policy "positive neutralism." Tito's description of the Jugoslav independent position is "active coexistence." Prime Minister Daud speaks of Afghanistan's policy of "equal friendship." And so on down the list.
The character and aims of these leaders are as varied as their phraseology. Nehru is a Socialist, struggling to bring the teeming millions of his countrymen into the current of modern life, to give them a decent living, education and a sense of political unity. For him, the objective that eclipses all others is peace--peace everywhere; war anywhere could spread and ruin India's belated chance of developing a healthy society; to avoid that he would sacrifice many things which he certainly values. He is worldly-wise enough to know that if he lined up definitely in either camp he would lose his influence. He throws that influence into maintaining the international status quo as long as possible and at almost any cost, trusting that the evolution in Russia is not merely tactical and that, even if it is, the new tactics will eventually commit the Soviet rulers to a real shift in basic policy. Nasser is a military dictator. No more than Nehru can he limit himself to a passive rôle among the active giants. His strength is derived from the Egyptian Army and he must find arms for it somewhere, anywhere, to ensure that its honor can never again be smirched by defeat by Israel. He also is a revolutionary, and he must somehow find the means to make good on his promise to enlarge Egypt's fertile area and give the unfortunate fellahin something to live for. Tito is a Communist, but he has won his greatest renown by successfully fighting Moscow's attempt to dominate him and exploit his country. In his eyes neutral means the same as independent, with the added attraction that in this rôle he can exercise the greatest influence over the Russian satellites in Eastern Europe and perhaps even shape them some day into a third force under his sway. These and other leaders exploit with varying degrees of audacity and urgency their ability to manœuvre freely in the world arena, securing what assistance they can in one quarter before turning to another "to hold the balance even." The best description of this neutrality is the one given of women in the old song, "You never see two alike in any one place, you never see one alike twice."
Variations on the theme occur almost everywhere. In Japan neutralism is popular in the guise of "wait-and-see-ism." In West Germany the second party in numbers and influence, the Social Democrats, voted against rearmament and partnership in NATO and promise to reverse those decisions if they come to power. They argue that this would induce the Russians to permit German reunification; and then Germany, reunited, unarmed and uncommitted, could serve as a bridge to bring the Soviets and the Western democracies together. They ignore the risks of this gamble for Germany and for the West as a whole. In France, on the other hand, most of the politicians and publicists who have opposed alliances do not favor disarmament; they want France to regain power, freedom of action and influence as an armed "third force."
All in all, then, the term neutrality as it is being used in political discussion today (and as the President almost certainly was using it) is something quite different from what it has meant traditionally in the textbooks of international law and thus probably from what was in the mind of Secretary Dulles, himself a lawyer. To the Belgians when the Great Powers guaranteed the permanent neutrality of their country in 1839 neutrality meant a protective legal shell, valid so long as they were careful to uphold their side of the bargain; when President Wilson invoked it against high-handed British and German actions in the First World War it meant a legal basis for protest and argument; it was what Congress relied on when it passed the Neutrality Act of 1937, imagining, quite mistakenly of course, that a country can legislate itself out of the risk of war.
To the wide-ranging leaders today who proclaim their independence, neutrality is not a declaration in advance of a fixed position to be taken in case of war, or a claim to rights against belligerent encroachment. It is a political expedient. It is not passive but active. It asserts that each state is determined to go its own independent way in accordance with its own current estimate of its own interests; and it expresses the hope of getting along with both sides and doing business with both sides and perhaps of influencing both sides and even of serving as a bridge to bring them closer together. In other words, it is a jumble of wishful, hopeful, opportunistic but not necessarily unfriendly propositions, quite dissimilar from any set of orderly, let alone binding, concepts. As President Eisenhower indicated, they represent very natural human emotions and reactions.
When foreign embassies began telephoning on June 7 to find out the practical meaning of the President's press conference of the previous day, the White House issued a "clarifying statement." It aimed especially to reassure nations which have defense treaties with the United States. It said that such treaties, within the framework of the United Nations Charter, are not a risk to anyone but on the contrary are "the modern and enlightened way of obtaining security." And it repeated and emphasized the President's words that political neutrality does not include the privilege of being "neutral as between right and wrong or decency or indecency." It added a homily on the merits of collective security, with which the President must heartily agree but which unfortunately had not come into his mind while he was speaking impromptu.
The confusion would have been at an end (for two days, that is) if it had not been for those words "right" and "wrong." They are meaningless words in the absence of definition and without an accepted standard for measuring conduct. They are words that drive foreign offices crazy. In discussions of international affairs in particular they get everyone off to a false start. Each nation considers its own policies (and prejudices) moral and contrary ones immoral. It is dangerous to encourage the idea that this really is often the case, at any rate in terms of black and white. In foreign relations, the problem is not how to awaken indignation but how to define the actions which awaken it justifiably and to agree on measures to discourage, defeat and punish actions defined as unjustifiable.
This is the crux of the "peace problem," though it is so tough to solve that often the most sincere lovers of peace instinctively evade it. It confronted those who wrote the old League of Nations Covenant in 1918 and again those who assembled at San Francisco in 1945 to negotiate the Charter of the United Nations. Before this second effort to draft a precise document there had been a sobering experiment with one that was attractively imprecise. The Briand-Kellogg Pact of 1928 outlawed war by a form of words, somewhat as current Soviet proposals would outlaw atomic weapons by appending everybody's signature to a simple promise not to use them. I remember walking out of the great hall at the Quai d'Orsay where the Pact had been signed and having Secretary of State Kellogg say to me exultingly, with tears in his eyes: "Now there will be no more war!" Actually, as I wrote at that time, the Pact was a soporific. The declaration of universal innocent intentions, taken by the public at face value, became an easy cover under which nations like Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany could manœuvre to find propitious moments to begin hostilities.
At San Francisco, a simple formula was adopted to establish the fact of aggression. A procedure was outlined for handling international disputes by peaceful means and it was agreed that any U.N. member which failed to follow it as promised would ipso facto be considered an aggressor and would be dealt with as such by other members. In other words, the Charter bound member states both to take specified steps for the conciliation, arbitration and adjudication of disputes and to refrain from steps that would lead to war; and it established a corresponding right and duty of other members to take retaliatory measures against a party to a dispute which broke its promise.
The fact is, of course, that some such objective standards for indentifying international "right" and "wrong" are an indispensable frame of reference for any effective collective system; and it is this fact that American spokesmen should stress whenever they feel called upon to speak about aggression, neutrality or any other aspect of the basic security problem. Only so can they avoid giving legitimate offense when they issue warnings to neutralist leaders against entering into relationships with states which by refusing to implement the Charter have left themselves the same loopholes for aggression that were open to Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.
In his speech of June 9, Mr. Dulles did in fact try to develop an American attitude toward neutrality that other governments could understand and some might accept. The sentence labeling neutrality as "obsolete," "immoral" and "shortsighted" seemed almost an afterthought, injected to please Americans who are short-memoried. His point of substance was that the United Nations Charter and the subsidiary defense treaties "abolish, as between the parties, the principle of neutrality."
The trouble with this proposition as a cure for our worsening relations with a large number of U.N. members is that they have already repudiated it, explicitly or tacitly. They find no room in it for the development of President Eisenhower's idea that neutrality is permissible for nations which have certain geographical, ideological or other reasons against taking sides in any military line-up. From Scandinavia to Southeast Asia a number of countries which signed the Charter have now rationalized their obligation to help operate its military provisions to the point where, at least for themselves, it no longer has practical significance. The vast majority of U.N. members voted for the action against the Communist aggression in Korea, and in theory at least most of them supported it. But it would be optimistic to believe that they all would behave in the same way in another test. The British Foreign Office itself seemed to have come to the view three years ago that the U.N. function of working for peaceful settlements is more important than the U.N. enforcement function; and it apparently felt that the destruction of the latter will not cripple the former. This does not mean, of course, that Britain would refuse to join in enforcement measures, but simply that the Foreign Office knows that several members of the Commonwealth would refuse; indeed, some of them, India in the van, would probably end the Commonwealth tie rather than recognize any binding obligation to support another great military effort.[i]
If we are realistic, then, must we not conclude that President Eisenhower's exemption does in fact cover states which no longer acknowledge that membership in the United Nations "abolishes neutrality"?
To this Secretary Dulles said no, and doubtless his position has a strong legal basis. International compacts have vitality, however, only so long as both parties accept them as binding and they lose it when one ceases to do so. The other party may of course attempt to exact compliance by legal or forceful means; but anything of the sort is out of the question in the present instance. It is part of the dilemma, not of our own creating, in which we find ourselves. We must not be led into accepting for ourselves the standard of performance set by the neutralist members of the U.N., and we must use every argument of enlightened self-interest to convince our leading associates not to lag in devotion to collective responsibility and collective action. As for the dissenters, we achieve nothing, whatever the facts, by labeling them immoral.
Vice-President Nixon demonstrated this once again in his speech at Manila on July 4--a date which disposes speakers to oratory more than careful formulations of policy. He made it a condition for commanding American sympathy that foreign nations make a "moral distinction between the Communist world and the free world." He asked: "How can we feel toward those who treat alike nations that believe in God and honor, religion and morality, and nations that boast of atheism and the rule of force and terror alone?" And he warned against the dangers of "friendly neutrality toward the Kremlin and Peiping." Mr. Nehru replied with restraint but evident feeling that Mr. Nixon, like Mr. Dulles, was not preaching a democratic approach to international relations. Entirely aside from the question whether subjective moral judgments are valid, sermonizing is a bad diplomatic tactic. It pushes dissenters to reiterate their opposition and commits them more stubbornly than ever to the course we trust they will not, in the end, follow. For among those who are hoping against hope to be able to stand aside even where the Charter says plainly who is "right" and who is "wrong," some may find, face to face with the great decision, that to abstain involves graver risks and losses than to side with the forces of international order. At that moment considerations of principle and expediency may be seen to coincide. Why make a possible conversion then harder?
Secretary Dulles restated his position in a press conference held on July 12. He admitted that there were, after all, "very few, if any" neutrals of the immoral sort; and he narrowed his definition by saying that "countries which denounce security pacts are seeking to promote a somewhat wrong view of neutrality." Pressed to name one immoral neutral, he said of Switzerland (which refused to join the United Nations for fear that this might be incompatible with her traditional neutrality), "I would not want even there to say that the neutrality of Switzerland was immoral." Observers were left wondering why all those adjectives had been used in the first place.
The concern and resentment shown in Washington about the "flight to neutralism" of so many U.N. members may be partly explained by the fact that they have also been outspokenly opposed to the system of regional defense pacts--and for similar reasons. And the State Department has become more and more accustomed in the last few years to think of the regional system as a cornerstone of its policy.
When Soviet opposition defeated efforts to forearm the Security Council to deal with illegal violence, two general lines of action were open to U.N. members that still believed in the collective principle and recognized their duty to support it. One was for them to plan to counteract the Soviet veto by transferring the scene of action from the Security Council to the General Assembly. Provision for this was made in the "Uniting for Peace" Resolution, adopted by the General Assembly November 3, 1950.[ii] The other method was to form regional defense pacts, as plainly permitted under Article 51 of the Charter.
Although the effort to strengthen collective security region by region was legitimate, the emphasis placed on a piecemeal procedure inevitably lessened emphasis on the general U.N. approach. The "Uniting for Peace" Resolution, if not dead, has been left sleeping. A vote to bring it into effect against a Communist aggressor would be harder to obtain from the General Assembly today than in 1950; for the Soviet bloc has been enlarged, and if the neutralist countries of Asia and the Middle East vote with it, plus perhaps a scattering of other states, it will have enough votes (one-third plus one) to hold up action. Moreover, the Collective Measures Committee, intended to undertake the military planning which the original Military Staff Committee had been unable to accomplish, has been allowed to lapse into desuetude. There is still validity in the concept, however, that there will always exist within U.N. an embryo "coalition for peace" consisting of nations faithful to their Charter obligations both by principle and self-interest. That the United States, unlike in 1914 and 1939, will be found in the group favoring action against aggression is a good assumption. There would seem definite advantages, then, in keeping alive the principles of the "Uniting for Peace" Resolution, as a rallying point in a military crisis transcending a single area. Nowhere in the Charter, it should be noted, is there any geographical limitation on the rights and duties of members. Nor does our increased emphasis on the hydrogen bomb indicate that the wars which would principally concern us will be limited to any one area. Regional security, in other words, is an insufficient foundation for the foreign policy of a nation with world-wide responsibilities.
This is all the more true because of the deep antagonism which regional pacts arouse among states which have refused to join. They do not believe that the pact system increases world security or that membership in a pact would increase their own national security. The former proposition we certainly are at liberty to contradict; the latter we may disbelieve, but must admit that the decision is not ours but theirs.
Both sides are wrong, perhaps, in thinking the subject one to generalize about. The Pan American organization, which has clearly limited scope and seems to be serving its purpose, is not in question. NATO's proper range of action and its geographical scope have always been in debate. The changes in NATO now being suggested come from its own members, stimulated by the belief that the Soviet military threat has diminished, partly due to NATO's success in building strength in Western Europe, and that the time has come to supplement its concern with armaments by increased activity in common economic and social matters. SEATO and the Baghdad Pact are different, however, as regards the nature and relationship of their members and the environment in which they operate. Neither area has sufficient indigenous strength, nor is such strength in sight. The security of each will continue to depend on strength injected from afar. It might be considered whether a main emphasis on economic rather than military sinews would not have served our interests better, and might not do so still. Economic aid could be given either through a regional system like the Colombo Plan or through U.N. agencies. This policy would disarm some of the criticism heard from neighbors of the pact states and make them anxious to share in the benefits. It might not have persuaded them to resist the attractions of free-wheeling; but it would have given them less excuse to pretend that we left them no other course.
All through Asia, even in countries allied to us in defense pacts, one finds how effective Soviet propaganda has been in raising the bogy of white military domination. And now the Moscow radio and press are predicting a new pact for Africa linking the United States with the so-called colonial Powers in defense of the status quo. Everywhere the suspicion has been planted that pacts are a new cover for Western colonialism and imperialism. What seem to us plain manifestations of Russian colonialism and imperialism are either ignored or minimized.
In speaking with me recently in New Delhi, Prime Minister Nehru showed his well-known distaste for Western mixing in Asian affairs. He avoided criticizing NATO. He seemed to recognize that it deserved credit for saving Western Europe from possible Communist encroachment at a critical moment. But Europe was not Asia. Further, the West European countries in most cases had a common background and possessed intrinsic strength which needed only encouragement and material help from the United States to become effective. NATO united them. The Baghdad Pact and SEATO, however, divide the countries of the Middle East and Asia and upset the military balance within each of the areas in question. In Kabul as well as in New Delhi one finds a universal suspicion that Pakistan is not interested in American military aid because it could conceivably enable her to stand up to a Soviet invasion but because it increases her leverage against her neighbors (a suspicion increased by references to the Kashmir and Pushtunistan questions in the SEATO communiqué issued in March in Karachi). When Americans argue that the only way to counter the Soviet threat to weak states is to warn that aggression against them would involve their great allies too, the straight-faced rejoinder is that regional alliances therefore seem to insure that what might have been a small war will be a large one; further, that the dependence of weak Asian countries on larger partners deprives them of freedom to decide and act for themselves. Always one is led back to the premise that freedom to make mistakes is more desired at this start of so many new national careers than a cramping partnership in any fixed security system.
The truth is that none of these countries dares pin its attention on the fact that it may itself be the specific object of an attack; and for all the Asian emphasis on spiritual as against materialistic values, each of them is too engrossed with its own desperate social and economic problems to venture accepting a share of responsibility for the safety of its neighbors. How much this attitude would alter when a foreign threat came really close home might depend on how much freedom of choice was left to its government at that time. Will it meanwhile have mortgaged its national economy by accepting lopsided loans and credits and will it have welcomed technicians and advisers who turn out to be fifth columnists? It is entirely in order for Vice-President Nixon and Secretary Dulles to warn that the mere assertion of impartiality between the Communist and free worlds, no matter how sincere, is not a sufficient protection against this danger; self-restraint, caution and above all foresight in dealing with both sides are necessary. Our economic aid can help the underdeveloped nations hold the necessary balance. Our cue is to show that we offer it not to win an ally but because what we really seek, and all that we seek, is for each of them to establish and maintain independence.
As we pass from the cold war into what the Soviets are calling competitive coexistence, with strong propaganda emphasis on the economic and cultural contributions each side can make to the underdeveloped areas of the world, we must scrutinize the guiding principles of our foreign policy to see whether they fit the times. What do we mean when we use the word neutrality and how are we going to react to those who have other definitions? If our interest is not in making any country dependent on us but in helping it avoid becoming dependent on our opponents, does it make sense to imply that everyone who is not with us is against us? Is it good tactics to suggest that those who do not accept our interpretation of neutrality must, because of that fact, think of themselves as belonging in another camp?
To raise these questions does not mean that there is no limit to our acquiescence in policies of expediency whatever the formula--"non-alignment," "active neutrality," "active coexistence," "equal friendship" or anything else. The limit is reached when independent self-interest becomes, whether through calculation or miscalculation, "neutrality on the other side." Our decision to cease treating an underdeveloped country as a needy neutral, bound to shop around for assistance, may be based simply on an estimate that the amounts being accepted from Moscow mortgage its future so heavily that it no longer can have satisfactory relations with a third party: it will not be able to trade in other markets or repay by this means credits made to other countries. At that point our help should cease. It is important for us not to oppose Soviet help as such; that would defeat our purposes, indeed show they are not what we claim them to be. Our objection is not to Soviet help, freely accepted on a competitive basis, but to help which evidently is intended by bulk and timing and terms to create a new Soviet satellite. We would have done well to make our policy in this respect absolutely clear from the start. The cancellation of our offer to help build the Aswan High Dam would not then have taken the Egyptians so much by surprise and (assuming that our manner of cancelling had also been different, aiming to wound Egyptian pride as little instead of as much as possible) might not have produced such a violent response.
When the State Department reviews its present definition (or definitions) of neutrality it will take into account, undoubtedly, the effect on the uncommitted states of the tendency to create geographical zones of security even at the expense of the over-all authority of U.N. But whatever may be our feeling about regional pacts in this regard, or the relative attention they should give to military and economic assistance, our decisions will have to be based primarily on what we think are our own interests and the interests of our partners in those pacts. We have been advised by eminent Asian spokesmen that we are interfering undemocratically in Asian affairs when we warn Asian states of the Communist danger and offer to support them in a common front against it. If so, it is at least as undemocratic for these critics to warn their smaller brethren against accepting our help and joining a security pact. They are free to take as isolationist a position as they think their duties as U.N. members permit and as they believe they can maintain. They are not free to impose the same isolationism on others, large or small. The United States has its own security to defend, and it lies on two fronts, East and West. Various Asian and Middle Eastern states need not consider themselves involved in that security. But they cannot define our interests or dictate our alliances.
A factor to be considered is whether if a military crisis comes we will receive support from any of the neutralist states to which we have been giving a helping hand. We cannot count on it, evidently, but we can hope for it in some cases, depending on where the aggression occurs and the prospects for defeating it. Our persuasiveness at that moment will depend largely, therefore, on whether we have maintained our military strength and show ourselves able and ready to use it. But it will also depend on the picture that foreign peoples have formed in their own minds about us--their feeling about our fitness to lead. Our enemies try to distort the picture; but we ourselves paint it stroke by stroke, day by day, by word and by action. The old saying that "actions speak louder than words" is not always true--unfortunately, in our case, because our spokesmen have been talking so much in recent years that some of their words must almost necessarily be ill-considered or, less excusable, not considered at all. Among so many speeches, press conferences, press releases to catch the morning paper, offhand remarks on airfields and "leaks" of inside information, individual "boners" might, one would have hoped, pass almost unnoticed; this is never so, however, and on top of the mischief done by even minor slips is the injury done our reputation by the general higgledy-piggledy effect produced. Expressions used, attitudes taken, almost offhand as it were, have wounded susceptibilities and raised alarm from Athens to New Delhi. They have obscured the broad consistency of American aims over the last decade and in some cases have wasted assets of good will built up by years of effort and great sums of money.
In contrast to the lightness in speech, the machinery for grinding out decisions of policy has become so cumbersome that once made they are almost too durable. Anything so hard to attain as a consensus of many government agencies seems as though it must indeed be gospel; and where there is gospel there will soon be dogma. But no moral precept or dogma can take the place in political life of the wearisome business of continually appraising and reappraising, planning and replanning. We are engaged in a political contest that will not in our time reach an easy equilibrium. Our own standards of morality may be inflexible, but our policies must take account of the fact not only that others may have no standards at all but that still others may simply have different standards. Let us leave these others to develop their own ideas of their own self-interest, not without quiet warnings that their actions may limit our willingness and indeed ability to help them, now or in the future, but without placing a moral stigma on peoples that are proud of their own moral teachings. We should not resent that they profit from our carrying responsibilities which they will not share. Mr. Nehru has always emphasized that he is not neutral between right and wrong; and it is fair to note that though sometimes he seems carried away by flattery or the pleasures of dialectics into drawing parallels between us and our opponents that are not justified by the record, still he has not as yet taken any specific action which contradicts the belief that his over-riding desire is to maintain peace. His ways are not our ways. But we were not always thus. We have had our experiences with attempted isolation and think we have learnt something from them. At least the isolationist governments of the present day are still free, if a crisis comes where they believe evil truly confronts good, to join what they esteem to be the right. Or they may be provoked by the arrogance of a foe, as we were, into abandoning neutrality willy-nilly. That course and that possibility should be kept open.
[i] See "The Free World and the United Nations," by Sir Gladwyn Jebb, Foreign Affairs, April 1953. When he wrote this article Sir Gladwyn was Permanent British Representative to the United Nations. For comment on his argument see "Locarno Again," by Byron Dexter, Foreign Affairs, October 1953.
[ii] The Resolution provided: 1, that if the Security Council is prevented (by the veto) from acting upon a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, the General Assembly shall be called into session within 24 hours; 2, that there shall be a Peace Observation Commission to report on any area where existing international tension is likely to endanger international peace and security; 3, that member states maintain elements of their national forces especially trained, organized and equipped for prompt service in a U.N. unit or units. For the background of this action see the author's "Coalition for Peace," Foreign Affairs, October 1948, and "The Calculated Risk" (New York: Macmillan, 1950).