The Day After Russia Attacks
What War in Ukraine Would Look Like—and How America Should Respond
During the dark days of the Second World War, when exploits of Yugoslav guerrilla forces known as Partisans were first heard of in the West, they were said to be led by a mysterious figure known as Tito. Who or what was Tito? Rumor had its day. A Yugoslav or a Russian? An individual or a committee? A man or a woman? Later in the war the mystery cleared. The Germans published his picture and put a price on his head. The exploits multiplied. The world press got the story.
He was Josip Broz, head of the Yugoslav Communist Party, leading the fight under the banner of anti-fascism and liberation. His Partisan forces tied down many German divisions. They liberated parts of the country. They got substantial help from Britain and America, for obvious military reasons. By 1944 Broz-Tito was on the world stage. He talked strategy and politics with Churchill in Italy. He then flew off to Moscow to see Stalin, to get help but also to nail down Soviet agreement that the "temporary" presence of Soviet forces in Yugoslavia in pursuit of the Germans should be at the request of the National Committee of Liberation in Yugoslavia, and that after completing their operational task the forces should be withdrawn. Stalin agreed, but on political matters the differences between the two men were sharp and the atmosphere was far from comradely. The future was casting shadows, but the outside world knew nothing of it, and the principals themselves did not accept the full implications.
After the war Tito and his movement, led by the Communist Party, took over power in Belgrade. There he remained, center stage, for the next 35 years. But the question, "Who is Tito?", could still be asked and can be asked today. For there were many Titos, as is evident from the now familiar facts of his life and from the differing encomiums now heaped upon his name, at home and by the world's leaders, at the time of his death.
All phases of his past left their mark. He was a Croatian peasant boy, a draftee in Franz Josef's army, prisoner of war in Russia and participant, more or less by historical accident, in the convulsions of 1917-20 in that country. He was Broz, metal worker and union organizer in Zagreb and guest in King Alexander's jails. He was "Walter," agent of the Comintern, and Secretary General (named by Stalin in 1937) and underground leader of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY). He was Tito, leader of wartime resistance. Already middle-aged by then, he was "the old man" to his younger comrades in arms, who gave him loyalty and affection then and thereafter; yet, liberator but also conqueror of Yugoslavia, he waged a ruthless civil war against anti-communist forces, democrats as well as fascists and quislings. He was a bitter enemy of the West as the lines of the cold war were drawn; heroic defier of Stalin; champion of separate roads to socialism; founding father of the movement of the nonaligned; advocate of superpower détente and European peace; guardian of the unity of Yugoslavia; genial father of his country, in time respected by all; world statesman, the last of the giants, genuinely and universally mourned.
That he had so many roles may bear witness to his ability to adapt and to survive. His career raises the old question of the place of the individual in history: How much does a great man determine events, and how much do events determine his possibilities? Tito's impact on his country and on the world push one's conclusions toward the end of the spectrum where personal qualities are telling. He could move men. He could shift his ground when it served a larger purpose, but he was no model of adaptability. There was a consistency in his character, tempered by determination and by struggle, that made the many Titos one. If he had a genius for survival, it was by way of that consistency, which served him and his country well.
It is no easy task to pick a single act or decision in Tito's career that provides the measure of his achievement. But one is surely drawn to the year 1948, for without Tito's defiance of Stalin the fate of Yugoslavia and his own place in history would have been vastly different. On April 12, 1948, Tito met with his colleagues of the Central Committee of the Party, to decide what to do about the developing dispute with Moscow. At earlier meetings they had taken their positions on the questions at issue and argued their case in a carefully worded letter to Stalin. He had then replied in crude and insulting terms, citing the political fate of Trotsky as instructive. Perhaps by this time Stalin was set on their destruction and had left them little choice. In that case their earlier decisions had cast the die. But this was not a meeting of desperation but of reaffirmation, the final and wrenching decision to reject compromise on principle and to reject much of the faith, and the illusions, of their own past.
Several of those present later described the drama of the meeting at which they agreed on the reply to Stalin. Tito spoke first. The point, he said, was not ideology, not party relations, but national independence. On that issue there could be no hesitation, only a bold and determined stand. One after another his colleagues backed him up-all except the pro-Stalinist Sreten Zujovic-and the struggle was on, although the Yugoslav people (in whose name they were acting) and the rest of the world did not know about it until Stalin loosed the thunderbolts of the Cominform Resolution a few months later, reading "the Tito clique" out of the world communist movement.
They knew the risks. They knew they were up against all the might the Soviet Union could mobilize against a small country that had no friends anywhere. But they knew also what their stand meant for the world communist movement if they could succeed. "However much any of us loves the country of socialism, the Soviet Union," read their reply to Stalin, "he should in no case love less his own country, which is also building socialism." Yugoslavia's communists have always shunned the term "national communism," but that was what they were choosing and that is the road which, since 1948, they have followed.
Tito was ready to take the bold decision against heavy odds, as he was on other occasions. He was the indispensable man in that these things would not have happened without him. In that sense Yugoslavia's course is rightly called Titoism. But his were no arbitrary one-man decisions, divorced from political reality and the backing needed to make them stick. In 1948 he counted first of all on his companions in the leadership and on the ranks of the CPY. He also counted, perhaps with less confidence, on the people of Yugoslavia.
Tito's principal lieutenants-Edvard Kardelj, his Minister for Foreign Affairs, Aleksandar Rankovic, the Interior Minister, Milovan Djilas, Boris Kidric, Svetozar Vukmanovic-Tempo, Moša Pijade and the others-had been through the same experience with the Russians. Some had been to Moscow to deal with Stalin and Molotov, and to experience their own disillusionment. They stood with Tito from conviction, not just because they were all in it to sink or swim together. Their contributions to the enterprise-Kardelj's intellect, Djilas's arts of persuasion, and Rankovic's tough methods in rounding up "Cominformists" and beating the Soviets at their own game-held the Party together and in charge, defying the efforts of the Kremlin and its international apparatus to subvert it. These men, most of them of the generation that produced idealistic, radical students in the 1930s and Partisan commanders in the war, were an extraordinary group. They provided, at a time when the country was suffering the effects of a devastating war and undergoing social revolution, leadership more effective than Yugoslavia had ever had.
Effective did not mean popular. The Tito regime probably could not have won a free election before 1948, and being a communist regime, had no inclination to try. These men were engaged in putting through a revolution by very tough methods, and were doing it against the will of significant elements in the population-not just remnants of the old ruling class but peasants, middle class democrats, Serbian followers of Draa Mihailovic (whom the regime tried and executed in 1946), Croatian nationalists, Catholics and Orthodox, all who had welcomed liberation from Hitler's "new order" without accepting Tito's. The decision of 1948, accordingly, was taken against a background of less than total popular support for the regime. Yet Tito knew that such a challenge to Stalin required solid backing at home. As it turned out, he got it. The only element in the Yugoslav population on which Stalin could count was the small minority of Cominformists within the CPY, and they were effectively neutralized.
Tito in 1948 had the same unerring political instinct he had shown in leading the resistance to the Germans during the war. It has been said that there is no Yugoslav nationalism, only Serbian or Croatian nationalists mainly interested in fighting each other. But the wartime struggle had shown that Yugoslavs of all the nationalities would fight for Yugoslavia. It was the same in 1948. In that sense Tito had placed himself squarely in what was both a Serbian and a Yugoslav tradition of heroic resistance to outside dictation and domination. The people knew that, whatever the strains and differences at home, the independence of the country was at stake and that the only possible leadership in the struggle was that of Tito. He knew, at the same time, that there would have to be changes in the relations between regime and people to reflect the new realities. From that mutual recognition grew what came to be the new Yugoslavia, the Yugoslavia of Tito's separate road.
Assessments of Tito's career have been many, but in general there is agreement on what his major achievements were. They may be listed as follows:
1) He preserved the country's independence under fierce pressures from outside.
2) He was the unifier, taking charge of a country torn by internal strife and virtually in dissolution and keeping it together for 35 years.
3) He led the struggle, by example and by advocacy, for transformation of the international communist (or socialist) movement into an association of independent parties and states, with no central control from Moscow.
4) He created new types and forms of socialism in practice under the general rubric of socialist self-management.
5) He fostered what the West termed "market socialism," a decentralization of the economy which gave scope for decisions based not on a central plan but on the market, while retaining social ownership of industries.
6) He chose Yugoslavia's place between the power blocs of East and West, aligned with neither but maintaining influence with both.
7) He was a founder and leader of the worldwide nonaligned movement, not only furthering Yugoslavia's own interests but exerting an influence on world affairs far beyond Yugoslavia.
Each of those propositions represents a long and complex story. Let us in each instance give a brief characterization and estimate of Tito's accomplishment.
The first point is bedrock-preservation of the national independence of the country. As we have seen, this was his great service in wartime and again in 1948. He also acted as champion of the national rather than the Marxist cause in striving to gain in the postwar settlement the territories to which Yugoslavs thought themselves entitled, and with considerable success, although the big prize, Trieste, eluded him. Later, after Khrushchev's "trip to Canossa" in 1955 and the resulting ostensible reconciliation, Tito continued the campaign for Soviet recognition of Yugoslavia as an independent and socialist country and got the principle embedded in solemn joint documents issued in Belgrade in 1955, Moscow in 1956, and on various occasions thereafter. So that there would be no misunderstanding about Yugoslavia's will to defend itself, he created, in addition to the regular army, a nation-in-arms on the Swiss model. Relations between socialist states, he maintained, are governed by international law like relations between any other states. If any outside power, socialist or capitalist, wished to impose its will on Yugoslavia, it would have to do so by open attack and would meet Yugoslav resistance (and probably a world war). That was the case in the time of Stalin, and it is still the case today.
The second point is the unification of the country. This was possibly the most miraculous of all Tito's achievements. The nationality struggle fragmented and destroyed the old Yugoslavia, and under the Axis occupation the nationalities were at each other's throats in a paroxysm of hatred and mass murder. The Partisan forces were Yugoslav in makeup and in declared aims. Tito found the formula of reconciliation in equality and in the creation of six federated republics along historic and generally ethnic lines, with two autonomous provinces within the Republic of Serbia that took account of the heavy concentration of non-Slav minorities in those areas. The catch, of course, was that with a dominating Communist Party at the center, autonomy for republics could be as meaningless as in the Soviet Union. That was true at first. It was an imposed fraternal cooperation, with emphasis on the common tasks of remaking the entire society. But the total effect was to put a damper on nationality disputes and to begin to change attitudes. When the struggle with Stalin broke into the open only three years later, not one of the nationalities of Yugoslavia was going to open the doors to Russian domination.
Another severe test came later. With the liberalization of the 1960s and reduction of the central role of the Party, by then renamed the League of Communists (LCY) to emphasize its educational rather than directing function, autonomy for the republics became more real and began to feed on itself. There was a surge of nationalist feeling in Croatia, where the local communist leadership made common cause with non-communist elements to push demands for full autonomy, with symbols of sovereignty, though still within a Yugoslav federation. By the autumn of 1971 this trend, which encouraged the Soviets to see how they could exploit it, had gone intolerably far for Tito. To preserve the unity of the country he summarily removed the Croatian leaders and strengthened the control of Belgrade. Eight years of relative quiet have followed: for Tito, at the end of his reign, a vindication of his decisive action. But the embers of the fire have not been extinguished. It is beyond question that the fallen Croatian leaders were popular, an unusual phenomenon for communists. Only Tito could have dealt with that crisis as he did. A new Yugoslav leadership may have to find a new balance between Yugoslav unity and Croatian pride and self-expression that promises a more stable relationship.
Other nationality problems were never far below the surface, and some had dangerous international complications. One of Tito's boldest strokes was to deal with the age-old Macedonian problem by the experiment of a Macedonian republic within Yugoslavia. It flourished despite uncertain credentials in national consciousness and the claims of Bulgaria that Macedonians are really Bulgarians. Here again, there may be problems in the future but the impressive achievement of the Tito era is there to see. As for the other object of neighborly irredentism, the province of Kosovo with its Albanian majority, Tito was able to contain the problem by calculated concessions to the Albanian inhabitants, the most underprivileged people in Yugoslavia. At the moment nobody wishes to question the inviolability of Yugoslavia's frontiers, and rightly so. In time-and it may be a long time-the issue of self-determination will have to be faced, but it should be possible to face it without detriment to Tito's main achievement of preserving the unity of the South Slav peoples.
The third point is the separate road to socialism. Tito's decisive "no" in 1948 had many dimensions. It is remarkable how many of the great achievements of his career seem to flow from it. It deprived the Soviets of what they thought was a satellite, and of anticipated strategic positions in the Mediterranean. It gave a solid base to Yugoslav solidarity and unity not there before. It opened doors to the West, and later to the Third World under the banner of nonalignment. It forced a reassessment of relations between regime and people. Finally, most galling to the Soviet leadership, it led to Tito's separate road. Yugoslavia not only set an example and loudly advertised it-to the Chinese, to Eastern Europe, to the communists of Western Europe and of the entire world; it also implacably persisted, year after year, in campaigning for the right of every communist party or state to determine its own policies.
Tito did so at bilateral meetings with Soviet leaders. Whether excluded from international communist powwows (as those in Moscow in 1960 and 1969) or participating (as in East Berlin in 1976 where the Yugoslavs teamed up with the Romanians, the Italians and Spaniards to frustrate the Soviets) his colleagues have carried the torch and carried the message. China's break with Moscow and the growth of Eurocommunism may be more important manifestations of the breakup of world communism as a Soviet-dominated movement. But Tito was the first. He established the principle.
From the standpoint of the challenge to Moscow, the actual shape taken by Titoism in Yugoslavia is not so important. So long as it was not on Moscow's line, it was revisionism. For Yugoslavs, however, it was important, because they were the ones who underwent the experiment, a remarkable combination of old and new ideas, of adaptation, trial and error, of unworkable theory and unpredictable practice, in an ever changing interaction between leadership and people. At the core of change was the need of the regime, facing pressures from without and within, to reach some modus vivendi with the people.
From the 1950 law on workers' councils to the laws on basic organizations of associated labor recently worked out, the Yugoslav road to socialism shows a record of change departing radically from the Soviet system, allowing considerable freedom of expression and popular representation at the level of factory and commune, and modifying but not removing the ultimate political dominance of the League of Communists. Halfway down the road, in the years following the 6th Congress held in 1952 (which had decreed the change in name from Party to League), it looked as if its directing role might gradually wither away. Erosion did indeed take place, but Tito himself reversed the process in the early 1970s when what he saw as excesses of nationalism in Croatia and of liberalism in Serbia and elsewhere impelled him to purge the offenders and return to greater central control and discipline. At the 10th Congress of the LCY in 1974 no kind words were spoken about the 6th.
Yugoslavia's present constitution is a complex and repetitive document adopted in that same year. The institutional structure is largely the work of Edvard Kardelj, theorist of self-managing socialism and Tito's lifelong colleague who died in 1979. It defies brief analysis; much of it defies analysis altogether and is imperfectly understood by Yugoslav officials and citizens alike, although enormous effort goes into making the institutions work. The big question for the future is whether this particular balance between centralized control on the one hand and limited freedom and pluralism on the other can endure. Tito's achievement was in making the experiment in socialist self-management possible. The forms it has taken are no model for the rest of the world. Yet they have responded in many ways, even as they have changed over time, to the political realities and international position of Yugoslavia.
In economic, even more than in political, measures, Yugoslavia under Tito was willing to experiment. Once the leaders got over the idea of trying to show Stalin they were better Stalinists than he, they set about dealing with their own practical problems. Yugoslavia has had some good economists and organizers (a few with experience dating back to prewar days), who have found ways within the overall commitment to socialism to encourage the productive energies of managers, workers and peasants. The resulting market socialism helped in resisting Stalin's economic warfare, in utilizing Western aid, in making credible Yugoslavia's separate and nonaligned road, and in raising the living standards of the people. It also produced many problems characteristic of countries trying to develop at a pace exceeding their capabilities and resources. Yet while the economy has appeared to be periodically, even chronically, in a state of crisis, it has always managed to make adjustments and reforms, reschedule debts, export its unemployed, get more foreign aid, and somehow muddle through.
Tito was neither an ideologue nor an expert in economics. He looked for practical results and was ever aware of the political aspects of economic decisions. Thus, he intervened whenever he saw economic policy veering too far in one direction or another. He admired order, not consumerism, especially when the latter seemed to be corrupting the discipline of Party and people. But his abandonment of central planning was sincere. He did not go back on it in the general retreat from liberalism in the 1970s; and he took pride in what the market system had achieved, a better life for Yugoslavia's people.
In foreign policy Tito sought always to find the counterweight to where the pressure was. In 1945-48 he felt threatened by the Western powers, which he saw supporting Italy on Trieste, opposing him in Austria and Greece, and encouraging his domestic enemies. That they saw him as the advance guard of Soviet expansion did not alter his perceptions. After 1948 he turned, with obvious reluctance, to the West for help in resisting pressure from the East, and in the next few years drew closer to the Western powers than was generally recognized, taking military as well as economic aid, engaging in strategy talks, signing an alliance with Greece and Turkey that linked Yugoslavia indirectly to NATO, and settling the Trieste dispute with Italy. The reconciliation with Khrushchev in 1955 then made it possible to move to a middle position, where he felt more comfortable and more secure, dealing with both sides on his own terms and with no binding ties to anyone. Global cold war, however, has its dangers for Yugoslavia, so Tito worked assiduously on behalf of détente, arms reduction, and the negotiations on security and cooperation in Europe that led to Helsinki in 1975.
Tito saw Communist China, very early in the game, as a major factor in the world balance and, as a communist state which had made its own revolution, a natural ally of Yugoslavia against Soviet hegemony. His hopes were at first disappointed, for Mao was not friendly but openly hostile and after the Sino-Soviet break denounced Yugoslav "revisionism" more vigorously than ever. But in time, as the Chinese turned to a policy of containment of "Soviet social imperialism," they were ready for good relations with Belgrade.
Tito, always the enthusiastic world traveler, made a point of visiting the capitals of the United States, the U.S.S.R. and China, stressing cooperation with all three. It might seem a little ridiculous, a Balkan potentate keeping the world's superpowers in balance, but he was serving not only the interests of Yugoslavia but also of others beyond Yugoslavia, and because he was Tito he was taken seriously.
As for nonalignment as a world movement, Tito first saw it as a means of enlisting Third World support for his country's independence against Soviet pressures, just as he had turned to the Western powers and to the United Nations. Then, after he achieved a position of greater freedom of maneuver between East and West, he saw the possibilities of an expanded global role in association with the leaders of the anticolonial revolution, and he was off and running with Nehru, Nasser, Sukarno and the others. It was a steadily expanding policy from the late 1950s onward, the centerpiece of the evolving Yugoslav interpretation of world trends, generating diplomacy on the grand scale and also the accretions of a new mythology.
How much it all helped from the standpoint of the security and economy of Yugoslavia is debatable. It certainly added prestige, for as a leader and the only European member of the club, Yugoslavia held a special position. But it was not an easy game to play. Being an ally of the great wave of anticolonial movements and of states born in revolution throughout the Third World was heady wine; yet at the same time the Yugoslavs had to be careful that they and the anti-imperialism of the Third World, to which they were ideologically and emotionally attached, not be swept up in the train of the anti-imperialist global strategy of the Kremlin. As Tito's early companions in the nonaligned movement disappeared, and the ranks expanded to include such members as North Korea and South Yemen, he found himself on the defensive in later years, trying to cope with the pro-Soviet maneuvers of the likes of Fidel Castro.
Tito carried on to the end, speaking his mind at the conference of the nonaligned held in Havana last year, in his 88th year. He was, as was so often said, bigger than his country. But he remained rooted in Yugoslavia. He never overplayed his hand, nor forgot how he had acquired his world reputation.
As one looks at Tito's record of achievement, what comes through is the extraordinary, almost instinctive, comprehension of the realities of Yugoslavia and of world politics, plus a capacity for bold decision. A convinced Marxist but no student or servant of doctrine, he found his guide in the understanding and balancing of human forces. He let men like Kardelj and Djilas spin theories and write books, fitting theory to practice rather than the other way round (and when Djilas wrote too freely, Tito removed him from the leadership).
Tito learned the arts of government by governing, as he learned the art of war by fighting. His flexibility as a practical politician enabled him to deal with crises that a doctrinaire or despotic approach might have turned into explosions or total failure. By letting his subordinates improvise and carry on policies, he reserved his authority and prestige for moments of decision, as in 1966 when he finally dismissed his old friend Aleksandar Rankovic and gave the liberals their head, or in 1972 when he cracked down on those same liberals to reassert the authority of the LCY.
Some of Tito's policies and decisions may exact a price in the future. In his old age he seemed to many to become more arbitrary, more difficult to deal with, more conservative in the sense of making the Yugoslav brand of "democratic centralism" more centralist and less democratic, more reluctant to speak out against the Soviet Union. Some say that in the context of Yugoslavia's long-term political course he may have stayed at the helm too long, for others could not emerge from his shadow so long as he was there. And by the time of his death he had pushed out of active politics many of his former lieutenants who were most capable of carrying on after him. But none, colleague or critic, would question the magnitude of his achievement. At his death Yugoslavia was independent, united, respected in the world, and with the chance to build its own future.
The achievement is the legacy. What will the heirs do with it? Will Titoism long survive Tito? The world press has been filled with dire predictions. The Red Army will invade. Serbs and Croats will fall upon each other in fratricidal combat. A struggle for power will give the Russians their opening. The economy will collapse. It is not impossible that one or more of these things will happen. But to assume that only the personality of Tito has kept them from happening is both to overrate his role-he did not do it all by himself-and to underrate it, for his legacy is based on Yugoslavia's past and on its future, on human beings; on leaders and ordinary citizens, with a clear concept of vital national interests and the desire and means to pursue them.
Many things are uncertain, such as how post-Brezhnev Russia will act toward post-Tito Yugoslavia. Tito's absence will surely make a difference in the conduct of both domestic and foreign policy, because he cannot be replaced by any one individual-at least not for some time-in the exercise of ultimate authority, and there is no one in the new leadership with the same weight in the councils of the world. What is important is what happens to the structure and the system.
The questions to be answered by future events are the obvious ones. Can the political and economic institutions inherited from Tito stand the strains that are bound to come? Have the local nationalisms been sufficiently tamed or appeased, or will the old urges for Serbian domination, Croatian independence, Macedonian secession or Albanian irredentism divide the leadership and threaten national unity? Can the will to independence hold firm against direct or indirect attempts to break it? Will Yugoslavia maintain its balance between the blocs and its status as an influential nonaligned country? No one can give foolproof answers to these questions, but there are some basic factors, both in the achievements of the Tito era and in the continuing Yugoslav reality, that support certain rough conclusions.
First, if Yugoslavia was an artificial country when it was put together after World War I, it is one no longer. Its nationalities have lived together in the same state (except for the period of occupation in World War II) for some 60 years. Conflict exists, but not at the level of the pre-Tito era. It is often said that Tito was the only Yugoslav (King Alexander said the same thing of himself); the others are all Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, and so on. That is substantially though not entirely true, but not necessarily fatal for the country. People of all nationalities defended the independence of Yugoslavia against Hitler and against Stalin. They know there is no real political or economic alternative to unity, except the loss of independence for all. If the Soviets are looking for a credible leader, Serb or Croat, to invite them in, they may have to look indefinitely.
Of course, the risk of failure will not necessarily discourage men with a single aim or a sacred cause, whether they are in Moscow, in Zagreb or elsewhere. But it should be clear by now, within the existing balance of power in Europe, how dangerous to all concerned, including the Soviet Union, the breakup of Yugoslavia would be.
The practical question for the Yugoslavs is what kind of federal or confederative relations among the republics and nationalities will best achieve their political self-expression, cultural identity and mutual understanding, and at the same time provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare. It is likely that some looser relationship than Tito permitted would be more satisfying to the Croats, and plausible that in the long run the unity of the country would be the stronger for it. This is a matter of evolution, one that will tax the statesmanship of the post-Tito leadership in Croatia and in the country as a whole.
Second, and perhaps equally critical, is the future evolution of political institutions and the role of the LCY. Tito presided over the diminution of Party control in the 1960s and over the recentralization of the 1970s. It is a question how complete that reversal was or could be, given the fact that Yugoslav society so drastically changed over the years in all respects: in the economy, in education and the professions, in the everyday life of the people, and in the ranks of the League itself. The guiding role of the LCY was reaffirmed in official documents and to some degree in practice (partly because Tito was there to insist on it), but the leaders who will now have governing responsibility cannot count on the principle to work automatically.
Tito outlived, physically and politically, many of those who were his heirs apparent. Kardelj, Kidric, Veljko Vlahovic, Vlado Popovic and others have died. Djilas and Rankovic were ousted years ago and can hardly be expected to come back. Many others fell by the wayside in the turmoil of the early 1970s. Leadership thus skips a generation, with power now coming into the hands of younger men, many of them untested, plus a few of the remaining veterans. There will be a kind of shakedown cruise in which it should become apparent which of them will form the controlling group and how they will share power among themselves and with others. It is a process in which the question of nationality will be important, as will the personal strengths and weaknesses of the various individuals. The outcome, in terms of who will stand where, is unpredictable.
There is nothing sacrosanct about the specific institutions bequeathed by Tito. It is hard to think of anything more cumbersome than the rotating nine-man presidency of the country or the 24-man presidency of the LCY. These arrangements have a logic in the preservation of legal equality among the republics, but the real tests will come in the efforts to achieve a durable balance of the elements of real power and to provide effective government. The complex of workers' councils, self-governing communes, basic organizations of associated labor, indirect elections and the hierarchy of assemblies was another part of Tito's (and specifically Kardelj's) answer to the problem of how to combine popular participation with essential control. Some of it will endure, some will not.
The challenge to Tito's heirs will be to retain the vital element in his legacy, which is the governability of the country. Ability to change may be more significant than ability to maintain. Actually, the new men are less attached than Tito to the mystique of certain Leninist principles and forms that Tito, with his Moscow background, never lost. They have made their careers in post-1948 Yugoslavia. They will do well to maintain a readiness to experiment and to compromise such as Tito showed in the 1950s and 1960s. They may also find that they can build solidly on popular support only by enlarging the area of real political freedom which the system permits, and by drawing back into public life some of the talented leaders whose taint of liberalism or nationalism kept them on the outside so long as Tito himself was in charge.
In international affairs the established credo is that Yugoslav foreign policy derives from the country's status as independent, socialist and nonaligned. That should continue to be valid in the future, although some things will change. Concerning independence there should be no question. The socialist content of Yugoslavia's policy will also remain, as long as it sees itself as a socialist society and as part of a worldwide trend toward socialism, and is seen as such by other states and parties which bear a Marxist label. Thus, the standing challenge to Moscow's claim to either ideological or political primacy in the "socialist world" will remain.
The cult of nonalignment will also continue, but Yugoslavia's role and influence in the Third World is bound to decline without Tito's prestige and presence. This may well be in Yugoslavia's own interest, for its central concerns always have been and will always be where its security is at stake, in Europe. There, a rapprochement with Western Europe is indicated, first in economic relations and then in other matters, which could take place without changing Yugoslavia's uncommitted stand between the two superpowers, especially if Western Europe in its world role becomes increasingly independent of the United States. For its ultimate security against Soviet threats and attack, Yugoslavia, like Western Europe, will have to rely on America, but in the less cosmic concerns of foreign policy the Yugoslavs should find the European connection politically congenial, economically rewarding, and not unrelated to their security. Tito in his unbending independence would not have countenanced it, but his successors may not be so concerned about the effect of bourgeois decadence on the purity of Yugoslav socialism, and there would be no cutting of ties with the East or abandonment of détente.
"We will keep the faith, Comrade Tito," Yugoslavia's leaders are now saying, "and preserve what you have bequeathed to us." It is a safe prediction that the full legacy will not long survive intact, for the reason that Yugoslavia will change and world conditions will change, not without startling events now unforeseen. The problems will surely be formidable, and parts of the structure are fragile and interdependent: an economic crisis, for example, could sharpen the antagonism between nationalities and leaders, which in turn could undermine political stability and foreign policy. But the foundation stones laid by Tito's achievement, if not the entire superstructure, should endure. No one should underestimate the strengths and abilities of the peoples of Yugoslavia. Given the record of the past, they have reason for confidence.