Courtesy Reuters

THE launching of the Soviet earth satellite and the approach of the missile age have produced a remarkable debate within the free world and particularly within the Western Alliance. All the evasions of the past decade--the inability to develop a strategy for NATO that is meaningful to all its members, the oscillation between a mechanical intransigence toward the Soviet Union and an equally mechanical conciliation, the penchant for trying to combine maximum security with minimum commitment--had inevitably to produce a sense of frustration in which almost any change of course would seem preferable to continuing on the present road.

Ever since our atomic monoply ended we have been reluctant to face the fact that a time would come when the ability of the two major Powers to devastate each other might cancel itself out --at least with reference to most issues in dispute. The freezing of the status quo in Europe essentially along the lines of the furthest Soviet advance in 1945 was bound to produce resentment or despair in the countries most immediately affected--in Germany with respect to unification and in the East European satellites with respect to regaining a measure of independence from Soviet domination. The disappointments of the

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.

  • HENRY A. KISSINGER, Associate Director of the Harvard Center for International Affairs and Director of Special Studies of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; author of "Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy"
  • More By Henry A. Kissinger