The Downside of Imperial Collapse
When Empires or Great Powers Fall, Chaos and War Rise
The Soviet attitude toward the development of European unity has been ambivalent in both politics and economics. The Kremlin, unable to interpret the European movement accurately, has oscillated from one reaction to another. Meanwhile the processes of change within the Communist world, intensified by the Sino-Soviet schism, were creating the preconditions for a new historical relationship between the Western and the Eastern parts of the old Continent.
The Treaty of Rome, establishing Euratom and the Common Market, was signed March 25, 1957. It was not a sudden move. Coming after many years of discussion and prolonged negotiations, it climaxed the efforts initiated by the Marshall Plan in the late 1940s. Yet despite this lengthy prelude, the Communist leaders at first seemed unable to perceive the Common Market's full implications, and as a result their responses to it have been characterized by a high degree of confusion and inconsistency.
In the seven years that have since elapsed, the Soviet analysis of European developments, of the Common Market, of the role of the United States, of the reëmergence of France, and of the new Franco-German relationship has undergone several radical revisions. In part, these revisions were necessitated by the rapid flow of events. It would be wrong to imply that flexibility of analysis is in itself proof of the inadequacy of the original analysis. But Soviet statements also reveal that Soviet policy- makers were struggling hard to perceive the implications of a new reality which somehow did not fit their ideologically influenced categories.
An examination of the major Soviet pronouncements and, even more important, of the discussions in the serious academic Soviet journals on foreign affairs, suggests that the evolution and revision of Soviet thinking may be seen in terms of four successive major themes, one of course overlapping with the next. The latter qualification is important, because it would be misleading to suggest that at any given point the Soviet mood was fixed and absolutely rigid; within a certain wide spectrum there was a continuous debate.
Thus, broadly speaking, immediately prior to the Treaty of Rome and for a while afterwards, Soviet spokesmen stressed the proposition that politically the Common Market was an American plot to subordinate Europe and that economically it was unimportant. In the late fifties, the emphasis shifted to the political threat represented by Germany (or, as a variant, to the danger of a joint American-German hegemony), while economically the Common Market was seen in an ambivalent light-no longer simply dismissed as an insignificant irrelevance but not yet taken quite seriously. In the early sixties, uncertainty pervaded the political analysis, especially in defining the Soviet stand toward British participation in the Common Market; but economically the ambivalence gave way to at best a thinly veiled fear of the Common Market's impact on the Communist world. Finally, from mid-1962, the political analyses began to lay primary emphasis on the Franco-German threat, while the economic analyses welcomed any open manifestations of "imperialist contradictions."
In June 1957, the authoritative Moscow Institute of World Economy and International Relations published its basic theses "On the Creation of the Common Market and Euratom," in which it dismissed categorically, as an illusory hope, the proposition advanced by some supporters of the Common Market that eventually it would make Europe independent of America. Moreover, Soviet observers, writing in the authoritative International Affairs, saw it as expressing an inherent capitalist tendency toward domination "by one leading imperialist power over others" and leading toward "American tutelage over France and the whole of Western Europe." As a result, the West European countries would be "robbed" of any possibility of pursuing an independent economic policy. The treaty was defined as "one of the most important links in the chain of Europe's economic and political subordination to the aggressive plans of U. S. monopoly capitalism." However, the writers (introducing a theme which subsequently was to become dominant) warned that the long-range beneficiary of the treaty would be West Germany.
Remarkably little attention was paid to the economic aspects. For example, a joint meeting of the editorial board of International Affairs and of the Department of Political Economy of the Academy of Social Sciences of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. in April 1958, which was devoted to the subject of "The Present Economic Situation in. the Capitalist World," barely deigned to mention the Common Market, and then only in passing, but instead concentrated on the more ideologically satisfactory matter of "the sharpening of contradictions" in Western Europe. The view tended to be that these contradictions were fundamentally insoluble and that the Common Market would founder on them.
Partly for tactical reasons, and perhaps in part because of genuine fears, the Soviet Union by 1958 had also stepped up the theme of German domination in West Europe. Not surprisingly, the warnings were most frequently addressed to France, in keeping with the broad thrust of Soviet propaganda since the West began in the early fifties to promote West German rearmament. The Common Market was increasingly represented as a joint American-German conspiracy, designed particularly to subordinate France. Numerous articles appeared in Soviet journals "proving" that West German monopolies were extending their sway over all of West Europe and underpinning the American effort to secure political supremacy. French interests were depicted as either sacrificed by disloyal French ruling classes or incapable of resisting this overwhelming onslaught. The constant leitmotiv was that French and German national interests were irreconcilable. Even after General de Gaulle had come to power this view continued to dominate. Some Soviet commentators did gradually concede that the German and French "bourgeoisies" had certain common interests, that outside the French Communist Party "there is no political group of any importance in France which demands an end to the policy of alliance with German militarism," and that there might even be some temporary benefits accruing to French big business from such a rapprochement. But the argument usually turned on the basic proposition that France was becoming West Germany's junior partner and that this was inevitable, given the constellation of economic power.
Earlier contemptuous dismissals of the economic importance of the Common Market gradually gave way to a greater, if rather ambivalent, interest in it. Internal economic difficulties were gleefully discussed, and much attention was devoted to the clash of interests between the E.E.C. and EFTA. This was held to validate the original proposition that from an economic standpoint the enterprise was doomed to fail. Somewhat inconsistently, however, and certainly in conflict with the analysis made in 1957 by the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, there began to appear by late 1959 the theme of European-American economic competition. Although France and Germany were still said to be in basic economic conflict, they were seen as already jointly challenging American hegemony, and Secretary Dillon's mission to Europe was described by Pravda (December 12, 1959) as an effort to overcome West Europe's attempts "to weaken somewhat the course of American economic 'guidance'." Thus West European economic unity, said to be an impossibility, was paradoxically portrayed as challenging the American economic domination which was held to have been enhanced by American efforts to enforce that same European unity.
Within a year, the original thesis of American domination was officially buried. In September 1960, a contributor to International Affairs declared that "in contemporary conditions the former U. S. approach to West European economic problems, as only a means of reinforcing the NATO military bloc, is clearly outdated. The United States has lost control over the process of West Europe's economic integration." This was made authoritative a year later with Khrushchev's statement to the Twenty-second C.P.S.U. Congress, which noted that the United States had lost its "absolute superiority" in the capitalist world economy and that this decline, shared also by England and France, was paralleled by the growing power of West Germany and Japan. However, the political implications seem to have been quite hazy to the Soviet leaders. Khrushchev, abandoning hope of inter-imperialist wars, still stressed intensifying contradictions while speaking of the decline of the United States, Britain and France.
The crux of the political uncertainty was the problem of British participation in the Common Market. Since the whole venture was described as an imperialist plot-first purely American and then increasingly taken over by the Franco-German bourgeoisie-the Soviet leaders found difficulty in favoring the adherence of other nations to it. Furthermore, the Kremlin instinctively welcomed the conflict between the E.E.C. and EFTA, and feared that the United Kingdom's entry into the Common Market would automatically spell the end of that particular "imperialist contradiction." At the same time, however, the Soviet leaders were probably sincerely concerned lest the decline in relative American power be balanced by a consequent increase in German influence, or possibly a Franco-German constellation, thereby giving the Common Market a more anti-Soviet complexion. They doubtless felt that German aspirations were likely to conflict more directly with their own than the more defensive American and British desire to forge an Atlantic community, with the Elbe its eastern limit.
Thus the Soviet leaders were torn by conflicting considerations. From an economic point of view, Britain's membership in the Common Market would be a further denial of the underlying premises of their ideological perspective; it would round out an even more powerful economic "capitalist" world; and it would be certain to have a further negative impact on the trade of the Soviets and of Communist East Europe. More broadly still, it would intensify the historical appeal of European unity; and this was a consideration which Moscow could not entirely neglect in view of the revisionist mood among the youth of East Europe and even Russia. By the middle of 1962 the Soviet leaders seem to have awakened to the realization that the Common Market was a reality, and, perhaps overcompensating for their past belief in its "insoluble internal contradictions," they now began to speak of it as a powerful and dangerous instrument of imperialist aggression. In this light, any further expansion of it was unwelcome. At the same time, something would be gained if Britain joined. Germany would be balanced; a restraining voice, perhaps eventually even a pacifist one, would be introduced (so the Soviets reasoned) into the political councils of the Common Market; and what seemed advantageous, the entire political structure would become more complex. As Moscow belatedly began to perceive that a Franco-German axis was being formed, Britain looked like a good counterweight.[i]
This ambivalence about Britain's political role in the Common Market was matched by a growing concern over the organization's economic implications, and the two together made for a very uncertain general line. In May 1962 Khrushchev delivered a major attack on the Common Market and urged that an international conference be convened to produce in its stead a worldwide trade organization of which the Communist bloc would be a part. This left little doubt that the Common Market was now being taken seriously and was being interpreted not only as a direct threat to the Communist world but also as an effective mechanism for establishing closer bonds between the Western world and the developing nations. New theses of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, published shortly afterwards, while still speaking about the "knot of imperialist contradictions" as well as now also noting the French and German claims to leadership in Europe, grudgingly acknowledged that the Common Market could "provide an impetus to increasing the volume of production and of domestic and foreign trade." This was coupled with a strong plea for the most-favored-nation principle.[ii] These proposals were clearly not being made from a position of economic strength.
Soviet optimism was given a new lease on life by General de Gaulle's press conference of January 14, 1963. It was triumphantly proclaimed that "this confirms what Marxists have said all along: Underneath the thin crust of 'Atlantic Unity' there boils the hot lava of imperialist contradictions." For the time being, fears of Franco-German imperialism were laid aside and the event was seen as renewed proof of the West's inevitable decline. The whole Western Alliance was represented as being at stake, and, while Soviet reporting on the whole took a sympathetic tone toward Britain's plight, the dominant note was clearly one of jubilation. But more somber voices were also heard, and it did not take long for Moscow to perceive that fundamentally not much had really been changed, that the economic threat still persisted, and that in some ways the political picture had become more ominous. V. Nekrasov, writing in Izvestia, warned that Britain's exclusion facilitated the transformation of the Common Market into a political-military bloc (the theme of contradictions being quietly ignored), and by the middle of the year Moscow was addressing urgent pleas to Paris (Soviet note of May 17, 1963) not to further the nuclear rearmament of West Germany, and unashamedly appealing to the pride of the French (only a short time before portrayed as German vassals): "It will be no exaggeration to say that if the Soviet Union and France, the two greatest powers of the European continent, were to act in concert on the basic issues on which the future of Europe depends, then no forces could rise up and attempt to redraw the map of Europe." The change from contempt to flattery was caused both by the impact of the Common Market on the East and by the reappearance of a French foreign policy.
The foregoing discussion suggests that the Soviets were impeded in gaining any clear perception of the Common Market by: 1, ideological rigidity, with strong emphasis on "inherent" economic contradictions in capitalism; 2, an assumption that old national animosities in Europe would endure, particularly those between France and Germany; 3, a fixation on the American position in Europe and the resulting tendency to judge everything in terms of it; 4, an overestimation of the importance of the failure of the E.D.C. and hence the belief that the E.E.C. would also fail; and 5, a general ignorance of developments in the West, caused by lack of personal contacts and lack of understanding of dominant trends of Western thought, the outcome of many years of self-imposed isolation.
If a sense of Soviet weakness and concern was discernible in the realm of politics and ideology, it was even more clear and also more warranted in the economic field. The simple fact was that trade with Western Europe was more important to the Communist states than to Western Europe, and the development of the Common Market, with its internal tariff arrangements and new internal trade patterns, was thus a formidable threat. The device chosen to counteract it was a strengthening of the Council of Economic Mutual Assistance, a long-dormant Stalinist organization of the East European nations and the Soviet Union, which had been revived in the mid- fifties to compensate for the decline in direct Soviet political control over the satellites. The situation faced by CEMA was that its trade with the E.E.C. represented a percentage of its total trade 2.3 times higher than the corresponding percentage of the E.E.C.'s trade with CEMA, relative to the E.E.C.'s total trade. Further, while the trade of some of the Communist states with the Common Market did not represent a very significant portion of their total trade, it did represent a major part of their total trade with the "capitalist" world and was a prime source of hard currency.
Because of these considerations, Communist leaders feared the consequences of lowered customs among the Common Market countries, combined with the introduction of uniform customs duties in respect to non-member countries. They also feared that the endeavor to establish a common agricultural policy, aiming at self-sufficiency, might affect adversely the exports of some of the East European countries. Finally, they were uneasy lest the effort to establish a general commercial policy regarding non-members might give the business community in Common Market countries a new lever in dealings with the East. This was stated frankly by a Polish journal in August 1963: "A common commercial policy of the Common Market countries creates the possibility of a simultaneous stopping of imports or exports by all six member countries. Let us simply recall the embargo in the recent period of the cold war to realize the full danger contained in this intention of the Common Market countries."[iii]
In public, the Soviet reaction to the economic impact of the Common Market was to thunder against it as a political and economic plot. The substantive reaction, beginning in 1960, was to accelerate efforts to develop the Council of Economic Mutual Assistance. Under its auspices economic specialization has been introduced into several branches of the heavy industry of member nations; preliminary steps have been taken to establish broad guidelines for national economic planning over a twenty-year period; and, after a long delay, multilateral economic institutions have begun to make their appearance. The operations of CEMA, hitherto largely an ad hoc body, were also regularized and institutionalized, and a formal charter was promulgated, outlining in some detail its scope and modus operandi. In October 1963 a CEMA agreement was signed, providing for a common bank for clearing purposes, based on a gold ruble (a scheme obviously copied from West European experience). Energetic efforts were also made to create the necessary statistical basis for effective common planning (a matter of particular importance, given the absence of the market mechanism), and several multilateral economic projects were undertaken involving common pipelines, rail stock, communication cables, etc.
The quest for economically "rational" specialization, however, soon proved incompatible with specific national interests in the Soviet bloc, given the wide disparities in levels of industrial development and proficiency. Applied strictly, it was bound to favor the more industrially developed nations, i.e. the Soviet Union, East Germany and Czechoslovakia. As a result, the move was opposed by the less developed states, and especially by Rumania, which saw favorable opportunities for its own industrial development. As a Rumanian spokesman said: "Just as on the domestic scene an absolutist criterion of efficiency cannot be countenanced, so in the field of specialization and coöperation between the socialist countries, economic efficiency and profitability cannot be accepted as the one and only criterion with which to evaluate new economic steps." And he asserted: "Building Communism on a world-wide scale is incompatible with the notion of dividing countries into industrial states and agrarian states, into developed countries and underdeveloped countries."[iv]
Two factors made it difficult to refute the point made by the Rumanians. One was the development of the Common Market, which, on the one hand, involved the rapid industrial development of a relatively backward country such as Italy (thereby creating an embarrassing example) and, on the other, could present the Rumanians with tempting trade arrangements (e.g. the French have already shown an interest in developing the Rumanian oil industry). The other was the development of internal complications within the Communist world. The Chinese, in their attacks on Moscow, have pointedly raised the matter of discriminatory economic development, and this item the Rumanians have demonstratively republished in their own press. Here again, the relative ability of the Common Market to solve similar problems was bound to intrude into the Communist discussions. Indeed, one may suspect that the resentment of the Chinese leaders at the Soviet failure to help their economic development adequately was fed by the sight of the extensive and effective American aid to Europe. The resulting spectacular European recovery contrasted sharply with continued Chinese failures and with the lack of interest shown by the Soviets, and in that way contributed to internal Communist dissension.
The economic and the ideological impact of the Common Market thus challenged the basic proposition of the Communists that they have the key to the future. There were political factors, too, which made them pay more attention to the new strength of Western Europe, among them their failure to resolve the Berlin issue in their favor and the gradual reëmergence of France as an independent European force.
The political challenge was personified by de Gaulle and expressed through his assertively independent French policy for Europe. In its short-range aspect, this policy raised the immediate problem of the organization and distribution of power in the West; in its longer-range aspect, it called for the definition of a new relationship with the East. By 1963, the outlines of the former were clear, and the latter, although still tentative, were beginning to take shape.
De Gaulle's policy in the West rested on his confidence in the durability of West Europe's new economic structure and in the capacity of the United States to deter any Soviet military action against Western Europe. If the basic European motivation in the late forties can be said to have been fear of Soviet aggression, in the early sixties it was self-confidence. Taking this as his point of departure, de Gaulle pressed steadily to diminish American political influence on the Continent and to replace it by Franco- German concord. Given the limits imposed on German rearmament and, more important, the moral and political factors involved, he could reasonably assume that the political (and perhaps also military) leadership in that relationship would inevitably be exercised by France. To assure that end, and also to increase Europe's influence on American military policy (at least to the point of achieving the capacity to involve the United States even against its desire), de Gaulle undertook to transform France into a nuclear power. The long-range importance of this more than compensated, in his view, for the temporary isolation and even unpopularity of France. Only so could he defeat the Anglo-Saxon conception of an Atlantic community in which, as he saw it, the political and military power would be controlled almost entirely from Washington and London. A tightly integrated Western Europe subject to such "external" control would be, as he put it on September 28, 1963, a Europe "without soul, without backbone, and without roots," subject "to one or the other of the two foreign hegemonies."
Consequently, in his view, such a Europe would become the tool of the two superpowers, the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R., which in fact had no incompatible interests in Europe at the time. Moscow, it would seem, no longer expected to be able to swallow up (in the near future, at least) the rest of Europe, and was content to remain on the Elbe, busy consolidating its rear. America, despite what its leaders said, accepted that division. De Gaulle stated his belief in this quite openly on July 29, 1963: "The United States, which since Yalta and Potsdam has had nothing to demand from the Soviets, now sees prospects of understanding opening before it. The result is the separate negotiations between the Anglo-Saxons and the Soviets, which, starting from the restricted nuclear test agreement, appear about to be extended to other questions, notably European questions, and so far in the absence of any Europeans. This obviously runs counter to the views of France." Having held America responsible for the division of Europe, de Gaulle then asserted that in time "a complete change in the relations between East and West in Europe" would become possible and that "when this day comes, and I have said this before, France expects to make constructive proposals concerning the peace, equilibrium, and destiny of Europe."
De Gaulle has given several hints as to what these "constructive proposals" might be. In brief, they involve the absorption of East Europe and Russia in a larger European community, based on a common cultural and historical heritage and defined geographically in a speech by the French leader on March 25, 1959. In that speech he launched the slogan of "Europe to the Urals," linking it to an eloquent plea for a common sense of European enterprise:
We, who live between the Atlantic and the Urals, we, who are Europe, possessing with Europe's daughter, America, the principal sources and resources of civilization . . . why do we not pool a percentage of our raw materials, our manufactured goods, our food products, some of our scientists, technologists, economists, some of our trucks, ships, and aircraft in order to vanquish misery, develop the resources, and the trust in work, of less developed peoples? Let us do this not that they should be the pawns of our policies, but to improve the chances of life and peace. How much more worthwhile that would be than the territorial demands, ideological claims, imperialist ambitions which are leading the world to its death!
Since then de Gaulle has frequently alluded to this concept. Clearly, he sees its realization as culminating in a lengthy process of transformation within the Communist states, perhaps accelerated by the Sino-Soviet conflict and the growing attraction of Europe and the Common Market. Accordingly, de Gaulle has cultivated China, hoping that Russia's new encirclement might even make her anxious to become part of Europe.
In spite of de Gaulle's close ties with Germany, which he sees as the backbone for independent European action, he has hoped gradually to accelerate the process of amalgamating Russia into Europe by lessening the fear of the East Europeans of a renewed German "Drang nach Osten." In this connection he has gone further than Washington. He has seen that acceptance of the present Polish-German frontier on the Oder-Neisse Rivers as permanent is the sine qua non for drawing Poland back into the European orbit.[v] And obviously, given the geographic location of Poland and its present links with Russia, it would be the vital link in any eventual return of Russia to a European orientation.
De Gaulle's preoccupation with East Europe reveals the strong element of French sacro egoismo and deception in his policy. Since his concept of Europe is one led by France, it follows that the two best alternatives for France are (1) Europe divided on the Elbe, in which a divided Germany depends on France for eventual reunification, or (2) a united Europe including not only a 70-million-strong Germany but also East Europe (and even Russia) , for the latter combined with France would more than balance Germany. He therefore could not welcome a reunification of Germany while East Europe remained in the hands of a hostile and perhaps fearful Russia. For this reason, he welcomes and yet abuses the present American policy, which implicitly accepts the division of Germany at the Elbe while explicitly preaching reunification but with the eastern frontiers of Germany undefined (thus leaving the Poles no alternative but to support Moscow and Pankow wholeheartedly). This policy further makes it possible for France to gain German support simply by adopting verbally a more militant stand than the United States or Britain on such issues as Berlin. For the time being, German immobilisme on the subject of frontiers, together with the Hallstein doctrine and American tolerance of the division of Europe, are all in keeping with de Gaulle's wishes: since it is too early to move in the East, Franco-German political unity in the West should be forged meanwhile at the expense of "passive" America. If the United States and Germany should move now to recognize the Oder-Neisse line and attempt a political-economic penetration of Eastern Europe, France would be found unprepared and unable to exercise leadership. But in time, de Gaulle figures, Germany will realize the futility of the present American approach to its problems; then the moment will be ripe for France to seek actively a "Europe to the Urals." (Could the Soviet realm beyond the Urals be an inducement for the Chinese?)
The Soviet reaction as de Gaulle's design unfolded has been guarded, but there have been signs of mounting concern. Initially, the Soviet leaders seemed to welcome French restiveness simply because it represented a new complication for the arch rival, the United States.[vi] They repeatedly stressed their desire to see France play a greater and more independent (i.e. anti-American) role in international affairs, and de Gaulle's leadership evidently provided a further impetus in that direction. Pravda made a point of recalling that the Soviet Union, unlike the United States, had given strong backing to de Gaulle's wartime Committee of National Liberation; and Khrushchev, both prior to and after his March 1960 visit to Paris, stressed his respect for the General and his "friendly" relations with him. Parallel efforts were made to invigorate Franco-Soviet trade, which had grown steadily in the late fifties, and which in 1958 for the first time passed the 1913 level. The growth of France was clearly linked in the Soviet mind with the decline of American power in Europe.
Although the Soviets for a time were hopeful that the resurgence of France might weaken the West, they were quite sensitive to any signs of French interest in East Europe. Thus after Adenauer's visit to Paris in the early fall of 1958, Khrushchev in a special "interview" singled out for criticism a phrase in the de Gaulle-Adenauer communiqué about an eventual inclusion of "the maximum possible number of European states" in a European federation. In Khrushchev's words, this meant that de Gaulle and Adenauer "must have lost all sense of reality to count seriously on success in any venture in Eastern Europe." He reiterated the point two days later to a German journalist.[vii]
These fears mounted as the Franco-German alliance took shape. By 1960 it was clear from the tone of denunciations used by the Soviet spokesmen that they had reappraised the French role and were beginning to see in it a long- range political danger. France was represented not only as seeking to dominate Western Europe but also as encouraging the proliferation of nuclear weapons and as led by an Olympian figure who had lost all sense of reality. By 1962 France was frequently represented as the chief obstacle to the relaxation of international tensions, and de Gaulle's trip to Germany was officially attacked as part of a plot to establish a "Europe to the Urals" (this phrase was quoted) which would involve the liquidation of the Communist régimes of East Europe; this was to be achieved by joint Franco- German coöperation, including the sharing of nuclear weapons. The denunciations reached their peak in 1963, after France's refusal to sign the test-ban agreement.
Since de Gaulle's plans appear vague even to his own followers, they probably also appear vague to the Soviets. Yet this very vagueness, combined with the strong overtones of assertiveness toward Russia and East Europe, might seem to the Soviets more dangerous than the known and basically static Anglo-American "interest" in the areas east of the Elbe. As a result, the Soviet attitude toward the American position in Europe became more ambivalent. From a political point of view, a possible Franco- German challenge based on continental Europe represented a greater threat than the American-sponsored Atlantic community. Yet from an economic viewpoint, and even more militarily, it was certainly the United States and NATO that posed by far the greater threat. How to reconcile these alternatives became increasingly a dominant dilemma for the Soviets, and by 1963 they seemed to be somewhat less anxious than, for instance, the Chinese to see the United States excluded politically from the Continent.[viii] Instead, they were more inclined to try to man?uvre the United States into a position of joint sponsorship of the division of Europe, in the hope of stabilizing the present partition and, perhaps, eventually creating new political opportunities for Soviet diplomacy.
In this regard, the Soviet confrontation of the United States in Cuba in late 1962 can be viewed as a particularly important watershed. It convinced the Soviets that for the time being their means were inadequate to their ends, and that the Soviet policy of pressing both politically and militarily for a breakthrough in Europe by means of the squeeze on Berlin was doomed to fail, and in fact had already become counter-productive. The United States would not yield, and the effect of the Soviet pressure in Cuba was to strengthen the "aggressive" forces in France and Germany. However, by striving for a Soviet-American rapprochement, based on an acceptance by Washington of the division of Europe, the Franco-German challenge might be converted into a destructive feud inside the Western Alliance and possibly might even lead ultimately to a new Rapallo. Apparently resigning itself for the time being to French and German hostility, the Kremlin decided to try to make certain that the Franco- German alignment would not receive American political and military backing. Thus Moscow has vigorously opposed the American scheme for establishing a European Multilateral Nuclear Force, on the grounds that it would strengthen the German political and military posture.[ix] Yet failure to set up the M.L.F. would make General de Gaulle's policies more attractive to Bonn, and might even result in the creation of an independent German nuclear force, or at least a joint Franco-German force-which would serve French and German political ambitions that are less compatible with the maintenance of Soviet control over Central Europe than American objectives are. The Soviet opposition to M.L.F. thus played into the hands of Paris and increased Soviet uncertainty about how to handle the increasingly complex problem of relations with Europe.
Russian and American coöperation could maintain the division of Europe, but there would be no guarantee that at some moment Russia might not choose to exploit European frustrations over current policies of the United States, Russia's real global competitor. For the United States to join Russia in supporting the division of Europe would therefore be dangerous. European collaboration with Russia against America could come about only as a consequence of European resentment of American leadership, due to what was felt to be some American betrayal of European interests. A condition precedent would therefore have to be an American-Soviet entente, based on joint acceptance of the status quo in Europe. This is the goal now being sought by the Soviet Union. Without that preliminary, European-Russian collaboration appears most unlikely, given the Soviet desire to perpetuate its hegemony over half of Europe and the increasing West European determination to challenge it. American collaboration with Europe to reunite Europe and to reintegrate Russia into the Western civilization, a process now being favored by the Sino-Soviet schism, appears to be the strongest and most enduring combination, one in harmony with both American and European long-range interests.
More than ever, Russia is now becoming susceptible to the attraction of Europe. In the past, the Russian attitude toward Europe had fluctuated. On the one hand, there was arrogant talk of Moscow being the third Rome, then of its being the source of a new and universal ideology. On the other hand, there was a deep-seated sense of inferiority to the West and a desire to imitate it. The Russian Communists combined the sense of superiority with a drive to erase the inferiority (through imitation, i.e. industrialization) . By narrowing the technical, economic and cultural gap between Europe and Russia, the Soviet leaders have created for the first time the possibility of a relationship that is equal and honorable to both. Meanwhile, the Sino- Soviet schism marred the universalist aspect of the ideology, while Soviet control of Eastern Europe not only has diminished Russian fears of the West but also has created a transmission belt for Western values. Without knowing it, the Soviet leaders have performed the historical function of preparing the ground for a larger Europe, but-alas for them-not a Communist one.
The challenge posed by France is a sign that Europe is now looking ahead, is no longer fearful for its survival. This reawakening has necessarily involved a realignment of power in the West, with consequent tensions in the Western Alliance. But the real challenge points eastward. Ideologically, the concept of European unity, with the Common Market as the initial symbol, is proving itself more captivating as an image of the future than a Europe split into conflicting groups as the Marxist-Leninists hoped. Economically, Western Europe has shown a far more impressive development in trade, in the pooling of common resources and in the general improvement of the standard of living than have the Communist countries. In politics, the public debates and disagreements among Western powers have been far less intense and bitter than the parallel conflicts and reciprocal excommunications within the Communist world. All this provides the West with an advantageous platform from which to invite the East to abandon its futile and old-fashioned ideological positions and to join in an undertaking that is also in its interest.
This could be done jointly by the United States and Western Europe in a variety of ways, ranging initially from long-term bilateral trade arrangements (now being undertaken) to eventually a multilateral economic development plan, based on the principle of European unity. Step by step, the East European states should be encouraged to become associated, remotely and indirectly at first, and then more and more closely and directly, with the Common Market. West Europe could also take the initiative in opening its frontiers to the youth of the East-and leave it to the Communist régimes, if they wish, to prevent their young people from sharing in growing European unity. It is doubtful that pressures for close ties, which would be so clearly in the interest of the peoples concerned, could long be resisted by their Communist governments. Resist they surely will, and the present efforts to develop rapidly the institutions and operations of CEMA reflect the realization of the Communist leaders that without a strengthened economic framework the Soviet bloc will be unable to match the West and contain the forces of national self-assertion within each member state. These efforts should not be underrated. But for the time being the concept of a united Europe is still ideologically more appealing and economically more promising. Unless the Soviet Union succeeds in enlisting American support on behalf of the status quo, or unless America and Western Europe fail to exploit the present opportunity and look on passively as the Soviet bloc is reconsolidated, Europe is not likely long to remain "without soul, without backbone, and without roots."
[i] Some Soviet observers went so far as to negate their previous warnings about "German hegemony" and talked about "French hegemony in Western Europe." For example, see I. Lemin, "European Integration: Some Results and Perspectives," Mirovaia Ekonomika i Mezhdunarodnie Otnosheniia, Part II, May 1962, p. 42-55; and V. Cherpakov, "The Common Market-An Instrument for the Intensification of Monopolistic Oppression and Aggression," Kommunist, May 1962, p. 22-35.
[ii] Pravda, August 26, 1962. For a more ideological and also oversimplified restatement of these themes, see V. Gantman, "Imperialist Integration and International Relations," Kommunist, November 1962, p. 96- 107. See also the proceedings of the Moscow Conference on Contemporary Capitalism, summer 1962, published in Mirovaia Ekonomika i Mezhdunarodnie Otnosheniia, November and December 1962, p. 54-71 and 59-79 respectively, which cast an interesting light on the role of non-Russian Marxists in enlightening their Russian colleagues about affairs in Europe.
[iii] Presumably because of this fear, some Communist spokesmen have shown interest in a trial balloon launched in the late summer of 1963 by Austrian Foreign Minister Kreisky, proposing an EFTA-CEMA trade agreement (cf. Rynki Zagraniczne, September 14, 1963). In September 1963, the E.E.C. made its first joint tariff move with respect to the U.S.S.R., demanding Soviet acceptance of the E.E.C. tariff while offering the benefits of the lower internal E.E.C. tariff on four Soviet export items (Le Monde, weekly ed., October 17-23, 1963).
[iv] I. Rachmuth, "The Importance of Establishing a Rate of Development Which Will Level Off the Economic Progress of All Socialist Countries," Probleme Economice, Bucharest, July 1963.
[v] De Gaulle said in his press conference, March 25, 1959: "The reunification of the two parts into a single Germany which would be entirely free seems to us the normal destiny of the German people, provided they do not reopen the question of their present frontiers to the west, the east, the north, and the south, and that they move toward integrating themselves one day in a contractual organization of all Europe for coöperation, liberty and peace." (Italics added.)
[vi] This was in line with the thesis of inherent Franco-American economic contradictions. See V. Liubimova, "The Problems of France's Participation in the 'Common Market.'" Mirovaia Ekonomika i Mezhdunarodnie Otnosheniia, No. 3, 1957.
[vii] Pravda commented, September 24, 1958: "Chancellor Adenauer and Premier de Gaulle were concerned even at their first meeting not only with reaching agreement on their actions within their own countries but, it seems, also with how to draw the countries of Eastern Europe into the so- called European federation, which is nothing but a branch of the aggressive North Atlantic bloc."
[viii] For a Chinese view, see "The Imperialist Bloc Is Fast Disintegrating," Jen Min Jih Pao, Peking, February 24, 1963.
[ix] This ambivalence is well reflected in V. Nebrasov, "The Vicious Circle of 'Atlantic Policy'," Pravda, December 27, 1963.