March 6, 1964

Foreign Policy for the Decade Ahead
I--The Mirage of Final Solutions


As I travel around Arizona and read my mail I sense that many people are disturbed and anxious about the course of American foreign policy. Are we losing the Cold War? Why can't we be more bold and aggressive? Why is there such unrest in the world we live in?

No rational answer can be given to these questions if we look solely and narrowly at whatever international trouble spots dominate the front pages. Rather than that, I should like in this and a subsequent report to take a look at the forest instead of the trees.

The passage of mankind through history is like an endless ocean voyage. There are periods of relative calm with blue skies and gentle swells. In other periods -- the breakup of the Roman Empire, or the French and American revolutions when the pattern of divine rule by kings came apart -- great storms sweep the oceans of history, tossing nations and peoples about with great violence.

In my judgment we are in such a period today. We cannot demand that the storm subside; to a large degree we must ride it out. Patience, strength and wisdom will bring us through, but the storm will run its course whether we desire it or not.

The idea called communism is a part of this storm. Its advocates are dangerous; they want to do our system in. We should be alert and vigorous in countering their moves. But in my judgment it is false to imagine that some kind of "total victory" over communism would end the storm or solve all the deep conflicts and problems which afflict people and nations in this latter half of the 20th Century.

To make my point let us stop for a movement and engage in some wishful thinking. Let us pretend for a moment that bold, aggressive policies could somehow in the next 10 years "kill" communism. Here we are. It is 1974 and "total victory" is ours:
 

** The Soviet Union has renounced communism and fully embraced the free enterprise system. It has adopted a new constitution much like ours. Khrushchev has been replaced in a free election by the rapidly pro-American Ivan Barry Lyndon Ivanovich. The Soviet Army has been dismantled.

** Chiang-Kai-shek has returned victoriously to the mainland of China and established a democratic regime with an economy so free there are A & P stores in every village and hamlet.

** Castro has been overthrown in Cuba and replaced by a democratic regime which is so loyal to the United States that it has applied for acceptance as the 51st state.

Is this dream likely to come true 10 years from now? Of course not. But suppose it did. What would these achievements mean in relation to our overall problems at home and abroad? Would our troubles be over? Far from it. The storm would still be with us, its force abated only slightly, if at all. 

A CONVULSIVE PERIOD OF HISTORY

In the 52 weeks of 1963 there were 53 changes of government in the countries of the world many of them violent. Few of these changes were brought about by Communists. Most of them resulted from the hard facts with which we must deal in a most convulsive period of world history. These changes are symptoms of that convulsion, and they will go on regardless of which American is President or which party is in power. Americans can no more hold back irreversible tides of history than we can hold back the tides of the sea.

If there is one word which can be found to describe the era in which we live, it would have to be revolution. Our own history as a nation began with a revolution; democracy represented a revolution in political thought, and we fought a revolution to achieve it. In the last century we went through an industrial revolution with far-reaching ramifications. But today the term has even greater implications


 
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for the future of world affairs. We are in the midst of, not one or two, but at least four concurrent revolutions, all extremely important, all threatening changes we can only dimly see in the years ahead. They are:
 

The Political Revolution. The old colonial order, in which the world's white Christain minority once was supreme, is vanishing, and self-government is taking its place. For the most part the new governments are neither white nor Christian, and they have no particular fondness for those they think have exploited them in years past. How rapidly these changes are occurring is indicated by the growth of membership in the United Nations. When the UN was created in 1945, it had 51 members; today it has 113. Most of the new members are newly-created nations. For the most part these are nations whose people have never known democracy and never known how it works. We should remember that, with a highly educated and articulate citizenry, it took us 170 years to establish a democracy in this country. Surely it is unreasonable to expect the impoverished and poorly-educated peoples of Africa and Southeast Asia to establish our kind of capitalist democracy overnight.

The Economic Revolution. Two billion underprivileged people of the world are trying to break through the walls of poverty and ignorance to obtain the material things we have long taken for granted. Words like "capitalism" and "communism" mean nothing to them. What they want is to share belatedly in the benefits of modern, industrialized society. Looking at our planet from afar one would see part of the human race living in comfort and luxury as a result of modern industry and technology; from that vantage point it would be quite clear that once word of the "good life" got out the rest of the human race would want it too. That is what is happening today. There will be no stopping it.

The Population Revolution. Everywhere populations are on the increase, diluting the effects of economic progress and creating new problems of housing, food,welfare, education and employment. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the poor, underdeveloped countries of the world. It took the human race thousands of years to reach one billion. Now we have passed three billion, and by the end of this century, if present rates continue, we will number six billion. The problem is so enormous its solution is almost unfathomable, and yet without a solution the human race faces disaster. Beside this problem the Cold War is a Sunday School picnic.

The Scientific Revolution. Atomic energy, the development of nuclear weapons, the jet airplane, man's entry into space, new discoveries in physics, chemistry and biology, the marvels of rocketry, and the perfection of intercontinental missiles have made the world much smaller, more volatile and more dangerous. The genie is out of the bottle, and we have to learn to live with it.

All of these revolutions are with us today, and they will continue regardless of what happens to the Communist movement. A little more recognition of these basic facts, and a little less emphasis upon unattainable goals in our competition with Communist nations, may bring more of a semblance of reality to our foreign policy debate. It also may prove to be the best way to advance our national interests in the next 10 years.

THE 'FINAL SOLUTION' SYNDROME

If we have one characteristic as a people, it is our lack of patience. It is both an asset and a liability. We started out our history with a lot of things to do, and we were in a hurry to do them. We bridged chasms and closed vast distances by miracles of transportation and communication. We harnessed rivers and irrigated deserts. And we built an economy capable of providing our people with the world's highest standard of living (a capacity not yet fully realized). With this restless, dynamic background we tend to expect similar solutions to problems lying outside our borders -- and to express impatience when those solutions aren't immediately forthcoming.

What we must ultimately recognize as a nation is that, as long as men and nations are of different minds and different temperaments, there will be no "final solutions" to world problems. There will always be one nation or more wanting to change the status quo, and other nations wanting to retain it. There will always be some new idea to contend with -- whether it be fascism, anarchy, socialism, communism or robber-baron capitalism, -- and in the end these ideas must be met and defeated as ideas, or they will certainly re-emerge at some point to smash the old order. Merely defeating or destroying the men or nations who advocate a new idea will never provide the "final solution" we might seek.

our preoccupation with "final solutions" can be illustrated by our wild hopes for universal democracy and peace after World War I. We convinced ourselves that by winning that war we would


 
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make the world "safe for democracy" and put an end to international conflicts. When this bubble burst, we were bitter and enraged, and many of our citizens turned to isolationism as an expression of their disappointment. Similarly, in World War II we made heroic sacrifices, thinking that by defeating fascism on the battlefield we would once again achieve a "final solution" to world problems. The fact that history sent us catapulting into yet another world struggle has disillusioned and embittered a great many of our citizens and led to the current frenzy for flag-waving, fist-flailing and tough talk as a substitute for common sense and sound judgment.

I think Americans should have learned by now that there are no "final solutions" that will set world forces at rest, and that there are no easy, magic short-cuts to the settlement of world problems. Man's history tells me that, at best, we can hope to inch along toward our goals, and impatience will only make the going harder.

To those who say our "final solution" today is "victory over communism" I say that nothing vaguely
identifiable as "victory" will come short of a military victory, and if we should seek such a course, the end result -- if we "won" -- would be, not final victory, but yet a new world challenge to frustrate
us. Thus it is time we abandoned our "final solution syndrome," as a psychiatrist might describe this
state of mind, and began formulating realistic goals which we might hope to attain in the years ahead.
The milennium is not just around the corner.

GOALS WE CAN ACHIEVE

What goals can we reasonably expect to achieve by 1974? Much depends on our leadership and on our willingness as a nation to exercise patience and restraint under a variety of pressures and frustrations. However, with wise leadership and some forbearance I believe we can work for, and hope to achieve, most of the following modest goals in the next 10 years:
 

1. To avoid a nuclear war.

2. To maintain a strong, effective society, our basic freedoms and our democratic institutions.

3. To expand our economy sufficiently to provide gainful employment for all our people and an even stronger competitive position for our products in world commerce.

4. To prevent any appreciable expansion of world communism, and in various ways to weaken and diminish its momentum.

5. To lessen the Soviet grip on satellite countries such as Poland and Czechoslovakia, thereby bringing some degree of independence and freedom to these oppressed peoples.

6. To counter the advances of Communist China firmly and vigorously, there by forcing that government to adopt more reasonable policies and opening avenues for resolution of long-standing international differences.

7. To head off any major Communist coups in Latin America or Africa, to assist new or underdeveloped nations in solving some of their most pressing problems, and on balance to achieve a greater degree of stability in these areas than presently is the case.

Can we achieve these goals? In my judgment, if we are careful, if we are wise, if we choose sound policies, most or all of these goals can be achieved. While we might hope for more, I think most Amerians can agree that these are worthy objectives, and that achieving them would be in the best interests of our country. Through achievement of these goals we can hope to buy time for the longer range problems which beset us.

WHICH POLICY WILL ATTAIN THESE GOALS?

Even though I think we can agree on these goals, there are two sharply and bitterly divergent ideas about the kind of strategy and tactics most likely to bring them to realization. Let's take a look at them:

I -- The Total Victory Policy

Many sincere people who subscribe to this theory base their arguments on the oft-repeated Khrushchev statement that the Communists intend to "bury" us. Therefore, they reason, our aim must


 
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be to 'bury" them. From this point of view any nation which calls itself Communist is now and will be forever our sworn enemy. Any contact, any trade, any negotiation, any expression of patience toward such a nation will only strengthen it and detract from our goal of victory. Thus, the advocates of this policy propose to:
 

(a) Break off any diplomatic relations and any trade with any country calling itself Communist or Socialist.

(b) Withdraw from a United Nations which has Communist members and go it alone in the world, cooperating only with those nations willing to blindly follow our lead and rejecting all others.

(c) "Get tough" by brandishing our military might at every turn and in every situation (such as Castro shutting off our water), threatening to rain nuclear destruction on any nation having interests at variance with ours.

(d) Add constantly to our armed forces, our nuclear stockpile and our array of ships, planes and missiles, resume nuclear tests in the atmosphere no matter what the risk may be to mankind, and slash other government programs to finance this increasing burden.

(e) Assume a national posture of impatience, anger and indignation, coupled with demands that our adversaries -- and even our allies -- admit their past mistakes, renounce their present policies, and promptly adopt our own economic and political systems.

II - - The Strength and Patience Policy

This is the policy adopted by President Truman to stop the march of communism into Western Europe, to save Turkey and Greece and to counter and contain the military and economic might of Russia and China. Its essential threads have been continued by Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and now Johnson. It is a policy which seeks to ride out a stormy period of history and come through safely, and with honor intact, by these basic tactics:
 

(a) Keeping the strongest military establishment in the world to discourage any aggressor -- but guarding against runaway military expenditures which could cripple other needed programs.

(b) Maintaining a network of alliances and friendships with like-minded nations while recognizing that differences will occasionally arise among the best of friends.

(c) Providing military and economic aid to new or underdeveloped nations to assist them in gaining greater stability and in solving those problems which might threaten world peace.

(d) Recognition of the fact that there are many forces at work in the world, that mankind cannot be forced into a given number of precise molds, that nothing is gained by casting men and nations as "either Christian or non-Christian," "either Arab or non-Arab," or "either Communist or non-Communist" -- that every fact and every circumstance must be taken into account if we are to advance our national interest and the cause of world peace.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

As a nation we can adopt either of these policies, or some third approach, but in my judgment the "total victory policy" outlined above would be more disastrous than any policy ever adopted by this country. It would almost surely isolate us from our allies, as well as our enemies, and would inevitably lead to war.

In my next report I will attempt to demonstrate why this is so.


Previous Report: February 21, 1964 -- Is Congress Sick? -- II: Needed: A Transfusion of Democracy
Next Report: April 15, 1964 -- Foreign Policy for the Decade Ahead: II -- New Phase for an Old War


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