and Foreign Policy
- As democrats we are in basic opposition to the communist system. The Soviet
Union, as a system, rests on the total suppression of organized opposition,
as well as on a vision of the future in the name of which much human life
has been sacrificed, and numerous small and large denials of human dignity
rationalized. The Communist Party has equated falsely the "triumph of true
socialism" with centralized bureaucracy. The Soviet state lacks independent
labor organizations and other liberties we consider basic. And despite certain
reforms, the system remains almost totally divorced from the image officially
promulgated by the Party. Communist parties throughout the rest of the world
are generally undemocratic in internal structure and mode of action. Moreover,
in most cases they subordinate radical programs to requirements of Soviet
foreign policy. The communist movement has failed, in every sense, to achieve
its stated intentions of leading a worldwide movement for human emancipation.
- But present trends in American anti-communism are not sufficient for the
creation of appropriate policies with which to relate to and counter communist
movements in the world. In no instance is this better illustrated than in
our basic national policy-making assumption that the Soviet Union is inherently
expansionist and aggressive, prepared to dominate the rest of the world by
military means. On this assumption rests the monstrous American structure
of military "preparedness"; because of it we sacrifice values and social programs
to the alleged needs of military power.
- But the assumption itself is certainly open to question and debate. To
be sure, the Soviet state has used force and the threat of force to promote
or defend its perceived national interests. But the typical American response
has been to equate the use of force -- which in many cases might be dispassionately
interpreted as a conservative, albeit brutal, action -- with the initiation
of a worldwide military onslaught. In addition, the Russian-Chinese conflicts
and the emergency !! throughout the communist movement call for a re-evaluation
of any monolithic interpretations. And the apparent Soviet disinterest in
building a first-strike arsenal of weapons challenges the weight given to
protection against surprise attack in formulations of American policy toward
- Almost without regard to one's conception of the dynamics of Soviet society
and foreign policy, it is evident that the American military response has
been more effective in deterring the growth of democracy than communism. Moreover,
our prevailing policies make difficult the encouragement of skepticism, anti-war
or pro-democratic attitudes in the communist systems. America has done a great
deal to foment the easier, opposite tendency in Russia: suspicion, suppression,
and stiff military resistance. We have established a system of military alliances
which of even dubious deterrence value. It is reasonable of suggest the "Berlin"
and "Laos" have been earth-shaking situations partly because rival systems
of deterrence make impossible the withdrawal of threats. The "status quo"
is not cemented by mutual threat but by mutual fear of receeding from pugnacity
-- since the latter course would undermine the "credibility" of our deterring
system. Simultaneously, while billions in military aid were propping up right-wing
Laotian, Formosan, Iranian and other regimes, American leadership never developed
a purely political policy for offering concrete alternatives to either communism
or the status quo for colonial revolutions. The results have been: fulfillment
of the communist belief that capitalism is stagnant, its only defense being
dangerous military adventurism; destabilizing incidents in numerous developing
countries; an image of America allied with corrupt oligarchies counterposed
to the Russian-Chinese image of rapid, though brutal, economic development.
Again and again, America mistakes the static area of defense, rather than
the dynamic area of development, as the master need of two-thirds of mankind.
- Our paranoia about the Soviet Union has made us incapable of achieving
agreements absolutely necessary for disarmament and the preservation of peace.
We are hardly able to see the possibility that the Soviet Union, though not
"peace loving", may be seriously interested in disarmament.
- Infinite possibilities for both tragedy and progress lie before us. On
the one hand, we can continue to be afraid, and out of fear commit suicide.
On the other hand, we can develop a fresh and creative approach to world problems
which will help to create democracy at home and establish conditions for its
growth elsewhere in the world.