WHAT IS NEEDED?
- How to end the Cold War? How to increase democracy in America? These are
the decisive issues confronting liberal and socialist forces today. To us,
the issues are intimately related, the struggle for one invariably being a
struggle for the other. What policy and structural alternatives are needed
to obtain these ends?
- Universal controlled disarmament must replace deterrence and arms control
as the national defense goal. The strategy of mutual threat can only temporarily
prevent thermonuclear war, and it cannot but erode democratic institutions
here while consolidating oppressive institutions in the Soviet Union. Yet
American leadership, while giving rhetorical due to the ideal of disarmament,
persists in accepting mixed deterrence as its policy formula: under Kennedy
we have seen first-strike and second-strike weapons, counter-military and
counter-population inventions, tactical atomic weapons and guerilla warriors,
etc. The convenient rationalization that our weapons potpourri will confuse
the enemy into fear of misbehaving is absurd and threatening. Our own intentions,
once clearly retaliatory, are now ambiguous since the President has indicated
we might in certain circumstances be the first to use nuclear weapons. We
can expect that Russia will become more anxious herself, and perhaps even
prepare to "preempt" us, and we (expecting the worst from the Russians) will
nervously consider "preemption" ourselves. The symmetry of threat and counter-threat
lead not to stability but to the edge of hell.
- It is necessary that America make disarmament, not nuclear deterrence,
"credible" to the Soviets and to the world. That is, disarmament should be
continually avowed as a national goal; concrete plans should be presented
at conference tables; real machinery for a disarming and disarmed world --
national and international -- should be created while the disarming process
itself goes on. The long-standing idea of unilateral initiative should be
implemented as a basic feature of American disarmament strategy: initiatives
that are graduated in their ~~~ potential, accompanied by invitations to reciprocate
when done regardless of reciprocation, openly ~~~ significant period of future
time. Their ~~~ should not be to strip America of weapon, ~~~ produce a climate
in which disarmament can be ~~~ with less mutual hostility and threat. They
might include: a unilateral nuclear test moratorium, withdrawal of several
bases near the Soviet Union, proposals to experiment in disarmament by stabilization
of zone of controversy; cessation of all apparent first-strike preparations,
such as the development of 41 Polaris by 1963 while naval theorists state
that about 45 constitutes a provocative force; inviting a special United Nations
agency to observe and inspect the launchings of all American flights into
outer space; and numerous others.
- There is no simple formula for the content of an actual disarmament treaty.
It should be phased: perhaps on a region-by-region basis, the conventional
weapons first. It should be conclusive, not open-ended, in its projection.
It should be controlled: national inspection systems are adequate at first,
but should be soon replaced by international devices and teams. It should
be more than denuding: world or at least regional enforcement agencies, an
international civil service and inspection service, and other supranational
groups must come into reality under the United Nations.
- 2. Disarmament should be see as a political issue, not a technical problem.
Should this year's Geneva negotiations have resulted (by magic) in a disarmament
agreement, the United States Senate would have refused to ratify it, a domestic
depression would have begun instantly, and every fiber of American life would
be wrenched drastically: these are indications not only of our unpreparedness
for disarmament, but also that disarmament is not "just another policy shift."
Disarmament means a deliberate shift in most of our domestic and foreign policy.
- It will involve major changes in economic direction. Government intervention
in new areas, government regulation of certain industrial price and investment
practices to prevent inflation, full use of national productive capacities,
and employment for every person in a dramatically expanding economy all are
to be expected as the "price" of peace.
- It will involve the simultaneous creation of international rulemaking and
enforcement machinery beginning under the United Nations, and the gradual
transfer of sovereignties -- such as national armies and national determination
of "international" law -- to such machinery.
- It will involve the initiation of an explicitly political -- as opposed
to military -- foreign policy on the part of the two major superstates. Neither
has formulated the political terms in which they would conduct their behavior
in a disarming or disarmed world. Neither dares to disarm until such an understanding
- A crucial feature of this political understanding must be the acceptance
of status quo possessions. According to the universality principle all present
national entities -- including the Vietnams, the Koreans, the Chinas, and
the Germanys -- should be members of the United Nations as sovereign, no matter
how desirable, states.
- Russia cannot be expected to negotiate disarmament treaties for the Chinese.
We should not feed Chinese fanaticism with our encirclement but Chinese stomachs
with the aim of making war contrary to Chinese policy interests. Every day
that we support anti-communist tyrants but refuse to even allow the Chinese
Communists representation in the United Nations marks a greater separation
of our ideals and our actions, and it makes more likely bitter future relations
with the Chinese.
- Second, we should recognize that an authoritarian Germany's insistence
on reunification, while knowing the impossibility of achieving it with peaceful
means, could only generate increasing frustrations among the population and
nationalist sentiments which frighten its Eastern neighbors who have historical
reasons to suspect Germanic intentions. President Kennedy himself told the
editor of Izvestia that he fears an independent Germany with nuclear arms,
but American policies have not demonstrated cognisance of the fact that Chancellor
Adenauer too, is interested in continued East-West tensions over the Germany
and Berlin problems and nuclear arms precisely because this is the rationale
for extending his domestic power and his influence upon the NATO-Common Market
- A world war over Berlin would be absurd. Anyone concurring with such a
proposition should demand that the West cease its contradictory advocacy of
"reunification of Germany through free elections" and "a rearmed Germany in
NATO". It is a dangerous illusion to assume that Russia will hand over East
Germany to a rearmed re-united Germany which will enter the Western camp,
although this Germany might have a Social Democratic majority which could
prevent a reassertion of German nationalism. We have to recognize that the
cold war and the incorporation of Germany into the two power blocs was a decision
of both Moscow and Washington, of both Adenauer and Ulbricht. The immediate
responsibility for the Berlin wall is Ulbricht's. But it had to be expected
that a regime which was bad enough to make people flee is also bad enough
to prevent them from fleeing. The inhumanity of the Berlin wall is an ironic
symbol of the irrationality of the cold war, which keeps Adenauer and Ulbricht
in power. A reduction of the tension over Berlin, if by internationalization
or by recognition of the status quo and reducing provocations, is a necessary
but equally temporary measure which could not ultimately reduce the basic
cold war tension to which Berlin owes its precarious situation. The Berlin
problem cannot be solved without reducing tensions in Europe, possibly by
a bilateral military disengagement and creating a neutralized buffer zone.
Even if Washington and Moscow were in favor disengagement, both Adenauer and
Ulbricht would never agree to it because cold war keeps their parties in power.
- Until their regimes' departure from the scene of history, the Berlin status
quo will have to be maintained while minimizing the tensions necessarily arising
from it. Russia cannot expect the United States to tolerate its capture by
the Ulbricht regime, but neither can America expect to be in a position to
indefinitely use Berlin as a fortress within the communist world. As a fair
and bilateral disengagement in Central Europe seems to be impossible for the
time being, a mutual recognition of the Berlin status quo, that is, of West
Berlin's and East Germany's security, is needed. And it seems to be possible,
although the totalitarian regime of East Germany and the authoritarian leadership
of West Germany until now succeeded in frustrating all attempts to minimize
the dangerous tensions of cold war.
- The strategy of securing the status quo of the two power blocs until it
is possible to depolarize the world by creating neutralist regions in all
trouble zones seems to be the only way to guarantee peace at this time.
- 4. Experiments in disengagement and demilitarization must be conducted
as part of the total disarming process. These "disarmament experiments" can
be of several kinds, so long as they are consistent with the principles of
containing the arms race and isolating specific sectors of the world from
the Cold War power-play. First, it is imperative that no more nations be supplied
with, or locally produce, nuclear weapons. A 1959 report of the National Academy
of Arts and Sciences predicted that 19 nations would be so armed in the near
future. Should this prediction be fulfilled, the prospects of war would be
unimaginably expanded. For this reason the United States, Great Britain and
the Soviet Union should band against France (which wants its own independent
deterrent) and seek, through United Nations or other machinery, the effective
prevention of the spread of atomic weapons. This would involve not only declarations
of "denuclearization" in whole areas of Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe,
but would attempt to create inspection machinery to guarantee the peaceful
use of atomic energy.
- Second, the United States should reconsider its increasingly outmoded European
defense framework, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Since its creation
in 1949, NATO has assumed increased strength in overall determination of Western
military policy, but has become less and less relevant to its original purpose,
which was the defense of Central Europe. To be sure, after the Czech coup
of 1948, it might have appeared that the Soviet Union was on the verge of
a full-scale assault on Europe. But that onslaught has not materialized, not
so much because of NATO's existence but because of the general unimportance
of much of Central Europe to the Soviets. Today, when even American-based
ICBMs could smash Russia minutes after an invasion of Europe, when the Soviets
have no reason to embark on such an invasion, and when "thaw sectors" are
desperately needed to brake the arms race, one of at least threatening but
most promising courses for American would be toward the gradual diminishment
of the NATO forces, coupled with the negotiated "disengagement" of parts of
- It is especially crucial that this be done while America is entering into
favorable trade relations with the European Economic Community: such a gesture,
combining economic ambition with less dependence on the military, would demonstrate
the kind of competitive "co-existence" America intends to conduct with the
communist-bloc nations. If the disengaged states were the two Germanies, Poland
and Czechoslovakia, several other benefits would accrue. First, the United
States would be breaking with the lip-service commitment to "liberation" of
Eastern Europe which has contributed so much to Russian fears and intransigence,
while doing too little about actual liberation. But the end of "liberation"
as a proposed policy would not signal the end of American concern for the
oppressed in East Europe. On the contrary, disengagement would be a real,
rather than a rhetorical, effort to ease military tensions, thus undermining
the Russian argument for tighter controls in East Europe based on the "menace
of capitalist encirclement". This policy, geared to the needs of democratic
elements in the satellites, would develop a real bridge between East and West
across the two most pro-Western Russian satellites. The Russians in the past
have indicated some interest in such a plan, including the demilitarization
of the Warsaw pact countries. Their interest should be publicly tested. If
disengagement could be achieved, a major zone could be removed from the Cold
War, the German problem would be materially diminished, and the need for NATO
would diminish, and attitudes favorable to disarming would be generated.
- Needless to say, those proposals are much different than what is currently
being practised and praised. American military strategists are slowly acceeding
to the NATO demand for an independent deterrent, based on the fear that America
might not defend Europe from military attack. These tendencies strike just
the opposite chords in Russia than those which would be struck by disengagement
themes: the chords of military alertness, based on the fact that NATO (bulwarked
by the German Wehrmacht) is preparing to attack Eastern Europe or the Soviet
Union. Thus the alarm which underlies the NATO proposal for an independent
deterrent is likely itself to bring into existence the very Russian posture
that was the original cause of fear. Armaments spiral and belligerence will
carry the day, not disengagement and negotiation.