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popular impression, this country was not born in 1776, this country will not become 200 years old until 1989, and the intervening years it seems to me have more to teach us about what is going on in the world today than almost anything else. I would like to call to your attention a very important book in American history by John Fisk that came in a series, I think it is a 13-volume series on history of the United States. One of the volumes was called the Critical Period in American History and discussed the years from 1783 to 1787 and refers to them as the lost years for American history precisely because most Americans have very little idea of what happened during that time.
We came out of the war for independence and promptly plunged into an unworkable period in the relations among the States. Fisk points out that one's currency would shrink 10 percent from the act of crossing a State line. New York and New Jersey shot it out in the harbor over which State had the right to tax incoming ships and Massachusetts and Connecticut had some arguments over which State had the right to acquire the western territory of Wyoming.
I suppose Connecticut was worried about its surplus population. And the inability to create a peace after the Treaty of Paris in 1783 brought about a virtual disillusionment of many of the gains of the war for independence. And, finally, the men came together in 1787 in Philadelphia to correct the mistakes that had occurred from 1783 to 1787
It was only at the conclusion of that particular experience in Philadelphia that this country was born. So the correct date I think is 1789 and the failure I think has a great deal to teach us about what perhaps may be going wrong with world affairs today, which is that we are attempting to create
a peace without the proper architecture of peace. Here I would like to comment on another point that was made. Reference was made to a biblical sentence.
It seems to me that the more apt analogy to the present has to do with the failure of the Greek states to arrive at an overall forum, just as the American States failed to understand principles of order and organization. So I think the fall of Greece probably is attributable to the failure of the Greek states to understand laws of political science that applied to geographic units. Theucydides, I think, is a tale of horror on the failure of wise men to know the principle of organization.
UNWORKABLE POSTWAR U.S. SECURITY ASSUMPTIONS
It seems to me, if can revert to my text, that since the end of World War II the United States has gone through a long series of unworkable assumptions in its foreign policy.
POLICEMAN FOR THE WORLD
The first assumption was that the United States would be a policeman for the world. We need look no further than Vietnam for a dramatic illustration of the fallacy of that theory. The attempt of the United States to be the world's policeman has been carried out at an unacceptable cost to the American people.
SECURITY THROUGH BALANCE OF POWER
The second assumption was that the United States could achieve security by maintaining a world balance of power. The theory has had mixed success. It worked in Western Europe but has been a costly failure in Asia. The role of the United States especially through the Marshall plan, was critically important in giving Europe a springboard for economic recovery after the Second World War. The historical and economic conditions in Europe were propitious for the attempt of most of the nations to seek not just a common security but the basis for a European community.
I might add parenthetically one of the most hopeful items in any inventory of hope for the world today is to be found in the growing interrelationship of Europe. Two World Wars in this century found France and Germany as the prime antagonists. Whatever the other threats to world peace, we can at least take some measure of comfort from the fact that the old recurrent danger of a major eruption from within Europe itself has finally been laid to rest. The clear reason is that both countries have worked out an economic partnership that gives them a far higher stake in continuing peaceful relations than in pressing for conquest.
The lesson, of course, is that sound economic relations tend to create sound political relations as well.
This is not to say that our policy in Europe has been a thoroughgoing success in every respect. But it has at least worked well enough in Europe to serve as a contrast with our policies in Asia. The attempt to fill the power vacuum of Indochina after the departure of the French in the midfifties has led in a straight line to the most serious disasters in the history of U.S. foreign policy.
By and large, the theory of security through a balance of power, whatever its prominence in history going all the way back to the ancient Greeks, has become obsolete in the modern world. The theory had its natural setting in constricted areas, but it tends to lose workability in direct ratio to the distance from the center. No nation has the capacity and this applies as much to the Soviet Union as it does to the United States—to undertake and maintain economic, political, and military commitments on a world scale.
MILITARY SECURITY ASSUMPTIONS
The third assumption, closely related to the second, was that the United States could advance its security by building twin regional anchors of military security through NATO and SEATO. Neither arrangement gave us what we were looking for. Whatever NATO may have done for the European nations themselves, it has had little to offer the United States at times of its own critical need. NATO did not spring into action on the side of the United States during the two major Berlin crises, nor did the United States receive physical or moral support from our NATO allies during the Cuban missile crisis. SEATO was not an operational fact of any benefit to the United States during the Vietnam war. The historical record with respect to NATO and SEATO would have to be that our expectations were far higher than the prospects warranted or that the course of events endorsed.
ASSUMED NEED TO STAY AHEAD IN ARMS RACE
The fourth assumption was that we could find security by staying ahead in the arms race. The United States and the Soviet Union 10 years ago passed the point at which they could annihilate one another. The explosive power of our bombs and the versatility of the delivery system have reached their apex, but there has been no corresponding increase in security for either party. Indeed, there is less security for both parties in view of all the possibilities of accident or miscalculation that could come into play in time of crisis. Retaliatory power as a deterrent to surprise attack works only when one is dealing with enemies who can be trusted not to panic in crisis situations. The very existence of saturation supplies of atomic weapons sets a stage for irrational action at times of extreme tension.
In any erent, security is no longer proportionate to power in the modern world. Stockpiling additional power is not likely to be more meaningful than filling the kitchen, the living room and all the bedrooms with cord wood after the woodshed and barn are overflowing in order to guard against running out of firewood.
The attempt to justify the nuclear arms race in terms of safety through reciprocal terror has to contend with the rapid spread of fissionable materials throughout the world. Scientific and technological means for processing these fissionable materials for explosive purposes are no longer matters of great mystery. There is now a real danger of nuclear blackmail by governments that fall into the hands of men who may confuse reckless use of power with the need to be decisive.
From the beginning of the nuclear age, it was clear that true security for the United States, or for anyone else, depends on the control of force rather than on the pursuit of force or the accumulation of force. But adequate controls have yet to be established. Most dangerous of all to the American people is the myth that atomic supremacy is somehow an assurance of security.
Meanwhile, the connection between a widening arms race and the worsening of the American economy is becoming more pronounced. It is impossible to spend almost $300 billion in a decade for military expenditures—a substantial part of it outside the United States without creating a powerful momentum for inflation. The shortages created by spending of this size, to say nothing of the outflow of dollars for maintaining military establishments in many parts of the world, contribute mightily to the erosion of the currency. Whatever other measures may be taken to combat inflation, it is doubtful that any fundamental change in the cheapening of the dollar will come about unless a genuine basis for national security is achieved that makes it unnecessary to spend in the order of $100 billion a year for military purposes.
ASSUMED NEED FOR COVERT ACTIVITIES
The fifth assumption that figured in our foreign policy strategy since the end of the Second World War was that we needed an undercover organization to compete with Soviet secret police on the level of plot and counterplot. The general theory was that covert activities were a cheap way of fighting a war. This theory, like so many of the others, has been demolished in Indochina. The American people have had to pay a very high price for the abortive coup against Souvanna Phouma in Laos in the winter of 1959-60. They have had to pay an even higher price for the overthrow of the Sihanouk government in Cambodia in 1970. And the highest price of all we paid was in Vietnam. The original decision to call off the nationwide elections for the purpose of unifying the country, as called for in the Geneva Treaty of 1954, gave way to other costly decisions. The assassination of President Diem and the attempt to steer successive governments without adequate respect for the need of a popular consensus are not unrelated to the eventual loss of 56,000 American lives, to say nothing of our final humiliation in the ultimate disaster.
In any event, the activities of an American agency in subversive activities against other governments is probably unconstitutional. The traditional position of the United States has been to advance the principle of self-determination in the world. We subvert our own traditions and institutions when we act against that principle in the world, even when the form of government is not to our liking.
SEEKING SECURITY THROUGH WORLD ORDER PROPOSED
Having gone through a great many unworkable assumptions on the quest for security--trying to be a policeman and a peacemaker to the world, maintaining a balance of power, building anchors of security through NATO and SEATO, staying ahead in the arms race, fighting undercover wars—perhaps the time has come for the United States to pursue the possibilities of peace through world order.
The United Nations has never been a serious factor in the foreign policy of any of the major nations, the United States and Soviet Union included. There is a tendency to regard it as a necessary evil or to use it only when everything else has failed, as in the case of the Middle East crisis of 1973. But the notion of world order as the basic requirement of world peace has yet to be defined as the central objective in the foreign policy of the great nations.
Why world order? What other approach is likely to be effective at a time when the principal problems of the world are beyond the reach of any nation to solve by or for itself? The arms race, world environmental deterioration, overcrowding, famine, depletion of resources, the struggle for control of the wealth of the seabed—all these are problems that call for a world response. Since the problems are interconnected, the world agencies that will have to deal with them will have to be part of an organic whole. This is the direction that world order will have to take.
The ability of the United Nations to carry out the principal function assigned to it in the preamble to the Charter of the United Nationsnamely, preventing the scourge of war-is severely limited. At some point soon it is going to be necessary to reconsider the nature of the U.N.as well as the obligations of the individual nations to it.
When that reconsideration takes place, and it appears likely that such reconsideration may be far off, two main theories about the U.N. will be debated.
One theory is that U.N. must be a reflection of the world as it is; that is, it can only represent a mirror to the existing realities. This
theory is the one that has governed the affairs of the U.N. since it was founded.
The second theory is that the U.N. has to transcend the limitations of its members; which is to say, it must have the effective means of responsible governance in those matters concerned with common dangers and common needs.
It is this second theory that needs to be explored and developed through the United Nations if possible, apart from the United Nations if necessary.
In short, a new effort must be made in the direction of workable world order. The aim must be effective governance in the world arena.
The essential parts are peacemaking, peacekeeping, economic and social development, protection of the natural environment and of the earth's resources.
The full integration of the World Court into the development of a law capability would appear to be an essential feature of a fully functioning world order.
I have the honor to represent an organization that sees relevance and advantage in the application of federalism to world order. Such federalism recognizes the right of a nation to minister to its own institutions and to maintain its sovereignty in domestic matters. It also recognizes the need for effective authority in those respects in which nations engage in traffic with one another, especially on the level of competitive security.
In the absence of an institutionalized peace, the prospect is world anarchy. We live at a time when national governments, in their dealings with one another, have to be governed themselves in certain respects. The closer the United States, in its own foreign policy, can come to advancing this concept, the closer we ourselves will come to defining a genuine basis for our own security.
[Mr. Cousins' prepared statement follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF NORMAN COUSINS, EDITOR, SATURDAY REVIEW The United States has gone through a long series of unworkable assumptions in its foreign policy since the end of the Second World War.
The first assumption was that the United States would be a policeman for the world. We need look no further than Vietnam for a dramatic illustration of the fallacy of that theory. The attempt of the U.S. to be the world's policeman has been carried out at an unacceptable cost to the American people.
The second assumption was that the United States could achieve security by maintaining a world balance of power. The theory has had mixed success, It worked in Western Europe but has been a costly failure in Asia. The role of the United States, especially through the Marshall Plan, was critically important in giving Europe a springboard for economic recovery after the Second World War. The historical and economic conditions in Europe were propitious for the attempt of most of the nations to seek not just a common security but the basis for a European community
One of the most hopeful items, in fact, in an inventory of the factors that make for peace in the world is to be found in the growing economic inter-relationship of Europe. Two world wars in this century found France and Germany as the prime antagonists. Whatever the other threats to world peace, we can at least take some measure of comfort from the fact that the old recurrent danger of a major eruption from within Europe itself has finally been laid to rest. The clear reason is that both countries have worked out an economic partnership that gives them a far higher stake in continuing peaceful relations than in pressing for conquest.