Commentary Magazine


Beyond Berlin Is There a New “Balance of Forces”?

Theodore Draper here contributes the fifth in our series of articles advancing different points of view on the key problems of foreign policy in the new circumstances of the 60’s. (Previous contributions were made by Hans J. Morgenthau in February; H. Stuart Hughes in March; Denis Healey in May; and Robert A. Nisbet in September.)

The differences between the Soviet Union and the United States have become increasingly intractable. One is reluctantly reminded of the agonizing situation that prevailed in Europe in 1938 or even 1939. More than one survivor of the 1930’s has been struck by the startling resemblance between the conflict over Danzig and that over Berlin. Even some of the same words have come back to haunt us. The Soviets want to make West Berlin into a “free city”; the last “free city” was Danzig—hardly an auspicious precedent. In the spring of 1939, a notorious French appeaser, Marcel Déat, wrote a then scandalous article, “Mourir pour Dantzig?” Why should Frenchmen die for a faraway city that was one of the First World War’s most abnormal legacies? Four months later, war broke out. It is impossible today to think of Déat’s article as anything but a historical curiosity; serious students hardly bother to dispute whether the war was fought over Danzig, except possibly as the symbolic expression of a larger conflict. And yet, change a few names and details, and Déat’s article could be—and virtually is being—written today as a contemporary document on our own dilemma.

The central issue posed by Danzig yesterday and Berlin today is the relationship of limited and unlimited aims in the policy of expansionist and apocalyptic powers. Nazi Germany pursued limited and unlimited aims simultaneously, and this conjunction was intrinsically responsible for the transition from appeasement to war. Limited aims can be negotiated, but how is it possible to negotiate unlimited aims? To be sure, no power proposes to negotiate unlimited aims, but when it has them, it presents its limited aims in such a way that they set in motion a train of events of unlimited extension. Limited aims simply become unlimited aims on the installment plan. Thus piecemeal appeasement cannot be practiced to the bitter end without falling over into full-scale collaboration, and a thin but decisive line separates the true appeasers from the true collaborators. At some point, the appeaser must draw back, even if too late, in disillusionment; the collaborators are appeasers without end.

It is not necessary to equate Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia to recognize that, in this respect, they present us with similar problems. Mourir pour Berlin? has the same ominous implications today that Mourir pour Dantzig? had twenty-two years ago. Now, as then, we must ask ourselves: Does the Soviet Union also pursue limited and unlimited aims? Is the Soviet Union appeasable? What are the limits of appeasement? And when does one cross over into collaboration?

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One’s understanding of Soviet aims depends to some extent on which Soviet documents one reads. In the Soviet messages primarily directed at the non-Communist world, such as the Khrushchev Prize interviews granted to journalists, some things never appear. But in other documents, primarily intended for the Communist world, some things always appear.

I have chosen three of the fundamental declarations of the second type which have emanated from Moscow in the past year. They are the “Statement of the 81 Communist Parties” of December 5, 1960; the exceptionally important speech by Nikita Khrushchev of January 6, 1961; and the “Draft Program of the Soviet Communist Party” of July 1961. They are much too long and complex for justice to be done to them here, but I wish to point out some basic ideas in all of them that I believe cast light on the deeper springs of Soviet policy and action.

The keynote was struck in the Statement of the 81 Communist Parties last December. Again and again it proclaimed that the world had entered a “new stage” in which the “balance of forces” had changed in favor of the Soviet system. This idea was expressed in various ways: “the superiority of the forces of socialism over those of imperialism,” “the world socialist system is becoming the decisive factor in the development of society,” “today it is the world socialist system and the forces fighting against imperialism, for a socialist transformation of society, that determine the main content, main trend, and main features of the historical development of society,” “an increasing change in the balance of forces in favor of socialism,” and “the superiority of the forces of socialism, peace, and democracy is becoming increasingly obvious.” Some of these expressions are vague and general, some precise and concrete, but the former take on new meaning in terms of the latter and other statements of the same kind.

Khrushchev’s speech of January 6 was, in effect, an extended commentary on the Statement of the 81 Parties. The speech advised Communists, in a manner that might benefit everyone else, to grasp the connection between the theoretical and practical aspects of the “new stage”: “The question of the character of the era is by no means an abstract or a narrow theoretical question. The general strategic line and tactics of world Communism, of each Communist Party, are closely related to it.”

Khrushchev divided the period since the October 1917 Revolution in Russia into two stages. The first had lasted as long as the Communist system was confined to the Soviet Union. The second had begun with the expansion of the Communist system outside the Soviet Union. That expansion, he explained, had reached a point at which “the balance of forces in the world arena [has] undergone radical changes in favor of socialism,” or as he put it in another passage, “the ever-increasing change in the correlation of forces to the advantage of socialism.”

The Draft Program of the Soviet Communist Party presented last July contained the characteristic themes of the Khrushchev “era.” A world war could be averted, it said, but this possibility was linked to “the growing superiority of the socialist forces over the forces of imperialism.” War in general, and especially a thermonuclear war, must be prevented, but a certain type of war, “liberation wars against imperialism,” was encouraged. “Peaceful coexistence” was acclaimed, but it was also characterized as “a specific form of class struggle.” Socialism could be ushered in without civil war or armed violence, but a “non-peaceful transition to socialism” could not be ruled out.

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II

In the abstract, of course, the Communists have always held that history was working in their favor. But the present stress on the new “balance of forces” is not meant to be understood abstractly. The new balance, according to Khrushchev, has already come into existence, politically, economically, and militarily. Khrushchev himself made the distinction between the old saying that “history was working for socialism” and a new one that “socialism is working for history.”

In the final analysis, however, the crucial test of Khrushchev’s thesis is military in nature. For all the importance of political and economic factors, the Soviet Union could not afford to take real risks without sheer military superiority. As long as the military balance was admittedly unfavorable, Soviet policy aimed essentially at splitting potential enemies to prevent the formation of an international anti-Soviet coalition. The German-Soviet treaty at Rapallo in 1922, the Franco-Soviet Pact of 1935, and the German-Soviet Pact of 1939, were high points of the policy, which prevailed as long as Stalin lived.

In the present phase, however, the Soviet leadership feels strong enough to defy and intimidate the entire non-Soviet world. It still treats the United States with the respect befitting a strong enemy, but for the once great powers of Europe, which it formerly sought to play off against each other, it barely troubles to conceal its contempt. The new stage fundamentally derives from Soviet progress in nuclear weapons, a development which has made Khrushchev, in many respects, far more aggressive and adventurist than Stalin ever was.

The new Soviet rocket diplomacy was tried out for the first time during the Suez crisis in 1956 by Khrushchev’s immediate predecessor, N. A. Bulganin. His threat to intervene, however, seemed belated and unnecessary in view of the more-than-enough pressure put on Britain and France by the United States. Nevertheless, by now, the incident has been magnified by Khrushchev into the first major triumph of the new Soviet policy. In his January 6 speech, Khrushchev gloated: “The Soviet government’s stark warning to Eden and Guy Mollet stopped the war,” and, “We interfered and stopped their aggression.” The failure of the United States to intervene in the Indo-chinese war was put in the same category by Khrushchev.

Far more representative of the new period, however, is Khrushchev’s own intervention in the Cuban crisis in 1960. In July of that year, after the United States had cut the Cuban sugar quota and the Castro regime had retaliated with a decree foreshadowing the expropriation of all United States property in Cuba, Khrushchev seized the occasion to announce that, “figuratively speaking, in case of necessity, Soviet artillery men can support the Cuban people with their rocket fire” if the United States attacked Cuba. The Cuban leaders proceeded to exploit this threat for all it was worth. Che Guevara declared: “Cuba is today a glorious island in the center of the Caribbean, defended by the rockets of the greatest military power in history.” In October 1960, Khrushchev seemed to tone down the Soviet commitment by explaining to the Cuban editor, Carlos Franqui, that it had been “really symbolic.” But Franqui refused to be satisfied and insisted: “If the threat does exist, if this threat is carried out, are rockets adequately prepared?” To which Khrushchev replied: “Unquestionably. You have it right.” He ended by expressing the hope that the Soviets would not have to use their rockets. But Guevara returned to the charge in January of this year: “It is well known that the Soviet Union and all the socialist countries are disposed to go to war to defend our sovereignty and that a tacit agreement has been established between our peoples.”

Since then, rocket threats, real or implied, have become a staple of Khrushchev’s diplomatic conversation. He has entertained the British Ambassador in Moscow with information of just how many nuclear bombs it would take to destroy England. The Italian Premier has been regaled in much the same way. After listening to Khrushchev at a Soviet-Rumanian friendship meeting in Moscow on August 11, the Moscow correspondent of the Paris Figaro observed: “This notion of the present power of the USSR, which has changed the relationship of forces in the world, visibly obsesses M. Khrushchev” (Le Figaro, August 12-13, 1961). Six days later, after the wall sealing off East Germany had been erected, Walter Ulbricht, the East German Communist leader, exulted that the act “had demonstrated to the world the actual power relationship in Germany.” And no one has ever accused Ulbricht of originality.

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III

Soviet policy always confronts us with the problem of linking the limited and unlimited, the concrete and the abstract, the immediate tactic and the long-range strategy. The Soviet leaders themselves link them only with the greatest difficulty, and not always successfully. The problem is, of course, even more difficult for outsiders, but at least we must think in these terms if we are to think about Communist policy as the Communists themselves think.

At the present moment, Soviet policy expresses itself in all these ways, some apparently lending themselves to one interpretation, some to another. There is the proposal to make West Berlin into a “free city,” or at least free of Western troops and protection. There is the demand for the recognition of the East German Communist regime. There is the renewal of nuclear tests and reiteration of more or less thinly veiled nuclear threats. There is the concept of the “new stage” in which the “balance of forces” has changed in favor of the Communists. There is Soviet propaganda on behalf of “peaceful coexistence.” And there is the Chinese Communist emphasis on war which seems to make the Soviet Communists the more “moderate” and “peaceful” wing of world Communism.

Is it possible to fit these elements into a coherent pattern? There is one school of thought which creates a pattern by a process of elimination. It considers some Soviet statements, especially the more aggressive and expansionist, to be “ritualistic” and, therefore, of no practical significance. It interprets “peaceful coexistence” as if the Soviets had unconditionally decided to renounce the use of force. It attributes major importance to the theoretical dispute between the Russian and Chinese Communists on the relation of war and revolution, and construes it to mean that the Chinese stand for an aggressive, the Russians for a non-aggressive, Communist tendency.

Without going into the danger of wishful thinking in relegating the more aggressive Soviet expressions to the realm of “ritual,” there can be no doubt that the basic concept of the “new stage,” on which Soviet policy now admittedly rests, has nothing remotely ritualistic about it. The proposition that the “balance of forces” has changed in favor of Communism represents a distinctly new departure in the Soviet assessment of the world situation. It has begun to turn up regularly in fundamental Soviet documents because the Soviet leaders wish to hammer it into the heads of their followers as well as their foes. Indeed, judging from the Soviets’ past willingness to resort to force when necessary, one might make a stronger case for the ritualistic character of the Soviets’ “peace-loving” protestations. But that would be too easy a retort, because there is a sense, I believe, in which Soviet policy is both “aggressive” and “non-aggressive,” “pro-war” and “anti-war.”

Of all Soviet propaganda slogans in recent years, “peaceful coexistence” has undoubtedly been the most successful. Who could be against it without opening himself up to the charge of being an imperialist madman and reactionary warmonger? Yet the slogan has always suffered from an inherent contradiction which the Soviets have never attempted to resolve. The operative word is “coexistence,” not “peaceful,” because coexistence today must be peaceful or not at all. But before two parties can agree to each other’s coexistence, they must first be reconciled to each other’s continued existence. And this is precisely what the Soviet leadership will not or cannot accept. Indeed, it professes to be certain that the “complete triumph” of Communism is closer than ever before, and it makes no secret of its determination to accelerate the inevitable. At best, then, “peaceful coexistence” means that the Soviets intend to put an end to rival social orders by peaceful means if possible and to coexist with them only as long as necessary. The slogan is, if anything, a description of the present, not a prescription for the future. This is a very different matter from what “peaceful coexistence” seems to suggest, and the formula derives its effectiveness from the way it permits the Soviets to have their cake and eat it, too.

We thus come back in another form to the seemingly “aggressive” and “non-aggressive,” the “pro-war” and “antiwar” character of Soviet policy in the “new stage.” I put these words in quotation marks because they are relatively meaningless or misleading by themselves; they enjoy no independent existence but are rather alternative means to a larger end which may be achieved one way or the other.

Altogether too much has been made, therefore, of the so-called ideological difference between the Soviet and Chinese Communist leaderships. We know from experience that struggles for power within Communist movements must take ideological forms; if there were no ideological differences, they would have to be invented. This is just as true of struggles between national movements as it is true of struggles within these movements. With or without ideological differences, the Soviet and Chinese Communist leaderships could be expected to agree on spheres of influence only with the greatest difficulty. The Soviets have never accepted the concept of spheres of influence within the Communist world. As the Statement of the 81 Parties puts it, “the Communist Party of the Soviet Union has been, and remains, the universally recognized vanguard of the world Communist movement, being the most experienced and steeled contingent of the international Communist movement,” and there is no room in these words, upon which the Soviets undoubtedly insisted, for dividing the Communist world into a Chinese sphere in the East and a Soviet sphere in the West. The Chinese would unquestionably be satisfied, for the present, with such an arrangement, but in view of Soviet unwillingness, they have invaded the West as far as the Albanian and other Communist movements to show that two can play at the same game. If ideological differences were the only ones at stake, they could be patched up with relative ease, but it is the struggle for power within the Communist world—for two “vanguards” instead of one—that has envenomed them.

I am not impressed by the determining character of the ideological dispute because it is so abstract in character and so far removed from the everyday realities of Soviet and Chinese Communist policies. The Soviets are not necessarily conciliatory because they profess to believe in “peaceful coexistence,” and the Chinese are not necessarily incorrigible because they scoff at it. Both are conciliatory and incorrigible as the opportunity offers and their interests dictate. The notion that the ideological dispute over “peaceful coexistence” makes the Soviets “peace-loving” and the Chinese “war-like” is an oversimplification that verges on political innocence.

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What, then, is the Sino-Soviet ideological dispute about? The answer takes us close to the heart of the “Berlin crisis,” the renewal of nuclear testing, the message of the most important Soviet documents in the past year, and all the rest. The missing link is not hard to find, because it is a prerequisite of Soviet strategy that it should not be kept a secret.

For the Soviet leaders, and most of all Nikita Khrushchev, have been trying to pound into us the belief that we have entered a “new stage” of history in which the odds have turned against us. Why fight? Why resist? “Of course,” said Khrushchev in his speech of January 6, “as yet we are unable to completely exclude the possibility of wars, for the imperialist states exist. However, the unleashing of wars has become a much more complicated business for the imperialists than it was before the emergence of the mighty socialist camp. Imperialists can unleash a war, but they must think hard about the consequences.” So it is Khrushchev’s business to remind us unceasingly and in the most forceful ways of the consequences.

This is the purpose of the legend that, as far back as 1956, the Soviet Union was strong enough to issue a “stark warning” to Britain and France, and, forthwith, they capitulated. It is the purpose of the legend that the Soviets were responsible for a similar victory in North Vietnam. It is the primary purpose of all the stark warnings that have issued from Moscow in connection with the Berlin crisis. If warnings do not suffice, nuclear tests are even more instructive. And if the non-Communist world learns the lesson that Khrushchev is trying to teach it, it will always behave in the way that Khrushchev says it behaved during the Suez and Indo-chinese crises—it will capitulate. I am not now concerned with the merits of these cases, but only with Khrushchev’s use of them.

The essential difference on war and peace between the Russian and Chinese Communists, then, boils down to different estimates of the practical possibilities. The Chinese, who do not have a nuclear bomb and have not been able to achieve their aims in Formosa despite some rather forceful efforts, see no reason why they should spread illusions about “the peaceful road to socialism” or expect Western capitulation. The Soviets, who possess nuclear bombs and have far more successfully pursued a short-of-war policy, can afford to be, or appear to be, more optimistic. The Soviet leaders are not less aggressive than the Chinese, but they have more reason to believe that they can achieve their ends not by war but by the threat of war, not by “devastating blows” but by the threat of devastating blows, not by nuclear bombs but by the threat of nuclear bombs. Since the Soviet leaders have by no means excluded the possibility that the threat will not be enough, the purely doctrinal debate would surely be muffled or even hushed up, if other more practical and material considerations of power were not involved.1

Despite the intensity and sometimes the longevity of some Communist factional struggles, it is remarkable how often the victor, once firmly established, has taken over the position formerly identified with the loser. The present archetype of Soviet aggressiveness, Stalin, came into power a paragon of moderation, and “socialism in one country” was once considered the betrayal of all expansion of the Soviet system outside Russia. The “non-aggressive” Khrushchev is just as much a fable as the non-aggressive Stalin used to be; there was more than one Stalin, depending on circumstances and opportunities, and there is more than one Khrushchev, for the same reasons. There has also been and will continue to be more than one Mao, whose internal difficulties now seem to be swaying him to appear to be more sweetly reasonable in his foreign relations.

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IV

Negotiating with a power which has limited aims is the traditional function of diplomacy, but negotiating with a power which has unlimited as well as limited aims is an infinitely more difficult and thankless task. It is this duality of Soviet policy which makes the present “Berlin crisis” and all other such tests of strength and wars of nerve so extraordinarily tortuous and treacherous. The limited aims themselves vary enormously in scope, from the sealing off of East Germany to stop the flow of refugees into West Berlin and West Germany, to the de facto or diplomatic recognition of the East German Communist regime, to the permanent partition of Germany by formal adoption of the Soviet thesis of the “two German states.” Yet the Soviets have tied all three together in the Berlin knot.

The first of these aims was relatively easy to accomplish; it merely required a wall of concrete blocks which the Western powers protested against but had no intention of penetrating. The second is more difficult inasmuch as it requires the cooperation of the United States to make it an accomplished fact. To make the United States somewhat more cooperative, the Soviets have applied pressure at this point—the threat that a separate Soviet “peace treaty” with East Germany would cut off access to Berlin to be reestablished only through negotiation and agreement with the East German regime. And the last aim entails such potential danger that the Soviets would like to take out a political insurance policy before going through with it.

For, if history teaches us anything, it is that a nation like Germany cannot be permanently divided without retribution. The price may be paid in the next generation, not in this, but it will be paid. In an age when the most artificial congeries of tribes demand and obtain national recognition, it is folly to imagine that a historic nation in the heart of Europe can be split up indefinitely.2 I am not suggesting that, in the present conflict of interests or state of public opinion in the East and West, the reunification of Germany can or should be put on the order of the day; I am convinced, however, that there is only one thing worse than the present unnatural division, and that is to make it any worse than it is. The Soviet leaders well know that they are playing with fire, and they are determined, therefore, to take out an insurance policy by making the West accomplices in the deed. In the long run, of course, the Soviets have no intention of confronting the German people as the historic enemies of their national unity; the day the whole of Germany shows signs of moving into the Communist camp, the Soviet Union will unquestionably emerge as the noisiest and crassest defender of German national unity.

This wide assortment of “limited” aims gives the Soviet leaders plenty of room to bargain and to maneuver. Beyond any or all of them, however, is the Soviet determination to hold on to the initiative in world affairs and to set such forces in motion that one Soviet advance leads to another, one Western retreat to another. If all the Soviet demands were accepted tomorrow, nothing would be “normalized,” nothing “regularized.” If the arrangement really guaranteed “free access” to West Berlin, it would continue to threaten the East German regime as an outpost of freedom and refuge from totalitarianism; and if the arrangement proved to be illusory, the gradual asphyxiation of West Berlin would afflict the West with a trauma of guilt and shame far more dangerous in its ultimate effect than the present predicament. If the West recognizes Ulbricht’s regime, it will not make life in East Germany any easier or sweeter; it will merely make Ulbricht more arrogant and insufferable. If the West conducts negotiations with Ulbricht—that most servile, shameless, and bankrupt of the old German Stalinists—we may be sure that the process of arriving at an interpretation of “free access” to West Berlin that does not disturb the interests and sensibilities of the East German rulers will be most painful. At every disputed point, the West will face the choice of capitulating or returning to the crisis atmosphere—and the wiseacres will not be slow to point out that, once having decided to negotiate, the West should have realized that it “could not have its own way.” If Germany is permanently dismembered now, the operation will have to be carried out by the Soviet Union and the United States without a semblance of consent by the German people who will have something to say about it sooner or later. Anyone who thinks that it is possible to recognize the East German Communist regime under duress, be forced into a compact for the permanent dismemberment of Germany, remove West Berlin as an embarrassment to the East German regime, without whetting the Soviet appetite for more, is living in a fool’s paradise.

It cannot be emphasized too strongly that the entire issue has been distorted and confused by making it appear to be exclusively or predominantly related to West Berlin. In reality, the Soviets are using West Berlin as a back door to impose their ultimate will on Germany as a whole, or as small change to obtain a vastly strengthened position in Germany as a whole. They are attempting to subordinate the fate of Germany to that of Berlin or at least to use this bargaining technique. However abnormal or irregular the present status of Berlin may be, the fact remains that it cannot be normalized or regularized unless the fate of Berlin is subordinated to that of Germany. And if the world is not yet ready to face openly and honestly the German problem, it should not prejudice the case by dealing with it in this backdoors, shamefaced fashion, or above all delude itself that it is settling or solving anything of substance.

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V

The Soviets have driven so hard and so far since the end of World War II that they think—or they consider it politic to think—that they have come in sight of total victory by “peaceful,” piecemeal submission to their demands. The victory they envisage can only be a victory by capitulation, and it is for this reason that Khrushchev could say in his January 6 speech that “the slogan of the struggle for peace appears as a companion of the slogan of the struggle for Communism.”

Ironically, the latest battle cry of some nuclear pacifists, “Better red than dead,” contains a little more truth than poetry. Those who think in these terms have already lost the power of decision. They can only throw themselves at the mercy of the biggest nuclear power or the one that makes the biggest threats—or perhaps the one most likely to carry them out. It is, of course, far from clear that the military balance is actually as one-sided as the Soviets would like us to believe; more likely, the Soviets are ahead in some fields, the United States in others; and the most responsible Western military opinion still firmly believes that, on balance, the Western alliance enjoys a decided military advantage. The Soviets can claim an advantage in the “balance of forces” not because they have nuclear weapons and the West does not have them, but because they are willing to use their “nuclear deterrent” against the West in a way that the West has not been willing to use against them.

Thus it is most significant that the slogan is not “Better red-white-and-blue than dead” or “Better anything than dead.” Why, if both the Soviet Union and the United States are equally capable of mass destruction, should the choice be limited to “red” and “dead”? What would have been the reaction if Eisenhower had intimated in 1956 that the Hungarian rebels could count on the support of American rockets as Khrushchev intimated in 1960 that the Castro regime could count on Soviet rockets? In fact, what would happen if the President of the United States (1) called in the Polish, Czech, and Rumanian ambassadors, and told them how many nuclear bombs would be necessary to level their countries to the ground, ancient monuments included; (2) designated these three countries as “hostages”; (3) announced the active support of “liberation wars against Communism”; and (4) promised to give nuclear protection to any rebellion against Communist rule?

I think it is clear that we are not dealing here with a genuinely pacifist position; it is rather a form of pseudo-pacifism that is politically motivated by the appeasement of one side—Soviet Russia. But the appeasement of a power with unlimited aims is never enough, and these pacifists have already taken the long step toward collaboration. The moral and political tension in “Better red than dead” is so hard to maintain that it is always in danger of falling over into the shorter version, “Better red.”

All this, however, is not only politically one-sided; it is also, to a large extent, politically irrelevant. In the existing state of Western society, some may be prepared to surrender in advance, but the decisive majority is not. The real option, therefore, is simply and nakedly, “alive or dead,” not “red or dead.” And this embraces everyone, including the reds, whom it deprives of any special advantage.

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But as long as the Soviets base their policy on a supposedly advantageous “balance of forces,” they are bound to be tempted by the prospect of progressive Western capitulation, with incalculable, unthinkable consequences for the future of mankind. As long as the dread of these consequences emboldens the Soviets and unnerves the West, the “balance of forces,” whatever it may be objectively, tilts in favor of the Soviets subjectively. As long as the West does not find a way to demonstrate that the Soviets are wrong about their “balance of forces,” the equilibrium will not be restored. And without a new equilibrium, a new starting point is unlikely to emerge.

The problem is, of course, far more difficult to solve than to state. Yet one of our greatest hazards is that we are not yet agreed on the nature of the problem. Of one thing we may be sure: however difficult and delicate it may be today, it will be far more dangerous and costly tomorrow. The Soviet stress on the “balance of forces” is relatively recent; we are still in the exploratory, probing phase of the “new stage.” One of the factors being explored and probed most incisively is our own frame of mind. Objectively, the balance has hardly changed as much as the Soviets say it has. In any case, something more than words is needed to convince us. The Berlin crisis is, above all, an object lesson to provide the skeptical with a living demonstration of how the allegedly changed “balance of forces” operates. In effect, we are being invited to confirm the latest Soviet dictum. We have only begun to hear about it, but a few more practical demonstrations and it will become the incessant drum beat of Soviet propaganda. That will be the moment of supreme peril. We are not yet there, but a major change in the heart of Europe could easily get us there.

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Footnotes

1 This is the reason why the usual arguments for keeping Red China out of the United Nations strike me as so unconvincing. They invariably stress the aggressive deeds and designs of the Chinese and thereby give the other Communist—and non-Communist—powers a relatively clean bill of health or set up a special standard of virtue for the Chinese alone. The more persuasive arguments are practical, not political, and they relate to the “balance of forces.”

2 The declaration of the recent Belgrade conference of so-called nonaligned nations stated: “All nations have the right of unity, self-determination and independence by virtue of which right they can determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural developments without intimidation or hindrance.” But the only country to which this principle was applied was—Cuba!

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