Commentary Magazine


De Gaulle and Humanity

To the Editor:

Hans J. Morgenthau [“The Crisis in the Western Alliance,” March] describes but one side of the coin in stating that de Gaulle plans an independent nuclear force to defend France if we should falter at nuclear suicide. Such a force, allied with West Germany, could be used for offensive purposes, to compel German reunification, for example, and to retrieve the East Oder lands.

True, as Mr. Morgenthau says, de Gaulle has exploded the myth of the NATO alliance, but will he and Adenauer lead us to a more stable Europe? . . . The more countries in possession of the bomb, the greater the danger to all. Though I am opposed to monopolies, in this case a monopoly by the U. S. and the USSR seems the best interim solution until the happy day these two can come to terms on control and disarmament. Such agreement will be made infinitely more difficult with France and Germany in possession of nuclear weapons.

De Gaulle’s recent moves do not enhance the chances for peace—every other consideration pales into insignificance.

Morris Yanoff
Chicago, Illinois

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To the Editor:

The metaphor invoked by Hans J. Morgenthau to describe the current nuclear situation—“if you do this, I shall cut off your leg . . .” is appalling, coming as it does from one of the most humane and conscientious of foreign affairs “realists.” When analysis can reduce 20 million people to a leg, 45 million lives to a life, genocide has come of age.

Herman Kahn (we thought) was an extreme example. Have the Hans Morgenthaus, too, lost their humanity? Or has Morgenthau perhaps in his humanity developed a shorthand to ease the moral burden of his profession?

It is terrifying that on such deadened perceptions may rest the outcome of the human endeavor. It is disheartening to see Morgenthau in the same pages with Erich Fromm, Paul Goodman, H. Stuart Hughes, and yet sense that there is no common language between them.

Paul Schaffer
New York City

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