The Prospects for Peace with the Soviets: Can We Negotiate a Settlement Now?
The less freedom of choice we have in a situation, the more tempted we are to indulge in exercises of intellectual evasion. When a glance at the world shows us conflicts that are probably insoluble, at least in our own time—like that between Russia and the free West—then why not offer a few new ideas to the people in “control”?—at worst, they can only prove to be impractical or innocuous. There is no more glaring contrast, at the present moment, than that between the unrelenting grip of events in which our statesmen wriggle, and the thousand and one solutions offered by armchair strategists.
It is true that criticism by a minority can at times alter a situation, though only if it is brought to bear at a given favorable moment; so abstractly, it is conceivable that a fresh approach might improve our chances of defeating Communism without a third world war. The hitch is that most of the policies tirelessly proposed, in America and especially Europe, by this or that clique of intellectuals and publicists, can always be traced back to some unrealistic basic premise. To assume, for example, a Soviet Union with limited aspirations, one that would refrain from encouraging any action by the Communist parties in Western Europe, and would desire a permanent, peaceful coexistence—to assume this, in disregard of facts and experiences, immediately renders valueless any criticism of present policy toward the real Soviet Union.
About the Author