Tragedy and Hope
A History of the World in Our Time
By Carroll Quigley
Part Nineteen: The New Era: 1957-1964
Chapter 71: The Growth of Nuclear Stalemate
The decade from 1953 to 1963 was the most critical in modern history. Man's ability to get through it successfully was a tribute to his good luck and good sense. The avoidance of nuclear war and the extraordinary burst of economic prosperity in the advanced industrial nations during that decade were balanced by the continued growth of acute social disorganization and the even more acute growth of ideological confusions. Nevertheless, man survived, and, by 1963, was at the opening of a new era, based very largely on the relaxation of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union and on the opportunities to do something about the lagging social and intellectual problems provided by the combination of political relaxation and economic prosperity.
The decade as a whole fell into two parts, divided about 1956. The first three years were marked by the continued "Race for the H-Bomb," and covered the period from the early thermonuclear explosions in 1953 to the achievement of a fusion bomb that could be dropped from an airplane in 1956. The next seven years were filled with the missile race, and reached their culmination and denouement in the year from the Cuban missile crisis of October-November 1962 to the death of President Kennedy in November 1963.
Closely related to this division based on weapons development was the somewhat delayed division of the decade into two parts by a change in American strategic policy. Here the dividing point was about 1960, and is marked by the shift from the strategy of "massive retaliation," associated with the name of John Foster Dulles, to the strategy of "graduated deterrence," associated with the new Democratic Administration of President Kennedy. The shift in 1960, however, was only incidentally associated with the presidential election of that year and the subsequent shift of Administration in the White House. The real change in 1960 was brought about, as we shall see, by the full achievement, at that time, of intercontinental thermonuclear striking ability by the two great Superpowers. The "balance of terror" thus achieved by 1960 led directly to the missile crisis of 1962 and the thermonuclear stalemate of 1963. And these developments led to major changes in the political and ideological structures of all areas of the world, changes that are still going on.
The Shifting Power Balance
As we have seen, the whole period of 1953 to 1960, in the area of defense, was dominated by the so-called "New Look," the Republican effort to reduce the cost of the American defense effort by shifting from "containment" to massive retaliation. This involved a reduction in the American defense budget from an average of $43 billion a year over the last four Truman budgets (1949-1953) to an average of S37.4 a year over the six Eisenhower budgets of 1954-1960. In this process American military manpower was reduced from 3.7 million men to '.5 million over the six years January, 1953-January, 1959. Foreign economic aid was decreasingly emphasized.
In this fashion, the effort to deter Soviet aggression was based more completely on the threat of American nuclear attack by SAC bombers on the Soviet homeland and less on American readiness to meet Soviet forces on the ground or to win third Powers to our side by economic or other aid. Dulles, who saw the world in black-and-white terms, refused to recognize the right of anyone to be neutral, and tried to force all states to join the American side in the Cold War or be condemned to exterior darkness.
Having thus divided the world into two blocs, he sought to set up between them a continuous circuit of paper barriers along the land frontiers of the Soviet bloc from the Baltic Sea, across Europe and Asia, to the Far East. The chief portions in the barrier were the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Europe (1949), the Central Treaty Organization (1955) in the Near and Middle East (CENTRO), and the South-East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) in the Far East (1954). In theory, the paper barrier was made continuous by the presence of Turkey in both NATO and CENTRO and of Pakistan in both CENTRO and SEATO.
Dulles cared little about the military strength, economic prosperity, or political democracy of the states forming this paper ring around the Soviet bloc, since their chief function was to form a paper barrier so that any movement outward by Russia or its satellites, by breaking the paper, would trigger the trip-wire circuit that hurled America's nuclear retaliatory power on the Soviet homeland. In theory this strategic policy meant that any outward movement by the Soviet Union, or by one of its satellite states, in some remote jungle or on some barren mountaintop of central Asia, might lead to all-out nuclear war, initiated by the United States, which would totally destroy European civilization as we know it. For, until 1960, the ability of either of the Superpowers to strike directly at the other from its own soil was very limited, and, accordingly, the two Superpowers had to strike f rom or strike at bases in Europe or the Far East.
This change, which took place over the period 1956-1962, is of major significance, since it meant that the Soviet Union and the United States became capable of striking directly at each other and did not have to involve third Powers in their disputes immediately. From the weapons point of view, it represented, on the American side, three changes: (1) the shift in manned bombing planes from the long-range B-47's to the intercontinental-range B-52's and B-58's; (2) the shift in missiles from the intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBM's), such as Thor or Jupiter, which had to be based in Turkey, Italy, or Britain in order to reach the Soviet Union, to intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM's), such as the Minuteman or Atlas, which could hit the Soviet Union from launching sites in the United States; and (3) the advent, about 1960, of the nuclear-propelled Polaris submarines, whose sixteen nuclear-armed missiles could strike the Soviet Union from submerged positions in the seas bordering the Eurasian land mass.
This American capability to strike the Soviet homeland from North America was not achieved so quickly or so completely on the Russian side, even by the time the nuclear stalemate had been reached in 1963. As a result, the Soviet Union could strike at the United States only by striking at its bases or its allies in NATO or in the Far East. At first, in the 1950's, such a Soviet counterstrike would have been largely by the Soviet ground forces invading westward across central Europe, but by the late 1950's, as the Soviet strategic striking forces were strengthened by its acquisition of strategic bombing planes like the Tu-16 and of IRBM's, this Soviet counterstrike to America's massive retaliation would have resulted in the nuclear destruction and radioactive pollution of much of Europe. The gradual shift of American retaliatory power from intermediate range to intercontinental range (in 1962) reduced the Soviet pressure on Europe by reducing the importance of America's European bases. This had many significant implications for all the nations of Europe, both Communist and Western.
The key to the missile race rested on the fact that the United States and the Soviet Union took opposite routes in their efforts to obtain nuclear-armed rockets. One basic problem was how to combine the American A-bomb of 1945 with the German V-2 rocket. Since the A-bomb was an egg-shaped object 5 feet wide and 10 feet long, which weighed 9,000 pounds, and the V-2 could carry a warhead of only 1,700 pounds 200 miles, the problem was not easy. The Soviet government sought to close the gap between rocket power and nuclear payload by working toward a more powerful rocket, while the American scientists, over the opposition of the Air Force and the aviation industry, sought to close the gap by getting smaller bombs. The result of the race was that the Soviet Union in 1957-1962 had very large boosters which gave it a lead in the race to propel objects into space or into ballistic orbits around the earth, but these were very expensive could not be made in large numbers, and were very awkward to install or to move. The United States, on the other hand, soon found it had bombs in all sizes down to small ones capable of being used as tactical weapons by troops in ground combat and able to be moved about on jeeps.
As a consequence of the American decision to reduce the size of the bomb (a decision for which the great scientist Robert Oppenheimer was largely responsible), by the early 1960's the United States was producing large numbers of warheads in a great variety of sizes, capable of being delivered by all kinds of vehicles from tactical rockets and cannons, up through Polaris missiles, airplanes of all sizes, and rockets of all ranges, up to city-destroying bombs carried by gigantic SAC bombers or ICBM's.
Apparently the Soviet success in obtaining the A-bomb in 1949, in dropping an H-bomb in 1953, and in startling the world with its powerful rocket boosters in 1957 not only alarmed the United States but also lulled the Kremlin itself into the mistaken idea that it was ahead of the United States in the development of missile nuclear weapons. This so-called "missile gap" was a mistaken idea, for the vast expansion of American production of nuclear materials begun in 1950, combined with the simultaneous reduction in the sizes of nuclear warheads, by 1959 was bringing the United States into a condition of "nuclear plenty" and of "overkill capacity" that posed a grim problem for the Soviet Union. It was, strangely enough, just at that time (end of 1957) that two American studies (the Gaither Report and the Special Studies Project of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund) suggested the existence of a missile gap or inferiority in missile capacity of the United States compared to the Soviet Union. This judgment, apparently based on overemphasis on the size of Soviet rocket boosters, played a chief role in the American presidential campaign of 1960 and in the ebullient self-confidence of Khrushchev and his associates in 1957-1961.
The reality of the situation apparently was not recognized in Moscow until 1961, when it penetrated with a cold shock of fear through the deceptive festivities of self-congratulations that had begun with the success of Sputnik I (October 1957) and the successful moon shot, Lunik II (of September 1959).
In this pleasant period of self-deception, intensified by the American presidential campaign's unrealistic discussion of the missile gap in 1960, the Kremlin entered upon an unofficial international suspension of nuclear-bomb testing (the Test Moratorium) from October 31, 1958 to October 23, 1961. Suddenly, in 1961, the Soviet authorities recognized that they had fallen far behind the United States, both in number and in variety of nuclear weapons, because their existing nuclear bombs were too large for many purposes, especially for accurate and numerous long-range ICBM's. Accordingly, in October 1961, the Soviet Union broke the test moratorium of three years by resuming nuclear testing, but, to conceal the purpose of the tests in seeking smaller bombs, they aimed their publicity on the tests at the fact that they exploded the largest bomb ever used, a 58-megaton fusion thermonuclear monstrosity.
After these tests, it soon became clear to the Soviet Union that the American lead in ICBM's could not be overcome by the Soviet Union, in view of its limited industrial capacity and the other urgent demands on that capacity, in any period of time that had strategic meaning. Accordingly, Moscow, probably at the instigation of the Red Army itself, decided to remedy its weakness in ICBM's by seeking to move some of its numerous ICBM's within range of the United States by secretly installing them in Castro's Cuba..
This decision, if we have analyzed it correctly, showed once again the way in which the Soviet defense strategy moved in a direction opposite to that which was influencing American defense decisions. Just at the time (summer 1962) that the Soviet Union was deciding to remedy its weakness in ICBM's by trying to install IRBM's in a third Power close to the United States, the latter was deciding that its supply of ICBM's was increasing so rapidly that it would close down its IRBM bases in third countries close to the Soviet Union (such as Turkey). This American decision was already beginning to be carried out when the Cuban missile crisis broke in October 1962.
The Cuban missile crisis was a turning point in Soviet-American relations, similar in some ways to the Fashoda crisis of r898 between France and England. It showed both sides that neither wanted a war and that their interests were not antithetical on all points. Thus it signaled the suspension of the Cold War and of the all-out insane armaments race between them. It showed that the United States had missile superiority sufficient to veto any major Soviet aggression, while the Soviet Union had sufficient missile power, in combination with the generally nonaggressive American attitude, to discourage the United States from using its missile superiority to make any aggression on the Soviet Union. Thus was established a nuclear or power stalemate of nuclear vetoes between the United States and the Soviet Union that secured each against the other.
This American-Soviet stalemate, by inhibiting the use of the power of each, permitted third Powers to escape, to a considerable extent, from the need to have power sufficient to hack up their actions. This meant that third states could undertake actions which their own power could not in itself justify or enforce. That is to say that the Superpower stalemate allowed third states a freedom of action beyond their own intrinsic powers. Thus Indonesia could attack Malaya; China could attack India; Pakistan, although allied to the United States, could be cozy with Red China; Cyprus could defy Turkey; Egypt could attack Yemen; France could defy the United States; Romania could flirt with Peking; and Britain or Spain could trade with Castro's Cuba, without the Superpowers feeling free to use their own real strengths to obtain what they wanted, since most of these strengths were neutralized opposing each other.
One significant consequence of this situation was the almost total collapse of the system of international law that had been formulated in the seventeenth century by the work of writers like Grotius. That system of international law had regarded the state as the embodiment of sovereignty, an organization of political power on a territorial basis. The criteria for the existence of such a sovereign state had been its ability to defend its boundaries against external aggression and to maintain la\v and public order among its inhabitants inside those boundaries. By 1964, as a consequence of the power stalemate of the Cold War, dozens of "states" (such as the Congo) which could perform neither of these actions were recognized as states by the Superpowers and their allies, and achieved this recognition in international law by being admitted to the United Nations. This development culminated over fifty years of destruction of the old established distinctions of international law such as the distinctions between war and peace (destroyed by the Cold War, which was neither), between belligerents and neutrals (destroyed by British economic warfare in World War I), or between civilians and combatants (destroyed by submarine warfare and city bombing). Nuclear stalemate in the Cold War context made it possible for political organizations with almost none of the traditional characteristics of a state not only to be recognized as states but to act in irresponsible ways and to survive on economic subsidies won from one bloc by threatening to join (or merely to accept subsidies from) the other bloc.
As a consequence of this situation, all the realities of international affairs by 1964 had become covered with thick layers of law, theories, practices, and agreements that had no relationship to reality at all. Today, the pressure of the realities beneath that layer to break through it and emerge into the daylight where they can be generally recognized has reached a critical point. As part of that process of increasing sanity (which the recognition of reality always is), the future of disarmament became more hopeful than it had been in decades, although the chances of reaching any substantial disarmament agreements remain slight. This means that disarmament is more likely to appear in the form of nuclear disengagement and tacit adoption of parallel actions than in the form of explicit agreements or signed documents.
The amount of myth and false theories that must be pushed aside to permit even the highest peaks of reality to emerge is very large. In the United Nations alone, it involves such points as the recognition of the Congo as a "state," the belief that Taiwan is a Great Power worthy of one of the four permanent, veto-wielding seats on the Security Council, or the pretense that Red China, in spite of its possession of all the traditional attributes of statehood, does not exist.
Part of this return to reality is embodied in the growing recognition that there are more situations in which the United States and the Soviet Union have parallel interests than there are in which their interests are antithetical. Certainly they have a common interest in avoiding nuclear war, in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states, in not poisoning the atmosphere with radioactive fallout from nuclear testing, in slowing up weapons development, technological rivalry, and the space race in order to direct more resources to domestic problems of poverty, social disorganization, and education; or in refraining from outbidding each other in grants of arms and aid to unreliable, ungrateful, unstable, and inefficient neutralist regimes.
One first clear evidence of recognition of this common interest was the peaceful settlement of the Cuban missile crisis, but the first formal agreement based on it was the official Test Ban Treaty of August 1963. This treaty not only aimed to maintain the stalemate between the two Superpowers to the degree that it might be jeopardized by their future testing; it also sought to hamper the spread of nuclear weapons to additional powers by this restriction. Both Superpowers and many neutrals feared that nuclear explosives would get into the control of Red China or other irresponsible hands.
By the late 1960's, considerations such as these revealed that there were considerable areas of common interests among the states of the world covering all three groups of the so-called Free World, the Communist bloc, and the neutrals. The net result was the almost total disappearance of the world as seen by John Foster Dulles only a decade before. The two-power world of Dulles was being replaced by a multi-bloc world in which the two Superpowers, instead of being antithetical on all points, were finding large areas in which their interests were closer to each other than they were to those of some of the other, newer blocs, especially that growing up around Red China. Moreover, as we shall see, in some ways the aims, methods, and structures of the two Superpowers were converging on increasingly parallel courses. Most obviously repugnant to Dulles would have been the rise of neutralism, evident not only in the increasing numbers and independence of the neutral states, but in the disintegration of both the old Superpower blocs as these weakened and dissolved, and former members of these, such as France in the West and Romania in the East, adopted increasingly neutralist policies.
As one obvious consequence of this, the paper groupings and barriers Dulles had so painfully constructed in the 1950's were under liquidation as one of the chief tasks of the 1960's. This was evident, with increasing obviousness, in NATO, the Organization of American States (OAS), CENTRO, and SEATO. Less obviously, except in the Far East, the same disintegrative process has been going on within the Soviet bloc, at first with Yugoslavia in 1948 and then with Red China (1960), Albania, Romania, and others. This whole process of growing neutralism, diversity, and the disintegration of the Super-blocs, followed by the increasing emphasis of all groups on the problems of poverty, social disorganization. and spiritual nihilism, was possible only because of the growth of nuclear stalemate, and must, throughout, I.,e recognized as occurring under the umbrella of thermonuclear terror and the danger from new, equally horrible biological weapons.
The Denouement of the Cold War, 1957-1963
Two revealing events in the late summer of 1957 offer conflicting evidence on the nature of the Soviet system. On August 26th the Kremlin claimed its first successful test of an ICBM. A month later it announced that the sixth Five-Year Plan had been scrapped and would be replaced by a new Seven-Year Plan for 1959-1965.
The meaning of this second announcement was difficult to evaluate, but it showed the regime's increasing difficulty in carrying out its grandiose economic projects, a difficulty that arose from the failures of the Soviet agricultural system. The state and collective farms used such quantities of equipment and manpower, and gave such limited production in return, that they became the chief limiting factor in the Soviet efforts to raise standards of living, to maintain the size and power of the defense forces, to win over third states by economic and technical assistance, and to lead the United States in the conquest of outer space. The output of food from the small private plots of the Soviet peasantry, which were presumably worked only in their owners' spare time, produced four or five times the output per acre of the state and collective farms. This was, of course, an indication of the success of private enterprise as a spur in the productive process, a fact which was specifically recognized by Khrushchev in a series of speeches early in 1964.
But in 1957-1959 this meaning of the change in the Soviet economic plan was unrecognized, or at least disputable, and the world's attention became riveted instead on the Soviet success with its rocket boosters. From October 1957, over a period of five years, the Russians showed the way in outer space to the United States. In the newspapers and consequent world opinion, the margin of the Soviet superiority seemed much greater than it was in fact. On October 4th Sputnik I, weighing 184 pounds, was shot into an orbit around our earth; a month later, Sputnik II, weighing 1,120 pounds and containing a living dog, also went into successful orbit. But on December 6th a much publicized effort hy the United States, in Project Vanguard, failed in its attempt to place a small sphere of 3 1/4 pounds into orbit. On the last day of January 1958, the first American spacecraft, Explorer I, weighing 31 pounds, successfully was shot into orbit around our earth, but it was followed by another failure of Vanguard and a failure of Explorer II in the next two months.
In the spring of 1958, our success with Explorer III (31 pounds) and another failure with Vanguard were followed by the successful Sputnik III (2,925 pounds). The two years 1958 and 1959 saw many American failures in space (20 in all) mingled with 16 successful efforts (mostly in 1959). In January 1959, the Soviet government put Lunik I (3,245 pounds) in orbit around the sun five months after our first lunar probe had failed. In September 1959, Lunik II hit the surface of the moon, and a month later Lunik III passed around the moon, photographing its hidden side. In 1960 and 1961 the United States launched numerous successful space vehicles that gathered valuable scientific information. One of these, in January 1959, made the first broadcast from space, relaying messages from American ground stations, but in April and August 1961 Soviet vehicles successfully sent the first human beings into space: Vostok I was recovered after a single orbit, and Vostok II, after 18 successful trips around the globe, was recovered the next day. These first space travelers, Major Yuri Gagarin and Major Gherman S. Titov, returned safely to Soviet soil, descending to earth in remarkable demonstrations of the Soviet success in controlling their space vehicles. The first American astronauts, Captain Alan B. Shepard, Jr., who made a suborbital flight of 117 miles in May 1961, and Colonel John H. Glenn, who orbited the earth three times in February 1962, were recovered by landing in the ocean. In October, United States Navy Commander Walter M. Schirra made a similar landing after a smooth countdown and blast-off at Cape Canaveral (now called Cape Kennedy) and six orbits around the earth. These American achievements were seen on television by millions of viewers and roused considerable praise throughout the world at the courage of the American government in permitting live broadcasts of what could have turned into humiliating fiascos.
The Soviet fiascos in space developments, if any occurred, were well concealed, while their successes continued to astound the world at the end of 1962. In August of that year, the Russians in less than twenty-four hours blasted off Vostok III and Vostok IV, each with a human passenger, brought them within four miles of each other in space, and landed them together, six minutes and 124 miles apart, after several days in space, most of it in a weightless condition. This achievement was remarkable for its exhibition of control of the whole process, since the two vehicles were in almost identical orbits, almost came together in space, and broke all previous records for time and distance in space. Major A. G. Nikolayev circled the earth 64 times, covered 1,625,000 miles, and was weightless for almost four days, during which he worked, ate, slept, and moved about in his capsule. His companion cosmonaut, Lieutenant Colonel P. R. Popovich, made 48 orbits around the earth and was weightless for almost three days. These achievements in the Soviet space program were repeated in June 1963 by similar dual flights of Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, who made 48 orbits, and Lieutenant Colonel Valery Bykovsky, who completed 81 orbits.
The impact of these Soviet "space spectaculars" on world opinion was tremendous. To many neutrals, and even to some in the Western nations, their exploits seemed to indicate that the Soviet Union had moved to first place in ability to apply science to technological development. Only gradually, and never completely, did realization spread that the Soviet Union, by announcing only its successes and concealing its failures, gave a misleading appearance of success. In time, it also began to appear that, while the Soviet Union unquestionably had tremendous boosters and an almost unbelievable accuracy in firing them, the United States space effort included a greater number of attempts, in much greater variety and size, and yielded immensely larger amounts of scientific information. By 1963-1964, when the space rivalry had entered upon a race to place men on the moon, and both sides were beginning to have doubts about the wisdom of this (or at least the wisdom of racing to it), it became clearer that the American space effort was larger, sounder, and more fruitful to science than the amazing and earlier exploits of the Soviet Union. But no such process of revaluation could change the fact that the first men in space were Russians, Yuri Gagarin and Gherman S. Titov, in 1961.
The Soviet successes in space had a triple impact on the United States, with the final result that the whole movement of American life was turned in a new direction. The psychological impact was the least important in spite of its force. More significant was the influence on American education and economic development.
The economic impact of Sputnik and Vostok was such as to direct immense resources, through government spending, toward research in science and technology. By 1964, after six years of its existence, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had settled down to an annual budget of over five billion dollars a year. Sums as large were directed by government sources into research and development in science, medicine, and technology. As a consequence, the whole pattern of American education was changed and so was the relationship between government and education, as well as between the public and education. The educational system was brought into the tempestuous atmosphere of the frantic American marketplace and was being ransacked from the highest levels down to high school and even below for talented, trained, or merely eager people. As the demands for such people grew and their remunerations and opportunities increased, the substantial minority who were not talented, trained, or eager found fewer and fewer opportunities to make a living and began to sink downward toward a steadily growing lower class of social outcasts and underprivileged, the socially self-perpetuating group of the impoverished.
At the same time, within the Soviet Union, similar revolutionary changes were taking place, as millions were called from rural and depressed urban areas to educational opportunities and upward advancement in technological skills and social rewards. The Socialist pretenses of equal rewards were gradually abandoned, with increased emphasis on individual enterprise, advancing hierarchies of wealth and power, and disparate compensations for ambition, application, talent, and adaptability. On the whole, as we shall see, there was a development of Soviet and American ways of life not only in convergence toward each other, but, in a sense, away from life in most other nations.
During this period of convergence of the Soviet and American ways toward more highly developed scientific and technological systems, there was, simultaneously, a superficial sharpening of their political struggle and a less obvious opening of numerous bridges of cooperation between them. Such bridges appeared first in those areas of scientific and educational life where they were developing away from the majority of other nations. It appeared in such a remarkable example of international cooperation as the International Geophysical Year (July 1957 to the end of 1958) and, more specifically, in the Soviet-American agreements on cultural and educational changes, such as that for 1958-1959 signed in January 1958. These brought scientists, teachers, musical performers, industrialists, and even tourists from one country to the other.
In November 1958, two unconnected events began the process that led in four years to the Cuban missile crisis and the relaxation of the Cold War. On November 27th, Khrushchev, filled with self-confidence and truculence, sent a note to the Western Powers demanding settlement of the Berlin problem, under threat that the Soviet Union, at the end of six months, would itself sign a peace treaty with the East German government, would withdraw its own forces from the area, and hand over its rights in Berlin (including control of the Allied access routes into the city) to the East German government. Because the Western Powers did not recognize the East German regime, this action would not only force such recognition but would force them to negotiate with East Germany over rights, based on victory and agreement with the Soviet Union, which were not negotiable, particularly with it.
When Khrushchev sent this "ultimatum" on November 27, 1958, NATO had only twenty-one divisions, one-third of them West German, to defend its position in Europe. But the next day, America's Atlas ICBM, for the first time, shot full range of 6,325 miles.
While the six months of Khrushchev's "ultimatum" were ticking off, the two hostile camps began to disintegrate internally, in western Europe and in the Far East.
In the Far East, the first year of Red China's Five-Year Plan, the so-called "Great Leap Forward," began to collapse within six months of its beginning. Apparently to cover this up, the Chinese government began to adopt a very aggressive attitude toward the Nationalist Chinese government on Formosa (Taiwan), and prepared to mount an all-out assault on its forces on the Chinese territorial islands of Matsu and Quemoy, which were still under Chiang Kai-shek's control. The strong support Dulles gave to Chiang, including reinforcement by an American naval carrier task force, and his psychological readiness to go to "the brink of war," spread down to all parts of the world. The Red Chinese threat gradually petered out, and they made extensive demands on Moscow for military, technical, and financial assistance. About the same time, France made demands on the United States to prevent any possibility of Europe becoming involved in a nuclear war arising from unilateral American actions in the Far East, or elsewhere, in which France had not been consulted. These two demands, from Peking and Paris, soon showed the disintegrative features developing within the two Super-blocs.
Red China's demands for assistance from Moscow could not be met, for the simple reason that the Kremlin could not fill the demands of the Soviet Union itself, caught as it was in a three-way vise of a faltering agricultural system, the increasing demands of the Russians themselves for improved standards of living, and the needs of the missile and space races with the United States. Accordingly, the Chinese-Soviet technical assistance agreement of February 1959 offered only five billion rubles over the next six years, approximately half the amount that had been provided during the previous six years. Within six months, Red China began aggressions against its inaccessible borders with India and was making unfavorable comments about Khrushchev's doctrines of "peaceful coexistence with capitalism" and the "inevitable victory of Socialism without war."
In this same six months, the United States was having growing difficulties with France within NATO. In September 1958, De Gaulle asked that a tripartite directorate be established of the United States, Britain, and France to provide consultation on a global basis wider than the European limited control exercised through NATO. This demand was very well founded, since America's actions in Quemoy or in the landing of American marines in Lebanon (in July 1958) might have led to war with the Soviet Union and a Soviet attack on western Europe over an area and issue in which France had not been involved or consulted.
De Gaulle's request was rejected. As soon as the imperious general had been inaugurated as the first President of the Fifth French Republic (January, 1959), he took steps to extricate France from some of the French commitments to NATO: The French Mediterranean fleet was removed from NATO control, the use of France as a base for nuclear weapons, either from planes or missiles, was refused, and French participation in a unified European air defense system was denied.
In two-day talks in Paris, December 19-20, 1959, the two Presidents, Eisenhower and De Gaulle, went over the ground again and reached a stalemate: Eisenhower rejected De Gaulle's suggestion for a three-Power global policy directorate, and De Gaulle rejected Eisenhower's desire for an integrated air and naval defense system for Europe.
While these positions were developing, a significant turning point in Soviet-American relations appeared during Khrushchev's visit to the United States, September 15-17, 1959. The Kremlin leader was full of his usual talk of the inevitable future victory of Socialism and the need for peaceful co-existence until that time. He welcomed competition in economic or technological affairs, in athletic or cultural matters, but he ruled out the need for war or the legitimacy of aggression by either side. At first he refused to be impressed with the wealth and power of America, implying that it was not surprising to him and that the Soviet Union could do it better at some future date. But gradually a very important change occurred. In spite of himself, he was impressed. He ceased to pretend to himself that the things he saw were some special exhibits set up, regardless of cost, to delude him. Gradually the incredible truth dawned in his mind: many Americans actually lived like this, in what the ordinary Russian would regard as unbelievable luxury. The real revelation came when he visited farms in Iowa, saw the equipment and way of life of these successful American farmers, and found out the economic statistics of American agriculture at its best. For years afterward he talked of these matters, and, as recently as April 1964, he told the Hungarians about it and advised them to emulate the American farmers.
Khrushchev's journey was notable in other ways. At Camp David with President Eisenhower, he revoked his six-month time limit for settling the German question, on the ground that the consideration of the problem by the Foreign Ministers Conference of the summer of 1959 had suspended the urgency of the problem. At the meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations in September, Khrushchev won considerable support for his suggestion that the Soviet Union was willing to reach complete disarmament supervised by mutual controls, including aerial photography.
During his visit, Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko provided a curious glimpse into the intricacies of the Soviet system. At Camp David he tried to make a deal binding each party to limit its propaganda radio broad casts to the other to three hours a day, with the unstated implication that Moscow might stop jamming the Voice of America if this agreement was reached. Although our broadcasts in Russian, at that time, were only three hours a day, we refused the offer by saying that we wished to increase, not reduce, the flow of information. Gromyko left the impression that the jamming was an expense and burden on the Soviet system. At any rate, in June 1963, with the relaxation of the Cold War, jamming was stopped by the Russians without any agreement.
The weakening of the Soviet position, which the Kremlin recognized in regard to missiles in 1961, also appeared to them in other fields, and was fully apparent to anyone who wished to look at the comparative prosperity of the two Super-blocs. Nowhere did this comparison stand out more clearly than in divided Germany, and nowhere could the Kremlin accept it less readily.
In the 1950's and early 1960's, the contrast between the (East) German Democratic Republic and the (West) German Federal Republic were as between night and day. The West, with about 55 million persons, was booming, while the East, with less than 17 million, was grim and depressed. The West German economic miracle was based, as we have said, on low wages, hard work, and vigorous pursuit of profits by private enterprises little hampered by the government or labor unions. It was, in fact, the closest example of traditional nineteenth-century laissez faire that the mid-twentieth century had to offer. The government, under the influence of Minister of Economics (later Chancellor) Ludwig Erhard, operated in terms of what they called "a socially conscious free market economy" (soziale Marktwirtschaft), but the play of free economic forces was to be found in lack of interference by the government and competitive wage rates rather than in price competition among industrial producers. The fluctuations of the business cycle were dampered down by the government's fiscal policy, and it was said that possible inequities in the distribution of the national product could be remedied by a progressive income tax mild enough not to interfere with incentives. Otherwise, taxes were drawn to encourage industry to plow its profits back into the business rather than to raise wages. This policy and the national tendencies of the German outlook favored production of capital goods over consumer goods and for the export market rather than for domestic use. After 1945, labor unions, which had been closely associated with political activities and with agitations for drastic economic and social reforms before the Nazi regime enslaved them, sought to avoid politics and to concentrate on wages and work conditions (as do unions in the United States); but these activities in Germany had traditionally been the concern of other agencies (such as works councils), and they could hardly be much influenced by unions in a period of surplus labor and low prices such as prevailed in Germany in the 1950's.
This surplus of labor in West Germany came from the influx of 13 million refugees into the area, chiefly from East Germany and Czechoslovakia. Once the boom started, the demand for labor was so great that refugees continued to be welcomed, and at least two-thirds of a million non-German, unskilled workers were imported from Italy, Greece, Spain, and elsewhere in southern Europe. The docility and eagerness to work of these peoples kept wages low, profits high, and the boom going through the 1950's and into the 1960's. As late as 1960 only 38,000 man-days of labor were lost by strikes and lockouts in West Germany, compared to almost half a million in the Netherlands, 3 million in the United Kingdom, and 19 million in the United States in that year.
Some of the consequences of this system, besides the most obvious one of booming prosperity, were that the structure of monopolized industry with great rewards for the upper classes, with lesser rewards and little social mobility for workers, continued in the 1950'5 as it had been in Germany since its industrialization began. In 1958 eight great "trusts" still controlled 75 percent of crude steel production, 80 percent of raw iron, 60 percent of rolled steel, and 36 percent of coal output. The number of millionaires (in marks) more than doubled in four years in the middle 1950's. Yet less than half of the eligible workers were in unions, union membership went up only 20 percent, while the working force increased 67 percent after 1949, and only an insignificant part (5 percent) of university students came from the working class compared to a rate five times as high in Great Britain.
To the outside world, and to most Germans, especially East Germans, the inner nature and structure of the West German "economic miracle" was of little significance. What did matter was that the average West German had steady work at adequate wages and limitless hope for the future. The lo percent increase each year in the West German gross national product was something that could not be denied or belittled..
Among those who had no desire to ignore it or to belittle it, but, on the contrary, were eager to participate in it, were the East Germans. They continued to flee westward from poverty and despotism to plenty and freedom. Every effort made by the Communist regime to stem that flow merely served to increase it. The more police who were sent to guard the frontier between East and West Germany, the more police there were to flee westward with the others.
The reasons for these flights to the West were clear enough. East Germany has been a Stalinized regime under an unpopular tyrant who is sustained by twenty-two Russian divisions because he is willing to administer East Germany as an economic colony of the Soviet Empire. In spite of Khrushchev's denunciations of Stalinism, he supported a Stalinist regime under Walter Ulbricht, the Communist dictator of East Germany, because that type of regime extracted the largest booty from its territory for the Kremlin..
This pressure became worse on East Germany just after 1959, when the attractions of West Germany became greater, and the endless demands on Soviet resources for missiles, space spectaculars, improved standards of living, and a disintegrating agricultural system were increasing. To fulfill these demands, East Germany scrapped its unfinished second Five-Year Plan in 1959 and switched to a Seven-Year Plan synchronized to the Soviet Union's new Seven-Year Plan for 1959-1965. As part of that plan, came a forced collectivization of the half of East German agriculture that still remained in private hands. In three months, February-April 1960, almost a million farmers were forced into less than 20,000 collective farms by methods of violence and social pressure similar to those Stalin had used thirty years earlier in Russia. And the consequences were, in an economic sense, very similar: agricultural production collapsed. Shortages of food were soon followed by other shortages, especially of coal. As might be imagined, the East German winters of 1961-1963 became grim nightmares. The Seven-Year Plan of 1959 proved almost at once to be unfulfillable, and was replaced by a new and more modest one for 1964-1970. But the area's subordination to Russia was hardly eased at all.
East Germany, like the rest of Moscow's European satellites, is organized into a unified system of industrial specialization and economic exploitation, the Comecon (Council of Mutual Economic Assistance), the Soviet's version of a common market, set up in opposition to the Marshall Plan in 1949. As a consequence, 80 percent of East Germany's exports go to Communist countries, and it became the Soviet Union's largest customer, supplying 20 percent of its total imports. Generally, this exchange took the form of Russian raw materials exchanged for German industrial goods, especially machinery, chemicals, optical products, and scientific instruments. But the failure of the whole system may he seen in the fact that East Germany, whose prewar industrial capacity was about as large as West Germany's, by 1960 was producing only one-fourth the industrial output of West Germany.
The Communist solution to these difficulties was to increase the tyranny, but this simply forced more East Germans to flee westward. To prevent this, and to prevent, if possible, Communist knowledge of the great successes of the capitalist system to the west of them, the East German authorities on August 13, 196r, clamped down a rigid "death strip" along the East German-West German frontier, and hastily built a wall along the line dividing East Berlin from West Berlin. For months this wall was strengthened and heightened, surrounded and surmounted by barbed wire and watchtowers, with the buildings and concealing places along its length cleared away. Nevertheless, 20,000 persons risked death, injury, and prison and successfully escaped over the wal1 in its first twelve months. Since then the figure has fallen to 10,000 to 13,000 a year with about 8 to 10 percent made up of those who were supposed to be guarding it.
In contrast witl1 this, the West German economic miracle that made that country the third largest importer and the second largest exporter in the world, witl1 freedom and prosperity, was more than Khrushchev could stand. West Berlin, which shared in the freedom and prosperity of the West, in spite of the fact that it was surrounded by the grim penury of East Germany, was even more objectionable to Khrushchev, because it was a glaring exhibition of the success of the West and the failure of the East. As Khrushchev himself said, West Berlin was "a bone stuck in my throat."
There can be little doubt that Khrushchev's talk about "peaceful coexistence" and "the inevitable triumph of Socialism by competition without war" was sincere. He was convinced that the Soviet Union, as the sole earthly representative of a Communist regime, must be preserved at any cost. He, with his associates, since the testing of the first successful Soviet thermonuclear explosion in August, 1953, have recognized that a thermonuclear war would destroy all civilized living, including the victor's. The Red Army at times, and Red China always, objected to this, with the argument that enough would survive to permit reconstruction of a socialistic way of life, but Khrushchev was not persuaded. On this basis, he sincerely wished to divert the Communist-capitalist struggle into nonviolent areas. Thus he was sincere in his disarmament suggestions and negotiations, but since he distrusted the Western Powers just as thoroughly as they distrusted him, any advance along the road to disarmament was almost hopeless. The Soviet position sought limitation of nuclear arms and long-range vehicles, and was much less willing to accept limits on conventional arms or ground forces. This is equivalent to saying that he wished to limit the United States and was reluctant to limit the Soviet Union. Only after 1959, with the increased strain on the Soviet Union's economic manpower, was there any readiness to curtail infantry forces. At the same time, the almost insane secrecy of the Russian system made the Kremlin reluctant to accept any effective kind of inspection of disarmament, which was almost automatically regarded by them as espionage. The United States was even less eager than the Kremlin to reach any effective disarmament agreement, since, unlike the Soviet Union, most of the pressures from American economic and business circles were in favor of the continuation of large defense spending, the source of a major segment of America's employment opportunities and industrial profits. Only at the beginning of 1964, when President Johnson astutely sought to combine reduced military expenditures with reduced taxes and a large-scale attack on American domestic poverty to expand demands in the consumers' markets, did it become possible to dissipate some of the opposition to reduced arms expenditures from the military-industrial complex.
Accordingly, the Soviet disarmament proposals of April 30, 1957 were discussed month after month, and year after year, with minimal progress. By 1959 it was quite clear that the Kremlin's chief aim was to prevent Germany and Red China from getting nuclear weapons. Accordingly, they concentrated on efforts to direct the disarmament discussions toward restrictions on nuclear testing and on nuclear-free zones in central Europe and in Asia. The nuclear-free zone in central Europe, which fitted in well with a British-favored policy of "disengagement" in that area, was known as the Repacki Plan, after its nominal proponent, but reappeared, in various versions, for many years.
There can be little doubt that a central role in Soviet foreign policy was played by the Kremlin's not unjustified fear of Germany, and its almost neurotic opposition to a unification of Germany that was not under Soviet control, or to the acquisition by West Germany of nuclear weapons. A stalemate on this subject was ensured by America's refusal to accept the status quo of a divided Germany because of our devotion to the Adenauer regime, and our fear that West Germany, rebuffed by us on the issue of reunification, might prefer reunify to prosperity or democracy and make a deal with the Soviet Union to achieve such unity. This we could not accept because of our conviction that German infantry forces were necessary to the West European defense system if there was to be any hope of defending Europe against Soviet ground forces on any level of combat below all-out thermonuclear warfare.
For these reasons, the United States committed itself repeatedly to the Adenauer regime to work for the unification of Germany on democratic lines. Moreover, in 1957, an Eisenhower commitment to Adenauer, subsequently expanded into a formal Declaration of Berlin by the three Western Powers (July 29, 1957), stated that any comprehensive disarmament agreement with the Soviet Union "must necessarily presuppose a prior solution of the problem of German re-unification."
A series of bitter disappointments during the four years 1958-196: led the Kremlin to the desperate decision to move part of its IRBM's to Cuba. Three factors may have played significant roles in this reckless decision. In the first place, the inability of the Soviet Union in 1961 to overtake the American lead in ICBM's made it seem necessary for the Kremlin to seek to remedy some of its deficiency in these long-range weapons by deployment closer to the United States of some of its larger supply of IRBM's. Moreover, increasing evidence that the Soviet Union could not compete successfully with the United States in such nonviolent areas as agricultural production, raising standards of living, or aid and technical assistance to neutral nations made it seem necessary that the Soviet Union seek some method of increasing its military and political pressure on the United States that would, at the same time, give a boost to its prestige throughout the world among neutral or sympathetic states. Finally, the growing recognition that the Soviet chances were dwindling for reaching the kind of settlement it wanted in West Germany or West Berlin undoubtedly led many in the Kremlin to conclude that a successful emplacement of Soviet missiles in Cuba, even if there were no real intention of using them, could lead to a compromise settlement under which these missiles would be removed from Cuba in return for a Berlin settlement more favorable to the Soviet desires..
Whatever the reason for the Soviet missile buildup in Cuba, once begun, in August 1962, it proceeded with amazing speed. The White House was suspicious by the beginning of September, and on the 24th of that month President Kennedy obtained from the Congress permission to call up 150,000 reservists, but aerial photography did not show missile placements until October 15th. Soviet high altitude AA rockets (SA-2's) had been identified in Cuba in August, and Ilyushin-28 jet bombers in September..
The week of October 14-21 was one of steadily increasing crisis within the United States government, although no public announcement was made before the President's speech of Monday, October 22, 1962. This speech established a "quarantine on all offensive equipment under shipment to Cuba," demanded dismantling of the missile sites, and withdrawal of Soviet forces under threat of stronger action by the United States, and announced that "any missile launched from Cuba against any nation shall be regarded as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring full retaliation."
The effects of this speech were explosive. To the world it began six days of crisis in which the two Superpowers hung on the brink of nuclear war. In reality the situation was quite different. The crisis, in fact, was an almost perfect example of a diplomatic crisis and of how such a crisis should be handled.
The pattern for a classic diplomatic crisis has three stages: (1) confrontation; (2) recognition; and (3) settlement. The confrontation consists of a dispute, that is, a power challenge in some area of conflict; Stage 2 is recognition by both sides of the realities of the power relationship between them (always much easier when only two states are involved); and Stage 3 is a yielding by the weaker of the two accompanied by an effort by the stronger to cover that retreat by refusing to inflict a humiliation or obvious triumph over the weaker. As Metternich said, "A diplomat is a man who never allows himself the pleasure of a triumph," and does so simply because it is to the interest of the stronger that an opponent who recognizes the victor's strength and is reasonable in yielding to it not be overthrown or replaced by another ruler who is too ignorant or too unreasonable to do so. The crisis of October 1962 was conducted along these lines in a masterly fashion by President Kennedy, except for a few minor blemishes caused by some of his subordinates.
The power situation throughout the missile crisis was overwhelmingly in favor of the United States (by at least a 4 to 1 ratio). The Kremlin could do nothing to defend Cuba if we attacked it, since its missiles and jet bombers there were not yet ready. Moreover, the Kremlin could expect devastation of the Soviet Union itself, if it pushed the Cuban project. It was a mark of Kennedy's masterful analN7sis here that he ignored Cuba and made the crisis a simple USSR-USA confrontation. In doing so, he placed the issue on a pure power basis, and made rubbisl1 of the clutter of unrealities accumulated on the American foreign policy scene since 1945: NATO, our allies elsewhere, the United Nations, and the Organization of American States were not consulted before decision and action; they were informed afterward (chiefly on October :3 ). When informed and asked to back the White House, they could neither decide nor act.
The dominant fact in the whole situation was the overwhelming character of America's power and the fact that this was known both to the White House and to the Kremlin, but was largely unknown, and certainly unpublicized, to the world. Around the Soviet Union's border were 144 Polaris, 103 Atlas, 159 Thor, Jupiter, and Titan missiles; 1,600 long-range bombers, many of them constantly in the air with nuclear bombs. When the President's speech began the public crisis, five divisions of the United States Army Strategic Reserve, totaling about 100,000 men, plus 100,000 air force and an equal number of naval and marine personnel had been mobilized or alerted, the First Armored Division had been flown from Texas to the east coast, 9o naval vessels, including 8 carriers, were on patrol to blockade, a Cuban invasion command had been assembled in Florida, and 2,700 relatives of military personnel had been evacuated from Guantanamo.
Under such pressure Khrushchev wilted (it might almost be said that he panicked) on Friday, October 26th. Only eight days before, on October 18th, Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko had made a personal visit to the White House and, without mentioning the Soviet activities in Cuba, had threatened Mr. Kennedy: The Soviet Union was unable to postpone any longer the conclusion of a peace treaty with the (East) German Democratic Republic, yielding to it control over the access routes to Berlin. The President had listened and dismissed the foreign minister without saying anything about the missile buildup in Cuba, which was already under discussion within his government. But a week later the world could think of nothing else except the missile buildup and the American response.
As Washington waited for the Kremlin's reaction to the President's speech, work on the missile sites continued, Soviet vessels were approaching the American naval patrol around Cuba, and the American government was approaching its allies, the UN, and the OAS. Before the public crisis began on Monday, the Administration recognized that its blockade was illegal, that the United States itself had once fought a war for free navigation of the seas, and that we recognized blockade only in connection with a declared war. As a concession to this, the American action was called a "quarantine" not a "blockade." The chief point of concern was: Would the Soviet accept it or would their vessels precipitate war by trying to break through? The test came on Thursday, October 25th, at the end of three days of confused activity in other corners of the stage.
On Tuesday, October 23rd, as the United States took its case to the UN and the OAS, reactions came from its allies and world opinion. Both reactions were adverse, but most states made it clear that they would not oppose the American action. Although the British govern meet, like the rest of our allies, supported the American action, public opinion in England, including The Guardian, The Times, and the leaders of the Labour Party, flung back at us the criticism the Eisenhower Administration had made of the British attack on Suez six years earlier: ignoring the United Nations, deceiving and bypassing one's allies, resorting to violent rather than peaceful procedures in international disputes, and risking nuclear war before negotiations have been exhausted. Pakistan and India, unable to agree on anything else, were united in their criticism of Kennedy's irresponsible exposure of the world to the risk of war. Sweden flatly rejected the blockade.
In these same days, the twenty other Latin American states voted to support the American blockade of Cuba, and Argentina offered to provide ships to participate in it, but several states indicated that they would not support an American invasion of Cuba if the blockade failed to enforce removal of the missiles.
The United Nations, as might be expected, was not so successful in reaching any agreement. Three resolutions were introduced, submitted by the United States, the Soviet Union, and the forty neutrals (out of 105 member states), but it was impossible to obtain the necessary two-thirds vote for any one of them, and none came to a vote.
In the meantime, for two days the important question hung unanswered: What would the Soviet ships do when they reached the blockade; The first, a tanker, was challenged by an American destroyer on Thursday, was acknowledged, and gave the necessary information that it was carrying no arms to Cuba. Within a few hours, it became clear that twelve of twenty-five Soviet ships en route to Cuba were turning back. The Kremlin had backed down.
The following night (Friday, October 26, 1962) the White House received a long and confused letter from Khrushchev. Its tone clearly showed his personal panic, and, to save his reputation, it was not released to the public. The next morning the Soviet Foreign Office published a quite different text, suggesting that a deal be made dismantling both the American missile sites in Turkey and the Soviet missile sites in Cuba. To those inside both governments, this was recognized as a Soviet surrender, since they knew that the Turkish sites were obsolete and were already scheduled to be dismantled within a few months. Although this would have amounted to giving something for nothing on the Russian side, it was rejected by the White House because it would have represented to the world a surrender of Turkey, our ally on the Soviet border, because the Kremlin had succeeded in establishing a direct threat on our border. Instead, the White House replied to Khrushchev's unpublished first note, extracting from it an offer to remove the Russian missiles if we would lift the blockade and promise not to invade Cuba.
This acceptance was sent off to Moscow on Saturday night, while our mobilization for an attack on the Soviet missile sites if their construction continued went on. On Sunday morning, by radio from Moscow, Khrushchev's acceptance was announced: the work on the missile sites was ordered stopped and they would be dismantled, with UN observation to verify the fact; in return the President would promise not to attack Cuba or allow our allies to do so. This led directly to the removal and deportation of the missiles and Ilyushin bombers over the next few weeks. The Soviet soldiers and technicians left much more slowly and never completely. Inspection of the sites was prevented by Castro, who was wild with anger at the way he had been brushed aside and finally sold out by the Kremlin. As a result of this failure, the American promise not to invade Cuba was also not given.
The missile crisis, by stripping the Soviet-American rivalry down to its essential feature as a crude power rivalry, cleared up a number of ambiguities and opened a new era in twentieth-century history. It showed (1) that the power balance between the two Superpowers was clearly in America's favor; (2) that the United States government, in spite of Khrushchev's doubts, had the will power to face and begin atomic war if necessary; (3) that no one really wanted thermonuclear war and that Khrushchev was prepared to go to any reasonable point to avoid it; and (4) that deterrence actually does deter and, accordingly, that a modus vivendi might ultimately be achieved between the two Superpowers.
Chapter 72: The Disintegrating Super-blocs
The chief consequence of the nuclear stalemate was that it made possible a greatly increased diversity in the world. The mutual cancellation of the strength of the two Superpowers made a situation in which states with little or no power were able to play significant roles on the world stage. At the same time, the Superpowers w ere not even in a position to press their desires on the members of their own blocs, and the neutrals could act witl1 growing neutrality or even growing irresponsibility. Examples of such behavior could be seen in France, Pakistan, or Red China among the members of the two blocs, or in the Congo or the Arab states among the neutrals. Accordingly, the next divisions of our subject must be concerned with the disintegration of the Super-blocs and the growth of neutralism.
Latin America: A Race between Disaster and Reform
As time remorselessly moves forward through the second half of the twentieth century, a major problem for the United States is the fate of Latin America, that gigantic portion of the Western Hemisphere that is south of the Rio Grande. It is not an area that can continue to be ignored, because it is neither small nor remote, and its problems are both urgent and explosive. Yet, until 1960, it was ignored.
The Latin America that demanded attention in 1960 was twice the size of the United States (7.5 million square miles compared to 3.6 million square miles), with a population about lo percent larger (200 million persons compared to our 180 million in 1960). Brazil, which spoke Portuguese rather than Spanish, had almost half the total area with more than a third the total population (75 million in 1960). In 1960 Brazil reached the end of a decade of economic and population expansion during which its economy was growing at about 7 percent a year while its population was growing over 2.5 percent a year, both close to the fastest rates in the world. (The population increase of Asia was about 1.8 percent a year, Russia and the United States were less, while Europe was only 0.7 percent a year.) Brazil's rate of economic growth fell to about 3 percent a year after 1960, while its population explosion became worse, apparently trying to catch up with the Brazilian cost of living, which rose 40 percent in 1961, 50 percent in 1962, and 70 percent in 1963.
Except for its fantastic price inflation, Brazil's problems were fairly typical of those faced by all of Latin America. These problems might be boiled down to four basic issues: (1) falling death rates, combined with continued high birthrates, are producing a population explosion unaccompanied by any comparable increase in the food supply; (2) the social disorganization resulting from such population increase, combined with a flooding of people from rural areas into urban slums, is reflected in disruption of family life, spreading crime and immorality, totally inadequate education and other social services, and growing despair; (3) the ideological patterns of Latin America, which were always unconstructive, are being replaced by newer, equally unconstructive but explosively violent, doctrines; and (4) there is simultaneously an unnecessary spreading of modern weapons and a growing disequilibrium between the control of such arms and the disintegrating social structure and the increasing social and political pressures just mentioned.
Some of the more obvious consequences of these four problems might be mentioned here.
Latin America is not only poverty-ridden, but the distribution of wealth and income is so unequal that the most ostentatious luxury exists for a small group side by side with the most degrading poverty for the overwhelming majority, with a growing but very small group in between. The average yearly per capita income for all of Latin America was about $253 in 1960, ranging from $800 in Venezuela to $95 in Paraguay and $70 in Haiti. The distribution is so unequal, however, that four-fifths of the population of Latin America get about $5 3 a year, while a mere 100 families own 9/10 of the native-owned wealth of the whole area and only 30 families own 72 percent of that wealth. This disequilibrium is seen most clearly in landholding, on which more than half the population, because of the area's economic backwardness, is dependent. Agrarian reform (land redistribution), which seems attractive to many but is really no solution so long as the peasants lack capital and technical know-how, has been carried out, to some extent, in a few countries (such as Mexico or Bolivia), but, in Latin America generally, landholding is still very unequal. In Brazil, for example, half of all land is owned by 2.6 percent of the landowners, while 22.5 percent of all the land is held by only ฝ percent of the owners. In Latin America as a whole, at least two-thirds of the land is owned hy lo percent of the families. Such inequality attracts a good deal of criticism, especially by North American "reformers," but in itself it would be good and not bad if the wealthy owners felt any desire or obligation to make the land produce more, but the greatest bane of Latin American life, as it is in Spain also, is the self-indulgence of the rich that allows them to waste their large incomes in luxury and extravagances without any feeling of obligation to improve (or even to utilize fully) the resources they control. We shall return in a moment to the disastrous ideological patterns that lie behind this attitude.
Almost equally indicative of an unhealthy society is the age distribution within that society and the failure to provide education and healtl1 protection. About half of Latin America's population is unproductive and a social burden on the other half because it falls into the two groups of the young (below 15 years) or the old (over 65 years). This compares with only 26 percent of the population in these dependent groups in the United States. Such a distribution, in a healthy society, would require very considerable direction of resources into such social services as education, health protection, and retirement security. All such services in Latin America are painfully inadequate. About two-thirds of Latin Americans are illiterate, and those who may be classified as literate have very inadequate schooling. The average Latin American has had less than two years of schooling, but, like all averages, this one is misleading, since it covers both Paraguay (where very few children ever get near a school) and Castro's Cuba (where, we are told, illiteracy has been wiped out and all children of school age up to 15 are supposed to be in school). Leaving out these two countries, we find that in 1961 in 18 other Latin American countries only 38 percent of the population had finished two years of school, while only 7 percent had finished primary school, and one out of a hundred had attended a university.
The inadequacy of health protection in Latin America is as startling as the inadequacy of education, hut may not, in a wider frame, be so objectionable. For if health were better protected, more people would survive, and the problems of scarce food and scarce jobs would have reached the explosive point long ago. Unfortunately, this problem of health and death rates has a very great impact on humanitarian North American observers, with the consequence that a considerable portion of the funds for development provided by the Alliance for Progress since 1961 are aimed at reducing these evils of disease and death. Since this effort is bound to be more successful than the much smaller funds aimed at increasing the food supply, the net consequence of these efforts will be to give Latin America more and hungrier people.
As things stood in 1960, infant mortality varied between 20 and 35 percent in different countries. Even in the Latin American country with the lowest death rate for the first year of life (Uruguay with 25 deaths per thousand births), the rate is ten times as high as in the United States (2.6 per thousand), while in Latin America as a whole it was 56 per thousand, rising to about 90 per thousand in Guatemala. The expectation of life for a new baby in all Latin America is only two-thirds that in the United States (44 years compared to 66 years), but in some areas, such as northeast Brazil, men are worn out from malnutrition and disease at age 30.
While such conditions may rouse North Americans to outrage or humanitarian sympathy, no solution of Latin America's problems can be found by emotion or sentimentality. The problems of Latin America are not based on lack of anything, but on structural weaknesses. Solutions will not rest on anything that can be done to or for individual people but on the arrangements of peoples. Even the greatest evil of the area, the selfish and mistaken outlook of the dominant social groups, cannot be changed by persuading individuals but must be changed hy modifying the patterns of social relationships that are creating such outlooks. The key to the salvation of Latin America, and much of the rest of the world, rests on that word: "patterns." Latin America has the resources, the manpower, the capital accumulation, even perhaps the know-how to provide a viable and progressive society. What it lacks are constructive patterns—patterns of power, of social life, and, above all, of outlook—that will mobilize its resources in constructive rather than destructive directions.
Failure to recognize that Latin America's weaknesses are not based on lack of substance but on lack of constructive patterns is one of the two chief reasons why the future of Latin America looks so discouraging. The other reason is failure to recognize that the chief problem in planning Latin America's future is that of establishing a constructive sequence of priorities. In fact, these two problems: obtaining constructive patterns and obtaining a constructive sequence of priorities, are the keys to salvation of all the underdeveloped and backward areas of the globe. We might sum up this general situation by saying that the salvation of our poor, harassed globe depends on structure and sequence (or on patterns and priorities)..
In applying these two paradigms to Latin American development, we shall find that the problem of priorities is much easier to solve than the problem of patterns. Obviously, the ... food supply must be increased faster than the population. And some provision must be made to provide peasants with capital and know-how before the great landed estates are divided up among them. Equally urgent is the caution that some provision for capital accumulation and its investment in better methods of production must be made before the present accumulation of excess incomes in the hands of the existing oligarchies is destroyed by redistribution of the incomes of the rich (who could invest it) to the poor (who could only consume it). It should be obvious (but unfortunately is not) that a more productive organization of resources should have priority over any effort to raise standards of living. And it should be equally obvious that Latin America's own resources (including its own capital accumulation and its own know-how) should be devoted to this effort before the responsibility for Latin American economic development is placed on the resources of North Americans or other outsiders.
This last point might be amplified. We hear a great deal about Latin America's need for American capital and American know-how, when in fact the need for these is much less than the need for utilization of Latin America's own capital and know-how. The wealth and income of Latin America, in absolute quantities, is so great and it is so inequitably controlled and distributed that there is an enormous accumulation of incomes, far beyond their consumption needs, in the hands of a small percentage of Latin Americans. Much of these excess incomes are wasted, hoarded, or merely used for wasteful competition in ostentatious social display. This, as we shall see, is largely due to the deficiencies of Latin American personalities and character. The contrast, from this point of view, between England in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and Latin America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is very instructive. In both cases there was such a drastic inequity in the distribution of national incomes that the masses of the people were in abject poverty and probably getting poorer. But in England there were groups benefitting from this inequality who eschewed all self-indulgence, luxury, or ostentatious display of wealth, and systematically invested their growing incomes in creating new and more efficient patterns of utilization of resources. This is in sharp contrast to the situation in Latin America where such excess wealth, in the aggregate, is much greater than that being accumulated, a century or more ago, in England, but is very largely wasted and surely is not being used to create more productive patterns for utilization of resources, except in rare cases..
The solution to this problem is not, as we have said, to redistribute incomes in Latin America, but to change the patterns of character and of personality formation so that excess incomes will be used constructively and not wasted (nor simply redistributed and consumed).
A similar situation exists in regard to foreign exchange. Alternately our compassion is stirred and our anger aroused by American reformers and Latin agitators at the iniquities of the colonial character of Latin America's position in the world economy. This simply means that Latin America exports raw materials, minerals, and agricultural products (generally unprocessed goods), and imports processed, manufactured goods. Since the prices of unprocessed goods are generally more competitive, and therefore more fluctuating, than those of manufactured goods, the so-called "terms of trade" tend to run either favorably for or very unfavorably against Latin America. In the latter case, which has been generally prevalent for the last few years, the prices Latin America has to pay on the world's markets have tended to rise, while the prices that it gets for its own goods have tended to fall. As European economists would say, "The blades of the scissors have opened." American farmers, who speak of the "terms of parity," have been suffering the same way in the American domestic market.
Now, this is perfectly true. The Latin American economy is largely a colonial one (like Australia, New Zealand, West Africa, or Montana). In fact, in Latin America, in recent years, at least half the value of American aid has been wiped away by the worsening of Latin America's terms of trade, which made it necessary for it to pay more and more foreign moneys for its imports at the same time that it got less and less foreign moneys for its exports. But the fact remains that this reduction in the supply of foreign exchange available for Latin America's purchases of advanced equipment overseas has been made much worse by the fact that wealthy Latin Americans buy up much of the available supply of such foreign exchange for self-indulgent and nonconstructive spending abroad or simply to hoard their incomes in politically safer areas in New York, London, or Switzerland. Estimates of the total of such Latin American hoards abroad range between one billion and two billion dollars.
The solution to this problem must be found in more responsible, more public-spirited, and more constructive patterns of outlook, of money flows, and of political and social security.
A similar solution must be found for some of the social deficiencies of Latin America, such as inadequate education, housing, and social stability. Widespread tax evasion by the rich; bribery and corruption in public life; and brutality and selfishness in social life can be reduced and largely eliminated in Latin America by changing patterns in Latin American life and utilization of resources without much need for funds, sermons, or demonstrations from foreigners (least of all Americans).
This is not an argument for a reduction in American aid or in American concern for Latin America. It is a plea for recognition, by all concerned, that the problems of Latin America, and the possible solutions to these problems, rest on questions of structure and sequence and not on questions of resources, wealth, or even know-how.
The connection of that last word "know-how" to the whole problem may not be sufficiently clear. We Americans have such pride in our technological achievements that we often seem to feel that we "know how" to do almost everything, but this know-how really exists on two levels. One level is concerned with general attitudes such as objectivity, rationality, recognition of the value of social consensus, and such, while the other level is concerned with technological achievement in any specific situation. The former level has a great deal to contribute to the Latin American situation, while the latter level (the engineering level, so to speak) has much less to contribute to Latin America than most people believe. For example, American agricultural techniques, which are so fantastically successful in the temperate seasonal climate and well-watered and alluvial soils of North America, are frequently quite unadapted to the tropical, less seasonal climate, and semiarid, leached soils of South America. The solution to the Latin American problem of food production is not necessarily to apply North American techniques to the problem, but to discover techniques, different from our own, that will work under Latin American conditions. This situation, applied here to agriculture, is even more true of social and ideological problems.
The problem of finding constructive patterns for Latin America is much more difficult than the problem of finding constructive priorities. One reason for this is that the unconstructive patterns that now prevail in Latin America are deeply entrenched as a result of centuries and even millennia of persistent background. In fact, the Latin American patterns that must be changed because today they are leading to social and cultural disruption are not really Latin American in origin, or even Iberian for that matter, but are Near Eastern, and go back, for some of their aspects, for two thousand or more years. As a general statement, we might say that the Latin American cultural pattern (including personality patterns and general outlook) is Arabic, while its social pattern is that of Asiatic despotism. The pattern as a whole is so prevalent today, not only in Latin America, but in Spain, Sicily, southern Italy, the Near East, and in various other areas of the Mediterranean world (such as Egypt), that we might well call it the "Pakistani-Peruvian axis." For convenience of analysis we shall divide it into "Asiatic despotism" and the "Arabic outlook."
We have already indicated the nature of Asiatic despotism in connection with traditional China, the old Ottoman Empire, and czarist Russia. It goes back to the archaic ... empires, which first appeared in Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley, and northern China before 1000 B.C. Basically such an Asiatic despotism is a two-class society in which a lower class, consisting of at least nine-tenths of the population, supports an upper, ruling class consisting of several interlocking groups. These ruling groups are a governing bureaucracy of scribes and priests associated with army leaders, landlords, and moneylenders. Such an upper class accumulated great quantities of wealth as taxes, rents, interest on loans, fees for services, or simply as financial extortions. The social consequences were either progressive or reactionary, depending on whether this accumulated wealth in the possession of the ruling class was invested in more productive utilization of resources or was simply hoarded and wasted. The essential character of such an Asiatic despotisn1 rests on the fact that the ruling class has legal claims on the working masses, and possesses the power (from its control of arms and the political structure) to enforce these claims. A modified Asiatic despotism is one aspect of the social structures all along the Pakistani-Peruvian axis.
The other aspect of the Pakistani-Peruvian axis rests on its Arabic outlook. The Arabs, like other Semites who emerged from the Arabian desert at various times to infiltrate the neighboring Asiatic despotic cultures of urban civilizations, were, originally, nomadic, tribal peoples. Their political structure was practically identical with their social structure and was based on blood relationships and not on territorial jurisdiction. They were warlike, patriarchal, extremist, violent, intolerant, and xenophobic. Like most tribal peoples, their political structure was totalitarian in the sense that all values, all needs, and all meaningful human experience was contained within the tribe. Persons outside the tribal structure had no value or significance, and there were no obligations or meaning associated in contacts with them. In fact, they were hardly regarded as human beings at all. Moreover, within the tribe, social significance became more intense as blood relationships became closer, moving inward from the tribes through clans to the patriarchal extended family. The sharp contrast between such a point of view and that associated with Christian society as we know it can be seen in the fact that such Semitic tribalism was endogamous, while the rule of Christian marriage is exogamous. The rules, in fact, were directly antithetical, since Arabic marriage favors unions of first cousins, while Christian marriage has consistently opposed marriage of first (or even second) cousins. In traditional Arabic society any girl was bound to marry her father's brother's son if he and his father wanted her, and she was usually not free to marry someone else until he had rejected her (sometimes after years of waiting).
In such traditional Arabic society, the extended family, not the individual, was the basic social unit; all property was controlled by the patriarchal head of such a family and, accordingly, most decisions were in his hands. His control of the marriage of his male descendants was ensured by the fact that a price had to be paid for a bride to her family, and this would require the patriarch's consent.
Such a patriarchal family arose from the fact that marriage was patrilocal, the young couple residing with the groom's father so long as he lived, while he continued to live with the groom's paternal grandfather until the latter's death. Such a death of the head of an extended family freed his sons to become heads of similar extended families that would remain intact, frequently for three or more generations, until the head of the family dies in his turn. Within such a family each male remains subject to the indulgent, if erratic, control of his father and the indulgent, and subservient care of his mother and unmarried sisters, while his wife is under the despotic control of her mother-in-law until her production of sons and the elimination of her elders by death will make her a despot, in turn, over her daughters-in-law.
This Arabic emphasis on the extended family as the basic social reality meant that larger social units came into existence simply by linking a number of related extended families together under the nominal leadership of the patriarch who, hy general consensus, had the best qualities of leadership, dignity, and social prestige. But such unions, being personal and essentially temporary, could be severed at any time. The personal character of such unions and the patriarchal nature of the basic family units tended to make all political relationships personal and temporary, reflections of the desires or whims of the leader and not the consequence or reflection of any basic social relationships. This tended to prevent the development of any advanced conception of the state, law, and the community (as achieved, for example, by the once tribal Greeks and Romans). Within the family, rules were personal, patriarchal, and often arbitrary and changeable, arising from the will and often from the whims of the patriarch. This prevented the development of any advanced ideas of reciprocal common interests whose interrelationships, hy establishing a higher social structure, created, at the same time, rules superior to the individual, rules of an impersonal and permanent character in which law created authority and not, as in the Arabic system, authority created law (or at least temporary rules). To this day the shattered cultures along the whole Pakistani-Peruvian axis have a very weak grasp of the nature of a community or of any obligation to such a community, and regard law and politics as simply personal relationships whose chief justification is the power and position of the individual who issues the orders. The state, as a structure of force more remote and therefore less personal than the immediate family, is regarded as an alien and exploitative personal system to be avoided and evaded simply because it is more remote (even if of similar character) than the individual's immediate family
This biological and patriarchal character of all significant social relationships in Arab life is reflected in the familiar feature of male dominance. Only the male is important. The female is inferior, even sub-human, and becomes significant only by producing males (the one thing, apparently, that the dominant male cannot do for himself). Because of the strong patrilocal character of Arab marriage, a new wife is not only subjected sexually to her husband; she is also subjected socially and personally to his family, including his brothers, and, above all, his mother (who has gained this position of domination over other females in the house by having produced male children). Sex is regarded almost solely as simply a physiological relationship with little emphasis on the religious, emotional, or even social aspects. Love, meaning concern for the personality or developing potentialities of the sexual partner, plays little role in Arabic sexual relationships. The purpose of such relationships in the eyes of the average Arab is to relieve his own sexual desire or to generate sons.
Such sons are brought up in an atmosphere of whimsical, arbitrary, personal rules where they are regarded as superior beings by their mother and sisters and, inevitably, by their father and themselves, simply on the basis of their maleness. Usually they are spoiled, undisciplined, self-indulgent, and unprincipled. Their whims are commands, their urges are laws. They are exposed to a dual standard of sexual morality in which any female is a legitimate target of their sexual desires, but the girl they marry is expected to be a paragon of chaste virginity. The original basis for this emphasis on a bride's virginity rested on the emphasis on blood descent and was intended to be a guarantee of the paternity of children. The wife, as a child-producing mechanism, had to produce the children of one known genetic line and no other.
This emphasis on the virginity of any girl who could be regarded as acceptable as a wife was carried to extremes. The loss of a girl's virginity was regarded as an unbearable dishonor by the girl's family, and any girl who brought such dishonor on a family was regarded as worthy of death at the hands of her father and brothers. Once she is married, the right to punish such a transgression is transferred to her husband.
To any well-bred girl, her premarital virginity and the reservation of sexual access to her husband's control after marriage ("her honor") have pecuniary value. Since she has no value in herself as a person, apart from "her honor," and has little value as a worker of any sort, her virginity before marriage has a value in money equal to the expense of keeping her for much of her life since, indeed, this is exactly what it was worth in money. As a virgin she could expect the man who obtained her in marriage to regard that asset as equivalent to his reciprocal obligation to support her as a wife. As a matter of fact, her virginity was worth much less than that, for in traditional Arabic society, if she displeased her husband, even if she merely crossed one of his whims, he could set her aside by divorce, a process very easy for him, with little delay or obligation, but impossible to achieve on her part, no matter how eagerly she might desire it. Moreover, once her virginity was gone, she had little value as a wife or a person, unless she had mothered a son, and could be passed along from man to man, either in marriage or otherwise, with little social obligation on anyone's part. As a result of such easy divorce, and the narrow physiological basis on which sexual relationships are based, plus the lack of value of a woman once her virginity is gone, Arab marriage is very fragile, with divorce and broken marriage about twice as frequent as in the United States. Even the production of sons does not ensure the permanence of the marriage, since the sons belong to the father whatever the cause of the marriage disruption. As a result of these conditions, marriage of several wives in sequence, a phenomenon we associate with Hollywood, is much more typical of the Arabic world and is very much more frequent than the polygamous marriage, which, while permitted under Islam, is quite rare. Not more than 5 percent of married men in the Near East today have more than one wife at the same time, because of the expense, but the number who remain in monogamous union till death is almost equally small.
As might be expected in such a society, Arabic boys grow up egocentric, self-indulgent, undisciplined, immature, spoiled, subject to waves of emotionalism, whims, passion, and pettiness. The consequence of this for the whole Pakistani-Peruvian axis will be seen in a moment.
Another aspect of Arabic society is its scorn of honest, steady manual work, especially agricultural work. This is a consequence of the fusion of at least three ancient influences. First, the archaic bureaucratic structure of Asiatic despotism, in which peasants supported warriors and scribes, regarded manual workers, especially tillers of the soil, as the lowest layer of society, and regarded the acquisition of literacy and military prowess as the chief roads to escape from physical drudgery. Second, the fact that Classical Antiquity, whose influence on the subsequent Islamic Civilization was very great, was based on slavery, and came to regard agricultural (or other manual) work as fit for slaves, also contributed to this idea. Third, the Bedouin tradition of pastoral, warlike nomads scorned tillers of the soil as weak and routine persons of no real spirit or character, fit to be conquered or walked on but not to be respected. The combination of these three formed the lack of respect for manual work that is so characteristic of the Pakistani-Peruvian axis.
Somewhat similar to this lack of respect for manual work are a number of other characteristics of tradition! Arab life that have also spread the length of the Pakistani-Peruvian axis. The chief source of many of these is the Bedouin outlook, which originally reflected the attitudes of a relatively small group of the Islamic culture but which, because they were a superior, conquering group, came to be copied by others in the society, even by the despised agricultural workers. These attitudes include lack of respect for the soil, for vegetation, for most animals, and for outsiders. These attitudes, which are singularly ill-fitted for the geographic and climatic conditions of the whole Pakistani-Peruvian area, are to be seen constantly in the everyday life of that area as erosion, destruction of vegetation and wild life, personal cruelty and callousness to most living things, including one's fellow men, and a general harshness and indifference to God's creation. This final attitude, which well reflects the geographic conditions of the area, which seem as harsh and indifferent as man himself, is met by those men who must face it in their daily life as a resigned submission to fate and to the inhumanity of man to man.
Interestingly enough, these attitudes have successfully survived the efforts of the three great religions of ethical monotheism, native to the area, to change these attitudes. The ethical sides of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam sought to counteract harshness, egocentricity, tribalism, cruelty, scorn of work and of one's fellow creatures, but these efforts, on the whole, have met with little success throughout the length of the Pakistani-Peruvian axis. Of the three, Christianity, possibly because it set the highest standards of the three, has fallen furthest from achieving its aims. Love, humility, brotherhood, cooperation, the sanctity of work, the fellowship of the community, the image of man as a fellow creature made in the image of God, respect for women as personalities and partners of men, mutual helpmates on the road to spiritual salvation, and the vision of our universe, with all its diversity, complexity, and multitude of creatures, as a reflection of the power and goodness of God—these basic aspects of Christ's teachings are almost totally lacking throughout the Pakistani-Peruvian axis and most notably absent on the "Christian" portion of that axis from Sicily, or even the Aegean Sea, westward to Baja California and Tierra del Fuego. Throughout the whole axis, human actions are not motivated by these "Christian virtues" but by the more ancient Arabic personality traits, which became vices and sins in the Christian outlook: harshness, envy, lust, greed, selfishness, cruelty, and hatred.
Islam, the third in historical sequence of the ethical monotheistic religions of the Near East, was very successful in establishing its monotheism, but had only very moderate success in spreading its version of Jewish and Christian ethics to the Arabs. These moderate successes were counterbalanced by other, incidental consequences of Muhammad's personal life and of the way in which Islam spread to make the Muslim religion more rigid, absolute, uncompromising, self-centered, and dogmatic.
The failure of Christianity in the areas west from Sicily was even greater, and was increased by the spread of Arab outlooks and influence to that area, and especially to Spain. The old French proverb which says that "Africa begins at the Pyrenees" does not, of course, mean by "Africa" that Black Africa which exists south of the deserts, but means the world of the Arabs w hicl1 spread, in the eighth century, across Africa from Sinai to Morocco.
To this day the Arab influence is evident in southern Italy, northern Africa and, above all, in Spain. It appears in the obvious things such as architecture, music, the dance, and literature, but most prominently it appears in outlook, attitudes, motivations, and value systems. Spain and Latin America, despite centuries of nominal Christianity, are Arabic areas.