Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Role of Consistency in Foreign Policy - Sam Welles (1948)

I've transcribed the first page of my grandpa's book, 
Profile of Europe (1948), because I believe his theory on 
being "patient, firm and above all consistent"  in 
matters of foreign policy to be a timeless one:


          Joseph Stalin is the man who has put most bluntly the tug of the two magnets. In 1927, Stalin told a group of American workers who visited him in the Kremlin:

          "There will emerge two centers of world significance: a socialist center, drawing to itself the countries which tend toward socialism, and a capitalist center, drawing to itself the countries that incline towards capitalism. The battle between these two centers for command of the world economy will decide the fate of capitalism and of communism in the entire world." 

          Today those two centers, or magnets, do exist. They are Russia and America. As Stalin predicted, the tug between the two has drawn in the whole world. It centers in Europe, where the last two world wars began.
          In 1939, when World War II started, seven nations could be called major powers. Alphabetically, they were America, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, and Russia. China was not then and is not now a major power in the sense that any such nation must be a strong one, unified enough at home to be able to intervene decisively in affairs abroad.
          By 1948, when the dust of World War II had settled somewhat, the world had no major powers. It had two superpowers: America and Russia. Germany and Japan were under military occupation. Britain, France, and Italy were so much weaker, and so busy trying to recover at home, that they had only a fraction of their former world influence. If these three make a good recovery, they may be major powers again. Their best chance for such a recovery lies in their forming, with as much of the rest of Europe as they can, a close-knit political and economic federation. They cannot even do this much without a great deal of American aid.
         That means, as Stalin predicted more than twenty years ago, that many countries are being drawn toward America, the capitalist center of the world. These nations are not necessarily capitalist - Britain, for example, has a socialist government - but they all have more sympathy with capitalism than with Communism. It also means that many other areas, from Albania to those held by the Chinese Communists, are being drawn toward Russia, the world's Communist center. Stalin oversimplified. Many people in other countries want other systems than these two. But he was right in calling capitalism the chief opponent of Communism. He was wrong in using the word "battle," Stalin's euphemism for "war" when speaking to non-Communists. War between the two great magnets is not necessary and can be avoided.
          While Soviet Russia can never have warm, friendly relations with America or other nations, America and the rest of the world can have a lasting, peaceful relationship with Soviet Russia if they are prepared to be patient, firm and above all consistent.
           That is controversial and not easily proved. I shall spend the rest of this book trying to prove it.

On back of book:

          Sam Welles Author of Profile of Europe is an associate editor of Time and one of its top foreign news writers. During the war he served for three years in the State Department and in our London Embassy, where he was the Special Assistant to Ambassador Winant.
          At Oxford University, on a Rhodes Scholarship after Princeton, he took an honors degree in modern history. Ever since 1935 has spent a considerable part of his time traveling over Europe. In one thirty-nine month period he logged more than 100,000 miles from Connemarra to Constantinople; and during the Conference of Foreign Ministers in Moscow he walked more than 300 miles through that city and its suburbs. In the months that followed, he visited sixteen other countries, making his way across most of them by car. His equipment-including extra cans of gas, spare tires, tools, food and mountains of documents- would almost have outfitted a polar explorer.

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