week Questions of the
by Miehirsel de In Dedo
FOR the second time France has given the free world a decisive
lead. Just as in the case of the Schurnan Plan, France offered a challenge which had to be accepted
or rejected, consequently forcing into the forefront of political discussion the realities of European economic unity. so today by her insistence that the defence of the free West must be a cooperative and integrated affair, France tears away the pretence of the Atlantic military pact.
Never, surely, has there been so much empty talk, so much committee setting up, so many political organisations and round-tables, effecting little or nothing to meet what has for five years been so clearly the need of the times.
Soviet Russia dominates, rules and consequently unifies a third of the densely populated and industrially developed globe. Soviet Russia proclaims and has constantly proclaimed her aim, namely the conquest of the rest of the globe, it only because failure to conquer it must, according to Marxist ideology. involve the destruction of Russian Communism.
Facing this threat, we have the solid, rich and potentially immensely powerful United States but, apart from that country, only the globedispersed British Commonwealth and a number of relatively small or weak separated countries in Western Europe and in South America.
France is one of these countries— a country, situated moreover across the highway of any Communist advance. Is it surprising that when asked to defend herself, she insists that the defence of France involves the defence of the rest of free Europe, of Britain, and of the United States ? How can these dispersed, divided, geographically weakly situated countries expect to hold back the massive, centralised assault of the millions of Russians, save in accordance with a single plan, a unified command, the pool
ing of resources ? The thing is obvious, and since the Korean aggression it has become perfectly clear that any holding back on the grounds of ancient ideas about separate sovereignties is purely and starkly suicidal.
Again, smaller countries must
pocket their pride. It is clear that the United States by her size and resources is by far the dominating partner. We have no hesitation in looking to her for money, productive power and even in the long run, men. It follows that we must allow her to be the unchallenged leader in the mustering of the free nations against the common enemy.
Fears of Germany
IT is astonishing that this aspect of
the common defence has not been mentioned by the British Government. It formed no part of the discussion in the recent Parliamentary debate.
Can it be that anyone in this country still remains under the illusion that the Channel is any protection against a Communistdominated continent, or that somehow the distant United States and Commonwealth can reinforce us in time against a massive and sudden aerial invasion from the airfields of France and Germany ?
That France today should insist on a common endeavour and a common leadership is nothing like as astonishing es the continued insistence in the face of immediate danger that this country should retain every iota of sovereignty, whether in the economic or military field.
Unfortunately, even French realism has proved as yet insufficiently strong to break down French fears of Germany, so that
on paper at least France prefers to see her frontiers exposed to the Russians than to see them defended by a screen of German defences.
But opinion in this question is changing rapidly, and it is almost certain that one early effect of a common endeavour and a common leadership would he American insistence on the rearmament of Germany in the West and of Japan in the East. France would be obliged to accept this inevitable result of her own lead to the world. We have little doubt that the majority of Frenchmen would then welcome the change from the verbal resistance which stems from a history that no longer has any relevance to the allimportant present issues.
THE return of M. Malik to the Security Council is a tacit admission that a very grave error was made by the Kremlin when the Russian delegate walked out. intending to stay out until Communist China replaced Nationalist China at the council table.
The incident suggests once again that Moscow was very far from envisaging the international political
consequences of the Korean action. Had that country been rapidly overrun without immediate resistance in the name of the United Nations, it would have been extremely difficult for the Security Council to do more than talk and threaten.
In other words, a great political as well as a small military victory would have been gained by Moscow. Russian absence from the Council would then have underlined its apparent filthily.
But matters have not gone that way. President Truman carried the Security Council into immediate and politically decisive action in the absence of Russia and Communist China. Even if M. Malik can frustrate further effective action, he cannot stop the great wave of recruitment and defence preparation in the name of the United Nations which Russia's mistake made possible for the first time in all history.
At the time of writing, no one knows how the campaign in Korea will end; but it is important to remember that even if the United Nations forces are driven out of the country, that military defeat, though a severe set-back, will not counterbalance the ideological and, political
victory. If anything it will make the free world more determined to he in a position to resist any further Communist aggression.
The most M. Malik has so far effected is to press the doubts which clearly lie somewhere at the hack of the Indian mind, and indeed throughout those parts of the world whose civilisations have not been founded on the clear-cut dogmatic and moral approach of Christianity, or the Christian-affected Mohammedan outlook.
The attitude of India
WHEREAS in the West we in
stinctively repudiate Communism, at any rate when its full meaning becomes clear to us, because it directly clashes with our religio-political heritage, in the East the same instinctive opposition does not exist, except in predominantly Mahommedan parts.
The absorption of the surface knowledge and technique of the West has left most Hindus, for
example, religiously and intellectually uprooted. Though the works of Communism arc repudiated, its ideology simply raises another question for those who accept Hinduism in its debased, materialistic and polytheistic aspects, while the monism of the purer Hindus will accommodate itself to any manifestations of the world of " appearances" and illusion.
One needs to realise all this in order to understand something of the attitude of a Nehru in India or of many of the Chinese.
The part-Westernised Nehru accepts part of the Western reaction. but, outside the clear-cut field of illegal " aggression," Nehru with many of his countrymen fails to see that Communism in itself (apart from some of its works whichmay not be intrinsic to it) is necessarily an evil thing.
This difference between East and West should be more closely studied in Britain and America when they work out their over-all anti-Communist policy to include the countries of the Far East. This difference should also cause second thoughts when America finds herself reluctant to distinguish between the Communism aggression in Korea and the rather more complex position in Formosa. Too hasty action may not only provoke Russia to further direct interference long before the West is ready for all-out resistance but also lose the sympathy of our best friends in the East.
From every point of view, the wisest policy for the West at present would seem to be to stick as closely as possible to the task undertaken by the United Nations, and, apart from this, to buy time in which to complete the defensive build-up now definitely started.
PERHAPS a similar ideological
difference in part explains those painful periodic statements given out by the Orthodox Church in Russia, the latest of which is a " peace appeal " to all Christians, which emphasises the attempt of the Western " war-mongers attempt to cloak their aims with pretences of helping others.
" They are betrayed," the statement adds, " by the intensity of their war preparations and their desire to impose their will on the peaceful peoples, together with stocks of death-dealing weapons."
Political pressure, combined with a strongly Erastian tradition in the Eastern Church (i.e. a tradition of acting in conformity with and at the bidding of the temporal power), will account in part for this echoing of the Communist propaganda; but one cannot overlook the likelihood that Churchmen in Russia have been affected by the propaganda in the midst of which they live and in part at least believe it. The tradition of Eastern contemplative Christianity, insufficiently disciplined by authority and too sharply divorced from the active struggle of Christians in the world, has a certain affinity with the thought of the East.
Even so, it is very difficult for us to understand that fellow-Christians sharing our faith in a sacramental life and our insistence on basic spiritual and moral freedoms can fail to understand the need for resistance on the part of still free countries to the steady Communist encroachments in both West and East.
One would have hoped also that, despite the age-long quarrel with the Holy See, the voice of the Holy Father, elevated above temporal differences and yet inevitably emphasising certain spiritual and moral values, would have been appreciated by the Orthodox leaders—to the extent at any rate of avoiding in such appeals any obvious political line.