Discussion about the Lessons of Suez
SIL-It seems to me that your leading article "Only Solution to Suez" on September 28 is not the kind of thing we have been led to expect in your paper. It seems likely to confuse rather than clarify our minds on a very serious issue.
You begin by alleging that "recourse to force is no longer admitted by world opinion." What do you imagine you designate by the term "world opinion?" You cite no evidence, and it is more than doubtful that you correctly interpret your nebulous hypostasis. Only three years have elapsed since the armistice in Korea, and surely force was tried there. It is less since the use of force was abandoned in Indo-China, not because force was considered wrong, but because it was not forceful enough. Force is being the arbiter in Algeria and Cyprus. It will again be the arbiter on the Israeli bor
ders. What did Nasser do to nationalise -as he calls it the canal but resort to what force he could muster? Hence it may he assumed by -world opinion" at any time it likes to look facts in the face, that force is the only argument he understands.
Then you reproach another hypostasis, namely "a die-hard eiement,here and in France, with "living in the past." May I respectfully submit that it is extremely important not to march with the unreflecting propagandists of goodness knows what, but instead to distinguish between what has changed in the world and what must continue unchanging? The weak still yield to the strong. They will always have to. What ties the hands of Britaiin and France is not a transformed world, or a padfist "world opinion." or the imaginary peril you conjure up of "the hostility of the whole Arab world," but their involvement with America. The Egyptians are not Arabs. The inhabitants of a number of countries glibly referred to as Arab Syria and the Lebanon, for example are not Arabs but Semites. Signs of the unity which you ascribe to them are lacking.
With your conclusion that only an arrangement advantageous alike to Egypt and the Powers concerned with the company whose property in Egypt has been seized can be stable, nobody of course will dis
agree. The arrangement which Nasser has tried to end was of this character. And there can be no such arrangement in the future unless one party is subordinate to the other.
Ii is obviously impossible in the space of a brief leading-article to put in all the qualifications that would be desirable in a full study. The purpose of the article was to underline the fact that the great international problem of today is how to defend legitimate rights and interests when the traditional recourse to the final sanction of war is out of the question. Mr. Belgion refers to the Korean War, but only an accident, unlikely to be repeated made that international war possible, and it was fought under artificially created limits and unsatisfactorily brought to an end. Artificial limitations were also imposed on the Communist-colonial Indo-China war. also with unsatisfactory results. In the present crisis, a tremendous' weight of influence has been brought to bear to prevent the use of force. This may be right or it may be wrong, but it is a fact. it does not matter what name is used to denote the source of this refection of war, whether "public opinion" or any other; the fact remains that the use of force is either artificially limited or altogether prevented. It is in the light of this fact, whether a good thing or a bad one. that modern diplomacy has to he conducted. Yet we have hardly taken in this truth.-EDITOR, "C.H."