IT is an interesting point of historical and political evolution that the long struggle between the free world and the Communist world should seem to be changing its character in a way that could be very favourable to the free world.
Whereas until recently a divided free world has had to face a monolithic Communist front, directed by Moscow, it now looks as though the Communist front is splitting whereas the chances of military and political understanding in the West are growing. It is true that a big and prolonged effort at patching up between Moscow and Peking has been made, but its lasting power remains highly dubious.
More immediately important than the Communist division over the question of whether the millennium can be reached even through the furnace of nuclear war is the disagreement about the tactics of Communist propaganda — whether, as the Chinese maintain, propaganda, money and resources should be concentrated in places where results may be quickly expected or, as Moscow thinks, they should be used to soften up the whole non-Communist world.
This tactical disagreement can in an unspectacular way begin to undermine Communist solidarity everywhere.
How are we in the free world placed to take advantage of this potentially big weakness among the totalitarians?
FOR the answer we must look to Mr. Kennedy, America's President-Elect. His general views are well known. From the social and military point of view, he will work for closer and more effective coordination between America and Europe, and endeavour to help in more generous and palatable ways the uncommitted and relatively undeveloped nations of the world.
The present defence chaos in the free world is only too evident. We have America, Britain, France and NATO, all more or less out of step with one another. Moreover, the plan of defence rests solely on the nuclear weapon which, taken by itself, means stalemate or accidental all-round suicide. The danger. of the final disaster is considerably increased by lack of full co-ordination between the different sections of Western nuclear defence. Other countries may imitate Britain and France and develop their own nuclear weapons, especially if these become simpler and cheaper.
It is obvious that in these conditions the nuclear deterrent should be left to the United States alone, particularly now that the weapon can be fired from mobile undersea bases which can safely hold their return fire thereby possibly preventing the outbreak of world nuclear war through misunderstanding.
What then of Britain, Europe and other countries? These should surely concentrate on conventional defences and armaments to offset the conventional strength of the Communist forces. In other words, the pattern of international armaments would return to the pattern of the past, plus the nuclear weapon under as much control as humanity can make possible. Within that kind of setting. the chances of gradual disarmament on the conventional level and, finally, on the nuclear level become reasonable.
BUT even more important is the fact a Western agreement on a single defence programme, co-ordinated between America, NATO and individual countries would mean a big step towards far greater political, social and economic coordination.
Those who think of world Government as the world's only hope could look forward to ever closer understanding within the free world, the logical outcome of which would be some degree of loss of sovereignty among the individual countries in favour of common free world authorities.
Such union would not only remove much of the danger of Communist aggression and propaganda, especially if the split in the Communist front develops, as it is likely to do, but enable the free world to strengthen the cause of freedom in Asia and Africa through furthering the financial and economic development which enables freedom to be a reality rather than an empty aspiration.
What part should the Christian and religious element take in furthering this, the one sane and effective international policy for the defence of freedom?
Surely, one point would be not to waste energy on a policy of anti-Communist pin-pricks. It is doubtful today whether the anti-religious ideology of the Communists is a main factor even in their propaganda. What they want is the division and softening-up of the free world, just as local Communists want to disrupt economic and social order in the different countries. They would be ready to sing all the hymns in the world, if they thought it would help them.
Instead of giving any priority to anti-Communism on the world or the national scale, all our Christian energies should be concentrated on uniting the free world so that it can more effectively defend itself, force disarmament and raise standards of living all over the world — standards of living which are the conditions of free life, just as free life for most of us is a condition of the development of spiritual growth.