Ii is always of the first im
portance when dealing with great political questions to realise the true contemporary nature of the forces that are involved.
The world, and particularly the Catholic world, has grown accustomed to see the international tension in terms of the free world versus the Communist world.
This view remains important. for the materialistic faith of Communism has been the driving power behind the emergence of Russia as the world's second great power. Even though it is true that the Soviet Union would never have attained its present world power so soon but for the final strategy of the last war and the consequent division of Europe, we should not forget that the social gospel of Communism profited greatly from the Western capitalist slowness to effect a social reform adequate to the demands of ordinary people in an age of widespread education and instantaneous communication of news and ideas.
For the Christian in particular the materialistic ideals of Communism, which challenged the religious indifferentism of the free world, Communism remains the chief enemy and danger. At this point there can be no compromise.
But on the international political level, it is no longer the Marxi.st ideology of the Communist powers which represents the prime threat to peace and a world united for the purpose of raising standards of life civilisation all over the world. It is the sheer political and military power of the Soviet Union, together with the growing power of Communist China. Even if these countries today repudiated their Marxist philosophies, they would remain mortal threats to world peace unless and until effective world disarmament could be agreed between Russia, China and the West.
In other words. we are returning to the dangerous concept of the balance of power which governed European politics for so long and with such ever present danger of war. The difference between then and now is that any failure to maintain a balance of power today would bring to an end civilisation itself.
This terrible danger is brought home to us by the account in the "Sunday Times" of the quarrel between Russia and China by Isaac Deutscher.
ACCORDING to this account, the quarrel has long been in existence, but only today is the full truth leaking through.
It appears that Khrushchev charges Mao Tse-tung with continuously breaking the Communist Parties agreement concluded with difficulty in Moscow last November.
This Moscow Declaration agreed to "peaceful co-existence" and condemned "export of revolution." Now Mao is accused of discrediting the leadership of the Soviet Communist Party and of seeking to influence other Communist parties against Russian leadership. While Russia has been seeking to avoid policies that could endanger world peace, China has been fostering them, especially in connection with Formosa.
Even more serious is the charge that Mao actively favours preventive war against the West and has been doing so since 1949, the year before the Korean War.
In other words. Mao. believing that war is ultimately inevitable, wants it now while the Soviet Union enjoys a "present overwhelming superiority in missiles, rockets and nuclear weapons." The result, in Mao's words. would he the division of the world between the two Communist powers,
It is this violent quarrel, if seems, which has lately forced Khrushchev to take an unexpectedly stiff attitude towards the West, particularly in regard to Berlin.
IF all this is correct, we have -Ievidently reached the stage when the philosophy of Communism has given way to a bitter rivalry between two giant powers, a development which Khrushchev calls a Bonapartist military dictatorship. where China is concerned. though we need hardly. doubt that Russia today shares the same mentality, but is wise enough to realise the appalling consequences of seeking to act today in terms of past history.
There is evidently a temptation on the part of the West to congratulate itself on this bitter rivalry between the two great Communist powers. Let them fight il out, and they will destroy one another!
But this is an extremely dangerous line to take, and an immoral one also. Any outbreak of war on such a scale would almost certainly end by involving the whole world, and even if it did not, we have no moral right to wish the horrors of modern warfare on any nation, however much we may condemn its outlook.
On the contrary, this Communist quarrel, if indeed it is as serious as reported. should stimulate us in two constructive ways.
It must obviously prompt the West to be and to remain firm in its defence of its own plain rights, particularly in regard to Berlin and at the same time it must stimulate us to maintain as friendly relations as possible with Moscow.
IT may Seem to be paradoxical to suggest that tension between the two great Communist powers should prompt us to be as friendly and understanding as possible with the Soviet Union. But if we believe that today the Bonapartism of the great Communist powers is an international factor of greater importance than the ideological Marxism of the past. then the hope of peace and international accord must lie in political friendship and help rather than in any incitement to the fatal course of war.
In the long run the best hope of the conversion of Communism to what we believe to be the way of freedom and belief in the spiritual nature of man is through our friendship and our example.
The alternative will certainly not be the progress of civilisation and Christianity; it can only be the end of the world as we know it.