Coexistence: Economic Challenge and Response

Coexistence: Economic Challenge and Response

Coexistence: Economic Challenge and Response

Coexistence: Economic Challenge and Response

Excerpt

Challenge has followed Soviet challenge to the West since the summit meeting at Geneva in 1955 where, it was said, the Cold War made way for "peaceful but competitive coexistence," as the Russians chose to call the new East-West relationship. It soon became disappointingly clear that the "spirit of Geneva" did not ring in an era of understanding and conciliation. If it implied the absence of war, it certainly did not mean a renunciation of struggle, often devious, yet harsh and uncompromising. As Nikita Khrushchev put it in the very year of Geneva: "We have never renounced and will never renounce our ideas, the struggle for the victory of communism. They will have to wait forever for us to disarm ideologically."

In the years after Geneva, the shape of the new competition began to emerge. Peace has prevailed in the sense that the Korean outbreak was not followed by further overt aggressive acts by the Soviet bloc. But military threats, talks about aggression and defense, and all the other characteristics of the Cold War era have not been absent. Since the failure of the summit meeting in Paris in May 1960, they have become even more prominent and the "spirit of Camp David" has proved no more enduring than the "spirit of Geneva." In the meantime, the eastern pole of the Moscow-Peking axis has asserted itself more strongly and has become more quarrelsome as the Russians stressed the need for peaceful coexistence. That this discrepancy within the bloc reflects perhaps a genuine difference of policy evaluation rather than merely a clever division of labor within a broader strategy of keeping the West off balance is suggested by recent events. In any event, even though disarmament has temporarily played a larger role on the diplomatic scene, the recurrence at least of limited military . . .

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