Foundations of National Power: Readings on World Politics and American Security

Foundations of National Power: Readings on World Politics and American Security

Foundations of National Power: Readings on World Politics and American Security

Foundations of National Power: Readings on World Politics and American Security

Excerpt

The second world war has altered profoundly the relations of the United States with other nations. Venerable foreign policies--such as neutrality toward European wars and avoidance of military alliances with foreign powers--require fresh appraisal in the light of changing conditions. We may court disasters more terrible than those which have befallen Germany and Japan if, as in 1919, we turn our backs on the Old World and try to go about our business as if the war had never occurred.

This is so in part because of the revolutionary character of developments in science and technology. We now have bombing planes capable of carrying several tons of high explosive or incendiary missiles to targets 1,500 miles or more from their base of operations. We are told that robot rocket bombs hurtling down from the stratosphere are but grim harbingers of more deadly weapons "just around the corner." A world- renowned physicist is reported to have said recently: "It is as if we had uncorked a bottle from which some violent genie has escaped; we cannot get it back into the bottle again."

Fortunately for us, the Second World War is drawing to a close before the new weapons can be turned against the United States, as they probably would have been had the war continued, and as they almost certainly would be in any future war. We thus have a chance--our last chance in the opinion of qualified observers--to evolve new national policies to shield us from such a fate. The urgency of this task cannot be exaggerated. It provides a compelling incentive for re-inventory and appraisal of the changing world situation in which we find ourselves as a result of the shattering events of the Second World War.

It is now generally accepted that progress toward a more durable world order is possible only within the framework of the existing multistate system, usually called the family or society of nations. Mobilization for war and the waging of war have everywhere tightened the hold of the state on the individual. The compelling necessity for team-work and the sacrifices of war have simultaneously strengthened the citizen's loyalty to his own country. For better or for worse, the great struggle seems to have pushed far into the background any possibility of creating a super-national world-state, at least in our time. The Dumbarton Oaks and San Francisco conferences have been directed to the task of framing . . .

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