A Grammar of American Politics: The National Government

By Wilfred E. Binkley; Malcolm C. Moos | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXV
FOREIGN POLICY AND THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT IN ITS INTERNATIONAL SETTING

There are critical moments in the life of every nation which call for the straightest, the plainest and the most courageous thinking of which we are capable. We confront such a moment now. It is not only desperately important to America. It is important to the world. . . .

The thing . . . we need to do Mr. President . . . is to frankly face the postwar alternatives which are available. . . .

There are two ways to do it. One way is by exclusive individual action in which each of us tries to look out for himself. The other is by joint action in which we undertake to look out for each other.

The first is the old way which has twice taken us to Europe's interminable battlefield's within a quarter of a century. The second way is the new way in which our present fraternity of war becomes a new fraternity of peace. I do not believe that either we or our Allies can have it both ways. They serve to cancel out each other. We cannot tolerate unilateral privilege in a multilateral peace. . . .1

AMONG the nations not bent upon territorial conquest or world aggression in furtherance of a revolutionary ideal there are three fundamental motives in charting foreign policy--security, the desire for favorable trade, and the humanitarian quest for a peaceful world in which the cultural and material interchange of people and ideas will remain fluid. It takes no fine discernment to observe that the first of these objectives may rest upon the third or vice versa, and that perhaps to enjoy any of these goals for more than a brief period a nation must strive to secure all three. National policies aimed at security that fail to take into account the stake of all nations in keeping peace may only postpone and increase the magnitude of eventual conflict. Similarly, unsound and narrowly conceived trade policies designed to undercut the economic health of other nations may start an infection that will sooner or later destroy security and peace.

To live--that is, to provide employment and food for her people-- Switzerland must import 75 per cent of the raw materials that are proc-

____________________
1
Speech of the Hon. Arthur H. Vandenberg delivered in the United States Senate, January 10, 1945.

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