OPPORTUNITY OR DISASTER?
By Lester Markel
THIS IS THE insistent fact: that we have failed and are failing to give to public opinion the emphasis and direction it must have if it is to be the vital instrument we need.
These are the immediate results of that failure: that, at home, we are confronted with a public opinion that is only one-quarter informed; that, abroad, we are confronted with a public opinion that is widely distrustful of us.
This is the danger: that unless these attitudes are changed, our programs at home and abroad are likely to be defeated and the consequences may be incalculably grave. For this is cold war, this is a vast struggle for men's minds, and it must be waged with full understanding and with full vigor.
The Chinese word for crisis is a combination of two symbols: one is the symbol of opportunity, the other the symbol of disaster. In this great crisis of history, will we realize the opportunity or will we bring on the disaster? What we think, what others think of us, will be the decisive factors in determining the answer.
In the preceding chapters there have been posed the large problems that confront us in these opinion operations, and there have been suggested some possible approaches toward solving those problems.
This chapter is an attempt to summarize conclusions;