Understanding April 1987
PREPARING FOR PEACE
There exists today, what is probably the most genuine opportunity to achieve a lasting peace between the United States and the Soviet Union, that has been possible at any time during the past several decades, if we choose and if we dare to accept it!
The Politburo seems to have recognized, at last, that the Soviet Union can never, “Pluck the United States, like a ripe fruit from a tree,” and that there is no possibility of winning, or even surviving a nuclear war. Mikhail Gorbachev and other Soviet leaders are making proposals for disarmament that seem to be sincere and far reaching. The real question today is not so much how sincere the proposals are, as, do we dare to accept the challenge however sincere they may be?
When Premier Khruschev visited the United States in 1959, he issued a challenge to the U.S. to accept a mutual program of immediate and total disarmament guaranteed by the right of unlimited inspection by both sides. The wily Premier knew that the U.S. could not accept such a proposal, no matter how sincere the offer, and he also knew that we could never really explain to the rest of the world, why we could not accept it!
The simple facts were that we could not accept a program of immediate and total disarmament because of the several hundreds of billions of dollars that had been contracted for, and were being spent upon the production of armaments. A considerable proportion of our entire national income was both derived from and in turn, spent upon the production of materials devoted, in one way or another, to the needs of warfare. If we should, suddenly and without prior preparation, have to bring all of this work to a halt, we might precipitate our economy into an abyss of depression and unemployment such as had never been experienced in this country. Yet, if we had admitted this fact publicly, the Soviets could have replied that this was one proof of the weakness of capitalism. The only real weakness was, of course, that we had been so completely devoted to our preparations for war, that we had given little or no thought to the possibility of the sudden outbreak of peace! Khruschev was well aware of this regrettable fact, and made use of it to embarrass us before the world. All of which cannot help but raise the question of whether we are now, twenty eight years after this lesson, actually in any better shape to survive, economically, the sudden outbreak of peace.
There was, of course, and still is, another fact that caused our leaders to hesitate at total disarmament. That was the fact that total disarmament by both sides would throw the balance of power to the side that possessed numerical superiority and, in this case we would be placed at a considerable disadvantage. It is equally true however, that if the Soviets disarmed completely, they would probably lose some of their ‘allies’ which have been held in political bondage by the use or the threat of military force, but we have no reliable means of determining what that number would be, and neither do the Soviets, therefore they would be gambling as much as we would by agreeing to disarm totally.
In the past, the sole traditional duty of national leaders has been to protect and to advance, wherever possible, the welfare of their own people, even, if necessary, at some expense to others. Now however, the rapid advance of destructive technology has brought about a change, and the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union have a larger and mutual duty and responsibility which is, in its stark simplicity, the survival of the human race! If this simple fact can be kept in mind by the negotiators on both sides during the coming meetings, there is a good chance that the petty squabbles and the desire by each side to ‘get the better of the deal’ may be submerged long enough so that some genuine agreements may be reached.
(signed by Daniel W. Fry)
Even as He rose victorious
On Easter morn, so may you
be blessed with
greater faith and renewed hope
this Easter season!
Cleona Q. Fry If you forget to talk to God, you will lose your Best friend.