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A Constructive Program

By J. W. Ballantine

To have validity our national policy must be directly based on two main sets of facts; the facts pertaining to the immediate military situation, and the facts pertaining to the ultimate settlement of the world economy. At present it appears based on neither. On the military side necessities of defense are clouded by a blind "Beat Hitler" policy; on the war aims side hope of a lasting peace is precluded by hazy phrases such as free trade and economic independence which don't recognize the nature of the world turmoil. The effect of such a program is to make us expand our energy in defense hysteria which promises little hope for the future and little success in the present.

There is, it seems to me, a perfectly reasonable alternative which takes into consideration both the military possibilities and the main economic factors. In essence it is a strong negotiated peace. The first requirement of such a policy is that we obtain a decent stalemate with Hitler. This means that the operations in Russia, the Near East, the Atlantic, and the Far East must be successfully carried out. To do this we must adopt a realistic policy that recognizes that our troops may have to be used abroad and that our navy may lose ships in both the Atlantic and the Pacific. What we must cure is the continual rhetorical howl surrounding every defense move that makes it appear a further step on the road to Berlin.

From the envisionable conclusion of operations of this modified sort, namely holding the present Allied lines, we have a definite basis on which some sort of a world can be planned. The crucial question in the stalemate peace, or armistice, that would result is what happens to Germany. The picture of military domination over the bulk of Europe is not pretty, but it seems to me that there are considerable grounds to think it will not be as completely dark as the past eight years of Germany's dynamic advance have made us believe. With the scope of the army definitely checked, the regime must become static. To maintain itself it must satisfy the wants of the people, many of whom have a background of western humanism. The transfer of a nationalized economy, which has many socialistic principles in it, from a war to a peace footing may not prove a completely hopeless thing.

On our side a closer union with the British Empire would seem indicated both economically to control raw materials and trade, and militarily to maintain the balance of power. We would have a possibility with the ceasing of hostilities to complete the solution of the economic problem raised by the increase of productive capacity, a solution barely started by the New Deal. To be sure we would not step into an ideal world. We are a long way from our goal: the control of new world forces. But in this way we would have a chance to work out our destiny in a constructive and reasonable way.

This is the course that appeals to me. It is based on a possible military prospectus and holds hope for a future settlement. The course offered by the administration doesn't do either of these things and what's more, it doesn't seem to think it has to. By failing to give a frank picture of the situation, they are undermining the whole idea of democratic reason and betraying the intelligence of the people. Unless we quit this muddy thinking and adopt a clear-cut sensible program we will continue to dissipate our strength and our ideal.

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