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Here Comes Mr. Jordan

By Edward J. Sack

Unable to see the forest for the trees. unwilling to see the forest for the trees. We have here the weakness of America's foreign policy since the war.

take the question of aid to Tito. There are a great many short-range, short-sighted arguments for giving aid to Yugoslavia--devilishly attractive arguments, the kind of arguments to which one can so easily say: "150 million Americans and the State Department can't be wrong." I believe they are wrong, wrong because they are thinking too precisely on the event, gazing rapturously at the free without noticing the nature of the forest.

Let me summarize the easy arguments for giving aid to Tito. We are told it will show anti-Russian (nationalist) groups in other Iron Curtain countries that the U. S. is willing to be friends, to play the kindly uncle to Stalin's stern father. This may or may not help these countries cast off Russian control, but it is a step in the right direction-we may hope for eventual Russian departure from the area.

Helping the eastern European countries achieve at lest a measure of freedom from Russia will weaken the Russian influence on communist groups outside the Soviet sphere. De-Russianizing Western European communists, in particular, will greatly reduce their threat to our hegemony of Western Europe.

Aid to Tito will show Russia that we do not like her expansionist tendencies (this, by some idiot logic, is said to lower the tension of the cold war). It will also, if the Iron, Curtain countries cooperate, stimulate trade between East and West which will help Europe get on its economic feet and help break down the barrier now existent between the two regions.

These arguments come down to this: there is a breach in the Iron Curtain; it would be weak, criminal, to pass up such an opportunity of strengthening ourselves at Russia's expense. We must do this right away because otherwise Tito will succumb to Stalin's blockade, have to fall back into line. We are taking risks--that war may somehow come out of this, or that we may lose face or money--but all policies, especially strong ones, involve some dangers. At any rate the status quo is unsatisfactory and if we do run a little risk in trying to changes it, well, it's a good cause.

And finally we are told that this $20,000,000 loan is just hard-headed business--we loan them money to build up their mines and some war-damaged industries, and in return we get large supplies of Yugoslav-mined strategic materials. You can't pull the wool love the American businessman's eyes.

There are a few people who support aid to Tito because they believe that the loan dollars are non-political dollars, not aimed at Stalin. One cannot score many points for refusing them, but their reasoning shows important parallels with that of most other Americans and the State Department. These people, then, perceive the obvious economic fact that the $20,000,000 loan is financially feasible, and ignore the fact that it is motivated by political interest (witness the inescapably political timing of the project in the midst of Russian-Tito controversy).

Same Method

I think one can observe the same type of blinkered reasoning in the orthodox pragmatic argument for aid to Tito, as outlined above, admitting from the beginning that the move is political. Adherents to this view think in terms of immediate political prospects in Yugoslavia, and by extension bring into the picture both nearby Iron Curtain countries and Western European communists. Essentially they are trying to reduce the complex issue to a simple, individual case that can be solved upon consideration of a few elementary facts. Just as the people who believe he aid is non-political fail to see the political factor in the situation, the people who think in terms of the immediate politics of the case fail to perceive the higher level of policy. They fail to see not only the world-wide implications of aid to Tito, but also the pastern of foreign policy which it fits altogether too well. They pay too much attention to the trees.

Aid to Tito will not raise America in the eyes of the non-partisan world. The people of the great battleground of southeast Asia will not be happy to hear that the United States has given $20,000,000 to Tito in order to keep open a gap in the Iron Curtain--to play politics, that is--when the U. S. Congress can scarcely bring itself to consider appropriating $35,000,000 for much-needed services to poor nations, under the Point Four program. We have presented the Russian propagandists with a ready-made, gold-plated argument for use not only in these doubtful areas and Europe, but indeed in the whole world.

the fatal weakness of American foreign policy is the practice of mere anti-communism (or anti-Russianism, if you prefer). We supported Chiang's Knominatang government in China not because we like Chiang, nor because we wanted to back a winner, but because he was staunchly anti-communist. It would have taken diplomatic courage to have shifted to the Chinese Communists when we had a chance; or to have moved fast and incisively to construct a government out of the few "liberals" in the country at the time. But we couldn't possibly have gotten into a worse mess than we are now in. We also supported the present Greek government, with the Truman Doctrine, not because we like corruption or fascism, but because it was a good way to keep the Russians out of the Mediterranean. We thereby vitiated to a great extent our high moral stand in international politics.

And now Tito offers us a chance to help support him, and we gobble up the chance, basically because he is feuding with Russia, and we hope to discomfort her by aiding him.

We are, in effect, trying to push our boundaries into the present Soviet sphere of influence. Russia is presumably reluctant to see this happen, and therefore we can expect a far warmer cold war in the Balkans. The trouble with warm cold wars is that they eventually become plain hot wars.

The distinction between being in favor of me and being against you is a difficult one to draw. But, the world being in the delicately balanced state that it is, fine distinctions can be most important. Nothing, except appeasement, is more likely to cause a war than aimless provocation. God knows, we haven't been guilty of appeasement this time. But there is a pattern of unthinking opposition in our foreign policy which is exceedingly dangerous.

(Articles in this department represent the opinions of those editors who differ with the expressed editorial policy of the CRIMSON.)

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