Clinton St. Quarterly, Vol. 5 No. 2 | Summer 1983 (Seattle) /// Issue 4 of 24 /// Master# 4 of 24

in the years following it, will not be forgotten; the great and varied help that Europe received from her, and the thanks owing for this, will not be forgotten. But the unnatural situation created by the two world wars that led to a dominating military presence in Europe cannot continue indefinitely. It must gradually cease to exist, both for the sake of Europe, and for the sake of America. Now there will be shocked voices from all sides. What will become of poor Europe if American atomic weapons no longer defend it from within and from without? What will happen if Europe is delivered to the Soviet? Must it then not be prepared to languish in a communist babylonian form of imprisonment for long years? Here it should be said that perhaps the Soviet Union is not quite so malicious as to think only of throwing itself on Europe at the first opportunity in order to devour it, and perhaps not quite so unintelligent as to fail to consider whether there would be any advantage in upsetting her stomach with this indigestible meal. What Europe and the Europeans have to agree is that they belong together for better or for worse. This is a new historical fact that can no longer be by-passed politically.” Albert Schweitzer argued this, twenty-three years ago, from the perspective of a West European. In the long interval that has now passed it is possible to make this same argument from an Eastern European perspective also. On November 16th, 1981, there was issued in Prague a statement by three spokespersons of Charter 77, the courageous organization defending Czechoslovak human rights: Vaclav Maly, Dr. Bedrich Placak, and Dr. Jiri Hejek. This stresses the mutual interdependence of the causes of peace and of liberty. The Helsinki accord on human rights is an “ integral and equal component” of the cause of peace, since without respect for these rights “ it is impossible to speak of an attitude to peace worthy of the name.” Yet (the statement continues) “ it is difficult to regard as genuine champions of these rights and freedoms those who are stepping up the arms race and bringing closer the danger of war.” The Other which menaces us is being redefined as the forces leading both blocs to auto-destruction — not “Russia” nor “America” but their military, ideological and security establishments and their ritual oppositions. “ Our continent faces the threat of being turned into a nuclear battlefield, into the burial-ground of its nations and its civilization which gave birth to the very concept of human rights.” And it concludes by expressing the solidarity of Charter 77 with all those in the peace movement who are also upholding the rights endorsed by the Helsinki accord: “ It is our wish that they should continue their struggle for peace in its indivisibility, which not only applies to different geographic regions but also covers the various dimensions of human life. We do not have the opportunities which they have to express as loudly our common conviction that peace and freedom are indivisible.” Taking a Risk The question before Europeans today is not how many NATO forward-based systems might equal how many Soviet SS-20s. Beneath these equations there is a larger question: in what circumstances might both superpowers loosen the military grip which settled upon Europe in 1945 and which has been protracted long beyond its historical occasion? And how might such a retreat of hegomonies and loosening of blocs take place without endangering peace? Such an outcome would be profoundly in the interest, not only of the people of Europe, but of the peoples of the Soviet Union and the United States also — in relaxing tension and in relieving them of some of the burdens and dangers of their opposed military establishments. But what — unless it were to be our old enemy “ deterrence” — could monitor such a transition so that neither one nor the other party turned it to advantage? We are not, it should be said, describing some novel stage in the process known as “ detente.” For in the early 1970s “ detente” signified the cautious tuning-down of hostilities between states or blocs, but within the Cold War status quo. Detente (or “ peaceful co-existence” ) was licensed by the superpowers: it did not arise from the client states, still less from popular movements. The framework of East-West settlement was held rigid by “ deterrence” : in the high noon of Kissinger’s diplomacy detente was a horse-trade between the leaders of the blocs, in which any unseemly movement out of the framework was to be discouraged as “ de-stabilizing.” Czechs or Italians were required to remain quiet in their client places, lest any rash movement should disturb the touchy equilibrium of the superpowers. But what we can glimpse now is something different: a detente of peoples rather than states — a movement of peoples which sometimes dislodges states from their blocs and brings them into a new diplomacy of conciliation, which sometimes runs beneath state structures, and which sometimes defies the ideological and security structures of particular states. This? will be a more fluid, unregulated, unpredictable movement. It may entail risk. The risk must be taken. For the Cold War can be brought to an end in only two ways: by the destruction of European civilization, or by the reunification of European political culture. The first will take place if the ruling groups in the rival superpowers, sensing that the ground is shifting beneath them and that their client states are becoming detached, succeed in compensating for their waning political and economic authority by more and more frenzied measures of militarization. This is, exactly, what is happening now. The outcome will be terminal. 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