Escalation unto death
The nuclear war is already being fought , except that the bombs are not being dropped on enemy targets -- not yet .
It is being fought , moreover , in fairly close correspondence with the predictions of the soothsayers of the think factories .
They predicted escalation , and escalation is what we are getting .
The biggest nuclear device the United States has exploded measured some 15 megatons , although our B-52s are said to be carrying two 20-megaton bombs apiece .
Some time ago , however , Mr. Khrushchev decided that when bigger bombs were made , the Soviet Union would make them .
He seems to have at least a few 30- and 50-megaton bombs on hand , since we cannot assume that he has exploded his entire stock .
And now , of course , the hue and cry for counter-escalation is being raised on our side .
Khrushchev threatens us with a 100-megaton bomb ? ?
So be it -- then we must embark on a crash program for 200-megaton bombs of the common or hydrogen variety , and neutron bombs , which do not exist but are said to be the coming thing .
So escalation proceeds , ad infinitum or , more accurately , until the contestants begin dropping them on each other instead of on their respective proving grounds .
What is needed , Philip Morrison writes in The Cornell Daily Sun ( October 26 ) is a discontinuity .
The escalation must end sometime , and probably quite soon .
`` Only a discontinuity can end it '' , Professor Morrison writes .
`` The discontinuity can either be that of war to destruction , or that of diplomatic policy '' .
Morrison points out that since our country is more urbanized than the Soviet Union or Red China , it is the most vulnerable of the great powers -- Europe of course must be written off out of hand .
He feels , therefore , that to seek a discontinuity in the arms policy of the United States is the least risky path our government can take .
His proposal is opposed to that of Richard Nixon , Governor Rockefeller , past chairmen Strauss and McCone of the Atomic Energy Commission , Dr. Edward Teller and those others now enjoying their hour of triumph in the exacerbation of the cold war .
These gentlemen are calling for a resumption of testing -- in the atmosphere -- on the greatest possible scale , all in the name of national security .
Escalation is their first love and their last ; ;
they will be faithful unto death .
Capable as their minds may be in some directions , these guardians of the nation's security are incapable of learning , or even of observing .
If this capacity had not failed them , they would see that their enemy has made a disastrous miscalculation .
He has gained only one thing -- he has exploded a 50-megaton bomb and he probably has rockets with sufficient thrust to lob it over the shorter intercontinental ranges .
But if his purpose was to inspire terror , his action could hardly have miscarried more obviously .
Not terror , but anger and resentment have been the general reaction outside the Soviet sphere .
Khrushchev himself is reported to be concerned by the surge of animosity he has aroused , yet our own nuclear statesmen seem intent on following compulsively in his footsteps .
When one powerful nation strives to emulate the success of another , it is only natural .
Thus , when the Russians sent up their first sputnik , American chagrin was human enough , and American determination to put American satellites into orbit was perfectly understandable .
But to imitate an opponent when he has made the mistake of his life would be a new high in statesmanlike folly .
The tide turns
When East Germans fled to the West by the thousands , paeans of joy rose from the throats of Western publicists .
They are less vocal now , when it is the West Berliners who are migrating .
The flood is not as great -- only 700 a week according to one apparently conservative account -- but it is symptomatic .
West Berlin morale is low and , in age distribution , the situation is unfavorable .
Nearly 18 per cent of West Berlin's 2,200,000 residents are sixty-five or older , only 12.8 per cent are under fifteen .
R. H. S. Crossman , M.P. , writing in The Manchester Guardian , states that departures from West Berlin are now running at the rate not of 700 , but of 1,700 a week , and applications to leave have risen to 1,900 a week .
The official statistics show that 60 per cent are employed workers or independent professional people .
Whole families are moving and removal firms are booked for months ahead .
The weekly loss is partly counterbalanced by 500 arrivals each week from West Germany , but the hard truth , says Crossman , is that `` The closing off of East Berlin without interference from the West and with the use only of East German , as distinct from Russian , troops was a major Communist victory , which dealt West Berlin a deadly , possibly a fatal , blow .
The gallant half-city is dying on its feet '' .
Another piece of evidence appears in a dispatch from Bonn in The Observer ( London ) .
Mark Arnold-Foster writes : `` People are leaving ( West Berlin ) because they think it is dying .
They are leaving so fast that the president of the West German Employers' Federation issued an appeal this week to factory workers in the West to volunteer for six months' front-line work in factories in West Berlin .
Berlin's resilience is amazing , but if it has to hire its labor in the West the struggle will be hard indeed '' .
The handwriting is on the wall .
The only hope for West Berlin lies in a compromise which will bring down the wall and reunite the city .
State Department officials refusing to show their passes at the boundary , and driving two blocks into East Berlin under military escort , will not avail .
Tanks lined up at the border will be no more helpful .
The materials for compromise are at hand : The Nation , Walter Lippmann and other sober commentators ( see Alan Clark on p. 367 ) have spelled them out again and again .
A compromise will leave both sides without the glow of triumph , but it will save Berlin .
Or the city can be a graveyard monument to Western intransigence , if that is what the West wants .
The removal of Stalin's body from the mausoleum he shared with Lenin to less distinguished quarters in the Kremlin wall is not unprecedented in history .
It is , in fact , a relatively mild chastisement of the dead .
A British writer , Richard Haestier , in a book , Dead Men Tell Tales , recalls that in the turmoil preceding the French Revolution the body of Henry 4 , , who had died nearly 180 years earlier , was torn to pieces by a mob .
And in England , after the Restoration , the body of Cromwell was disinterred and hanged at Tyburn .
The head was then fixed on a pole at Westminster , and the rest of the body was buried under the gallows .
Contemplating these posthumous punishments , Stalin should not lose all hope .
In 1899 , Parliament erected a statue to Cromwell in Westminster , facing Whitehall and there , presumably , he still stands .
Nikita Khrushchev , however , has created yet another problem for himself .
The Lenin tomb is obviously adequate for double occupancy , Moscow is a crowded city , and the creed of Communism deplores waste .
Who will take Stalin's place beside Lenin ? ?
There is Karl Marx , of course , buried in London .
The Macmillan government might be willing to let him go , but he has been dead seventy-eight years and even the Soviet morticians could not make him look presentable .
Who , then , is of sufficient stature to lodge with Lenin ? ?
Who but Nikita himself ? ?
Since he has just shown who is top dog , he may not be ready to receive this highest honor in the gift of the Soviet people .
Besides , he can hardly avoid musing on the instability of death which , what with exhumations and rehabilitations , seems to match that of life .
Suppose he did lie beside Lenin , would it be permanent ? ?
If some future Khrushchev decided to rake up the misdeeds of his revered predecessor , would not the factory workers pass the same resolutions applauding his dispossession ? ?
When a man is laid to rest , he is entitled to stay put .
If Nikita buys a small plot in some modest rural cemetery , everyone will understand .
U Thant of Burma
The appointment of U Thant of Burma as the U.N.'s Acting Secretary General -- at this writing , the choice appears to be certain -- offers further proof that in politics it is more important to have no influential enemies than to have influential friends .
Mongi Slim of Tunisia and Frederick Boland of Ireland were early favorites in the running , but France didn't like the former and the Soviet Union would have none of the latter .
With the neutralists maintaining pressure for one of their own to succeed Mr. Hammarskjold , U Thant emerged as the only possible candidate unlikely to be waylaid by a veto .
What is interesting is that his positive qualifications for the post were revealed only as a kind of tail to his candidacy .
In all the bitter in-fighting , the squabbles over election procedures , the complicated numbers game that East and West played on the assistant secretaries' theme , the gentleman from Burma showed himself both as a man of principle and a skilled diplomat .
He has , moreover , another qualification which augurs well for the future .
He is a Buddhist , which means that to him peace and the sanctity of human life are not only religious dogma , but a profound and unshakable Weltanschauung .
U Thant of course , will hold office until the spring of 1963 , when Mr. Hammarskjold's term would have come to an end .
Whether the compromises -- on both sides -- that made possible the interim appointment can then be repeated remains to be seen .
Mr. Khrushchev's demand for a troika is dormant , not dead ; ;
the West may or not remain satisfied with the kind of neutralism that U Thant represents .
In a sense , the showdown promised by Mr. Hammarskjold's sudden and tragic death has been avoided ; ;
no precedents have been set as yet ; ;
structurally , the U.N. is still fluid , vulnerable to the pressures that its new and enlarged membership are bringing to bear upon it .
But at least the pessimists who believed that the world organization had plunged to its death in that plane crash in the Congo have been proved wrong .
To the hills , girls
No one who has studied the radical Right can suppose that words are their sole staple in trade .
These are mentalities which crave action -- and they are beginning to get it , as Messrs. Salsich and Engh report on page 372 .
Even in areas where political connotations are ( deliberately ? ?
) left vague , the spirit of vigilantism is spreading .
Friends , a picture magazine distributed by Chevrolet dealers , describes a paramilitary organization of employees of the Gulf Telephone Company at Foley , Alabama .
`` If the day should ever come that foreign invaders swarm ashore along the Gulf Coast '' , the account reads , `` they can count on heavy opposition from a group of commando-trained telephone employees -- all girls .
Heavily armed and mobilized as a fast-moving Civil Defense outfit , 23 operators and office personnel stand ready to move into action at a minute's notice '' .
According to Friends , the unit was organized by John Snook , a former World War 2 , commando who is vice president and general manager of the telephone company .
The girls , very fetching in their uniforms , are shown firing rockets from a launcher mounted on a dump truck ; ;
they are also trained with carbines , automatic weapons , pistols , rifles and other such ladies' accessories .
This may be opera bouffe now , but it will become more serious should the cold war mount in frenzy .
The country is committed to the doctrine of security by military means .
The doctrine has never worked ; ;
it is not working now .
The official military establishment can only threaten to use its nuclear arms ; ;
it cannot bring them into actual play .
A more dangerous formula for national frustration cannot be imagined .
As the civic temper rises , the more naive citizens begin to play soldier -- but the guns are real .
Soon they will begin to hunt down the traitors they are assured are in our midst .