]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]     THE PEACE PROCESS        [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ 
                        by Prof. R.W. Clack                  (9/2/88)

[By permission, from THE KANSAS INTELLIGENCER, Subscription and edito-
rial correspondence address: 5524 Anderson Ave., Manhattan, Kansas
66502. A monthly polemic at $12 per year. Letters and comments are
welcome. (C) Copyright 1988, R.W. Clack, Editor and publisher.]

      The very phrase makes us shudder. It brings to mind an aphorism
attributed to Winston Churchill. "Jaw-jaw is better than war-war." All
other things being equal, the comment is indisputably true. Trouble is
that all other things aren't equal. If jaw-jaw increases the risk of
war it is no bargain. The Munich agreement, Neville Chamberlain and
"Peace in our time" come to mind in this context. The League of
Nations was a notable failure in preserving peace and it quite likely
increased the probability of war. A Faustian bargain to be sure, but
nuclear weaponry has been far more effective in maintaining the peace
than the United Nations.
     Owen Wister, author of THE VIRGINIAN, the prototype western
novel, is also author of THE PENTECOST OF CALAMITY. (The MacMillan
Company, l915) A small book of musings of a remarkable mind. Wister
was in Germany as a visitor in l870 and again in l9l4 at the onset of
the Franco-Prussian War and WWI respectively.
     In 1914 he was looking for a tranquil environment for retirement.
He was considering taking German citizenship in preference to that of
his native land because he so admired the intellectual and artistic
ferment of Germany. Germany was at or near the forefront of all of the
major academic and cultural disciplines: music, literature, philoso-
phy, medicine, mathematics, physics, chemistry... Germany was also
neat and orderly. The entire country was almost like a park. No graf-
fiti, no litter.
      But the same school children who sang operatic arias on one day
sang the next day of the glories of the Fatherland in the sinking of
the passenger liner Lusitania. It took that grotesque distortion the
German, perhaps Prussian, KULTUR to bring home to Wister the redeeming
virtue of his own rude and unkempt land. "In one respect the war she
(Germany) has incubated is the old assault of Xerxes, of Alexander, of
Napoleon, of every one who has been visited by the dangerous dream of
world conquest."
     When the concept for this item, The Peace Process, was incubating
in your reporter's mind he was convinced that the Soviet Union was
possessed by the dream Xerxes, Alexander, Napoleon, the Kaiser and
then Hitler. In the intervening months a change appears to have come
over the Soviet Union. We were convinced that no matter what they said
or did, as long as they denied or ignored the duplicity, the cunning,
the evil of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact there could be no significant
change in direction of the Soviet Union. As long as they stone-walled
on the Katyn forest massacre we was convinced that the very foundation
of their political creed was evil incarnate. But strange things are
happening. The Soviet government canceled history examinations in
their schools, acknowledged at least the possibility of error in
Molotov-Ribbentrop, rehabilitated some of their early heros whom Sta-
lin had executed. They are in the process of withdrawing from Afgha-
nistan. (Maybe.) They are discussing publication and distribution of
Solzhenitsyn -- in Russia.
      We thought they would not change because, under Marxism-
Leninism, they could not change. Either they are changing, i.e. aban-
doning Marxism-Leninism or they are setting us up for a sucker punch.
     Habits ingrained over 70 years aren't likely to be overturned in
one year. What General Secretary Gorbachev is doing must be exceed-
ingly offensive, even treasonous, to the "old guard". They can still
turn him out. He is permitting political disturbances in Armenia that
always before would be ruthlessly crushed by force of arms. He has
uncorked a genie and each day that passes will make it more difficult
to get the genie back in the bottle.
     If there is a genuine change-of-heart in the Politburo, we, in
the United States, should stand aside. To intervene is to endanger the
new enlightenment. If the change sticks, they must believe it is of
their own and not the machinations of capitalist lackey enemies of
Mother Russia and Marxism-Leninism.
      If they shut off military supplies and military encouragement to
Nicaragua, Cuba, Ethiopia and Angola and fully withdraw from Afgha-
nistan then you know the conversion is real. Oh, there are lots more
offenses around the world for them to redress but the conversion
doesn't have to be instantaneous.
     One further test: They have been adamantly opposed to the SDI. If
they are truly interested in a non-confrontational world, a world in
which the nuclear club can substantially stand down their arms, they
will encourage, rather than oppose, a mutual SDI effort.

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[*** Note by P.B.: I think this is a fine essay, yet I cannot resist
adding that Prof. Clack's tests are too easy on a bunch of murderous
crooks who have promised reform. They are getting out of Afghanistan,
(are they?) because they have been thrashed and are bleeding. How about
getting out of the brutally oppressed countries where they are NOT
bleeding -- the Baltic republics, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland,
Bulgaria, East Germany, ... and on and on and on?? That is test no.1.
Test no.2 is the right given to the lowliest black South African: the
right to leave one's country. Only when they have passed these tests
will I agree to Prof. Clack's words "Oh, there are lots more offenses
around the world for them to redress but the conversion doesn't have
to be instantaneous."]

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