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Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/06/23: CIA-RDP90-00552R000100330005-1 IJITICLI: LIFE MAGAZINE: qir PAGE JANUARY 1930 STAT F o r A m ge r.%* C = IMF f t h e 1. 1% 0 1 r- 1 61-11 SO- FAA. 1. r * 3" 0 By George W. Bahl Former undersecretary of stateforPresidents Kennedy and Johnson, George Ball is a lawyer, investment banker and authority on foreign affairs. he agonizing ordeal of our cap- tives in the Tehran embassy could mark a critical point in our national experience. It has-for the moment at least . -renewed our unity of pur- i pose; it may well have cured us of hang-ups left over from Vietnam and Watergate. We can be proud that Americans have, al- most without exception, supported a position based on the most elemental of humane prin- ciples-concern for the individual as against the compulsions of world politics. To be sure, the few who sedulously nourish the thesis of America's vanishing power and authority have asked derisively, "Can you imagine the Russians ever letting their embassies be held hostage?" They imply, of course, that the So- viets would react with military force, but what of it? Since the Kremlin's ideological values differ fundamentally from our own, no doubt Moscow would put the tactical interests of an abstraction-the state-above the lives of in- dividuals, coolly sacrificing Soviet citizens to demonstrate the state's effective power. That we have-rejected such a course shows that we. have got our priorities right. There is nothing more invigorating to a nation than to be true to itself. That is, it seems to me, why the American people have seemed so impres- sive during these recent painful days; only a few fringe voices called for us to send home the Shah or for military action that might en- danger the hostages. Though some feared that our constraint might be interpreted as impo- tence, it is, instead, a brilliant demonstration of strength. In many ways. the whole trying period has been a therapeutic experience that has taught us Americans a great deal about ourselves. Probably a crisis of some kind was necessary to sweep up the last leftover breakage from Vietnam and Watergate. After years of wran- gling and self-doubt, we have learned, to our astonishment, that we as a people can unite when the issues are unambiguous and our national position accords with our national traditions. We know now that when the coun- try is sufficiently aroused, Americans-almost to a man or woman-will be prepared to use their military power. Contrary to the mourners and lamenters, our national will is firm and intact. Though our sustained policy of restraint may have puzzled other countries, Americans themselves have well understood it. We have found no contradiction in the fact that the strongest nation in the world is still willing to put the lives of its citizens ahead of the desire to indulge its anger or the urge to express its manhood. We have, in other words, behaved as a mature people and should not be too con- cerned about how others perceive us. Let us hope that out of our current unify- ing experience America will emerge as a stronger, more confident country. better aware of its strengths and purpose than in recent dreary years. Let us also hope that we now have the wisdom to solve complex problems where the issues of right and wrong are not so clearly drawn as in the case of the hostages. Finally, let us hope that, rather than wringing our hands, as many were doing, we will take the actions necessary to assure our strength. These are lessons we should now have learned: First, we must improve our military capa- bility to respond quickly to threatening situ- ations any place in the world that could seriously jeopardize vital national interests. Our experience in Iran has demonstrated de- finitively that the Nixon Doctrine does not work. If, as that doctrine teaches, we try to se- cure our interests by anointing a developing country in a strategic region as the protector of our inte.ests and then overload it with so- phisticated arms, we shall only encourage the disintegration of a political structure too frag- ile to sustain such a burden. We must, there- fore, face the unpleasant reality that regional surrogates offer no easy solution, and proceed promptly to expand our own airlift capabili- ties, extend our naval reach and earmark and train adequate units for emergency deploy- ment. Such a capability is essential to enable us to help strategically important, friendly na- tions resist aggression from foreign enemies. The visible evidence of that capability is re- quired to give those nations confidence that they can count on our protection and at the same time to deter others from attacking them. CONTINUED Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/06/23: CIA-RDP90-00552R000100330005-1 Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/06/23: CIA-RDP90-00552R000100330005-1 We must be able to react largely from Amer- ican bases since, with the pervasive spread of nationalism, American installations on for- eign soil are a vanishing species. Second, we must stop talking about the need to reduce our dependence for energy on unstable producers in OPEC and act promptly to make that talk reality. We are living in a fool's world and we no longer dare temporize. At the same time, if we are not to face even more serious crises in the Middle East, we must concentrate on an Israeli-Palestinian set- tlement. We have spent 12 years living with the debris of the 1967 war and it is time we finally cleaned it up-a goal we can achieve only by reconciling a Palestinian national home with adequate arrangements for the se- curity of Israel. In spite of obstructionism from both sides, such a reconciliation should not be Impossible, If we only show enough reso- lution and stop being immobilized by frozen patterns of thought. Third, we must frankly face the realities of today's world, where power is subject to in- creasing constraints. The crisis of the hos- tages shows how restricted are the options in dealing withcowardly regimes that, sanctify kidnapping; the toppling of the Shah exposed the limits of our power to keep a hated ruler in place against the will of his people. Yet even though we equip ourselves to help friendly na- tions resist outside aggression, we will still be relatively powerless to deal with the internal revolutions that may now be set In motion not only by the crumbling of old cakes of custom but also by social and economic dislocations created as high oil prices make nations either too poor or too rich. Some critics of current policy, notably Mr. Kissinger. have refused to acknowledge the practical limits of our power to restrain or manage great internal convulsions, darkly im- plying that the Carter administration let Iran slide into chaos by not giving greater support to the Shah-though just what form that great- er support might have taken is not clear. That is dangerous talk. The last thing we need Is an argument over who lost Iran that adopts the same keening theme song as the old who lost China argument. Our last awkward and brutal effort to interfere with internal political change. in Chile, is an episode few regard as a shining example of America's wisdom or skill. tries, quietly keep in touch with opposition leaders, advise those leaders of American views and policies, and provide some continu- ity of contacts in sensitive areas where gov- ernments tend to change frequently. To avoid such Indecencies as the Chilean adventure, we must obviously hold such operations under tight and responsible restraint; but we should promptly dismantle the present absurd re- quirements of scrutiny by multiple congres- sional committees that make a mockery ofI secrecy. Meanwhile, our vituperative post- mortem has left us with the worst of both worlds. It has reinforced the fantasy pre- vailing throughout the Third World that the CIA is cunning, pervasive and caps e of unimaginable feats of interference, while almost totally 4 estro ing our intelligence instrument. Fourth, we shall have to develop a thicker skin and lower our expectations of world sym- pathy. Though the United States has been the preeminent world power ever since the Sec- ond World War, we are still surprised and somewhat hurt when other nations, particu- larly our Western allies, do not always sup- port our policies-or support them only half- heartedly. Sometimes our reaction reflects a failure of imagination; we are too self-centered to comprehend how a particular situation may appear from a foreign perspective. Although the powers of Europe have greatly enlarged their wealth and improved their standards of living, they still remain regional-indeed, pa- rochial-in their outlook. Or. put another way, though there has been a vast redistribution of wealth and economic power since the Second World War, there has been no commensurate redistribution of political and military respon- sibility outside the European theater. To be sure, European leaders clearly stat- ed that the violation of our embassy in Teh- ran menaced the whole structure of world diplomacy, but they indicated little eagerness to participate in any economic measures against Iran or take or approve any action that might-to their detriment-reduce Iran's oil production. Indeed, several have seemed ONTIETUED et, though we cannot stop an aroused people from over- throwing a hated ruler, we dare not be the only major nation without an effective intelligence service. We must have the resources to gather information and, at the same time, the operational person- nel to follow political trends In strategic coun- Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/06/23: CIA-RDP90-00552R000100330005-1 Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/06/23: CIA-RDP90-00552R000100330005-1 primarily concerned with the financial con- those resentments explain to some extent sequences of America's. action in freezing what has seemed a lackadaisical response on Iranian bank accounts, even though that ac- the part of Europe. Iran, they tell us, is tion was taken to forestall a wholesale Irani- America's problem. an withdrawal -that would have deprived Though'we may feel let down by Europe's American' banks of any security for their lack of vigorous assistance, the reluctant sup- Iranian loans. port of Third World countries is easier to un- To justify their semidetached position to- derstand. Since disparities in wealth and ward America's predicament, the French power breed resentment, it is not surprising sought to distinguish between the hostage that many Third World leaders automatically problem, which they recognize as having uni- attribute their relative poverty to Imperialism versal Implications, and our quarrel with Iran or colonial exploitation. That explanation is no over the Shah's retutn,'which they treat as a doubt comforting: it need concern us only bilateral Iranian-American problem. But it is when it serves as an all-purpose excuse for not clear what practical implications are to be obstructive action. drawn from such Cartesian logic-chopping:. In essence, we should not be too sensitive Finally, history cannot be left out of the to the opinions of other nations, nor should footnote that explains why Europeans regard we judge the reactions of others solely in Iran as primarily an American responsibility. terms of good or evil. We can never he sure The United States greatly expanded its rela- how we would behave if we viewed the world tions with Iran in 1953, when we helped the from the vantage point of any particular for- Shah return to his throne after Prime Minis- eign government. The most we can do is try to ter Mossadegh had nationalized British oil in- understand why a government reacts as it does terests. In sorting out that problem, American and factor that political datum into our cal- oil companies were given a substantial share culations, recognizing that no matter how in Iranian production. We greatly increased wisely or generously we may behave accord- our involvement with the Shah after 1968, ing to our own lights, we cannot please all peo- when Britain began to withdraw from east of ples everywhere and we should never try. Once Suez. As a result, the British have tended to we- have enlisted the help and counsel of think of Iran as within an American sphere friendly powers, we must at the end make our of interest, and, indeed, our identification own decisions. with that country has been extraordinarily Only we Americans can take the final re- close. France, Italy and Germany have had lit- sponsibility for our future, and we are now suf- tle financial participation In Iranian oil pro- ficiently grown-up to recognize that that future duction, even though they have depended on I will never be free of dangers and disasters. The Iranian output for a significant part of their ! world's dark woods are filled not merely with consumption needs. Such an imbalance was elves and fairies but also with wolves and drag- bound to produce quiet resentments, and ons and fanatical ayatullahs. 4 Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/06/23: CIA-RDP90-00552R000100330005-1