THE ATOM: The Road Beyond Elugelab

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The Political Level. There is a vast agenda of political objectives, ranging from the defeat of the Communist parties in Western Europe to lowering the fever of the Israel-Arab hatred. What these objectives add up to is a strengthening of the health and unity of the free world. They are made more, not less, urgent by the existence of the H-bomb. The basic reasoning that relates the political agenda to the H-bomb runs: the greater the free world's weakness or division, the greater the danger of Red aggression; the greater the temptation to aggression, the more the danger of war—and therefore of atomic war—grows.

The Economic Level. In most of Europe, nearly all of Asia and in other areas, the political strength of the non-Communist world is sapped by economic conditions basically unacceptable to the people. It is not a simple question of poverty—almost all peoples are less poor than they have ever been in history.

Economic problems have taken an urgent and dangerous form in the presence of the possibility—evidenced by the U.S. itself—of enormous progress toward prosperity. Frustrated, this new hope becomes bitterness, political instability, even Communism. The U.S., whose example helped create the ferment, needs to go much further than it has gone in channeling economic discontent into practical programs for a rapidly rising productivity in the free world. The H-bomb solves nothing in this area, but progress in the economic field may help solve the problem raised by the H-bomb.

A Higher Challenge. What the H-bomb does is to restate age-old questions in new and much more urgent terms. Long ago, man got the news that something would surely kill him; that this was likely to be the evil in himself or another man; that law restraining evil was his hope and his duty; that sound politics and practical economics are the means to law, order and freedom; that the most desperate circumstances can call forth the noblest response. The road beyond Elugelab leads to a higher level of danger, of challenge, of opportunity.

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