From The '60s to The 70s: Dissent and Discovery

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"Western man has not lived with his natural environment. He has merely conquered it." Others suggest that the struggle will be won once the public realizes the danger inherent in man's Faustian lust to overwhelm and use the world.

The World Arena

In addition to the changes in lifestyles and domestic politics, the '70s will see dramatically different patterns governing international affairs. Since World War II, the great questions of world politics have depended largely on solutions proposed in Washington or Moscow. This polarization of power is coming to an end. In 1979, the U.S. and the Soviet Union will still be the most important nations in the world. But they will no longer remain, as they have for most of the postwar era, virtually alone on the pinnacle of power. The possibility of war between America and the Soviet Union obviously will persist, but armed conflict is a very distant possibility in the '70s. Since the Cuban missile crisis, both nations have slowly arrived at the tacit but wary understanding that dropping the bomb would mean global disaster, and the balance of nuclear terror has proved to be exactly that—a durable and war-deterring balance. A reactionary, repressive Government in the U.S., with a rigidly anti-Communist foreign policy, could upset the scales; so could the rise to power in Moscow of an adventurous, Stalin-like dictator. Total disarmament is and will remain an illusion, but some kind of bilateral agreement to limit arms expenditures is highly probable. Though many nations even now have the capacity to produce atomic weapons, it is probable that few, if any, will find the effort worthwhile. As the French and the British have discovered, possession of the bomb does not automatically bring power.

Japan will dominate Asia, and the U.S. and China may become friends

One arena where the U.S. and Russia will have less influence is Asia. Thanks to a phenomenal growth rate, Japan has already become the world's third-ranking economic power; by 1980, its gross national product will have exceeded that of all the other nations in Asia combined. Japan will certainly continue to resist the impulse to become a military power once again. But its industrial and economic strength will give Japan growing influence over its Asian neighbors, and economic aid plus a regional military role will probably become inevitable toward the end of the decade.

Unless all actuarial laws are repealed by the Cultural Revolution, China's Mao Tse-tung, who is now 75, will most likely die within the decade and be replaced, probably by a committee of leaders. Barring large-scale anarchy—a not impossible prospect—China will be ruled by a less ideological and more bureaucratic generation of Communist bosses. Economic necessity, if nothing else, should make China's foreign policy more flexible, and the U.S., with its former ties of friendship to that country, may come to see China as a useful counter against the Russians. The result might well be an exchange of ambassadors between Washington and Peking before 1980.

War between Russia and China cannot be ruled out, and a pre-emptive Soviet air strike against the Chinese is and will remain a possibility. Fantastic though it may be, some observers predict the breakup of the Soviet Union as a result of a Russo-Chinese war (see THE WORLD). In attempting to maintain

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