IT is becoming daily clearer that a new pattern of international relations is shaping itself, and it is not a very reassuring one.
In any other period of history either a major war would by now have broken out or the policy of the rival power blocs would be being determined by their readiness to accept the arbitrament of war as the only solution to an intolerable tension.
Today the fear of war is such that its avoidance must be the first priority of all the great powers. This situation, curiously enough, plays more decisively into the hands of the Communists than would have been the case in the past, for the Communists start off with a tradition and a policy of subversive aggression which the non-Communist powers reject.
The American fiasco in Cuba was due to fear of going too far, whereas the Communists, having got away with the rape of Hungary, take subversion in Laos as normal policy. They seem to know just how far they can go at any moment and then prepare for the next step when the time is ripe.
BUT this situation is not wholly due to Communist ruthlessness; it is also due to the clarity and attraction of Communist ideology. They preach a message which is clear and simple, however wrong and in the long run disastrous to mankind.
It is the counter message of freedom and social justice from
Europe, America and the Commonwealth which is missing. It is high time the free world got together and agreed on a common policy of radical social reform within free institutions. Having agreed it, the carrying through of this common policy at home and the preaching of it to the uncommitted nations, together with the practical and financial help needed to make it a reality, must become the first priority.
All this should have been done long ago. It is already desperately late.
WHY has it not been done? We know the obvious reasons: national jealousies and prides; unwillingness to make social and financial sacrifices; lack of any spiritual and moral Co n victions.
In the long run, it is the lack of such convictions which explain the desperate weakness of the free .world in its struggle with Communism.
But one thing is clear unless the free world has the intelligence, courage and sense to unite in a higli idealism. based on the spiritual ideals of man, and to make the social reforms that are looked for by millions in the world today, the battle with Communism will be lost.
In the past, the final arbitrament was military; today it is a war of ideals; and false ideals, if sufficiently strongly believed in and sufficiently ruthlessly promoted, will, in the short run at least, defeat true ideals held by those who blow neither cold nor hot.