Nuclear Missiles and the Hearts and Minds of Europe
New York - On December 14, 1983 the INS sponsored an "impact meeting" in New York City entitled "Nuclear Missiles and the Hearts and Minds of Europe." In cooperation with the Ebert Foundation, the INS brought the spokesman for international security issues of the German Social Democratic Party, Karsten Voigt, to the U.S. to discuss the consequences of Pershing II and cruise missile deployment in Europe.
In the afternoon, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and Karsten Voigt joined a roundtable discussion at the Lehrman Institute on the future of NATO. Other participants included General Andrew Goodpaster, formerly the Supreme Commander of NATO; Irving Kristol, the neo-conservative intellectual; Colonel Harry Summers of the Army War College; Robert Bartley, editor of the Wall Street Journal; and Henry Breck, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Lehman Management Company.
Selected excerpts from that discussion appear below. The full text was printed in the April, 1984 issue of Harper's, from which these excerpts are taken:
Karsten Voigt: NATO's strategy must increasingly become independent of any threat of first use of nuclear weapons. in a nuclear age, the winner is also the loser. You can never solve the problem. You can only minimize it by shifting from nuclear to conventional arms, or by shifting from nuclear to conventional strategy, or, most importantly, by dealing with the potential military opponent, the Soviet Union, in a different way, combining sufficient defense capability with detente.
People in the US government have told me that the only way you can get increases in defense spending is to sell the notion of a growing political and military threat. In Germany, we had higher defense spending, in relative terms, during the period of detente. It seems to me that the underlying problem of our discussion is not only a difference of interest, but also a difference of political culture in terms of how we deal with the problem of East-West conflict and cooperation.
General Andrew Goodpaster: Is there anything west of the Iron Curtain for which they (the Soviets) wish to risk the destruction of the motherland? I think the answer to that question is likely to be no, in spite of the doubts that exist on our side.
Colonel Harry Summers: We may be arguing the wrong point if we discuss everything in terms of war-fighting in Europe. I think the real issue is alliance politics. We have only begun to recognize, since Vietnam, how the US can aid an ally without undercutting the independence and self-reliance that it seeks to build.
Irving Kristol: If we continue to have an alliance with NATO, there will have to be a limit, and the limit will be that we are not going to have a nuclear conflict to defend Europe.
Henry Breck: Europe does not matter that much to us economically. It is the Eastern or "Pacific Rim" countries that will be increasingly important to us technologically, and economically. China, with a billion people, is much more important than Europe. The case isn't compelling that we have to defend Europe at the risk of our own population.
Edmund G. Brown Jr.: I think that we should recognize
that Europe and America are linked. We have common values, and we have
to figure out how to defend them; at the same time, we must find a way
to have a stable relationship with the Soviet Union - on the assumption
that it is not an evil empire. There must be a way we can share the planet.
If we can't find it, then I think we are risking the end of history as
we know it.