The end result of Henry Pachter’s contribution to DISSENT’S discussion of contemporary foreign policy [Spring, 1958] is to compound the confusion of an already chaotic situation. George Orwell once observed that the English language “becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.” At first glance, Pachter’s thoughts are not altogether foolish. His analysis of contemporary diplomacy puts both Khrushchev and Dulles in their proper places and reveals Kennan as the brazen grand-stander he is. For all this, DISSENT’S readers are grateful and we feel that Mr. Pachter has done us some service. Unfortunately, however, Pachter could not bring himself to leave the game while he was ahead and the final paragraphs of his essay find him hopelessly lost in a semantic maze of his own creation.
Pachter’s use of the English language becomes particularly slovenly when he amuses himself in the popular pastime of attaching labels to political groups. It is not wholly clear to this reader whether his criticism of the fectly clear that he has very little sympathy for the idealistic notions of those who advocate building peace upon non-violent principles of action. The Left, he tells us, has clearly seen through the sham of power politics disguised as diplomacy but has been unable to offer any alternative of its “Left” is meant to be positive or negative. However this may be, it is perown to the “balance of terror” as it is now maintained. At this point the reader feels compelled to raise the protest that this statement overlooks the fact that pacifists have long been shouting themselves hoarse that the world must come to its senses and end the power struggle by outlawing war. But Pachter quickly dispatches this objection to the ignominious fate he feels it deserves. The “ancient concept of outlawry,” he observes, would not establish peace but would merely make legitimate the balance of power which Dulles and Khrushchev have established and hope to continue. Here the reader is likely to object, especially if he is a pacifist, that peace can never be established until man’s attitude toward war has been changed, and that the outlawing of war would be a first, but important, step in this direction. But Mr. Pachter will have none of this maudlin sentimentality. The only groups he knows of on the Left which might be called radical, he says, are the unconditional pacifists, the unilateralists, and the defeatists. But, he continues, “they deny collective security and are interested in their own salvation rather than in the survival of mankind.” The preservation of peace, according to him, is a “practical question” which has nothing to do with the peace of mind of the so-called pacifists. Pachter, it is clear, is one of those who feel that peace cannot be maint...
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