“New Frontiers” and “Leadership” will now replace the golf links and committee rule. Taking, for the while, at face value the claims of the new administration, I wish to present my own bill as a simple voter, who is especially concerned with U.S. foreign policy. I do not speak of any agonizing reappraisal; in many areas it is too late for that. Whatever merit the criticisms of NATO, German rearmament and the common market may have had in the past, these decisions have been made and are irreversible. I shall instead name a few questions which demand immediate answers. I shall not name those which the United States or its President are not free to decide by themselves, but only those on which a decision can be expected from the new President.
The most important decision affecting the stature of the United States in the world is a domestic one. The world expects a “New Frontier” in race relations. The previous administration has advanced equality among the races “with all deliberate speed” (where speed is used not in the sense of speeding-up, but as a neutral term covering the slow end of the speedometer). Its reasoning was dominated by fear: too many Little Rocks may rock the boat; too much noise may create an even more adverse impression abroad. If there was any merit in this consideration, it no longer applies. The provocation which moves the White Citizens’ Councils to violence no longer is the work of the Supreme Court alone; the Negro population no longer suffers silently. There will be strife, provocation, even riots. The question no longer is, whether to avoid them, but how to end them quickly. That means to decide on which side the Government will stand. The colored nations will watch with anxiety whether Kennedy gives the promised leadership; he cannot make the White Citizens’ Councils acceptable in the United Nations, but he can restore respect for the U.S.