One Bite At A Time
Publication:
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 5 Feb 1953, p. 187-202


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One Bite At A Time


A joint meeting with The American Men's Club of Toronto. The special relationship between Canada and the United States, ever since the Rush-Bagot agreement of 1817. The two countries lying within a single defensive perimeter. Maintaining harmony in intimate associations. The need that there be harmony in the mode and manner of approach to the great questions of our time; for a common strategy of peace if efforts to forestall war are to be successful. The speaker's thesis that, "having failed to arrive at global solutions for the major problems following the war, we should establish as many limited objectives as possible and consert our diplomacy to the achievement of those useful ends, however undramatic they may appear." Appealing to history for justification of a suggestion so out of keeping with the great pronouncements of our times. An examination of this issue with detailed discussion of wars past and wars possible. Ideals as expressed through the League of Nations and the United Nations. A new set of terms to fit the new structure of ideas. The phrase "total war," characteristic of the new pattern of speech; "it leaves no room for any different or competing idea." "Unconditional surrender" and "One World" as other absolutes which captured the public mind. Reaction from one extreme; lurching towards another. Biaxiality. The habit of thinking in political absolutes culminating in the incapacity to make wise political decisions. The absurdity of the proposition "because we cannot do everything, we can do nothing." The sound immediate program to substitute specific efforts to achieve limited goals for the ideal of global settlement. Anthony Eden's acceptance of the theory that limited objectives are valid. Actions of two sorts to be taken: negotiation and strengthening the free world in order to extend the area of negotiation. Normal tension between the military and the political branches of government. Indications that a position of strength has not yet been attained. Russian use of the veto and other actions which have led to the Korean imbroglio. Indications of the competition of the opposing concepts. Evidences of a dawning realization that many of the world's problems are like food: they cannot be taken all at once or in too large amounts. Taking one bite at a time. Every peace a negotiated peace in the long run. The reversal of alliances. A response to the question "Is peaceful coexistence beyond the range of possibility?" with regard to the cold war. The impermanence of the present condition of Russian policy. Easing tensions with a policy of limited objectives. The argument that some of the lesser powers need to be heard. Three things we must do to avert a third world war in a single generation: keep our friendship in a constant repair; postpone global dreams; be patient with the burdens imposed by essential rearmament until the attainment of situations of strength makes our enemy see the wisdom of negotiation upon a broader base than is now possible.