The debacle at the Summit last month once again illustrates the immediate causes of World War III. These lie in the fearful symmetry of the cold warriors on either side: An actof one aggravates the other, the other reacts, and this in turn aggravates the one. Behind this symmetry, there are intermediate causes: the frigid contest and the lethal establlshments formed by previous policies and lack of policies of either side. the ultimate causes, of course, seem partof the very shaping of world history in the twentieth century.
Each of the embattled camps contains men and forces that are working for peace and also men and forces that mean war. But in the interaction of the two camps there is one terrible difference between the politics of warmakers and the politics of peacemakers: while the gains made by the , warmakers within each bloc tend to accumulate, this is not so much the case with the peacemakers in each bloc. The scheduling of material measures of defense and attack the immediate source of the peril is speeded up and increased in volume by the successes of the war parties and by their interplay; and these measures are often difficult to cancel. The wreckers on either side readily strengthen the wreckers on the other and the fearful dlalectic between the two is heightened. The mutual frighton which this dialectic feeds and which it increases, accumulates more rapidly and with deeper results than does any mutual trust slowly, tortuously, built by the peacemakers. This symmetry in elite action, and the advantages of the warmakers on either side, are readily illustrated by the blowup of the Summit.
When the statesmen came to Paris for their meeting, they did not come alone and they did not enter a vacuum; each brought with him a legacy of policies and each was a focal pointof pressure from within his own nation and his own bloc of states.
In the United States camp the war forces, I think, were generally ascendant during the two-year period preceding the scheduled meeting, The most immediate and obvious token of this fact was the flightof the U-2, which occurred, we must remember, on the eve of the scheduled Paris meeting while negotiations to stop atomic testing were under way, and at a stage in military technology when it is obvious that a mistaken interpretation of any such flight as an attack could cause a genuine counterattack and thus precipitate World War III.
On the basis of any reasonable meaning of the words, the U-2 flights were provocative; they were a clear violation of international law; more than that, they were acts of aggression. We know of course that "sovereignty" and "aggression" are words subject to endless legalistic definition, and that each side is often, if not continually, "committing acts of aggression" against the other. But we haver merely to ask ourselves what the Americans would do were a Soviet jet shot down 1,200 miles inside "the sovereign territory of the United States." True, satellites launched by Russians and Americans are flying around the globe over all nations, but so far we have not been informed that these are capable of delivering an atomic attack: jet planes are capable of doing just that. the possibility of "accidental" misinterpretation of their intent, if nothing else, places planes and satellites in different categories, at least for the time being. It is also true that all states of world significance employ espionage, but a jet espionage plane, flying over another country’s territory, is surely a different matter than a man in a cloak or attached to an embassy with a box full of microphones.