We and the allies must agree on a balanced policy both to contain Soviet power and to reduce confrontation, fully consistent with Western interests. Yet instead of such a policy, there is today a great divide between the United States and most of its European allies on the best way to manage relations with the Soviet Union.
This is admittedly a difficult task. But recently, the air has been poisoned with charges of neutralism and pacifism on the one hand, and of Cold War-ism on the other. The U.S. secretary of state was recently met by thousands of protesters in West Berlin. More than 250,000 people gathered in Bonn to oppose U.S. strategic policies. And some people in Europe are even muttering that the United States, and not the Soviet Union, is the greater threat.
All of us reject the attitudes that underlie these developments. But the best way to counter European unease is to return to the bipartisan U.S. policy of seeking alternatives to confrontation with the Soviet Union, as a companion to needed defense increases.
Recently this administration put us in the astounding position of appearing that it is we, and not the Soviet Union, who are unwilling to talk. Talking does not imply approval or agreement -- and certainly not weakness. But a failure to talk, coupled with strident rhetoric that unsettles people who fear that they will be alone on the battleground of any new conflict, merely confuses our allies, undermines their confidence in American statesmanship and erodes the political basis for needed military effort.