Five days ago President Carter announced a doctrine -- a doctrine that would define the area of the Persian Gulf as an American vital interest and that could commit the American people to military intervention in defense of this area.
The question that requires careful consideration is what does this Carter doctrine mean for the world -- and for or own country.
Many Americans feel that once the president of the United States has made an assessment and set a course, the rest of us should stand silent in the ranks even if we have a different view of the national interest. That is not the lesson of our liberty -- or the heritage of our history.
Forty years ago, when the Nazis swept across the Low Countries and France, a far more urgent threat to our security, there was no suspension of the public debate -- or the presidential campaign. If we could discuss foreign policy frankly when Hitler's panzers were poised at the English Channel, surely we can discuss foreign policy when the Soviet Union has crossed the border of Afghanistan.
If the Vietnam war taught us anything, it is precisely that when we do not debate our foreign policy, we may drift into deeper trouble. If a president's policy is right, debate will strengthen the national consensus. If it is wrong, debate may save the country from catastrophe.
So I make no apology for raising questions about the Carter doctrine. The exercise of dissent is the essence of democracy. Whether we are critizens or candidates, we have not only the right but the obligation to deal with issues that may shape -- or shatter -- our future.
All of us condemn the brutal Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. This wanton act of agression has aroused the conscience of America -- and of all the world. It must be met with an appropriate response by the United States and all our allies.
But is this really the gravest threat to peace since World War II? Is it a graver threat than the Berlin blockade, the Korean war, the Soviet march into Hungary and Czechoslavakia, the Berlin Wall, the Cuban missile crisis, or Vietnam? Exaggeration and hyperbole are the enemies of sensible foreign policy.
In fact, the Russians have dominated Afghanistan not for four weeks, but for 22 months. Years ago, Afghanistan passed under Soviet influence. It passed behind the Iron Curtain, not in 1980, but in 1978, with hardly a word of regret from the Carter administration. When two Marxist regimes in Kabul failed to put down Afghan resistance, the Russians decided to install a third regime and to put down the insurgency themselves. Afghanistan, as they saw it, was slipping away.
President Carter confessed that he was "surprised" by their action. For many months, the administration had ignored the warning signals. The American ambassador to Afghanistan was killed in Kabul last February while Soviet military adviser looked on. We were aware well in advance that the Russians were massing their forces. But the administration said virtually nothing until after the invasion, when they drew a line in the dust that was already rising from the tread of Soviet tanks.
Afghanistan is 7,000 miles away. Only 90 miles from our shores Moscow had already seen a Carter line that did not hold. Last fall, the president said Soviet combat troops in Cuba were unacceptable. But soon he changed his mind. He charged up the hill -- then charged back down.
Theodore Roosevelt once warned: "Don't bluster, don't flourish your revolver, and never draw unless you intend to shoot."
The false draw in Cuba may have invited the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
This is a real crisis. But it is also part of the recurrent condition that has periodically disturbed the peace for a third of a century. It must be countered. But it must not become so consuming that we lose sight of more vital interests. For example, this nation has an important stake in the independence of Yugoslavia. If President Tito were to die while we were preocupied in the Persian Gulf, the Soviets could be tempted to launch an attack in Yugoslavia -- a country that President Carter, as a candidate, declared he would not defend. A Measured Response
A measured response to the potential threat in that Persian Gulf must reflect certain principles that will prove less hazardous and more effective than a unilaterial and unlimited American commitment.
First, this is not just our problem. It is a greater problem for nations that have a greater dependence on Middle East oil. We must seek their views and act in concert. We cannot impose policies on NATO and Japan; but together, we can set a common policy. This is even truer of the Islamic states, the countries that could be most menaced by Soviets adventurism. It is impractical to rely on a doctrine that requieres us to stand astride the Persian Gulf solely on our own.
Second, we must not discount condemnation of Soviet aggression by the international community. This is important, but not because the Russians are moved by world opinion. They are not. It is important because the Soviet Union now finds itself estranged from the Third World -- a result that will gravely handicap the Russians in lands they have previously regarded as their private hunting ground. This reaction runs deep in the Moslem world, where Arab nationalism and Moslem religious feeling can become a powerful force against Soviet ambition. m
Third, American naval and air forces should be strengthened in the area. We must recognize, however, that such forces alone cannot secure control of a great land mass. But an enlarged presence, including carefully selected military facilities, could have a deterrent effect on the calculations of the Kremlin. And with our allies, we should increase military aid to nations that may have to face the Soviet threat.
Fourth the greater threat to these nations is often internal decay and subversion, not external aggression. Military aid is not enough. We must also provide economic assistance and political support. Nations in the area must be strengthened against subversion from the PLO [palestine Liberation Organization] and other Soviet surrogates. And we must help Pakistan help the million refugees who are pouring across the border from Afghanistan.
Fifth, mutual assistance must be mutual. In return for strentghening their defense, the oil-producing states should assure a more certain oil supply at reasonable prices. We should negotiate an arrangement that enhances both their national security and the energy security of NATO Japan and the Third World.
Sixth, we must not overreact to the present crisis in ways that undermine the security of Israel. That democracy is our most stable and dependable ally in the Middle East. We must not barter the freedom and future of Israel for a barrel of oil -- or in a foolish effort to align the Moslem world with us, whatever the cost. Indeed, Egypt and Israel together already consitute a bulwark against Soviet expansion -- and the cornerstone of the wider alliance we must seek.
Even as we take these steps, even as we express our abhorrence of the aggression in Afghanistan, let us not forclose every opening to the Soviet Union. This is not the first abuse of Soviet power, nor will it be the last. And it must not become the end of the world. Ten months after the Cuban missiles crisis -- a far greater threat to American security than Afghanistan -- the United States Senate ratified the nuclear test ban treaty by an overwhelming vote. The task of statesmanship is to convince the Russians that there is reason for fear, but also reason for hope, in their relations with the United States.
America should be not only a powerful military force, but a continuing force for arms control. We should not hesitate to stand for human rights, including the most basic of all human rights -- the right to survive and to live in peace, free from the fear of nuclear war.
Nor does a regional crisis justify a reflex decision to spend many billions more on defense systems that have no relevance, Afghanistan highlights the necessity for improving our conventional forces and increasing our military readiness, but it is hardly an excuse for haste on nuclear weapons like the MX missile. Needless weapons drain the resources to pay for needed ones.
Above all else, we must realize that symbols are no substitute for strength. And in the State of the Union message President Carter offered a new symbol. He requested funds for computer runs to register young Americans for the draft. He said this step could "meet future mobilization needs rapidly, if they arise." But draftees, who take six months to train, would be a very slow deployment force. Registration now would save only 13 days in the event of mobilization. If registration and the draft were essential in a real emergency there would be no dissent from me or most Americans. But I oppose registration when it only means reams of computer printouts that would be a paper curtain against Soviet troops. If the president wants a peacetime draft, he should say so. But I oppose the peacetime draft -- and I also oppose the president's plan for registration -- which is the first step in that direction. We should not have taken this step across the threshold of Cold War II. We should not be moving toward the brink of sending another generation of the young to die for failures of the old in foreign policy. A Spirit of Realism
Exaggerated dangers and empty symbols will not resolve a foreign crisis. It is less than a year since the Vienna summit, when President Carter kissed President [leonid] Brehznev on the cheek. We cannot afford a foreign policy based on the pangs of unrequited love.
In the same spirit of realism, we must deal with the crisis in Iran. It is now 86 days since our diplomats and our embassy were seized. We cannot afford a policy that seems headed for a situation of permanent hostages. The time has come to speak the truth again: this is a crisis that never should have happened. In the clearest terms, the administration was warned that the admission of the shah would provoke retaliation in Tehran. President Carter considered those warnings and rejected them in secret. He accepted the dubious medical judgment of one doctor that the shah could be treated only in the United States. Had he made different decisions, the shah would doubtless still be in Mexico, and our diplomats would still be going about their business in Tehran.
The administration continues to call for economic sanctions. I oppose them. They will only propel Iran toward the Soviet orbit. They will do nothing to free the hostages. Eighty-six days is enough.It is time to bring the hostages home. The administration should now support a United Nations commission to investigate Iranian grievances, similalr to earlier commissions on other countries. The commission on Iran should be established immediately, but it should begin its work only when every American hostage has come back safely to our shores. Let no one doubt that America will never yield to blackmail, and that harm to even a single hostage will bring swift retaliation. But let no one doubt that America is ready for a negotiated solution to this impasse.
The 1980 election should not be a plebiscite on Ayatollah [Ruhollah Khomeini] or Afghanistan. The real question is whether America can risk four more years of uncertain policy and certain crisis -- of an administration that tells us to rally around their failures -- of an inconsistent non-policy that may confront us with a stark choice between retreat and war. These issues must be debated in this campaign.
The silence that has descended across foreign policy has also stifled the debate on other essential issues. The political process has been held hostage here at home as surely as our diplomats abroad. Before we permit Brehznev and Khomeini to pick our prosident, we should pause to ask who will pay the price.
The Carter doctrine offers defense contractors a bright future of expansion and profit. But the middle class, the blue-collar workers, minorities, and every victim of discrimination by race or sex or age -- they all face the bleak prospect of higher taxes, higher interest rates and higher inflation. The young will pay a further cost in registering for the draft. And, as the president's budget makes clear, programs of social benefit and justice will once again be postponed. If the priciple of sacrifice is to prevail, let it apply as well to the oil companies and all the other elements of the military-industrial complex.
Last week, we heard a State of the Union message that left behind the problems this president was elected to resolve. The administration, but not the nation, has turned away from those problems and from the people who live with them every day -- people out of work or about to lose their jobs, families who cannot buy a home, parents who cannot send sons and daughters to college, the sick who cannot pay their bills for health, and the ellderly who must now choose between heat in their apartment and food on their tables.
When the unity of our present fear fades, when the crowds stop cheering and the bands stop playing, someone has to speak for all the Americans who were ignored in the State of the Union address.
It is their union too -- and the state of their lives deserve to be addressed.
If my candidacy means anything, it means a commitment to stand and speak for them. So let me tell you what we did not hear from the president last week: Inflation will continue. Unemployment will go up. Energy prices will rise to even higher levels. The cost of home heating oil has soared to 95 cents a gallon; and now we discovered that Exxon has registered the first $4 billion profit in entire history of industrial corporations. Addiction to Foreign Oil
And these domestic concerns are not merely matters of social justice; they are also at the center of our foreign crisis. Iran and Afghanistan demonstrate a fundamental truth of the American condition. We are perilously dependent on OPEC oil.
A house weakened in its foundation cannot stand. Unless we put our energy house in order, our strength and credibility will continue to fall; the world will grow steadily more dangerous for our country and our interests.
The Carter administration has accepted our petroleum paralysis. They talk sacrifices -- but it is an unequal sacrifices founded on unfair prices that bring hardship to our people. The president's decision to decontrol the prices of oil will cost the average family a thousands dollars each year throughout the decade of the 1980s. We all remember the Democratic presidential candidate in 1972, whose campaign was assailed because he proposed assistence of a thousand dollars a year for every person in poverty. How then are we to regard a Democratic president in 1980 who wants to do the opposite, who wants to take a thousand dollars a year from every family and transfer it to the oil conglomerates?
We must cure our addiction to foreign oil.
Not only does the administration claim we face the gravest crisis since World War II, they also claim they are making hard decisions to meet that crisis. Long before Afghanistan they proposed a standby gasoline rationing plan -- and that is all they propose today. The time for a standby plan is over. The time for a stand-up plan is now.
We must adopt a system of gasoline rationing without delay -- not rationing by price, as the administration has decreed, but rationing by supply in a way that demands a fair sacrifice from all Americans.
I am certain that Americans in every city, town, and village of this country are prepared to sacrifice for energy security. President Carter may take us to the edge of war in the Persian Gulf. But he will not ask us to end our dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf. I am sure that every American would prefer to sacrifice a little gasoline rather than shedding American blood to defend OPEC pipelines in the Middle East. Republican Economic
Just as energy insecurity weakens our national security, so inflation weakens our position in the world. Our goods have been priced out of the international marketplace. The value of the dollar has plummeted.
The numbers have nearly lost their capacity to shock. Twelve straight months of inflation over 10 percent. Wild gyration in the price of gold. Interest rates at 15 percent. Unemployment at 6 percent. And now recession is just around the corner.
The fact is, America did not elect Gerald Ford in 1976. But under a Democratic administration, we have had three more years of Republican economics.
As a candidate, President Carter taunted President Ford in 1976 because the misery index -- the sum of the inflation rate and the unemployment rate -- had reached a level of 13 percent. Today that index stands at 19 percent.
These statistics are familiar. But one new fact sums up all the current chaos in our economy. The president who promised a balanced budget as a candidate four years ago now proposes a budget with a deficit of $16 billion for the coming year. If you do a little arithmetic, if you take this new deficit and add it to other Carter deficits of the past three years, you will discover an extraordinary thing -- the total federal deficit during the Carter administration will go down in the economic record book as the largest deficit of any presidential term in the history of America.
During this campaign, I have called for long-term steps to combat the fundamental causes of the inflation -- to foster more competition, more investment and more productivity in our industry, and more emphasis on our foregn trade. They are obvious measures -- measures that must be adopted now if we are to succeed in righting our capsized economy.
Potentially one of the most important short-term weapons against inflation is voluntary restraint. But President Carter has hardly touched that weapon. He waited 21 months to set guidlines on wages and prices. And inflation is actually worse since his guidelines were put in place than it was before. The administration's anti-inflation policy had the same credibility with major corporations that the administration's foreign policy has with the Soviet Union.
The time has come for a frank admission that under this president the voluntary guidelines have run their course and failed.
Inflation is out of control. There is only one recourse: the president should impose an immediate six-month freeze on inflation -- followed by mandatory controls, as long as necessary, across the board -- not only on prices and wages, but also on profits, dividends, interest rates and rent.
The only way to stop inflation is to stop it in its tracks. Only then can we break the psychology of inflation that runs through every aspect of our economy and erodes our power in the world. Candidacy Reaffirmed
Today, I reaffirm my candidacy for the presidency of the United States. I intend to stay the course. I believe we must not permit the dream of social progress to be shattered by those whose promises have failed. We cannot permit the Democratic Party to remain captive to those who have been so confused about its ideals.
I am committed to this campaign because I am committed to those ideals.
I am committed to an America where the many who are handicapped, the minority who are not white and the majority who are women will not suffer from injustice, where the Equal Rights Amendment will be ratified, and where equal pay and opportunity will become a reality rather than a worn and fading hope. I want to be the president who finally achieves full civil rights -- and who passes an economic bill of rights for women.
And I am committed to an America where average-income workers will not pay more taxes then many millionaires, and where a few corporations will not stifle competition in our economy. I want to be the president who at last closes tax loopholes and tames monopoly, so that the free enterprises system will be free in fact.
And I am committed to an America where the state of a person's health will not be determined by the amount of a person's wealth. I want to be the president who brings national health insurance to safeguard every family from the fear of bankruptcy due to illness.
And I am committed to an America where the cities that are the center of our civilization and the farms that are the source of our food will be preserved and strengthened. I want to be the president who halts the loss of rural land to giant conglomerates and who declines to accept urban slums, unequal schools, and an unemployment rate in the inner city that approaches 50 percent.
And I am committed to an America that will safeguard the land and the air for future generations. I want to be the president who stops the seeding of the earth with radioactive wastes from nuclear plants -- and who refuses to rely on nuclear future that may hazard the future itself.
And I am committed to an America that is powerful enough to deter war -- and to do the work of peace. I want to be a president who does not rush to a helter-skelter militarism or a heedless isolationism, who improves our military without giliding our weapons who lifts at least a little the nuclear night that hangs over the world and who makes the world itself a little safer for both diversity and democracy.
And for all these commitments, I have only just begun to fight.
I am convinced that the people are not selfish or hopeless -- and that government is not helpless to serve the public interest. I am convinced that we as a people are ready to sacrifice -- to give something back to our country in return for all it has given to us.
It is easy to preach sacrifice while practicing the politics of symbols. It is easy to bend to the prevailing political breezes. All politicians are tempted to do so this at times.
But as I said a year ago, sometimes a party must sail against the wind. Now is such a time. We cannot wait for a full wind or we will risk losing the voyage that is America. A New England poet once wrote: "Should the storm come, we shall keep the rudder true."
Whatever comes in the voting of this year, or in the voyage of America through all the years ahead, let us resolve to keep the rudder true.