Gregg gives political forecasts about the Cold War.
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1950-09-09 (September 9, 1950)
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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Postwar Work and Retirement, 1945-1956
Box Number: 1
Folder Number: 4
Sept 9 1950
Discussion Politics in next 5-10 years
Here in Geneva where I've looked at the Palais des Nations from a neat little pleasure boat this morning and refreshed
my memories of the Europe of 1911 and enjoyed a cloudless September sky I turned to read the Alsop brothers article in the
Sat Evening Post of Sept 2 1950. And so to forecasting: and comment:
An all out war with Russia on one side and the U.S. and Western Europe will not come in the next ten years. I think Russia
has not the strength. Stalin will probably die before 1955 and his death will weaken the Politburo and the Soviet Military
Machine when the reallocation of power is taking place. War that called for Russian concentration at any point would invite
counter revolution everywhere else, and I cannot believe Russian state power is on a state basis.
Korea will resemble the Boer war in the way that it impresses the Americans for it will be a sorry showing and its major aspects
will be nationalistic pride and in protest an intense resistance if a draft or two puts no end to the casualty lists. The
Korean campaign will drag through the winter unless the Russians make a feint in Germany on the Balkans and then the U.S.
government will have less difficulty in putting through rearmament and conscription. Rearmament and conscription in the US
will stop Russian aggression but with increased taxation it will raise political tensions and class feeling in the U.S. to
a degree quite acceptable to the Communists. Probably by May 1951 the Korean campaign will be over, with the Communists withdrawing
to the 38th parallel and the power of the American Navy, Air Force and Army ready to "protect" the Near East and perhaps
explaining the possibilities of restricting Germany with the aid of numerous Germans who know nothing but making war anyhow.
The U.S. does not realize that beating the Soviets will not convince them they were wrong: some sort of occupation and control
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will be indicated. In every way we are indisposed and incapable of policing Russia: we could scarcely try without the collaboration
of the Western European countries and that would lead to quarreling among the UN countries and solidifying the Slavic resistance.
I believe that an immense development of our air power, of our stock pile reserves and the reduction of our national debt
are the essentials. But still more important are the administration of justice and those measures of direct public benefit
as will compete with the promises of communism. Education and health and the decentralization of government must take the
place of luxury and reckless waste if we are to make America capable of withstanding the plausible affairs of Communism.
The most important and the most elusive--factor in the whole picture is this: what is the number of capable honest educated
leaders in each country--the absolute number and the proportion of such men to the rest of the population. In Russia this
proportion has increased as education has uncovered hidden talent but the last war must have removed an equally large number.
In Germany France and England those born between 1900 and 1914 are now 36-50 years old. Only this group [. . .] the decimation
of the first world war and during the next ten years it will grow in social influence. For about ten years there will be
improvement but there the ultimate strength of these countries will stand still or slope slightly downward. I see no similar
shadow for the U.S. except the infertility of our university graduates. But what I am sure of is that for a stable and productive
society the frequency with which babies of good stock are born in proportion to babies with indifferent heredity--this proportion
is the most important guarantee of the future. War reduces it, as well as reducing the chances of fine stock showing its
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It is beginning to be clear to me that Wade Oliver who was 60 the 30th of this August will not last the next 5 years. His
physical health is not good enough to justify the assumption that he won't be an invalid before then. So, instead of
taking on a successor for him in say 1953, I ought to get someone in training for RRS job in Europe and plan to bring RRS
back when WO cracks. This should be one of the tasks for this coming winter. Such a new man should have a full year in New
York followed by an assignment to Paris for an indefinite period.
Will Barnard's reaction to the war fever increase or diminish the present proportion of funds spent outside the U.S.?
I do not know. Without some emphasis upon outside spending the proportion would presumably go down. But the case for strengthening
our ties with Europe might move in just the direction of increasing expenditures in Europe.