Past Speakers of the: LANDON LECTURES

Landon Lecture by Senator Barry Goldwater,

Feb. 25, 1980

The World Today
by Barry Goldwater

It would be impossible for me to express the honor that I feel on having been invited to deliver a Landon Lecture. I've held Alf Landon in the highest respect for more years than I care to remember. In fact, he was the second presidential candidate that I ever voted for. One of the things that I've always admired about him that isn't found too often in men in public life—he stays hitched. He hasn't changed his beliefs enough to count and when he has changed them, he changed them for the good. He is not a man who is afraid to say he was wrong. And consequently make a correction in how he feels. I wish he were here today, but we write each other quite often. He gives me a little hell once in a while, and I question him. Between the two of us we've stayed together. And, of course, it is a great honor of mine to serve with his daughter, Nancy. And I don't say this because she happens to be a member of my party or because she happens to be a lady, but because she's turning into one of the finest Senators that we have in that body and I think you people in Kansas should feel very proud and happy that she's down there representing you.

Before I start, I think we all feel so elated over the results yesterday in the hockey match that we could almost call everything off and go out and have a big celebration.

Now the background of what I would like to visit with you about this morning developed before most of you students were even born. Now that is something we older people keep forgetting. I thought about it yesterday flying out here and wondered about the subject, because to understand any subject today that relates to the world, you have to have more than just a cursory knowledge of what happened yesterday. History tells us what happened and also will tell us what is going to happen. I'm a great believer in history and I'm a great believer in the study of history. As I say, we older people forget that some of the younger people have not lived through the things we've lived through and experienced the things we take for granted. So if you don't mind, this morning I would like to go back and briefly review the situation this country found itself in following World War II.

Now we went into World War II, as we did World War I, with the feeling that we had to protect our freedom. And let me remind you that is the number one business of your government and mine. It is to protect the freedoms that were given to us by God, recognized in the Declaration of Independence, and protected in the Constitution when that was written. But we came out of World War II without really realizing it as the leader of the world. When World War II started Great Britain was the dominant country because of one thing, her mastery of the seas. You'll find as you study the course of history that the country that has dominated the popular mode of transportation at that particular time has been the country that has dominated the world, starting way back with the canoes on the rivers of Asia and coming down to Britain's great fleets. But when World War II ended, and I don't say this merely because I was there, of course and because my heart's still in a blue uniform sort of, I say it because it is the truth. We came out of World War II leading the world because of our dominance in aviation. Not just military aviation, but commercial aviation, private aviation and the whole ball of wax, we were it.

Following World War II and the realization by a few of our leaders that we were in that position, we found Harry Truman beginning to rebuild Europe with the Truman Doctrine, which has done such a lot of good for Europe and for the world. And then we found Dwight Eisenhower becoming our president and John Foster Dulles, his secretary of state.

Now I mention those two men because I don't really believe that we have had a foreign policy in this country worthy of the name since the passing of Ike Eisenhower from the presidency and the consequent passing of John Foster Dulles. Their foreign policy was built on the idea that we had strength. We were superior in the air, we had developed the atom bomb, although that was not figured in to be used, but we had developed it and we had it. And we were the world's dominant economic power. We had everything going for us, so Dulles and Eisenhower formed a foreign policy based on strength.

Now whether you like it or not, when we've had periods of peace in this world it's because strength has been properly used. Great Britain, for nearly 200 years, was able, with her command of the ocean, to avoid most world struggles. We had them but we didn't have them as often as we would have had not Britain had that fleet. We built our foreign policy on the idea that we had the muscle and we were not afraid to use that muscle if any country or countries stepped out of line to threaten the freedom of our people or the freedom of people that we called allies. And it worked. We went a long time without any problems in the international field. The Soviets recognized our strength and they respected it, and peace endured until we came up with Korea. Now I've never faulted Harry Truman for going into Korea. I think there were some statements made by his secretary of state to the effect that Korea was outside the perimeter of our interest, which caused the Red Chinese and the North Koreans to attack South Korea, and we went in to protect South Korea.

But for the first time in the history of our country, we didn't go in with the determination on the part of Washington to win a war. Now here again history will show that if you go into battle, if you go in to fight, if you don't go in with a will to win, you can't win. Now we get back to that hockey game yesterday. That is a great example of it. Outclassed, out everythinged, but they had the nerve and willingness to fight, and they won.

We struggled through Korea, and believe it or not, we are still trying to settle peace in Korea. Over 25 years after open hostilities ended, we're still negotiating with the North Koreans and the Red Chinese, and we still have 40 thousand troops, some aircraft and equipment stationed in Korea.

Then we went through the very maddening and sad experience of Viet Nam. That started out very innocently as far as we were concerned. Just a moment and I'll try to prove it to you. When the Geneva Conference was held, there was no decision made as to how North Viet Nam and South Viet Nam could at some time in the future come back together. Now Eisenhower told South Viet Nam that we would aid them in any way that he could, short of war, to achieve a reunion with North Viet Nam at some time. That was a perfectly natural thing to expect because they spoke the same language, they were the same people, and should have been the same country.

Well, we came along to a time when a president of this country sent marines to the shores of Viet Nam with the order not to shoot back. And that is when we made our fatal mistake. And I have to stand here and tell you that I can't be upset with any young person who complains about being sent to Viet Nam to go through the damages of a war that they were not allowed to win.

Now that is a little bit of the background that leads up to today. We went through two wars in this country's history that we didn't win which we could have won. Other countries began to look on us at that time of no definite foreign policy as a country that didn't have the courage to follow, and didn't have the leadership to lead. Consequently we began to see regimes like Cuba emerging. We saw the uprising in Central America, which we will have lost in five years. We saw the loss of countries that should be friendly to us because they didn't feel that we would stand up and respect the obligations we had promised as we were starting down the path.

Now during that time, the whole world's economic picture changed. And changed very decidedly. The United States, which absolutely dominated the business section of the world, began to lose. We have lost in automobiles, we've lost in motorcycles, we've lost in electronic goods—you can almost name anything that we formerly made in this country which we dominated that we no longer do. Now I think there are some reasons for that. I think an overly powerful central government with the regulations that are thrust upon every businessman and woman in the country is responsible, in a large measure, for that decline. I think, to some extent, across the board increases demanded and obtained by unions have resulted in inferior attitudes toward quality while other countries have raised their quality standards and are giving us a lot of competition. Now all this time the military power of our government is going down. President after president did not ask for money to provide this country with the kind of hardware that we needed, or to provide our troops with the kind of pay they needed to get them in the first place, and then to hold on to them after we got them.

So today, what we're experiencing in this world is something that no American every thought we would. I think now maybe you understand why I went through this background of how we got where we are today, and why we are watching the things that have gone on. And let's just touch on those that we are up to today.

I'll start over on Red China. We recognize the People's Republic of China and disclaim the recognition of the People of Taiwan much to my displeasure and the disgust of many, many Americans. Maybe time will prove this was a wise decision, particularly as it might relate to what China would do or could do with the Soviets. Because massed on that border between Red China and the Soviet Union are more troops, and more equipment than has ever been massed in one place at one time since World War II. It's a question of how and when the Red Chinese forces get the ability to move, that I think will mark or not mark the beginning of a war at that end of the Soviet border with the countries that lie to the south. Now this becomes increasingly interesting as we go along that border, and I want to go next to Afghanistan.

It's been my pleasure to know Iran probably better than I know any foreign country except Mexico. I had missions up there during World War II and I continued to go up there after World War II to help them build an air force. It was my pleasure to know the Shah before he was the Shah. The last time I saw him was in 1973 when we spent one whole day with the Shah and his chief of staff going over a map. That map was of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and to the west, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. He said to me "The reason I have built up a good, strong military is only to prevent the Russians from coming down through Afghanistan. You people seem to forget that ever since the days of the czars, Russia has wanted to be a world naval power and this she would never be by depending upon the Baltic as her only access to the open sea." He went on to say Russia wanted to get to the Indian Ocean and that is why he laid out the plans of what the Russians would do, how they would go over the roads they had already built, using airports they had already built. He felt the only country that could stop them with power would be Iran and he didn't think the Russians would try it as long as he had that power.

Well, the Shah went and so did his military machine. So the Soviets attempted this and they are now in a position in Afghanistan to go to the Gulf or the Indian Ocean if they want to press it. Why aren't they doing it?

I don't think the Soviets realized the attitude the world would take on this invasion of a smaller country. I don't think they realized the United States would go as far as it's gone to threaten to defend to the Persian Gulf and to exercise a boycott on the Summer Olympics. That alone may cause the Russians to withdraw their troops. I don't know yet, it's a little early.

At the same time the Soviets have been going down the eastern side of Afghanistan, preparatory to going across western Pakistan and its deserts to the Gulf or across the bottom of Iran to the Straits of Hormuz. They have massed some troops on the northern side of the Asian mountains, we think preparatory to trying to come across those very bad mountains. This would be the place, if they attempted it, where the Russians would be making a military mistake. Because crossing those mountains can't be done enmass, it can't be done in convoy; it has to be done on foot and they would have to depend on airlift, which we fortunately have the ability to withstand with our ships of the fleet. I mean aircraft of the fleet, and the aircraft that we would have stationed in Saudi Arabia by the time that might happen. So the picture we see now is one of Russia poised at one end of Iran above the Gulf and poised at the other end above the mountains.

Why is the Indian Ocean so important? I personally think it is the most important strategic point in the whole world. The country that can control the Indian Ocean can control the flow of oil to our allies in the Pacific and to us. And can control the economics across the ocean from a traverse around South Africa, across the Indian Ocean, across the Straits of Malaca which are very narrow, shallow straits, and could easily be blockaded for our purposes.

The United States has only one bastion, Diego Garcia, which is a small gaphole about 2,000 miles from the Persian Gulf owned by the British, but manned by us. We've enlarged it to accommodate the B-52's and large ships of the fleet that will enable us to do away with a 4,000 mile trip from Subic Bay through the Straits to the areas that we call trouble. The President said he will defend the Persian Gulf and his critics have said it can't be done. I think it can be done. I don't think the Russians are going to try it at this particular time.

Now we get to Saudi Arabia. There has been unrest in Saudi, something I never expected to sec. But there has been. It's a question now of what Yemen will do. North Yemen and South Yemen are communist, but the people are not. North Yemen might join with South Yemen, but that would not be overly disastrous to us as long as Yemen remains friendly and we can use the one little airport she has on the. Cirea Island near the mouth near the Strait of Harmuz.

Iran, of course, is a central point of all of this because we get out 5% of our energy from the oil wells of Iran. But we are also embroiled now with this business of hostages and people wonder what are we going to do. I don't know what we can do that the President hasn't done. But there may be some politics creeping into this. I won't make that charge at this time, but there may be. I expect to see the President at dinner tonight, and I might suggest that we give Kohmeni-so many days to let the hostages go or the refinery at Abadam could disappear. Now that won't affect us, but will affect Iran because they use a lot of kerosene, gasoline, diesel oil. All Abadam does is make those petroleum products for the country.

Now that brings us to what you might call a bad hole card for the Soviets—Yugoslavia. What happens if Tito dies, and he's not in good shape. We have always considered that Yugoslavia, if the chips were down, would lean towards us. Would lean towards the west. That's why we continued to give her surplus aircraft equipment, surplus weapons and so forth even though we were wrongly criticized for doing it by our own citizens. But if it becomes a point, when Tito passes away, that the man who replaces him is not satisfactory to the Soviets, they have to make a judgment. Do the Russians use military force to change that government in Yugoslavia to their liking, and if they do, do they realize the tremendous exposure they will then be under all the way from Red China on the east, to Yugoslavia and Iran. And, of course, the country of Turkey sitting there with its 27 divisions in NATO—a strong country, if we will just get off our rear ends and help her.

So the situation in the Middle East, and that's the entire Middle East, is not stable. It's not good, but if I were you young people, I wouldn't get overly excited about it right now. We have heard from the President that he wants registration, but he has not said why he wants it. To draft he doesn't have to have a law. He has the power to call a draft anytime he wants. But unless you have a big pool over here to dip into, a draft means nothing, and that is what we believe registration would be for. But there is not any great sentiment for it in Congress now. Although I have to tell you that our armed forces are not as strong as they should be, manpower or womanpower wise— not that I'm advocating registering women or drafting them or not. But we need bodies if we're going to call a draft, and that's why registration would come. But there have been no bills introduced into Congress, and we have none before the armed services committee so we're just sitting and waiting just as you are. Particularly you young people.

Now what do we do about all of this? I think we have to develop an understandable foreign policy once again. It can't be built upon the kind of strength we used to have but it can be built on the kind of strength we can achieve, not in a short time but within the span of 10 years by the expenditure of more money. Now we don't like that, but it's a fact of life we have to have strong military to survive in this world. Not necessarily to use the military, but to have it there as a threat to anybody who might want to take it onto themselves to question us, to challenge us, or to threaten the freedoms and the rights of our people.

We started that way with this year's budget. It's a budget close to 7% above last year's in real terms, that's probably about 4.5% just to take care of inflation. The rest would be in new money. What do we do with it?

The big expenditures for the next few years will be in ships for the Navy. This will affect the purchase of aircraft but we're not too concerned about that. We have fine aircraft in production and the production can be stepped up at anytime we care to. It means the purchase of a new main battle tank and the purchase of new field weapons for the Army. But I leave this with you that we cannot become any weaker because we won't be able to offset the challenges that are made to this country by other countries in this world. These other countries will become more and more bothersome unless we lose that part of the world. We still have fighting going on in Southeast Asia. And we have to watch that with care, but at this particular time there is nothing to get excited about. Now I don't know what else I can tell you about what I see as comprising the world today. We do have time, so if any of you have questions on any subjects, I will be happy to give them a try.

The transcription of this Landon Lecture was accomplished through the cooperation of the Kansas State University Libraries and the Office of Mediated Education.

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