In his article “Peace: an idea whose time has come” Dr Anatol Rapoport made an extremely important point which Was only briefly alluded to in our summary of the article in the previous issue of this Bulletin. Be quoted from a memorandum by George Kennan written in 1948 but only made public much later. Mr Kennan quoted as having said: “…we have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but Only 6.3% of its population. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which permit us to maintain this Position of disparity without detriment to out national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming, and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive Ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction. We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The, day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans the better.” (Kennan, George F., Report by the Policy. Planning Staff, Policy Planning Study Number 23, February 24, 1948, in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1948, Vol. 1, part 2, Washington, United. States Government Printing Office; 1976, pp. 524-25).
This is of particular relevance, in light of the recent decision of CIDA to cut back on aid to African countries. It appears that some of the aid money will be redirected to countries of Eastern Europe, partly at least because this is seen as benefitting Canadian business. It appears that altruism is not very highly regarded by the Canadian government either.