All Commentary
Friday, April 1, 1994

A Reviewer’s Notebook: Two World Views

What Will Be the Fallout from Marxism?

As Eugene Rostow, former dean of the Yale Law School, shows in his book, Toward Managed Peace (Yale University Press, New Haven and London, $35.00), we have definitely had a foreign policy: It was to fight the Cold War. Stalin, like the Romanov Czars, continued the immemorial policy of trying to bite off more territory. His prey was anything he could pick up, but at Yalta he showed his preference for land that was contiguous to Mother Russia.

With the perspective of a world historian, Rostow reminds us of the origins of current events: The Cold War came to an end with the collapse of Marxism in Russia. Instead of one huge Russia we had ten or twelve smaller Russias from the Ukraine on down. The Contras controlled much of Central America and reached into South America. Chile became a benevolent dictator story. Castro was another such story though not quite so benevolent.

There isn’t much point in writing a simplified review of the Rostow book, as long as another book, Final Warning (Warner Books, New York, N.Y., $18.95), subtitled “The Legacy of Chernobyl” by Dr. Robert Peter Gale and Thomas Hauser demands attention. Gale was the doctor summoned by Armand Hammer to supervise bone marrow extraction and deposits in victims of the Chernobyl disaster. Chernobyl could have been much worse. It was pure luck that blew the wind around. The Ukraine city of Kiev might have been ruined. Odessa, on the Black Sea, might have been stricken. But Chernobyl operates still. With the prevailing world winds going from west to east, all of the new Russias (the Ukraine, etc.) are in perpetual menace. There must be no more accidents. But there have also been accidents in the Urals, as Gorbachev has intimated.

Together, Toward a Managed Peace and Final Warning enable the reader to visualize two opposing worlds: a hopeful harmony, which I can’t picture at this moment in history, and a possibly disastrous conclusion to everything alive.

  • John Chamberlain (1903-1995) was an American journalist, business and economic historian, and author of number of works including The Roots of Capitalism (1959). Chamberlain also served as a founding editor of The Freeman magazine.