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James M. Fenwick

Books in Review

Peace Prescription

(April 1948)

From The New International, Vol. XIV No. 4, April 1948, p. 127.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the ETOL.

How to Stop the Russians Without War
by Fritz Sternberg
John Day, New York 1948, 146 pp.

Sternberg’s thesis is that Russian expansion can be stopped short of war. He emphasizes that such a war, while it would be won by the United States, would result in terrible destruction on both sides, and leave this country – her progressive and democratic institutions destroyed – surrounded by a world of barbarism.

There must, says Sternberg, be a basic change in U.S. foreign policy. In China, threatened by Russia, mass support for the Kuomintang government can be gained only through instituting agrarian reforms. Such a change in policy can be effected only by strengthening the “liberal” wing of the urban bourgeoisie. This must be done by reconstruction and industrialization financed by the United States. In Europe the first step toward the containment of Russia is a “united Europe of the sixteen nations plus Western Germany,” organized on a basis of “planned socialism and democratic development.” The “democratic socialism” here envisioned is that of the British Labor Party. Sternberg’s program is to be implemented by U.S. imperialism.

It will suffice to point out that the historic function of U.S. capital is not to usher in socialism. Rather than fool with social forces which might get out of hand, the United States is banking primarily on military methods. It does so cognizant of the dangers which Sternberg indicates are thereby involved. But it can do nothing else; that is one of its inescapable contradictions. The reconstruction of Europe on democratic lines and the defeat of Stalinism remain the tasks of the working class.

As in Sternberg’s The Coming Crisis (a work far superior to the one under review) the descriptive analysis of the present situation has value, while the program of action remains an appeal to the throne-like all such appeals a little stupid, a little pathetic.

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