23 NOVEMBER 1962, Page 10

The Russell Doctrine

Of course, it is true that intellectuals are Par" Ocularly likely to avoid political issues or W take a rosy mirage of myth for reality. But I must say that Lord Russell's pronouncement on the Sino-Indian conflict is one of the oddest examples of a pretty bizarre collection of errors and obfuscations. Lord Russell's view of what should occur in this kind of situation is that the victim should accept any offer of a cease-fire that the aggressor cares to make, since a continua' tion of the fighting may lead to nuclear war. NI the present Chinese offer of withdrawal an cease-fire may or may not be sincere, but, if statesmen were to let themselves be guided by Lord Russell's nostrum, they would invariablY allow the aggressor to be judge in his owe cau,se and have to accept what terms he might care n give them. It does not seem to occur to Lord Russell that such a doctrine is simplY an incitement to the strong and unscrupulous to takf advantage of weaker countries. In Lord Russell s world the burglar is king, until he has cut the throats of all the law-abiding citizens and Ogle; to grips with someone as predatory as himself. A strange republic for a philosopher!