OPINION

FEBRUARY 12, 1958

WALTER LIPPMANN: Washington – From an analysis by the American commentator Walter Lippman on the significance of the launch by the USA of its first artificial satellite, Explorer, on the heels of the Soviet space program that had seen the orbit of its Sputnik I and II: «The few who are allowed to know such things and are able to understand them are saying that the launch of such a large satellite signals that the Soviets are far ahead of this country in the development of rocket missiles… In a word, the fact that we have lost the race to launch the first satellite means that we are losing the race to produce ballistic missiles. This, in turn, means that the United States and the Western world may be falling behind in the field of science and technology.» Despite the launch of the Explorer, said Lippmann, there was no reason to believe that the US had redressed the balance in its favor, and although the US was still the stronger power, the Russians were moving ahead at a faster rate. As the postwar era came to a close, the US needed to adjust to the fact that the Soviet Union was equal to it in strength, he said, adding that the language used by US and Western policy generally had little to do with reality, as it was imbued with wishful thinking.