Perhaps the greatest disadvantage faced by the writer of this department is that of meeting a deadline for the editor, a month before publication of each issue. This is bad for at least two reasons. First, the news is often old and well-discussed before it appears in Current Comments and the comments tend to be not so current. Secondly, developments in the news can come so suddenly that new news pushes the old from its seemingly important place. For example, the writer waited some time before daring to treat the constantly-changing Cuban situation. When he thought he had picked a relatively stable time, he was frustrated by a U.S.-Cuban diplomatic break, which news reached his readers long before they could read of more minor Cuban-U.S. crisis in Beacon Lights.
This time advantage makes him worry somewhat about the reaction to this article, which will do some looking into the past. If retrospection is to be made, one would argue, it should be made in January and not in February. Begging his readers’ pardon, he would like to tell them that it is January (at the time of this writing) even though it may seem quite a bit later to them.
The year 1960 was marked by international crises. One of the first, and perhaps the greatest, was the collapse of the summit talks as the men at the peak were pushed down by the squat “king on the mountain.” An angry Khrushchev, seizing as his propaganda weapon the spy flight of the U 2, shattered the perpetual fond dreams of real progress toward that high-sounding aim of world peace. Eisenhower’s planned trip to the Soviet Union was cancelled; Francis Powers, pilot of the U 2 received a ten-year prison sentence after a highly-publicized trial.
That man again
Khrushchev re-appeared in the news as he re-appeared in the United States. This time he did not come as an invited guest, but as a delegate from his country to the General Assembly of the United Nations. But, for a change, he found his propaganda techniques were not winning too many friends, though they were certainly influencing people. His bitter speeches and foul language and his childish, temper-tantrum antics at the U.N. shocked the world. His plans to stir up Africa and Asia were defeated as these nations defeated his proposals.
Minus Occam’s razor
The rift between the U.S. and Cuba spread nearer and nearer to the breaking point as the Cuba cry of “Cuba, si; Yankee, no!” polluted the air of Havana. Castro’s economic and political difficulties were increasing but he found new friends and support in Russia and Red China. One of the most touching, heart-warming photos taken last year showed Castro and Khrushchev embracing like the old father and the prodigal son as they made their plans to kill the fatted bald eagle.
Up a lazy river
Also on the international scene, the Congo became a raging turmoil of revolution and anarchy as the Belgians left. Some semblance of order was restored by U.N. troops, but the fire is still smoldering. This whole situation had definite repercussions for it led to Khrushchev’s tirades before the U.N. and to discontent and nation-wide strikes in Belgium.
The United States saw many interesting incidents within its own boundaries. In one of the closest elections in its history, John F. Kennedy defeated Richard M. Nixon for the presidency and became the first Roman Catholic to win the office. The ugly head of segregation with its mask of states’ rights appeared in New Orleans in a conflict that seems destined to be more of a battle than that of Little Rock. The greatest air disaster in history claimed 135 lives as two planes crashed over residential areas of New York City.
We the people
1960 saw several noteworthy events in the history of the Prot. Ref. Churches. The Reformed Witness Hour Choir was re-organized and the program began to be broadcast over foreign radio stations. Two new congregations joined our fellowship of churches. The schismatics continued their frantic efforts to go back to the Christian Reformed Church sort of semi en masse and revealed their division and confusion. First Church finally got its organ patched up. Jay Kortering became a candidate for the ministry of the Word, and Dave Engelsma preached his first sermon.
The year 1960 was essentially no different from any other year. It saw “no new thing under the sun.” But it did see progress toward the not-so-distant (?) end, as His children, not always seeing His hand in the unfolding of His counsel, yet trusted His promise: “Behold, I come quickly.”