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Myth lies at the basis of human society. That is because myths are general statements about the world and its parts, and in particular about nations and other human in-groups, that are believed to be true and then acted on whenever circumstances suggest or require common response. This is mankind's substitute for instinct. It is the unique and characteristic human way of acting together. A people without a full quiver of relevant agreed-upon statements, accepted in advance through education or less formalized acculturation, soon finds itself in deep trouble, for, in the absence of believable myths, coherent public action becomes very difficult to improvise or sustain.
Before the 1920s, change in American agriculture was slow. Silent films of the time wonderfully record the dusty dirt roads, farm wagons and Model-T Fords passing by, threshers in overalls pitching bundles, small family farms with cows, pigs and chickens, and the speed and power of a rural way of life set by the three-mile-an-hour gait of the horse. By 1940, as highly mechanized, highly capitalized farming took over, this way of life was just a nostalgic memory. Since 1940 the number of Americans who farm has dropped from about 30 percent to less than three percent. This is probably the most fundamental change in modern American history. Its cultural consequences have still to be calculated.
"The unity of the Alliance is the basis of any successful relationship with the East." The converse of this remark by President Reagan also holds true: agreement in the Alliance on policy toward the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, as well as agreement on political, economic and military strategy: this is the basis of the Alliance's cohesion and its ability to act.
If one looks long enough at recent events in Lebanon, one can see emerging the new face of Israel's Begin government, a face markedly different from the first government of Menachem Begin. That first Begin government, which toppled a decaying and increasingly ineffectual Labor Party, had its moderate and restraining elements whose crowning achievement was the Camp David Accords. The then Defense Minister Ezer Weizman, along with Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, were the reins on Begin's often frightening rhetoric, steering Begin away from the effects of his worst instincts.
It is hazardous to write about postwar Lebanon while the war is still going on, to write about the day after tomorrow when tomorrow may bring still more bloodshed. Yet it is not unrealistic to outline what the Lebanese deem most desirable for Lebanon and what may still be feasible, under conditions not beyond human control.
Given the summer's immersion in day-to-day death and destruction in Lebanon, we need to begin putting the Israeli-Palestinian War of 1982 in larger perspective. For better or worse, it will mark a turning point in the history of Israel, in the course of Arab-Israeli relations, in U.S.-Israeli relations, in the political character and orientation of important Middle Eastern states, and in the U.S. position in that critical area.
The U.S. military establishment is at a historic turning point. It can continue with the same strategy that has dominated its thinking, training and procurement for the past 32 years. That is a concept of prepared defenses and predeployed forces in Europe and in Korea, along with forward-deployed naval forces, on the assumption that being ready for those requirements will automatically be adequate for whatever other contingencies may arise.
Are the bases on which Western security in Europe has rested since the Atlantic Alliance has been in existence threatened? Is it true that with the change in generations there is less and less realization in public opinion of the solidarity in destiny of the peoples on both sides of the Ocean? Is it likely that a substantial withdrawal of U.S. forces on the Old Continent could be imposed on the Reagan Administration by Congress? Did the President say what is in the plans of the Pentagon, or did he make a slip of the tongue, when he mentioned the possibility of a nuclear war limited to Europe?
The most intractable food problem facing the world in the 1980s is the food and hunger crisis in sub-Saharan Africa--the poorest part of the world. Although the crisis follows by less than a decade the prolonged drought of the early 1970s in the Sahelian states of West Africa, the current dilemma is not caused by weather. Nor is the chief problem imminent famine, mass starvation, or the feeding and resettling of refugees. Improved international disaster assistance programs can avert mass starvation and famine and assist with refugee resettlement.
While the past decade of Sino-American relations has been largely constructive, the ten years have not been on a steady incline. Rather, there have been two strong forward spurts, from spring 1971 through May 1973, and from May 1978 through early 1980. The relationship has also endured two periods of some acrimony and erosion: from the fall of 1975 to late 1976 and from mid-1980 to the effort to stabilize the relationship reflected in the communiqué on arms sales to Taiwan that was agreed in August 1982. In addition to the periods of rapid forward movement and retrogression, several periods are best portrayed through metaphors such as "plateaus" or "mixed pictures." Even the best periods were punctuated by moments of doubt and uncertainty, while the phases of deterioration were constrained by a common desire to limit the erosion and to preserve a more positive public facade than the private exchanges warranted.
The War of the Falkland Islands began with a successful invasion by Argentine forces on April 2, 1982, and ended with their surrender to British forces ten weeks later. It was a textbook example of a limited war_limited in time, in location, in objectives and in means. Care was taken when it came to the treatment of civilians and prisoners and only in the later stages did noncombatants get caught in the fighting. The military casualties were severe_800 to 1,000 Argentine and 250 British dead_but still only a small proportion of the forces committed.