Courtesy Reuters
Foreign Affairs From The Anthology: The Essays of Zbigniew Brzezinski
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Tomorrow's Agenda

Each generation, it is often said, fights the wars of the preceding generation without knowing it. During the nineteenth century men died believing in the cause of royalty or republicanism. In reality, much of their sacrifice was rendered on the altar of the new nationalism. During the twentieth century men fought on behalf of nationalism. Yet the wars they fought were also engendered by dislocations in world markets and by social revolution stimulated by the coming of the industrial age.

Today, many Americans-and certainly most Communists-tend to see international conflict primarily in terms of the cold-war struggle between democracy and Communism. Inadvertently, some Americans thus accept, and project on the international scene, the basic Marxist-Leninist assumption that the decisive conflict of our age concerns the internal character of property relationships and the political organization of society, viewed in terms of the initial impact of the industrial revolution.

Yet these are no longer the basic issues facing mankind. The fundamental dilemmas to which we must respond are quite different and they cannot be analyzed properly in terms of the widely-accepted dichotomy of Western democracy versus totalitarian Communism. In the second half of the twentieth century the developed nations, given new scientific and social developments, will face a real threat to the continued existence of man as a spontaneous, instinctive, rather autonomous and even somewhat mysterious being; the less developed countries, because of overpopulation, economic backwardness and potential political disorder, will be challenged by a fundamental crisis of survival of organized society. Responding to these twin challenges will require a basic reordering of our perspectives.

II

This is not to say that the cold war no longer exists, or that the United States should opt out of it. That conflict continues and it still dominates international affairs, largely because the Communist states, although now in different ways, still subscribe to the apocalyptic belief that they are riding the crest of the future and that the world is destined to become Communist. In China

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