The Day After Russia Attacks
What War in Ukraine Would Look Like—and How America Should Respond
Ever since there have been organized societies-whether tribes, city-states, nation-states or empires-there has been war among them. Indeed, the conduct of war, if only for defense, was what brought such societies into existence to begin with, and until recently it has remained one of their principal functions. Until our own times, therefore, such societies have felt no compunctions in principle about the open resort, with due formality, to organized physical violence against one another. Now, however, as the twentieth century approaches its last quarter, a combination of developments raises questions about the future of this traditional activity, not excluding the question of whether it has any future at all.
War is merely the most extreme among the several means by which conflict among organized societies has traditionally been conducted. Other means are diplomatic negotiation and maneuver, economic manipulation, and the contingent threat of military violence as distinct from its actual practice. There have always been accepted rules of behavior supposed to govern the use of these means. The general acceptance of these rules, in its degree, has invested them with the authority of legitimacy in men's minds, branding with the stigma of illegitimacy whatever behavior transgresses them. A society which is seen to transgress them suffers in its reputation, thereby weakening the allegiance of its friends and arousing hostility against itself. It follows that any general course of action in violation of legitimacy, persisted in, can lead to ultimate disaster; for even the most powerful nation depends in large measure on the goodwill or, at least, the acquiescence of others for the realization of its objectives.
What represents legitimacy, however, changes from generation to generation, and nations have found to their cost that behavior which had traditionally been accepted was so no longer. It is in these terms, among others, that we must think about the future of war.
A government, in choosing the means it will use in any particular situation, has to weigh both political feasibility and political cost. The government of a liberal democracy, for example, might decide that it was not politically feasible to resort to means, however effective in themselves, that were bound to arouse important opposition in the domestic population upon which it depended for support. Or any government might decide that the resort, in a particular situation, to means that might be expected to alienate other nations would be politically too costly. Today it appears that the discontinued British military intervention in Egypt during the Suez Canal crisis of 1956 might have proved politically unfeasible, if continued, because of the impassioned opposition it aroused in a part of the British population. It was politically too costly, in any case, because of the degree to which it alienated opinion in the United States, the Commonwealth and elsewhere. What would have had general acceptance inside and outside Britain a generation earlier could no longer command it. What had so recently represented legitimacy represented it no longer. (Realism requires us to recognize here that success in itself tends to command acceptance, while such failure as the British suffered at Suez, like the American failure to achieve victory in Vietnam, has the opposite effect. In the Suez case, however, the lack of acceptance at the outset was a principal cause of the failure.)
When, in the constant transformations that the common mind undergoes from generation to generation, a particular means of conducting international relations loses legitimacy, it thereby loses political feasibility and political utility as well. In recent times, a number of quite distinct and recognizable factors have tended to deprive the resort to war, under most circumstances, of such legitimacy as it formerly possessed. The question of how confidently we may allow ourselves to expect a continuation of this tendency into the long-range future depends on how much permanence we attribute to the factors that have caused it.
The first factor that comes to mind, if only because it is the most dramatic, is the constantly increasing destructiveness of the instruments of war ever since, let us say, the Battle of Crécy in 1346. This development may be said to have begun with the introduction of the long bow and to have continued, at first slowly over the centuries, with the advent and gradual improvement of cannon and then firearms. It has tended to accelerate exponentially, progressing rapidly in the nineteenth century and seeming to reach a culmination in 1945 with the advent of nuclear arms. Since 1945, however, nuclear arms themselves have increased in destructiveness by a factor of thousands. At the same time, the range over which they may be delivered has become worldwide, and the development of the instruments for their delivery has altogether outstripped the development of means for their interception. So it is that the weapons of war, today, could annihilate whole populations in a matter of hours.
This evolution, beginning with the long bow, has also tended to make military combat ever more impersonal, thereby depriving it of the opportunities it used to offer for moral responsibility and personal heroism, at the same time that it has increased its inhumanity. Neither the killing of armed adults nor the killing of helpless infants at Hiroshima was a matter of one individual against another, entailing personal credit or blame, for it was conceived abstractly and effected from a distance.
What this increase in the destructiveness and impersonality of armaments has done to the acceptability of major warfare involving great powers is clear. Even before the atom bomb, it had become evident that both sides in such warfare-victors and vanquished alike-emerged as losers. Today no one pretends that the attribution of victory itself, in the outcome of a nuclear war between major nuclear powers, would be anything more than a grim joke-like placing a laurel wreath on the brow of a victor whose back is broken.
The unacceptable consequences of such a war for all parties have clear implications for the political feasibility of any proposed resort to it. If today's armaments had existed in the world of the 1930s Hitler could never have risen to power, for the German people would surely have rejected the program of military aggrandizement for which he solicited their support, reacting in horror to the prospect with which it would have confronted them. A program that was politically feasible in the 1930s would be so no longer today.
The development of the instruments of war beyond the point where they have any political utility or feasibility in active use must certainly be regarded as a permanent factor tending to deprive the resort to general war of its former legitimacy. Even if all nuclear arms were to be abolished, which is a political impossibility in today's world, another general war involving the great industrial powers could be expected to bring such arms into being again, as they were originally brought into being by World War II, but this time faster and in far more developed form. Our conclusion, in its narrowest terms, must be that the deliberate resort to war by a nuclear power against a power capable of effective nuclear retaliation is permanently ruled out.
We can, I think, add that the deliberate resort to major non-nuclear warfare between such powers is also ruled out. And the resort to even such limited warfare as border skirmishes between them is notably inhibited by the danger that it would escalate out of control, ending in nuclear war.
This does not in itself exclude the resort to war by a nuclear power against a non-nuclear power, or by one non-nuclear power against another. Nevertheless, it seems evident that inhibitions of some sort to all deliberate resorts to war, including such as these, have been growing in the twentieth century, inhibitions that reflect a diminished political feasibility or an increased political cost associated with any deliberate initiation of war. What has produced these more general inhibitions? And to what extent may the factors that account for them be considered permanent?
Take the situation that may be regarded as representing the opposite extreme from the confrontation of two great nuclear powers, that of a great power confronting a small and militarily helpless state-a situation in which military action by the great power may not even lead to actual war simply because the small state has nothing with which to counter it. In 1912 the United States found it politically feasible and rewarding to establish the kind of domestic order it wished in Nicaragua by sending the Marines to impose it, and there was no military resistance. The situation had changed, however, by 1926, when the Marines were again sent to Nicaragua for the same purpose. This time they encountered resistance by Nicaraguan guerrilla forces under General Augustino Sandino. The protracted and apparently irresolvable guerrilla warfare that ensued caused widespread criticism inside the United States of the military intervention that had led to it, and aroused a mounting anti-Americanism throughout Latin America. The result was the withdrawal of the Marines in 1933.
Here we see how, in less than two decades, intervention such as the United States had been able to practice with impunity in 1912 had come to entail a diminishing political feasibility in terms of domestic support, and an increasing political cost in terms of foreign opposition, to the point where Washington found it politically inexpedient to continue it any longer.
In 1938, when Mexico expropriated the properties of the American and British oil companies, the United States and Britain found it politically inexpedient to resort to the military intervention they would have undertaken as a matter of course a quarter-century earlier.
In 1959, when Cuba under the government of Fidel Castro embarked on an anti-American campaign of the utmost virulence, subjecting the United States and its interests to ostentatious insult and injury, the United States was not deterred from military intervention by any military power with which Cuba might have opposed it, whether her own or that of an ally. It is significant that the attempted invasion of Cuba by Cuban forces at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, under the clandestine direction of Washington, was a disguised intervention, however bad the disguise, and a disastrous failure-like the Franco-British intervention in Egypt five years earlier. The failure was due not to any lack of military power, but to the fact that the anticipated political cost of openly using the necessary military power, including military aviation, was regarded as excessive. This indicates the degree of the secular change that had taken place since the days of "gunboat diplomacy." The change was in "the rules of the game," in what did and what did not represent legitimacy.
This raises the question of what caused the change.
As early as the 1830s Alexis de Tocqueville observed that the whole evolution of Western civilization since the eleventh century had been in the direction of an ever greater egalitarianism, and he predicted that this evolution would continue. I know of no other long-range prediction that has been so amply confirmed. It is still being confirmed today by the progressive suppression of racial discrimination and the rapid achievement of equality between the sexes. Even the inequality between parents and children, and between teachers and students in the schools, is being steadily reduced.
A form of political inequality that had been universal up to the French Revolution was the distinction, in its various forms, between a ruling class and the ruled. Everywhere, a small aristocracy or its equivalent had ruled over the masses, which, accepting the legitimacy of such rule, remained politically inert and obedient. In the period before the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries this legitimacy was based on the concept, generally accepted, of the divine right of kings. By the end of the eighteenth century, however, this concept had been replaced in the common mind by that of the sovereignty of the people, which provided a new basis for legitimacy. Consequently, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries we have seen the development of political organization in which the masses, whether in principle or in practice, play an ever increasing role. Today, the most arbitrary dictatorships speak in the name of the people.
This development, beginning in the Atlantic world, did not spread to Asia, Africa and Latin America before our present century. So it was, for example, that from 1840 to the end of the nineteenth century and beyond, the Chinese masses passively accepted the imperial rule of foreigners from overseas wherever it was established over them. In Asia and Africa, in the absence of any manifest opposition by those actually under such rule, the peoples of the rest of the world tended to accept it as a proper relationship between the responsible adult powers, which bore "the white man's burden," and the supposedly childlike peoples under their tutelage who were not yet ready to govern themselves.
In the 1930s, however, when Japan set up an occupation of Chinese territory, she found that the Chinese people were no longer disposed to accept such foreign rule passively. To deal with their unexpected opposition, the Japanese military were driven to embark on an ever spreading campaign of forcible pacification that gradually overextended them, at the same time that it aroused opposition throughout the rest of the world. The end of this road, for Japan, was marked by the cataclysmic disaster of 1945.
The United States, in 1959, would have had no difficulty in occupying Cuba, but once it had done so it might well have found itself able to pacify the Cuban people only as the Romans, according to Calgacus, pacified the people of Britain: by making a desert and calling it peace. The attempt at the military pacification of the Cubans would, moreover, have aroused the passionate hostility of all the Latin American peoples, which would surely have manifested itself everywhere in violence to American interests; the United States then would have found itself impelled to extend its military pacification to the whole of Central and South America, in the face of increasing worldwide opposition. Finally, the opposition of the people inside the United States, whose young men were being drafted for pacification duties, would have been such that Washington could have continued in its course abroad only by the institution of a police dictatorship to pacify Americans at home.
I have resorted, here, to something like a reductio ad absurdum in order to suggest why the resort to military action by a great power against a small and militarily helpless state has, in our time, become politically inexpedient. Fortunately, our own military involvement in Vietnam, unlike the Japanese involvement in China, was not carried through to its logical conclusion. Perhaps the historians, together with whatever blame they may attribute to President Lyndon Johnson, will give him credit for his decision of March 1968 to reverse the American course by adopting disengagement as the new objective in Vietnam.
The drive toward egalitarianism that Tocqueville said was the dominant movement in history since the eleventh century has, in our own century, manifested itself in the new concept of collective egalitarianism-that is, in the extension to nation-states of the concept that all men are created equal. Throughout the nineteenth century the dominant concept of international relations entailed the distinction, to which I have already referred, between the childlike societies of the primitive world and the adult great powers that had the duty of keeping order among them, together with the moral responsibility of civilizing them-much as Miss Watson had considered it her duty to discipline and civilize Huckleberry Finn.
The concept of the sovereign equality of all states great and small was first officially and conspicuously advanced in 1907 at the Second Hague Peace Conference, in connection with the "Drago Doctrine" to outlaw the use of force for the international collection of debts. That concept was at last to be given the sanction of international law in the clause of the Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations which affirms "the equal rights . . . of nations large and small," and the clause of Article 2, which asserts "the sovereign equality of all the members of the United Nations"; and it was to be given effect in the voting arrangements of the General Assembly, whereby the weight of Qatar, with a population of a hundred thousand, equals that of China, with a population perhaps seven thousand times as great. This latter-day concept of collective equality, more than anything else, brands with the stigma of illegitimacy any forcible intervention by a great power in the affairs of a small state.
We have now examined two of the factors that have come, only recently, to inhibit the resort to war-one being the destructiveness of modern armaments, which rules out the resort to war between great nuclear powers, the other being the dominance of egalitarianism over the minds of men, which inhibits the resort to war by a great power against a small state. Neither of these factors, however, has any direct bearing on the resort to war between states of roughly equal size and strength that are not nuclear powers-say, Bolivia and Paraguay, or Burma and Thailand, or Algeria and Libya, or Sweden and Finland.
From the time when the Latin Americans gained their independence until the conclusion of the Chaco War in 1935, over a century later, war was raging among them more often than not. Since then, wars among them have stopped altogether, if one leaves out of account rare and momentary border clashes. Since World War II the only wars, outside the context of what may be considered civil wars, that have been fought anywhere in the world have been three in the Middle East, plus one between China and India-to the extent that these military episodes can be called wars. What is notable about them, by contrast with the wars of the past, is that they have been undeclared and that they have entailed fighting that was only sporadic-as in the Middle East-or that was over in a matter of days. In their actual combat operations they have, for the most part, been more like momentary outbursts of temper, suppressed almost as soon as begun, than like the leisurely wars of old between sovereign states acting with all due deliberation in the conduct of wars that had formal beginnings, middles and ends. Surely there is, today, some powerful inhibition on the conduct of war even between non-nuclear states that belong roughly to the same category in size and power. What is the cause of this inhibition?
My rather fantastic reference to Sweden and Finland, above, gives us a clue. In the event of an important conflict between them, neither could expect that a war initiated against the other would remain isolated, involving only the two of them. Russia would immediately be involved, and because Russia was involved the NATO powers would be as well. An isolated war in Europe, like the Franco-Prussian War of a century ago, is simply out of the question today.
This is true as well, if to a lesser extent, in the Middle East. Israel and Egypt are like two little boys trying to fight each other, but each being held back by a bigger boy. Occasionally, one or the other lands a blow, only to be jerked back by the collar.
Bolivia and Paraguay are among the most isolated countries in the world, both in the interior of southern South America and without seacoasts. If they tried to fight each other today, however, as they fought each other up to 1935, all the Latin American states and the United States would immediately be involved through the operations of the Organization of American States, and some form of prompt collective intervention might be expected. In a sense, the whole world would be involved through the Security Council of the United Nations. It follows that neither state could start a war in the expectation of proceeding to win it through its own strength, however superior that strength might be. Starting a war would be, for either, a leap in the dark that it could justify only by desperation.
When wars were fought with knives and spears, two countries like Pakistan and India would have found themselves able to fight a proper war over a period of years. Now, however, when even wars between minor powers have to be fought with great quantities of industrially produced ammunition, including explosives delivered by aircraft that consume vast amounts of fuel, the antagonists quickly run out of the means to continue fighting in the absence of supplies from abroad-which is to say, in the absence of positive involvement by other and wealthier countries. This is why the 1965 war between India and Pakistan ended in 17 days.
To sum up: leaving aside the great nuclear powers, among which war is ruled out for the reasons we have seen, all the countries in the world, the largest with the smallest, have lost their former ability to fight independent, self-contained, geographically limited wars, one against another. By resorting to war, therefore, or persisting in it, any country tends to lose the power to continue to direct its own course of action. It finds itself having to submit to the exigencies of greater powers or of the international community at large. This prospect is in itself inhibiting.
I have left to the last the wars that are civil wars, in a formal sense at least, even though they depend on or draw in outside participation that may be massive. These wars-represented by the Greek Civil War, the Korean War, and the war in Vietnam-are the main ones that the world has experienced since 1945. All have had their origins in issues that remained unsettled at the end of World War II, or in the excited actions and reactions of the cold war as it ran its course between 1947 and 1963. (Even the 1972 war between India and Pakistan, over the secession of what had been East Pakistan, may be considered at least a peripheral case, for it concerned the settlement of an unworkable arrangement in the provision made for the succession to a colonial empire that had been dissolved in the crucible of World War II.) With the gradual resolution of the war in Vietnam, we may expect that this particular series of wars is now over.
Entering into the realm of prediction, however, I suggest that breakdown within a national society, leading to violent civil strife that draws in outside powers, constitutes the greatest danger of international war that the world faces in the foreseeable future.
Almost all the important wars the world has known since Napoleon left for St. Helena have had their origin, directly or indirectly, in a breakup of an existing order that has left a power vacuum in some area of strategic importance-which is to say virtually any area outside Antarctica. The gradual weakening and collapse of the old Turkish Empire in the nineteenth century drew the surrounding powers into collision with one another in the area that embraced southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean; for each was moved to forestall its rivals in filling the vacuum left by the passing of Turkish power. The result was the series of wars from the Crimean War through World War I; and even World War II was a delayed consequence in the sense that it came of the failure to achieve a stable settlement at the end of the First World War. The power vacuum created by the destruction of German power in 1944 and 1945 produced the cold war, with such peripheral fighting as it entailed. In East Asia, the long decay and collapse of Chinese power resulted in a series of wars from 1840 to 1945.
To appreciate the danger we have only to imagine what the situation would be if, after Marshal Tito's death, Yugoslavia should fall apart into two warring factions-especially if they represented mutually opposed ideological schools that led them to look to East and West, respectively, for their support. Since the inability to assure an orderly process of succession has always been the prime weakness of dictatorial regimes, it would not be unrealistic to imagine a situation in which the Soviet Union itself fell into disorder, with some of its East European satellites taking the opportunity to break away, calling the Western powers to their aid. It is quite imaginable that one of the liberal democracies of the West, not excluding the United States, might decline into political disorder, even if only for some brief transitional period, with important and perhaps cataclysmic consequences for the international balance of power.
The breakdown of some existing order might well start a proliferation of chaos in which governments could no longer be certain of maintaining the degree of control required for the avoidance or limitation of war. No one can be altogether sure that, in such circumstances, the sobering fear of nuclear weapons would suffice to prevent what might have begun as limited warfare from escalating into general war. The sudden development of a power vacuum, then, leading to international anarchy, appears to constitute the greatest danger of another world war in the foreseeable future.
When the Thirty Years War came to an end in 1648, the population of Europe had been tormented by over a century of warfare. The religious issues that provided the chief occasion of this warfare remained, still, unresolved; and by that time the scourge of war had become the normal accompaniment of life to peoples who, for so long, had known nothing else. In 1648, therefore, it would have required a determined optimism indeed to predict that war as it had been known was now at an end for an indefinite period, that whatever wars occurred in Europe for at least a century and a half to come would be much more like war games-exercises in maneuver-than like the mutual butchery which had been known for so long a time. Yet such a prediction would have been true.
While the situation of the world today seems to me to offer no fundamental parallel to that of Europe in 1648, I nevertheless think it likely that for an indefinite future we have seen the end of general warfare as it was manifested in the two World Wars of this century. The deliberate resort to such warfare is ruled out by a combination of two of the three factors I have mentioned, both of which are bound to survive as long as our civilization itself survives. One is the destructiveness of the instruments of war, the other the impossibility of isolating wars, of excluding the whole surrounding world from involvement in their conduct. Any great war, extended in space and time, even though not fought with nuclear arms to begin with, even though not involving nuclear powers to begin with, would be too likely to spread and escalate into a nuclear war to be hazarded even by a Caligula. If, then, such a war should occur it would not be by the deliberate choice of the governments involved but, rather, because they had lost control under circumstances in which the collapse of social order had produced a massive proliferation of chaos.
However, the third factor I have cited, the growing egalitarianism that inhibits military intervention by a great power within the jurisdiction of small states, seems to me alike less compelling and less to be counted on in terms of permanence.
Let me deal first with the question of how compelling it is. While I can hardly imagine circumstances in which the United States would feel itself justified in initiating a great nuclear war, I can easily imagine circumstances in which it would feel itself obliged to intervene militarily in the jurisdiction of a small state. Suppose that, in an excess of fanatical nationalism, Panamanian mobs embarked on the slaughter of all Americans in their country, invaded the Canal Zone and attempted the systematic destruction of the Canal. I would expect the immediate entry of American troops into the Panamanian jurisdiction, and that without awaiting the outcome of debate either in the Organization of American States or the United Nations. Washington would surely feel that any outcry to be expected against its action, whether at home or abroad, was quite outweighed by considerations that it, as well as a large part of its population and many abroad, would be bound to regard as overriding. There is always the possibility, moreover, of such an impulsive and even panicky action as that of sending the U.S. Marines to the Dominican Republic during the disorders taking place there in 1965.
Finally, under no circumstances is the inhibition in question as compelling for authoritarian governments in totalitarian societies as it is for the governments of liberal democracies that allow full scope to domestic opposition and guarantee freedom of speech. The opposition inside Russia to the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, although it existed and even made itself heard, was not a major problem and, consequently, not an important inhibiting factor for Russia's rulers. In addition, because the other members of the Warsaw Pact are hardly free to break away from it, Moscow could better afford to alienate opinion among them, if occasion arose, than the United States could afford to alienate opinion among its NATO allies.
It follows that the factor which inhibits this kind of military intervention is not absolutely compelling for all states in all circumstances. How about its permanence?
What is in question here is the continuing drive and unceasing progress over the past thousand years toward an ever-increasing egalitarianism, beginning in Europe and at last becoming worldwide. One must expect such a millennial evolution to continue without fail to its logical conclusion, which today may be in sight. But what is that conclusion?
There have, in the course of history, been like developments on a smaller scale. The classic case is that of the evolution of democracy in Athens from its beginnings under Solon to mass democracy under Cleon. Judging this history in terms of workability rather than justice, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that this development continued past its optimum to the point where domestic disorder and the irresponsibility of mob rule in the conduct of external affairs led the city-which had so recently represented the highest moral, cultural and political achievement on record-into those imprudences, in the conduct of the Peloponnesian War, that ended in the disaster from which it never recovered. The moral and political bankruptcy of Athens put an end to her democracy, bringing her under an authoritarian receivership to which, ugly as it was, there was no workable alternative.
Again, the evolution of democracy in the Roman Republic rose to an apparent optimum, after which it became identified with an increasing disorder and irresponsibility in the conduct of affairs until, having become unworkable, it was replaced by Caesarism. I take a long view, not referring to the headlines of the day, when I ask whether our liberal societies in the West, some of which seem to be increasingly ungovernable by the procedures of liberal democracy, are not approaching the like termination of a like development. Tocqueville predicted an increasing egalitarianism which, as an aristocrat, he found distasteful; and I myself fear the prospect of an authoritarianism that I hope I shall not live to see if it comes. If it does come, it will surely lead to some limitations, as in Eastern Europe, of the relative freedom that most small countries enjoy today.
However, although military interventions in their affairs by great powers may well increase, such interventions need not lead to war any more than the Russian intervention in Czechoslovakia led to it. As Tocqueville was perhaps the first to observe, authoritarian government is better able than that of a liberal democracy to keep the conduct of its foreign relations, however cynical, under control. Because it governs opinion within its jurisdiction rather than being governed by it, such a government is better able to act by calculation, undiverted by such waves of emotion as may sweep over any free population in time of crisis. The government of Russia, for example, was able to retreat from the confrontation with the United States over Cuba in 1962, accepting the consequent humiliation, as perhaps the government of the United States could not have. On the other hand, it is an encouraging fact that, under the sobering influence of nuclear weapons, the United States and its allies, on their side, like the Russian bloc on the other, have been able to exercise the self-discipline that has kept the cold war cold.
I began with the question of what future war has, if any. I conclude that the time has probably gone, perhaps forever, when the formal resort to war, duly declared and openly conducted, was an accepted practice among organized societies-whether tribes, city-states, nation-states or empires. Except for the acute danger entailed in the sudden internal collapse of some power-a collapse that, by upsetting the international equilibrium, might draw other powers into mutual conflicts that they could not avoid or control-I would conclude that the day of general wars, directly involving great powers on both sides, may also be past.
What I do not see an end of is the maintenance by all societies of military forces, and the use of such forces in violence-sometimes on the scale of prolonged guerrilla war. I would expect such use, however, to be sporadic for the most part, and often clandestine. I would expect it to manifest itself in "incidents," more or less serious but generally falling short of open and outright warfare. I foresee that powers will resort to military interventions within their own spheres of influence, and elsewhere when the danger seems not too great. I foresee military raids, on the ground or in the air, ended almost as soon as begun. I foresee skirmishes, soon suppressed. I foresee that military airplanes of one power, perhaps flying too close to the frontiers of another, will be shot down. I foresee that ships will be captured or sunk by military action. In sum, I foresee widespread and continual disorder, with its accompaniment of inhumanity and its tendency toward barbarism. I foresee barbarism.
I could imagine that, with the passage of time, certain "rules of the game" might emerge with ever-increasing authority, as in the early Middle Ages, to bring the chronic disorder under control. If, then, stability should gradually be reached-in relations between our human population and its environment, as well as in international relations-I can readily allow myself to imagine that the habit of violence between organized societies might at last give way, as the habit of personal combat has already given way within the most advanced societies of our own day. Beyond this, imagination escapes from reality altogether, thereby freeing itself to create whatever Kingdom of Heaven on Earth it wishes.