Courtesy Reuters

The Hard Road to World Order

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." What Dickens wrote of the last quarter of the 18th century fits the present period all too well. The quest for a world structure that secures peace, advances human rights and provides the conditions for economic progress-for what is loosely called world order-has never seemed more frustrating but at the same time strangely hopeful.

Certainly the gap has never loomed larger between the objectives and the capacities of the international organizations that were supposed to get mankind on the road to world order. We are witnessing an outbreak of shortsighted nationalism that seems oblivious to the economic, political and moral implications of interdependence. Yet never has there been such widespread recognition by the world's intellectual leadership of the necessity for coöperation and planning on a truly global basis, beyond country, beyond region, especially beyond social system. Never has there been such an extraordinary growth in the constructive potential of transnational private organizations-not just multinational corporations but international associations of every kind in which like-minded persons around the world weave effective patterns of global action. And never have we seen such an impressive array of ongoing negotiations aimed at the coöperative management of global problems. To familiar phrases like the "population explosion" and the "communications explosion" we should now add the "negotiation explosion."

What is "worst" about our times for those who wish for rapid progress toward world order is clear enough. The United Nations is very

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