A “Generation of Peace” or a Short-lived World Peace?
A WORLDWIDE détente, or relaxation of strained international relations, is now in the making. How long will it last? Will it bring a “generation of peace” in a “new world order,” as some foresee?
Despite all the urgent reasons for seeking world peace, despite all the hard effort put into negotiations, despite all the determination and desires of world leaders, and despite all the intelligence of their counselors, the coming world peace they are fashioning will be of short duration. Why?
For two basic reasons, both powerful.
One is because it will not—in fact, cannot—solve the human problems that disrupt peace. World leaders either overlook or prefer to ignore this fact: War is not caused by bombs or battleships or bullets. War is caused by people. Any peace arrangement the nations make will never remove human selfishness. And that is obviously the root cause of all disunity, violent clashes and war.
Actually, the coming peace arrangement is itself founded largely on a selfish basis. Do you not associate peace with mutual confidence and trust? Yet, of the U.S–Russian accords, principal negotiator Dr. Henry Kissinger said: “We advocate these agreements not on the basis of trust, but on the basis of the enlightened self-interests of both sides.” “Enlightened self-interest” is only a polite way of saying “astute selfishness.”
Underlining the lack of mutual trust, Time magazine, when discussing the recent arms limitation pact, said: “Both sides are expected to spend heavily on observation satellites to detect any cheating by the other.”
Do you not associate peace with calmness and freedom from fear? But the coming international peace relies on what is called a “balance of terror” as a principal means of preventing war. The idea is that each side will retain such power that, even though attacked by surprise, it can still retaliate with a devastating hail of hydrogen bombs. This is supposed to prevent any attempt at an all-out war.
But this is rather like two persons agreeing to dance together while each one holds a pistol at the other’s heart—with his finger on the trigger. What genuine calmness and peace of mind can exist under such circumstances?
What of These Problems?
Furthermore, even though people were able to put out of their minds the ever-present possibility of nuclear destruction—yet how much peace could they have if rampant crime continues? How much would any world peace setup mean if they still felt fear on going out at night, or even felt insecure inside their homes behind locked doors?
Even though major international divisions should be healed, what of the internal disunity within each nation?
Would a political world peace heal the rift between religious groups, as in Ireland where the Catholic-Protestant conflict has brought death to more than 540 men, women and children, plus untold property damage, in the past three years?
Would it eliminate racial disunity and hatred as found between Arab and Jew, or tribal rivalry such as that in the African country of Burundi? In Burundi, hatred between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes has, in just a few months, resulted in the brutal massacre of an estimated 120,000 men, women and children—more than double the total U.S. combat deaths in the eleven years of the Vietnam war!
And what of all the corruption, cheating and fraud in political and commercial life that has plagued the nations for centuries? What of the abuses of power and authority that bring injustice, inequality and actual oppression? How peaceful will this earth ever be as long as these things continue, even on a local scale?
But we said there are two powerful, basic reasons why the coming peace arrangement will be short-lived. What is the second one? And what hope does it leave us?
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Even though an international world peace agreement is reached, how peaceful can the earth really be so long as disunity, selfishness, corruption and injustice continue within each nation?