The Balance Of Power


He points out that heretofore such conflicts between powerful societies resulted finally in military conflict. Yet despite all of the shooting that has been going on, this ultimate conflict has not taken place. Here is his explanation: Since 1945, however, the presence on the scene of weapons that could, presumably, destroy the greatest societies in one blow, had had a major inhibiting effect on this tendency. What was historically unique about the Cold War was the restraining influence of the new weapons, which had prevented a conflict on the grand scale from culminating in general war. In the new weapons, then, lay the hope of the world, no less than its peril, as it moved into an unknown future.

Cold comfort? Possibly. Yet perhaps a world which refrains from a new world war simply because it is so terrified by the thought of the catastrophe such a war would bring is, after all, beginning to learn something. In any case, here is a most provocative study of recent world history.