Editor's Choice Archive 2

Is War Inevitable?

By Patricia Keegan

In Henry Kissinger's book, Does America Need a Foreign Policy?, he sees history as a tragic process in which wars are inevitable. But seeing ourselves as victims of history, controlled by the outcome of war, implies a subjugation of human ideals and our potential for good. Certainly, wars will continue if we allow people of the caliber of Hitler and Milosevic to take control, and if we, the so-called Super Power, set a negative agenda in continuing to be the prime peddler of military weapons around the world. The corporate pursuit of money for arms reflects a lack of good faith in projecting a more hopeful vision for the 21st century. If this immoral, negative outlook continues, it will likely become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Given this lack of vision among our leaders, coupled with aggressive arms selling throughout the developing world, isn't it time we, the people, took responsibility in setting our own vision? Observing the greatness of the human potential for good in our daily experience, aren't we encouraged by all that is miraculous and beautiful, beginning with the innocence and trust of our own children? Those who depend on us to protect and sustain them cannot be continuously disappointed. Many teenagers live in a society today where little is cherished. Without goals, ideals or dreams, many are reluctantly swept into the maelstrom of mediocrity.

To cynics, I say everything is possible. There was a time in our society when slavery was thought to be with us forever. Its demise began when voices of the people rose above prevailing opinion. Now the very thought of slavery is abhorrent to the civilized world. When will the idea of using weapons to resolve conflicts become abhorrent enough to be considered obsolete, a relic from a primitive past?

From my experiences in traveling the world, I firmly believe that the vast majority of people are good. Our differences are only superficial. This common, basic goodness, so often underestimated, should become the driving force for change.

Dresden is an inspiration. A microcosm of the immense devastation of the last 'great' war, the next generation of survivors of the allied fire bombing of 1945, are quietly rebuilding its former Baroque glory. Its museums, architecture, music and profound resilience of spirit serve as a living tribute to the highest potential of human aspiration.

If we work together on a vision of a world without war, if we foresee a day when weapons of mass destruction are deemed uncivilized and obsolete, if we believe more love then hate exists in the world, then this energy can be harnessed in creating a better world. Only then will all our learning and all our wealth have some meaning; otherwise it is merely recycled sadness. We want something better than that. We can make it happen by giving voice to our vision.