Yesterday, 03:41 PM
1963 Excerpt from the Iron Mountain report.......
The war system makes the stable government of societies possible. It does this essentially by providing an external necessity for a society to accept political rule. In so doing, it establishes the basis for nationhood and the authority of government to control its constituents. What other institution or combination of programs might serve these functions in its place?
We have already pointed out that the end of the war means the end of national sovereignty, and thus the end of nationhood as we know it today. But this does not necessarily mean the end of nations in the administrative sense, and internal political power will remain essential to a stable society. The emerging "nations" of the peace epoch must continue to draw political authority from some source. A number of proposals have been made governing the relations between nations after total disarmament; all are basically juridical in nature. They contemplate institutions more or less like a World Court, or a United Nations, but vested with real authority. They may or may not serve their ostensible post-military purpose of settling international disputes, but we need not discuss that here. None would offer effective external pressure on a peace-world nation to organize itself politically. It might be argued that a well-armed international police force, operating under the authority of such a supranational "court," could well serve the function of external enemy. This, however, would constitute a military operation, like the inspection schemes mentioned, and, like them, would be inconsistent with the premise of an end to the war system. It is possible that a variant of the "Unarmed Forces" idea might be developed in such a way that its "constructive" (i.e., social welfare) activities could be combined with an economic "threat" of sufficient size and credibility to warrant political organization. Would this kind of threat also be contradictory to our basic premise?--that is, would it be inevitably military? Not necessarily, in our view, but we are skeptical of its capacity to evoke credibility. Also, the obvious destabilizing effect of any global social welfare surrogate on politically necessary class relationships
would create an entirely new set of transition problems at least equal in magnitude. Credibility, in fact, lies at the heart of the problem of developing a political substitute for war. This is where the space-race proposals, in many ways so well suited as economic substitutes for war, fall short. The most ambitious and unrealistic space project cannot of itself generate a believable external menace. It has been hotly argued that such a menace would offer the "last, best hope of peace," etc., by uniting mankind against the danger of destruction by "creatures" from other planets or from outer space. Experiments have been proposed to test the credibility of an out-of-our-world invasion threat; it is possible that a few of the more difficult-to-explain "flying saucer" incidents of recent years were in fact early experiments of this kind. If so, they could hardly have been judged encouraging. We anticipate no difficulties in making a "need" for a giant super space program credible for economic purposes, even were there not ample precedent; extending it, for political purposes, to include features unfortunately associated with science fiction would obviously be a more dubious undertaking. Nevertheless, an effective political substitute for war would require "alternate enemies," some of which might seem equally farfetched in the context of the current war system. It may be, for instance, that gross pollution of the environment can eventually replace the possibility of mass destruction by nuclear weapons as the principal apparent threat to the survival of the species. Poisoning of the air, and of the principal sources of food and water supply, is already well advanced, and at first...