By David Carlton, Carlo Schaerf

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Extra resources for The Arms Race in the Era of Star Wars

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Not in the international system, where political violence, wars and revolutions erupt regularly without any rational purpose and with dubious results. And one day, one of these wars or revolutions, or even a simple political assassination, is bound to escalate into an unforeseen and unwanted nuclear world war which afterwards - if there is anybody left to do the analysis - will be regarded as having been both irrational and criminal. Probably the causes of war will then be summarised thus ' ...

It is to this issue that much pessimistic declaration is devoted. Historic national prejudices, we are often told, cannot be changed, only accommodated. But they can be created or reinforced as by the Russian Revolution or in Northern Ireland in the generation brought up since 1968. If the pattern of mutual hostility is to be changed over the next thirty-five or forty years then it is essential to reverse the process not only in so far as East-West relations are concerned. Take the example of the Greeks and the Turks, both in NATO.

Calculating the cost-effectiveness of war in the twentieth century leaves everyone with a huge deficit. It is not a zero sum game, nor anything like it. There are no profits to be shared. It ends in tragic losses for everybody, even for 26 ON PEACE AND SECURITY 27 those who claim victory or (in the more sophisticated current jargon) who may have 'prevailed' in war. The First World War, which was seen as the 'war to end all wars' until the Second World War broke out, may serve as an example. It did not start at all, but escalated from a minor disturbance in which only two parties had minor grievances and purposes in a local conflict.

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