THE WORLD is a drastically different place now than it was just a few years ago. It is far more dangerous. It is far more unstable. The old "balance of power" which kept the world from going over the brink into nuclear annihilation is gone.
After World War II, the central fact in world politics was that American military power reigned supreme. While the American monopoly on nuclear weapons lasted for only a short time, it was clear that no one would dare threaten a nuclear war on the Western democracies because there would be a a massive response. In the harsh arena of global politics, this fact worked to preserve peace.
Now, however, all that has changed, and the possibility of actual nuclear war is greater than any time since Hiroshima.
These thoughts are prompted by the appearance of former President Richard Nixon's latest literary effort entitled The Real War, excerpts of which were called "World War III" when they were published in Europe. The book examines the state of the world since his resignation from office in 1974. One of the book's key points is that America in the 1980s confronts two realities which it has never before encountered:
"The first is, if war were to come, we might lose. The second is we might be defeated without war." Mr. Nixon believes that American military power has up to now restrained the Soviet Union — which he believes seeks nothing less than global domination — from risking nuclear war. That restraint is now gone. Thus, "the danger facing the West," according to Mr. Nixon's analysis, "is that the Western world could find itself confronted with a choice between surrender or suicide." At the very least, this new situation in world affairs means the Soviet Union will be far more assertive in waging "local aggression" around the globe.
It is unfortunate that President Nixon did not have this view of the world when he was President from 1969 until August 1974 when he was forced to resign. It is unfortunate that not having held such views, or not having held them seriously, he did not seize the opportunity as the President to act in a manner to prevent the Soviet Union from gaining all its objectives throughout the world during the past 12 years.
Unfortunately, in 1973, President Nixon was working very hard to end the Vietnam War "with honor," to reach a general condition of detente with the Soviets, to reach agreement concerning arms limitations and to defend himself from the consequences of the unfortunate Watergate affair. During that time, we did not hear enough, if anything, from Mr. Nixon concerning the topics of his current book.
Plain Truth readers, on the other hand, will recall that Mr. Armstrong and I visited Saigon in South Vietnam in September of 1973, shortly after Mr. Nixon left office. In a one-hour meeting with President Ngoyen Van Thieu, he poured out his heart to us and clearly predicted the fall of his nation to the armed forces of North Vietnam. He bitterly condemned the withdrawal of American forces and failure of the American government to honor its commitment to the freedom and integrity of his nation. At the same time, he warned Mr. Armstrong and me that the Third World War had been going on since 1945 and that the Western world, and the United States in particular, had not realized it because the war was not being fought in accordance with the conventional or traditional modes. Yet, he declared, the Soviet Union was waging all-out war, continent to continent, by agents or proxies. President Thieu boldly asserted that another hot war could break out at any moment - in Korea between North Korea and South Korea; in the Middle East between Israel and its neighbors; or right there in South Vietnam where the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese were simply marshaling their forces for what would be a final push when American support was withdrawn.
These things were all crystal clear to President Thieu and, as I commented in The Plain Truth two months later, these things have always been self-evident to Mr. Armstrong,. who has been a consistent, aggressive and far-seeing anticommunist since the early 1930s.
Less than 24 hours after our visit with President Thieu in Saigon, his prediction about another hot spot came true with the eruption of the 1973 Middle East War. Within that 24 hours, the Russians had in fact acted again, this time through their then proxies — Egypt and Syria. Egyptian forces had crossed the Suez with the aid of their Russian advisers (and probably actual combatants) while Syrian forces had pushed from the Golan Heights in the north of Israel. And, as we all learned within a few days, the world was at the brink of all-out nuclear war as Soviet forces and American forces went on nuclear alert.
Advance News Readers of The Plain Truth, on the other hand, have been warned for five decades about the danger of Soviet aggression by proxy, or otherwise. They have been warned about the energy crisis, the dangers of runaway inflation as a result of untrammeled big government spending, and the taxing away the heritage of the American people. They have read of these traumas far in advance of the events that have actually occurred.
We have been able to predict what will happen tomorrow, just as we know what will happen in the world tomorrow, because all of it has been revealed to us in the written inspired Word of the Living God. It is all there for the asking. And we, as part of our commission, have shared that knowledge with our readers around the world. We think now that more world leaders will be more mindful in the future of the bold but accurate forecasts presented throughout the pages of each issue of this magazine.
Conversely, I think it is 'very significant that Mr. Nixon, a man acknowledged by even his most severe critics as having a great deal of expertise in the area of international relations, should be sensitive to trends which have a bearing on Bible prophecy and the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Without saying so in so many words, Mr. Nixon seems to have instinctly realized our world is not normal. Crisis in world conditions is now the natural state of affairs. In the 1968 preface to one of his earlier books Six Crises, Mr. Nixon stated: "The crises of the Eisenhower years, and of the Kennedy administration, were on the whole short term moments of tension; they were resolved one way or another with national leadership strengthened. But with the Johnson-Humphrey administration, the nature of the crisis had changed. The remarkable characteristic of the crises of today is their continuity — they have moved in, it seems, to stay."
With this shift to an era of perpetual crisis, the quality of foresight became very important in foreign affairs. The Bible teaches us that "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29: 18) — which is particularly true in a world armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons. The Bible also teaches, "a prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished" (Proverbs 22:3), which it repeats for emphasis In Proverbs 27:12.
But foresight has not exactly been the hallmark of statesmanship in the latter 1970s. Mr.
'The danger facing the West,' according to Mr. Nixon's analysis, 'is that the Western world could find itself confronted with a choice between surrender or suicide.'"Nixon believes the key mistake was the cancellation of the B-1 bomber, which cancellation was "one of the greatest strategy blunders [America] has ever made." This in turn brought about a world in which the United States would probably lose the next war.
But while the early 1980s represent a more dangerous place in which to live, there is yet further change coming. Yet another era after this one is coming in world affairs — one in which world politics as we know it today will no longer even exist.
I found one comment Mr. Nixon made to be particularly interesting in this regard. He mentions that most of the leaders of the Black African nations are interested only in maintaining themselves in power. Consequently, they are more naturally inclined to become clients of the Soviet Union, which is itself controlled and dominated by a very small minority that is more expert than any other group in the world in maintaining itself in power. By sharing this type of expertise along with military hardware, the Soviets have found leaders in nation after nation in Africa ready to accept their assistance; and hence, domination.
I cannot help but remember a dinner party that Mr. Armstrong had in January, 1969, for Franz Josef Strauss, the former defense minister of West Germany and the current challenger for the office of chancellor. Mr. Armstrong, realizing that Mr. Strauss had arrived within the United States during the inaugural proceedings for President Nixon, asked at the dinner table of Mr. Strauss what he thought Mr. Nixon was thinking of when he was taking the oath of office. Without any hesitation whatsoever, Franz Josef Strauss's reply was only too prophetic: "Why, how to get himself re-elected, of course!"
The world of tomorrow, on the other hand, will not be the product of personal power seeking. It will be the product of God Himself, who will send His Son Christ back to the earth to make the world not more unstable or dangerous but peaceful, orderly and prosperous.
I fear Mr. Nixon's book may all too accurately describe the world of the early 1980s. It does not give us much grounds for hope in a better tomorrow.
But there is a book which does point the way to a better world in the future. We will not have to worry about nuclear war, local war, the need to build B-1 bombers or any other such manifestation of terror and destruction. Tomorrow - What It Will Be Like, by Herbert W. Armstrong, commercially available in bookstores, and published by Everest House, reveals a far different, far more hopeful era in world affairs.