PEACE — "a generation of peace" — was President Nixon's theme on his election-year barnstorming tour of the United States in the fall of 1970.
"We have not had a generation of peace in this century," said Mr. Nixon, "but we shall have a generation of peace."
How long is a generation? Webster's — dictionary says "usually 33 years" — three to a century. What are our actual chances for thirty-three years of world peace?
Trends Past, Present and Future In America's six generations of existence, there were two supposed generations of peace (1815 to 1846, 1865 to 1898). But they were actually marred by the bloodshed of constant Indian wars. Add to that the divisive recriminations both before (due to differences over States' rights, the tariff, and slavery) and after (carpetbagging) the bloody American civil war.
Now look at the past around the world. "The period from 1496 B.C.," according to Collier's Encyclopedia "to A. D. 1861 shows 227 years of peace to 3130 of war."
The number of wars per decade has grown steadily since 1900. There have been between 50 and 70 wars since 1945, depending on your definition of war. In 1966, the then Defense Secretary McNamaia counted 164 "inter-nationally significant outbreaks of violence" in the brief 1958-1966 time span. Eighty-two nations were involved. An American sociologist counted 1200 examples of the broader term "internal war" between 1946 and 1959.
At the present moment there are about 30 wars, conflicts, and insurgencies in the world. Ten are in Asia, ten in Africa (bloody intertribal civil wars), five in the Middle East, and five in Latin America. Since battles are not fought each day, they aren't in your daily news, but those 40 or more nations involved are still armed camps. Nearly all these wars are in underdeveloped lands.
The ominous threat to future world peace was reported by Geoffrey Kemp of the arms control project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He said, "At a conservative estimate, about one-quarter of the sovereign states on planet Earth were engaged in inter-state or intra-state conflict involving the use of regular armed forces as the 1970's began.
"Add to this impressive figure those states that have used military power either to enforce or to protect their interests over the past decade, and those that are preparing for highly probable conflict in the near future, and the total number of countries rises to over 70, or more than half the sovereign states in the world."
Spending on war will be as much in the 1970's as in the previous 70 years!
Each major world war costs about five times as much in money as the previous one. There has never been an arms race in history such as we now have that has not led to the use of those stockpiled weapons.
The chances historically and currently are not as bright as we wish they were. Hopes for a man-made generation of peace at present appear to be mostly "pie-in-the-sky" thoughts.
Is there a better, more effective way?
A Plan to Count On "There is a plan," as Sir Winston Churchill said, "being worked out here below" which we can count on. This plan, when we understand it, promises not one, but many generations of peace. And peace that is sure! The success of this plan doesn't depend upon the abilities of men — but upon the existence of a living God.
Articles bringing you advance knowledge of this plan appear on a regular basis in TOMORROW'S WORLD magazine — researched and edited by the Graduate School of Theology of Ambassador College. It's written in easy-to-understand, straight-from-the-shoulder language. It shows WHY a lasting manmade peace is an utter impossibility — and WHY, in spite of this, there is still good news ahead!