The Gathering Storm
ALMOST two years ago, in October 1972, Victor Zorza announced in a column in the Washington Post the coming of a new “golden age.” Let the skeptics scoff, Mr. Zorza wrote, ten years from now they would be convinced. The world was moving toward a period of reconciliation, toward generations of peace: the Middle East conflict would be settled within the next three to six months, Middle Eastern oil would bring the great powers together. This messianic vision, Mr. Zorza explained, did not derive from an inherently optimistic frame of mind, but from a “cold assessment of the facts of international life, from a judgment that the self-interest of the great powers imposes on them patterns of cooperation that none can evade.”
The tenor of the column reflected, if a little ecstatically, the mood of the period. The same message-that peace had come and wars were over-was contained, grosso modo, in the speeches and writings of leading Western statesmen from Nixon and Kissinger to Willy Brandt. President Nixon’s Report to Congress on U.S. Foreign Policy for the 1970′s promised “an international structure which could silence the sounds of war for the remainder of this century,” while Dr. Kissinger himself appeared at a conference appropriately named Pacem in Terris.
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