Iron Mountain

Close-up view of a modern GPU card with circuit
Close-up view of a modern GPU card with circuit and colorful lights and details

We had originally planned, when our study was initiated, to address ourselves to these two broad questions and their components: What can be expected if peace comes? What should we be prepared to do about it? But as our investigation proceeded, it became apparent that certain other questions had to be faced. What, for instance, are the real functions of war in modern societies, beyond the ostensible ones of defending and advancing the “national interests” of nations? In the absence of war, what other institutions exist or might be devised to fulfill these functions? Granting that a “peaceful” settlement of disputes is within the range of current international relationships, is the abolition of war, in the broad sense, really possible? If so, is it necessarily desirable, in terms of social stability? If not, what can be done to improve the operation of our social system in respect to its war-readiness?

The word peace, as we have used it in the following pages, describes a permanent, or quasi-permanent, condition entirely free from the national exercise, or contemplation, of any form of the organized social violence, or threat of violence, generally known as war. It implies total and general disarmament. It is not used to describe the more familiar condition of “cold war,” “armed peace,” or other mere respite, long or short, from armed conflict. Nor is it used simply as a synonym for the political settlement of international differences. The magnitude of modern means of mass destruction and the speed of modern communications require the unqualified working definition given above; only a generation ago such an absolute description would have seemed Utopian rather than pragmatic. Today, any modification of this definition would render it almost worthless for our purpose. By the same standard, we have used the work war to apply interchangeably to conventional (“hot”) war, to the general condition of war preparation or war readiness, and to the general “war system.” The sense intended is made clear in context.

The first section of our Report deals with its scope and with the assumptions on which our study was based. The second considers the effects of disarmament on the economy, the subject of most peace research to date. The third takes up so- called “disarmament scenarios” which have been proposed. The fourth, fifth, and sixth examine the nonmilitary functions of war and the problems they raise for a viable transition to peace; here will be found some indications of the true dimensions of the problem, not previously coordinated in any other study. In the seventh section we summarize our findings, and in the eight we set forth our recommendations for what we believe to be a practical and necessary course of action.

Report_from_Iron_Mountain

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