Global Instability and Strategic Crisis

By Neville Brown | Go to book overview

11

Pax Atlantica?1

Each side of the Atlantic, the twentieth century brought forth sundry secular prophets, telling of futures revealed in divers ways. H.G. Wells might still be lauded as doyen of them all. His most famous prevision came in 1913 when, in The World Set Free, he foresaw a war fought with 'atomic bombs' in 1959. More often, however, his interest in military science was too spasmodic. He gyrated between blimpish insensitivity to change and skittish indifference to continuity. In Anticipations (1901), he could only allow that heavier-than-air machines would fly 'very probably before 1950' (p. 191); and that submarines would rarely be lethal except to whosoever sailed in them (p. 200).

Nevertheless, this overview of the century ahead was laced with social and geopolitical insights. By 1935, the USA was likely to overhaul Britain in naval and mercantile terms. Yet concurrently the looming German challenge should induce a 'synthesis of the English-speaking peoples' (p. 260). Once Germany had been curbed in a series of wars, the destiny of Western Europe would hinge on a federalism based on the states extending across the Rhine valley, states destined to become a single economic entity the next fifty years. 2

What Wells thus foretold was the Rhine being the axis of an incipient Pax Europa. The great river would no longer divide Francophone land from Germanophone: a role imposed on it from 962, the year the title of Holy Roman Emperor resumed by Charlemagne on Christmas Day 800 passed less firmly yet more conclusively into German hands. Currently such an objective is expressed in the endeavour to forge Franco-German links which cannot be sundered. Beforehand, one can credit with the same ultimate vision those statesmen who, in the 1950s, created the Coal and Steel Community and then the European Economic Community, all its six founder members bar Italy grouped round the Rhine. Then, come the 1960s, those who endorsed the 1957 Treaty of Rome's commitment to an 'ever closer unity' began further to ask whether the EEC per se might contribute more to the resolution of world problems than could its members acting separately.

-183-

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Global Instability and Strategic Crisis
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • The Author ix
  • Preface xi
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Part I - The Strategic Revolution 1
  • 1 - Through 11 September 3
  • 2 - The Poverty of Strategy 32
  • 3 - A War on Terror? 45
  • 4 - Saddam, Slow Decline and Rapid Fall 59
  • Part II - Limited World War? 71
  • 5 - Social Instability 73
  • 6 - Macabre Lethality 100
  • 7 - The Ascent of the Missile 122
  • Part III - Defence Against Missiles 131
  • 8 - Ballistic Encounter 133
  • 9 - Terrestrial Coverage 156
  • 10 - The Heavens Subverted? 163
  • Part IV - The Quest for Strategy 181
  • 11 - Pax Atlantica? 183
  • 12 - Arms in Moderation 197
  • 13 - Planetary Internationalism 217
  • 14 - Strategy Transcended 243
  • Appendix A 265
  • Appendix B 272
  • Further Reading 279
  • Notes 281
  • Index 303
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