The Gentlemen Talk of Peace
MR. ZIFFis noisy and intemperate. He will not allow two adjectives to do where four can be squeezed in. His book abounds in slickness and generalities. And he exaggerates grossly and pulls some factual boners.
Yet the impact of all his accumulated fact about the state of the world today is undeniable. Most of it is right and so is most of his interpretation. If occasionally his history looks a bit vulgarized and he sounds as though he were subscribing to the devil theory of wars and history, there are quiet moments when he observes that rulers, taken as a whole, reflect the underlying will of the people; that the eradication of Hitler and the Nazis will leave the world little better off — and ready for the next Hitler and the next bunch of Nazis; that the world needs a new set of conditions if it is to have peace.
The world is sick, and not from the Nazi Party alone. Mr. Ziff points to all the dangers — from Britain’s loss of her export balance to our own almost impossible reconversion problem.
We may try to postpone the day of decision, he says, by yards of diplomatic treaties, much protocol, even plans for security police against aggressors; yet all these are valueless so long as they stand opposed to the political and economic realities of today. Either we solve these problems or we go to war to preserve the inequities and anachronisms that exist.
The British Empire is cited as a prime example. American power is dedicated to the preservation of Britain; yet Britain is unquestionably in a state of decline, her economic power terribly sapped. At the same time she still possesses many things other nations covet. Her desirability plus her vulnerability is an invitation to w ar.
Shall we spend the rest of our lives fighting to save this remnant or the many others that Mr. Zilf cites? Or shall we reconstitute the world and remove the economic and political tensions that lead to war? Air. Ziff is emphatically for the latter course. He would divide the world into five great areas, each with access to adequate raw materials, each with adequate markets, decent climatic conditions, enough space, and enough people — the factors necessary for a self-regulating, workable economy.
Then, and only then, he concludes, will the world have peace. .Agreed. But how to get it? Macmillan, $3.00.