Preventing even selected Bosnias will depend on our use of anxious foresight based on models of historical and geographical circumstance, national characteristics, and the like, reinforced by strong intelligence agencies and conflict-resolution teams. We must remember that human progress has often been made in the space between idealism and savagery: idealism, by idealizing, ignores difficult facts, however well-intentioned it is.
Indeed, the more modern and technological we become -- the more our lives become a mechanized routine against instinct -- the more the most instinctual forces within us rebel. And in those places that fail to compete technologically, many young men may become ancient warriors, raping and pillaging and wearing tribal insignia rather than uniforms -- as we have already seen in the Balkans, sub-Saharan Africa, and elsewhere. We will learn that there is no modern or postmodern anymore. There is only the continuation of the ancient -- a world that, however technological and united by global institutions, the Greek and Roman philosophers would recognize and be able to cope with.* * *
The outlines of the post-Cold War world have now emerged. The evils of the twentieth century -- Nazism, fascism, communism -- were caused by populist mass movements in Europe whose powers were magnified by industrialization; likewise, the terrors of the next century will be caused by populist movements (themselves an aspect of worldwide democratization), this time empowered by post-industrialization. Because industrialization depended on scale, it concentrated power in the hands of state rulers; the evils of Hitler and Stalin were consequently enormous. Post-industrialization, with its miniaturization, puts power in the hands of anyone with a laptop and a pocketful of plastic explosives. So we will have new evils and chronic instability. The world will truly be ancient.
The thinkers who will guide us through these troubling but by no means apocalyptic times will be those who teach us how to discern unpleasant truths in the midst of crises and how to act with both caution and cunning. The United States requires a generation of policymakers armed with a classical education.
The curriculum should consist of ancient historians and philosophers and those who have carried on their tradition: Machiavelli, Burke, Hobbes, Gibbon, Kant, Madison, Hamilton, Tocqueville, Mill, and, in the twentieth century, Berlin, Raymond Aron, Arnold Toynbee, Reinhold Niebuhr, and George Kennan. These are only examples, and a range of opinions exists within this group. (Berlin, for instance, opposes the determinism implicit in Gibbon's and Toynbee's grand sweep of history.)
What most of these men have in common is skepticism and a constructive realism. Machiavelli and the eighteenth-century Briton Edmund Burke both thought that conscience was a pretense to cover self-interest. Hobbes instructed that faith must be excluded from philosophy, because it is not supported by reason; reason concerns cause and effect, and so philosophy ultimately concerns the resolution of forces; and in politics this leads to the balance of power and a search for order. As distasteful as the ideas of Machiavelli and Hobbes may seem to the contemporary mind, those two philosophers invented the modern state. They saw that all men needed security in order to acquire material possessions, and that a bureaucratic organ was required to regulate the struggle for acquisition peacefully and impartially. The aim of such an organ was never to seek the highest good, only the common good.