Freedom First Society

A Preliminary Survey of One Form of a Stable Military Environment by Lincoln P. Bloomfield

Prepared for IDA in support of a study submitted to the Department of State under contract No. SCC 28270, dated February 24, 1961

The judgments expressed in this Study Memorandum are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute for Defense Analyses or of any agency of the United States Government.

Special Studies Group
1710 H Street, N. W.
Washington 6, D.C.

March 10, 1962


This paper was prepared for project VULCAN, a study of Arms Control and a Stable Military Environment, which was made by the Special Studies Group of IDA for the Department of State under contract No. SCC 28270, dated 24 February 1961. Dr. J. I. Coffey was the Project Leader.

The author, Dr. Lincoln P. Bloomfield, a consultant to the Special Studies Group, has written extensively on the role of the United Nations in international politics. He is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Arms Control Project at the Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Judgments expressed are of course those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute for Defense Analyses or of any agency of the United States Government.

Associate Director of Research



Framework of Study
Policy Background

Principal Features
Peaceful Change

On Weapons and Technology
On the Political Environment

Balance of Forces

Community and Consensus
Revision of the United Nations

The Sources of Threat
Nuclear War – General and Limited
Conventional War
Proxy Aggression
Guerrilla War
Subversion and Psychological Warfare
Threats to Use Force


A world effectively controlled by the United Nations is one in which “world government” would come about through the establishment of supranational institutions, characterized by mandatory universal membership and some ability to employ physical force. Effective control would thus entail a preponderance of political power in the hands of a supranational organization rather than in individual national units, and would assume the effective operation of a general disarmament agreement. While this supranational organization — the United Nations — would not necessarily be the organization as it now exists, the present UN Charter could theoretically be revised in order to erect such an organization equal to the task envisaged, thereby codifying a radical rearrangement of power in the world.

The principal features of a model system would include the following: (1) powers sufficient to monitor and enforce disarmament, settle disputes, and keep the peace —including taxing powers — with all other powers reserved to the nations; (2) an international force, balanced appropriately among ground, sea, air, and space elements, consisting of 500,000 men, recruited individually, wearing a UN uniform, and controlling a nuclear force composed of 50-100 mixed land-based mobile and undersea-based missiles, averaging one megaton per weapon; (3) governmental powers distributed among three branches so that primary functions would exist in some recognizable form in a bicameral legislative organ, an executive organ, and an expanded international judicial network; (4) compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court for both legal disputes and legal aspects of political disputes; (5) approximately 130 political subunits, all nominally independent states, within the system; (6) continued jurisdiction over cosmetic affairs by the national governments; and (7) unrestricted international inspection of all states against violation of the disarmament agreement, with permament (sic) inspection of nuclear research and power equipment, strategic areas and industries, administrative policies and operations, and other key and strategic points in the national economy.

The system of representation in the legislative body of the model government would have to include all the constituent units, with the voting procedure reflecting the relative size, power, and standing of the units. In the absence of individual veto rights, legislative power would be exercised on a weighted basis which acceptably combined population and capacity to contribute to the power of the system. No less important, and of crucial practicality in the effective operation of the model government, would be the financial problems. Finally, underlying the whole enterprise must be a realistic comprehension of the historical requirements for peaceful change.

Clearly, the structure of the model itself can be perceived more easily than the fundamental building blocks of consensus and community which would have to underlie it; although, should such a system ever come into being, it would thenceforth have its own inner dynamic. It is, nevertheless, the question of feasibility which is central to the realization of this model order: it may be unattainable when needed, and unneeded when attainable.



This paper is part of a larger study of Arms Control and a Stable Military Environment. We sketch out one particular form of a stable military environment — “a world effectively controlled by the United Nations,” that is to say, by supranational institutions instead of primarily by national governments as at present.


The notion of a “UN-controlled world” is today a fantastic one. That it is even thought of as a hypothetical framework for politico-military planning grows, curiously enough, out of contemporary doctrines on arms control. Political scientists have generally come to despair of quantum jumps to world order as utopian and unmindful of political realities. But fresh minds from military, scientific, and industrial life, as they focus on the increasingly irrational arms race, have sometimes found the logic of world government — and it is world government we are discussing here — inescapable.

The details of international political control have rarely been made explicit in American disarmament positions. The 1946 United States plan for the international control of atomic energy assigned the international agency managerial control or ownership of “all atomic energy activities potentially dangerous to world security,” plus “power to control, inspect and license all other atomic activities.” To carry this out would have required extraordinary powers at the center. But it was still a distance from that to the political control of the world as a whole implied in the present topic. Throughout the sixteen-year negotiating period, even when programs were advanced for drastic reduction and limitation of armaments, there is no record of any concrete suggestion or even mention of a supranational political organization which would “effectively control” the world.

However, recent exchanges in the great power dialogue have reopened the larger political question. On September 19, 1959, Chairman Khrushchev announced to the UN General Assembly his plan for “general and complete disarmament” within four years. The American response was given by Secretary of State Herter on February 18, 1960, in a speech to the National Press Club. Mr. Herter said that the first goal of the United States in the forthcoming disarmament negotiations was the creation of a “stable military environment.” To create such an environment he urged certain arms control actions, such as measures to guard against surprise attack and to curtail the spread of nuclear weapons.

The second stage of Mr. Herter’s counterproposal was that of general disarmament. Two American objectives existed within the disarmament stage. First, the creation of universally accepted rules of law, backed by a world court with effective means of enforcement — “that is, by international armed force.” The second objective was disarmament itself — “to the point where no single nation or group of nations could effectively oppose this enforcement of international law by international machinery.”

The theme set forth by Mr. Herter was carried into the two proposals made by the United States in the spring of 1960, on March 15 and June 27. Under the latter proposal an International Disarmament Control Organization would be established within the framework of the United Nations in the first stage of disarmament. The second stage would include progressive establishment of an international peace force within the United Nations sufficient to preserve world peace under disarmament. The September 1961 US proposals follow the same pattern.

Here, then, is the basis in recent American policy for the notion of a world “effectively controlled by the United Nations.” It was not made explicit, but the United States position carried the unmistakable meaning, by whatever name, of world government, sufficiently powerful in any event to keep the peace and enforce its judgments.

This paper is an attempt to sketch out the possible contours of such a system, followed by a discussion of the difficulties attending an enterprise of this nature. The question of feasibility seems so overwhelming in today’s world, and the common answer on the part of politically sophisticated people so invariably negative, that it may be wondered why the exercise is undertaken at all. It has three justifications. On policy grounds, it would be well to spell out with greater precision that to which this country has committed itself. On heuristic grounds, it may be worthwhile to apply analytical methods to a problem commonly approached on the basis of hunch alone.1 Finally, there is always the possibility that sophisticated people will turn out to have been wrong.


Some definitions and boundaries are needed of a “world effectively controlled by the United Nations.” “World” means that the system is global, with no exceptions to its fiat: universal membership. “Effectively controlled” connotes government attributes — a relative monopoly of physical force at the center of the system, and thus a preponderance of political power in the hands of a supranational organization rather than in individual national units. “The United Nations” is not necessarily precisely the organization as it now exists. In theory a radical rearrangement of power in the world could be codified through revision of the existing UN Charter (as in the Clark-Sohn Plan); or a new constitution could be designed. Finally, to avoid endless euphemism and evasive verbiage, the contemplated regime will occasionally be referred to unblushingly as a “world government.”

1. Such plans for world government as do analyze in detail (Clark and Sohn, et al.) do not usually deal with feasibility, nor do they customarily appraise United States interests.


The model described below is obviously but one of many possible forms. Equally obviously, it is susceptible to almost infinite variation. But in general, this is what “a world effectively controlled by the United Nations” might look like.


A limited would government has powers sufficient to monitor and enforce disarmament, settle disputes, and keep the peace. All other powers are reserved to the nations. It possesses enforceable taxing powers to finance its political organs, its disarmament policing agency, and its international military force, which includes a nuclear component. The nations are disarmed to police levels.

The international force, balanced appropriately between ground, sea, air, and space elements, consists of 500,000 men, recruited individually and wearing the UN uniform. It controls a nuclear force consisting of 50-100 mixed land-mobile and undersea-based missiles, averaging one megaton per weapon. The land force is stationed and deployed in territorial enclaves equitably allocated among continents and areas, for minimum temptation and likelihood of seizure by any single nation.

Government powers are distributed to three branches. Without assuming that the Anglo-Saxon mold would necessarily be imposed on the new system, it can be assumed that primary functions would exist in some recognizable form, that they would be to some degree separated, and that each would be carried on through some appropriate organs or agencies.

A bicameral legislative organ is empowered to make decisions, on a weighted voting basis, within the scope of the organization’s powers for peacekeeping.

The executive organ is operated by elected personnel, with administrative services carried out by international civil service personnel. The executive council gives special weight — but without individual veto — to the most populous, industrially developed, and strategically significant states. Safeguards in the form of political supervision and rotation of personnel discourage usurpation of power by “Praetorian Guards.”

All states are bound by compulsory jurisdiction of the World Court for both legal disputes and legal aspects of the political disputes. Justice is administered by an expanded network of international courts, with regional panels. States and international agencies, but not individuals initially, are subjects of international law. An equity tribunal system is created for settlement of primary political disputes, along with greatly expanded mediation, conciliation, and arbitration services, use of rapporteurs, and judgments by the courts ex aequo et bono. The constitution provides for the enforceability of decisions of the courts, for execution of the decisions of the executive, and for the carrying out of the laws passed by the legislature. The central authority itself can be sued, but like the US Government today cannot be forced to comply with court judgments. A human rights court modelled upon the comparable court under the European Community is empowered to hear individual complaints of violations of a covenant of civil rights which would accompany the constitution. Permissive and voluntary organs of cooperation exist in the economic, social, scientific and technological, and cultural fields as now, still without powers of compulsion except under special provisions dealing with essential services, health, public safety, and the like.

The model system contains approximately 130 political subunits, all nominally independent states (except such vestigial remainders of the colonial era as the Caribbean islands excluded from the West Indian Federation and the islands of Polynesia and Melanesia not subsumed under any possible federation or confederation succeeding the Trust Territory of the Pacific).

National governments continue to exist in these units, to make, execute and enforce domestic laws with respect to all areas presently in foro domestico except for the raising and provisioning of armed forces, the declaration and waging of war, and the unhampered research, development, and production of military material. These hitherto untrammeled rights are limited by the terms of the new international constitution to the right to maintain sufficient police forces to ensure domestic security. The formula for such forces is derived from the present size of local, civil, and state police, plus national law enforcement personnel such as federal marshals, customs agents, border patrols, law enforcement agents and investigators, and certain militia. (There are obvious discrepancies between states, depending on their internal security problems and practices.)

The states are open to international inspection against violation of the disarmament agreement, with permanent inspection of power and research nuclear reactors, accelerators and other high energy equipment, electronic industries, steel mills, aircraft and space vehicle production, ports, railheads, marshalling yards, major airports and rocket launching facilities, central budgeting, bookkeeping, accounting and auditing agencies, principal research and development operations and installations, and all other key and strategic points in the national economy.

The international inspectorate also monitors the atmosphere for clandestine explosions, for underground nuclear tests, primarily through robot seismic stations combined with on-site inspections of suspicious events, and against tests in outer space through sensing devices in internationally operated solar satellites. In general, space technology remains in national and in some cases (communications, broadcasting, transportation, messenger service, etc.) private hands, but under international inspection. The international authority owns and operates only those space vehicles required both as a military deterrence system and to monitor enforcement of the disarmament agreement. Satellite observation vehicles are equipped to observe optically, electronically, and with infra-red and other sensing and detection devices, and serviced by an internationally controlled ground detection and tracking network.

Largely because of the requirements of the disarmament program, a significant “UN presence” exists in all countries. The secondary aspects of this presence provide dissemination of impartial factual information as well as continuous liaison with local and national authorities.

There is no attempt here to spell out all the details of the proposed system. Three points, however, require elaboration. The system of representation is among the most difficult problems. The financial problem is of crucial practicality. And the whole enterprise rests on a comprehension of the historical requirements for peaceful change.


A legislative body representing all of the constituent units would, as indicated, “make the laws.” It can be deducted from this that a voting system would have to be devised that would reflect the relative size, power, and standing of the constituent units. The present system of one-nation-one-vote in the UN General Assembly is not appropriate to a system commanding decisive military (and therefore political) power. It is excessively utopian (if shadings can be distinguished in the present exercise) to believe that under foreseeable historical circumstances representation largely proportionate to population alone would be politically acceptable to the principal powers. The legislative power would thus be exercised on a weighted basis that acceptably combines population and capacity to contribute to the power of the system. Such a formula must assure the United States (and presumably everyone else) that vital decisions would not be made by any but the most substantial majorities, including the United States.

Thus, while there can be no individual veto, the great power veto will in this partial sense be extended into a limited world government. The precise formula for ensuring appropriate weight to the principal contributors while protecting the rights of the smaller nations has many possible variations, some of which were embodied in the voting arrangements in the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. A bicameral legislature excels, through its upper house, at protecting the rights of the smaller units, while a unicameral body can do the same for the larger members by means of a dual vote.

Under this model, a qualified majority — two-thirds or three-fourths or even four-fifths — would be necessary to avoid control by a numerical majority that commanded only a minor fraction of the world’s industrial power, financial ability, cultural level, etc. Further protection to the now vulnerable principal powers might take additional forms: for example, a legislative council in which the major nations would have a predominant vote (but no individual veto); a system of separation of powers between the branches of government as in the United States; and emphasis on the special position of the major nations on the executive branch.

The one design, however, which could not be applied successfully would be the Calhoun concept of the concurrent majority (in this case between the central authority and its constituencies) with its implied right of secession. “Effective control” has to mean the power to maintain the union.


Little understanding exists of the problem of civil war under a world government. The new regime will be faced with a continuous agenda of problems stemming from political ambition, inequalities, avarice, irrational behavior, the inhumanity of man to man, and the use or threat of violence to achieve political or social ends. This prospect can be ruled out only by the untenable assumption that history will have run its course and an end put to its dynamic, refractory, and otherwise troublesome qualities. Thus a world government, even if it could be created, would be subject to continuing pressures, the most clamant of which could lead to civil war on an international scale, accompanied by unbalancing evasions of the disarmament agreement.

In our model the crucial trick is to ensure that no large-scale civil war could take place to test the “union.” For war on major scale would gravely threaten the system. It would revive production and, given the instability of such a situation, the probable use of weapons of mass destruction. In any event such a war would be no more tolerable under a world government that it would be today, and for precisely the same humanitarian reasons.

If there is a single answer, it is in the realm of peaceful change. In terms of its viability and durability, the compelling need for the world authority will be a rather more exigent version of the problem that pervades all modern history — the need for adequate provisions in the international system to accommodate the dynamic forces making for change, without allowing them to lead to war.

In 1962 nuclear weapons have temporarily suppressed a significant fraction of the pressures which in other times might well have expressed themselves violently. Without that kind of deterrent situation, violence could become the order of the day unless there existed effective provisions for peaceful change. Flexibility and capacity to adapt to change in time and with foresight would be particularly needful in view of the proposed nuclear monopoly in the hands of the central authority. Otherwise the nightmare prospect is of world order at the price of world tyranny — a kind of global Holy Alliance to preserve the status quo. The system must, through its legislative action, its executive implementation, and its judicial interpretation, allow for changes in fact, in law, and in the system itself.


No attempt is made here to cost the model. But some orders of magnitude can be suggested by comparing the present annual cost of the UN system — roughly $320 million — with the figure used by Clark and Sohn as a sample budget for limited world government in 1980 — $36 billion (a figure well below their own estimate of maximum available UN revenue, $52 billion, calculated on the basis of 2-1/2 per cent of every nation’s Gross National Product). The Clark-Sohn plan assumes a UN Peace Force of 400,000 with a reserve of 900,000 costing some $9.6 billion per annum. Other costs of the organization they estimate at $2 billion. To this they add approximately $25 billion for economic development purposes.2

Some figures of a lesser magnitude were recently developed by Colonels Cannon and Jordan. They estimate the cost to the UN of international military personnel per man per day with minimum equipment as eight to ten dollars. A lightly armed brigade of 7,000 men would cost $25 million per year, not including capital costs for bases, etc.3 A balanced force of half a million could well cost up to the Clark-Sohn figure of $9 billion if it must buy, build, maintain, and modernize a broad arsenal of equipment and personnel for world-wide missions.

2. See World Peace Through World Law (2nd Edition, Harvard, 1960).

3. See “Military Aspects of a Permanent UN Force” in A United Nations Peace Force,    William R. Frye (N.Y., Oceana Publications, 1957), pp.161-71.

Finally, technical developments could revise upward the Clark-Sohn $2 billion figure for operating costs, which include those of maintaining disarmament agreements. Recent estimates today speak of a cost of $2.5 billion to install inspection machinery for a test ban alone, and $500 million per year to operate it.


The picture we have sketched out, even with self-conscious efforts to be conservative, strains our credulity. But it would be beyond all reason without certain basic assumptions.

Continuing in as conservative a vein as can plausibly be applied to the topic, let us make explicit the basic assumptions that underlie our model, both as to the technical state of the art, and as to the political preconditions.


To make the problem manageable, it is assumed that at the time the new regime comes into being there has been no technical breakthrough such as would make meaningless the centralization of effective power. This assumption rules out devices that would enable a single individual or small group to terrorize the world, i.e., such potentially unbalancing developments as the controlled use of antimatter, the creation of a Kahn-type Doomsday machine, or the achievement of universally effective magical powers through psychological or biochemical means.

But it must also be assumed that direction of modern science and technology is essentially irreversible. It can perhaps be slowed down or even stopped, either by some universal catastrophe or under a disarmament agreement that curtails the intensive allocation to armaments of economic and human resources. But the processes of fission and fusion, the cultivation of viruses of high toxicity, and the design of engines of delivery cannot be unlearned. Moreover, assuming as we must that atomic power may become economical and fusion power when harnessed even more so, all of these technologies will be practiced under total disarmament in their peaceable aspects. So however comprehensive a disarmament agreement, however much political power is transferred to a world government, and even if no significant manpower is actually working on nuclear, chemical, and bacteriological weapons, or on constructing military aircraft, ships, rockets, or space vehicles, there will always remain implicit in technically advanced societies the capacity to turn again to the production and fabrication of engines of war, probably with fair rapidity.


On any count, it is unsafe to assume that the ideological and power struggle between communism and the West will not continue indefinitely. This assumption of course throws into question any program requiring that both sides subordinate to a supranational authority themselves, their power, and their ambitions. This is the central dilemma of world politics today, and it applies with ultimate force to the proposition of world government. The logical trap is completed with the familiar paradox: given a continuation unabated of communist dynamism, the subordination of states to a true world government appears impossible; but if the communist dynamic were greatly abated, the West might well lose whatever incentive it has for world government.

For purposes of this exercise, we assume that, if the communists would agree, the West would favor “a world effectively controlled by the United Nations.” The remaining question is then how to transform and tame the forces of communism, in any event to the point where the present international system might be radically reshaped. Such a transformation is theoretically possible, but only under two conditions: first, that through evolutionary processes communist doctrine becomes drained of its messianic quality, foregoes its imperialistic ambitions, and comes to accept the notion of a higher authority — a notion traditionally anathema to its doctrine. The other condition, which puts the possibility within a more foreseeable time span, is a crisis, a war, or a brink-of-war situation so grave or commonly menacing that deeply-rooted attitudes and practices are sufficiently shaken to open the possibility of a revolution in world political arrangements. The assumption has to be made here that one or the other of these conditions has come about and that the communists have consequently been brought to a significant mitigation of their doctrine.

Thus we assume a world in which relations between East and West are characterized by significantly higher degrees of mutual trust, internationalist spirit, and unaggressiveness. But there is little in history to justify the belief that, without the communist threat in its present form, the world political environment would be inherently stable. We have postulated by necessity a willing acceptance of limited world government by the great powers. We then further postulate either acceptance by or imposition on all other nations of such a regime. This at once sets up future instabilities. Today the foci of instability are in third areas, centering on economic disparities and nationalistic strivings for independence, which of course Soviet and Chinese policies purposefully exploit. There is no reason to assume the disappearance under limited world government of the dynamic factors — the intergroup competitions, the racial and ethnic tensions, and the gross economic inequalities — which permeate human history and create the conditions for political upheaval. History, short of catastrophe, is not discontinuous. To modify von Clausewitz, limited world government is a form of international conflict carried on under other institutional arrangements than unlimited state sovereignty. Thus, as the framework for international stability becomes established under a benign form of world order, the detailed disputes of a chronic or secondary nature can confidently be expected to re-emerge.

A crucial feature of the system would be its universality. The inclusion of all presently divided countries could come about in one of two ways: through their unification or through alterations in the issues that had once divided them. These conditions would have to apply across the board. It is conceivable that a world order could embrace divided Germany, Korea, and Vietnam, the Arab states still at war with Israel, Formosa and mainland China still in conflict, and apartheid remaining South Africa’s policy. But what has to be assumed as a condition sine qua non is that the parties to such conflicts have either explicitly or tacitly concluded not to attempt to settle them by force. In the case of the lesser powers, there must be the conviction that they will not be permitted to settle their disputes by force. It might be argued that this reasoning is tautological: that “effective UN control” is impossible without solution of the most acute political disputes or, conversely, that such centralization of power automatically ends such disputes. No such assumption is made here, on the ground that a limited world government, to be even theoretically practical, must be embodied in a realistic environment in which old unsolved problems still exist, along with a host of new ones. Above all, we are assuming that it is not historically impossible to transform one kind of international system into another, profoundly different kind, characterized by the centralization of effective power.

For the United States, as well as for the other countries, a threshold will have been crossed from one historical condition to another, drastically different one. However many stages it takes, however tacit or explicit the labels, however gradual or violent the process, there is a Rubicon that divides the Gaul of basically untramelled national sovereignty from the Tuscany of meaningful supranational authority. Nothing could be more dangerous to sound thinking and planning than to elide this fundamental truth.

By whatever process, and under whatever name, the agency that is to “effectively control” world affairs requires in the most important ways the design customarily associated with government. A central authority with effective powers in the realms of disarmament and the settlement of international disputes, and with the capacity to deal effectively with breaches of the peace and acts of aggression, and above all in possession of the most vital attribute of government — a preponderance of military power — is a government, however limited. But it need not be assumed that the organization would have to take on all or even most of the functions of government, particularly in the economic and social realm. The United States Constitution, while granting great powers to the Federal Government, reserves to the states the powers not explicitly delegated. Our model does the same. After physical security and integrity, the most sensitive areas of national sovereignty usually involve such matters as economic and trade policy, immigration practice, civil rights, social welfare, education, and the like. Our model excludes those matters traditionally barred from international cognizance as being essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of the constituent states.

* * * * * *

Under the first of our alternative roads — the pacific evolution of the Communist world, including China — it is difficult to foresee a limited world government within twenty-five years at the earliest, fifty years more conservatively. If, however, it came about as a result of a series of unnerving trips to or over the brink, it could come about at any time. The assumption here, chiefly for logical convenience, is a time period of five to fifteen years from now.


What is the basis for the apportionment of forces earlier suggested between center and parts? Strategic analysis supplies the tentative answers.

“Effective control” connotes a relative monopoly of political power, accompanied by preponderant military force, at the center of the system. The world (sic) “relative” indicates that the power relationship between the center and the parts is one of degree. Some examples illustrate the equation. In the United States the people have the constitutional right to “keep and bear arms”; the government monopoly is legally abridged to this extent. In the Congo Republic the central army is, or was, in fact overmatched by provincial forces; there was thus no effective central government. In Kuomintang China the military power of the National Government was often balanced by the military power of the warlords; the writ of the government thus could not extend uniformly through the country.

So under a supranational government the degrees of relative power as between center and parts can occupy a wide range. This range can be more systematically illustrated along a scale of military power on both sides (as in figure A.).

Figure A.


UNITED NATIONS                                GOVERNMENTS

a)    Nuclear only                                           Conventional
b)    Nuclear and conventional                       Conventional
c)     Modest conventional and nuclear           Police
d)     Large conventional                                Small conventional
e)    Low conventional                                   Police
f)     Police                                                      Police


Six main types can be seen:

(a) At the minimal level of supranational power, the system could conceivably be in a fine balance: central authority might be able to exercise “effective control” on the basis of its sole possession of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction (a variant of the case under the 1946 Acheson-Lilienthal-Baruch plan), with the constituent nations retaining conventional armaments up to present high levels or even higher. The principle of control would be one of almost pure deterrence, based on the theory that the absence of war is due to the threat of nuclear retaliation.

However, as the doctrine of massive retaliation demonstrated rather quickly, such a scheme labors under great handicaps stemming from two factors. One is that under an umbrella of fear of general war, all sorts of mischief can be made by powers who ordinarily have no such leverage. The second classic flaw is the unpromising prospect of vast devastation as the only available response to assaults on the integrity of the system. In this sense the United Nations would only be taking the place of the United States in attempting to enforce the peace, with the same drawbacks plus the additional one that failure to enforce its writ would undermine the whole system. The questions of credibility of threat and of rigidity of both doctrine and means combine to rule out this solution.

(b) The central authority might possess both a nuclear and conventional capability, while the constituent national units would also possess conventional forces. This situation for the UN would be to some degree analogous to several situations today: the US vis a vis Communist China and West Germany, or the Soviet Union vis a vis China.

Such an apportionment of power does not seem sufficiently stabilizing to add up to “effective control.” Given equally balanced conventional forces, the only difference is at the margin, in the possession of nuclear capabilities. Again, the self-deterring nature of such power encourages the constituent parts of the system to frustrate its effective working. In this case, however, the destabilizing factor is not the central authority’s possession of nuclear weapons. It is the retention of significant conventional forces in the hands of the constituent units.

(c) Next in line would be a combination of modest conventional and nuclear capacity at the center, with disarmament down to internal security levels among constituent nations. This is commented on at the end of the section.

(d) This and the next two possible combinations would involve the total elimination of all nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, but retention of some military power both at the center and in the parts, yet of significantly different orders of magnitude. In the first such case, the central authority, unlike Chiang Kai-shek in Nanking (and Chungking), would by its preponderance of conventional forces hold a decisive edge over any predictable combination of “provincial” forces (always subject to the possibility of civil war in the shape of sufficiently widespread defection from the central authority). In theory, such an arrangement would bring the world back to prewar conditions, but with two significant differences. For the first time there would exist a central authority with at least an initial preponderance of force. Second, the Pandora’s box of nuclear (and viral and bacterial and radiological) knowledge will still be no guarantee against hidden stockpiles. Thus this scheme would provide no deterrent whatever to the commission of nuclear crimes after secret preparations.

(e) Still lower down the relative force scale would be a central authority equipped with a modest level of conventional forces vis a vis national units completely disarmed down to the levels of internal security contemplated by typical proposals for general and complete disarmament. The same disabilities apply.

(f) Lowest on the scale would be a totally disarmed world in which no significant military forces were in being at any level. This was the first inference that could logically be drawn from the September 1959 proposal of Premier Khrushchev (as well as the 1927 and 1933 Soviet antecedents of the proposal). Presumably, under such a scheme there would be police-type forces at both levels, lightly armed with nothing of higher caliber than machine guns, plus riot-type devices. (At true zero on the scale there might be nightsticks, perhaps supplemented by bottles of itching powder, tanks of laughing gas and mild dysentery germs, and airguns designed to shoot pellets of tranquillizing drugs.)

* * * * * *

On the basis of the assumption made earlier, the conclusion is inescapable that the central authority, in addition to its conventional military capacity, will have to offset the inherent possibility of evasion by being equipped with nuclear weapons, along with delivery systems adequate to deal with the realistic possibilities of violation (i.e., alternative c). For the very logic of “effective control” requires placing in the hands of the central authority military forces adequate to deal with breaches of the peace and acts of aggression, through whatever means are necessary to preserve a preponderance of power at the center, even against the contingency of clandestine production of nuclear weapons. Ex hypothesi, the central authority would need to retain a nuclear capability adequate to deter any reasonable expectation of clandestine violation and consequent attempt to destabilize or even destroy the new system.

It can be seen that even under a radically designed system of authority in a disarmed world, the problem of deterrence will persist, including some of the features that characterize it today. The situation facing the central authority would not be too different from that confronting the United States in its need to be equipped with forces, both conventional and nuclear, adequate to deter any likely combination of hostile forces. Indeed, this is the problem inside any society. But the special feature in the new situation would be an element of profound uncertainty. Today, defensive forces are designed to deter known quantities or qualities of war-making capability. But our postulated regime, even with a good inspection system, will be to a degree uncertain whether nuclear weapons are hidden or being secretly made, some highly potent nerve agent being developed in an isolated biological laboratory, or some commanding weapon secreted illicitly into the payload of a communication, weather, navigation, and other satellite. These possibilities, however statistically improbable, would pose anew the problem of deterrence in a different calculus, both for the general authority and for individual states such as the United States in making its own calculations.

One mad tribal ruler in a future Congo might not be able to bring the rest of the world to its knees. But twenty-five rockets, with megaton warheads previously secreted or secretly produced in Soviet or Chinese facilities, could supply to those nations an inordinate amount of political and strategic power. Adequate inspection would of course be designed to preclude such a development. But deterrence from the center is the second line of defense, the ultimate safeguard: deterring in the first instance from clandestine production, in the second from political threat, and ultimately from actual military use.

To sum up — a world government must be in a position to deter the unknown possibility of clandestine evasion. This means that the central authority must have a nuclear capability. (It might well also mean maintaining stockpiles of chemical agents, much as national governments have done in the past, against the possibility of a future “gas attack — or its late twentieth century counterpart.) Otherwise, given the low base point (zero) from which honest nations start in a disarmed world, a nuclear capability that at 1962 levels would be marginal, scarcely useful as more than a political irritant, would come to assume incommensurate proportions in terms not only of destructive capacity but as a potent means of psychological warfare.

The problem of deterrence, in short, will exist under a disarmament agreement even if the religious wars of our age come to resemble less the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and more the seventeenth and eighteenth.

The appropriate degree of relative force would, we conclude, involve total disarmament down to police and internal security levels for the constituent units, as against a significant conventional capability at the center backed by a marginally significant nuclear capability.

Some of the major difficulties have already been cited or implied in the course of discussion. Others can be noted. They are summarized briefly under this heading.


Perhaps the most provocative feature of our futuristic landscape is the subsidence of communist expansionism along with its doctrinal hostility to all elements of the world not under its writ. The picture of a disarmed, centrally governed world is intolerably romantic without the assumption we have made — perhaps equally romantic — that this limited but crucial degree of supranational authority is genuinely accepted by communist nations as strategically safe and ideologically palatable. To an important degree the same would be true of the United States, of such prideful nations as France, and of the many countries only now undergoing the exhilaration of intense nationalism. Is it possible that the Soviet Union and China could be brought to abandon their messianic ambitions and subordinate themselves to the writ of a higher authority — a notion which runs counter to all the teaching of communist doctrine? Would only a damaging war make China a willing party in the foreseeable future? Above all, even if the Soviet leaders genuinely desired a disarmament agreement, is there any chance that they would accept its corollary — detente, and international security arrangements to substitute for national force—conditions which the West tends to assume are indispensable accompaniments to disarmament? The difference is of course profound: Soviet doctrine repudiates the status quo and apparently conceives of disarmament as a cheaper, safer way to carry out its policies; the Western position requires that those who disarm accept a new order policed at least as effectively as in an armed world, with supranational power substituting for national.

For that matter, would the United States itself seriously consider disbanding its own armaments and abrogating to an international authority beyond its direct control the authority and the power to do those things which in modern history have been the prerogative of the nation? It is not simply a question of good faith by the policy-makers. Would the United States Senate ratify such a scheme? So long as communism persists as a threat to American society, is there any chance of such a scheme being agreed to? (And if there were no communist menace, would anyone be worrying about the need for such a revolution in international political arrangements?)

The quick answers to these questions, so put, tend to be negative. For the one sound basis of community — genuine consensus — is not yet apparent between the chief actors on the world stage. This finding needs to be examined more closely.

We accept here the equation according to which wholesome community building at any level is a process in which consensus (consent and acquiescence in the general ground rules and overall values of the system) comes first. It may then be followed by development of a community with some organic coherence. Such community in turn is the base on which edifices of government and, finally, of law can be erected. A “normal” historical process, in which ever-larger units evolve through customs unions, confederation, regionalism, etc., until ultimately the larger units coalesce under a global umbrella, could take up to two hundred years, on past performance figures, and even this may be optimistic.

It is technology which requires us to accelerate the process. Yet nothing in technology has yet shown itself capable of altering the elements of the basic equation. Conceivably the rate of cultural and political change will henceforth increase as a function of enlarged ability to educate, inform, and bring together large numbers of people. But even if mass media, cultural exchange, and generally better international communication were to succeed in lessening the incidence and virulence of nationalism and xenophobia, the internationalizing process confronts a built-in obstacle — the immense vested powers, interests, and traditions of government. In virtually every country there exists an establishment that carries from generation to generation the legacies of the national past.

Most “peace movements” assert that “peoples” regard each other as brothers, in contradistinction to governments and their vested establishments, seen as forces of resistant conservatism. If this is so, the only agency requiring a genuine change of heart is government. But the thesis is not entirely convincing. It is by no means certain that the American people, for example, are presently ready to vote the national military establishment out of existence in favor of an international agency controlled by a combination of nations.

The international north-south conflict, characterized by bitter racial resentments and vast economic disparities, is an equally obstructive roadblock to the denationalization of power, unless those at the short end of the social or economic scale become convinced that they would come into what they regard as their birthright more quickly or more surely under a would government. Possibly this could be demonstrated on the basis that the voice of the presently power-lacking states would increase in the uses of world power. But power could not be simply transferred from those who now hold it to those who do not, under the guise of a world government. The safeguards and weightings cited earlier would indeed be designed to see that this did not happen. Only significant reduction in the tensions growing out of recent colonial relationships and the economic disparities could overcome this barrier to achievement of the model.

A related problem is that at least a third of the countries in the world are only now beginning to traverse the stages of nationalism which traditionally precede, accompany, and follow national independence. If some of them are also going to experience the acute pathology of malignant nationalism in the fashion of Germany, Italy, and Japan in living memory, the prospect is dim for consensus leading to formation of a universal community with a preponderance of power at the center.

I have suggested that an alternative road may bypass the main path of history, shortcircuiting the organic stages of consensus, value formation, and the experiences of common enterprise generally believed to underlie political community. This relies on a grave crisis or war to bring about a sudden transformation in national attitudes sufficient for the purpose. According to this version, the order we examine may be brought into existence as a result of a series of sudden, nasty, and traumatic shocks. But does this sufficiently lay the basis for genuine community, adequate to create a durable world order? The transforming experience, whether evolutionary or revolutionary, must, to achieve the foundation of consensus requisite for community, be enough to reach and move great masses of people, many of whom are not now touched by governmental processes, or a fortiori by international relations. In the end, the question of feasibility can only be answered with a prediction: once critical mass had taken place, however tentatively or suspiciously, a new and essentially unpredictable dynamic would have been set in motion, sufficient to confound predictions made from this side of the line.


National disarmament is a condition sine qua non for effective UN control. Yet the known difficulties of general disarmament are overwhelming. This is not the place to argue its desirability or undesirability. What we have assumed is that perhaps as a consequence of a massive crisis it is neither inherently nor technically impossible to design a program whereby all nations scrap their armaments down to the police level, with a reasonable probability of detecting significant evasion of violation through inspection arrangements. Security for the United States, as well as for other nations, could — again in theory — be assured by phasing out national forces only as international forces were satisfactorily in position and under the effective control of a “responsible” agency (although it should be clear that the notions of even a weighted majority as to what is “responsible” will not coincide every time with those of the United States). Technology may contribute to making the inspection task less onerous and less intrusive than at present, through robot mechanisms even now foreseeable. The political hurdle attending penetration of the Soviet Union may be further mitigated by such a move as unilateral American creation of an open world, so to speak, by making available to the United Nations all pictures taken by SAMOS and other observation satellites, of both the Soviet Union and the United States.

But none of this implies that total disarmament is a political possibility in the foreseeable future even though it is technically possible, and even though it is not unthinkable strategically given adequate supranational surrogates for national arms. It is to say that, without it, effective UN control is not possible.


The present roadblocks to universality in the United Nations are, first, the China problem, and second, the unwillingness of the Western powers to formalize the division of Germany, Korea, or Vietnam by consenting to their admission. As for the remaining areas not yet represented (now that the United States has held its nose and swallowed the admission to the UN of Outer Mongolia, as a source of potential nationalistic tension between China and Russia), virtually any territory that gains its independence, however small, nonviable, or incapable of governing itself, is fairly sure to be admitted to the society of nations under the present UN dispensation.

So to achieve the necessary universality, China and the divided countries would have to be either unified, or admitted to participation as presently divided. Unification of Germany, Korea, and Vietnam, and acceptance by each of the other’s continued existence, can be brought about only by conditions which are presently unlikely. To make disarmament and effective UN control dependent on solutions of those problems renders both prospects illusory (and it is indeed this logic which tends to discourage any serious thinking about either).

However, a global authority established with the consent of the great powers, even if those special problems had not yet been solved, could by its prima facie universality resolve the problem of representation. For unlike the conventional American view of the United Nations, membership in the new regime, far from being a privilege, would be mandatory. As indicated earlier, none of these problems would by themselves have to be finally solved in order to set up such an organization. But they would no longer be solvable by force.


The difficulty today of raising $8 million per month to finance the United Nations Congo operation contrasts vividly with a scheme whose monthly budget, according to our estimates, would be approximately a hundred times as great. All one can say is that, if agreement were reached on disarmament, with the great financial savings ensuing, and on the arming of an international authority, provisions would have to be made for funding it. Doubtless, those provisions would have to improve on the present method, and might work on a semi-automatic basis through percentages of national tax collections. In addition, revenue sources not tied to individual nations might be assigned to the central authority — e.g., tolls on international water-ways and revenues derived from res communis such as Antarctica, petroleum reserves under the high seas, space rights, etc. The point is that, if we can assume one, we have to assume the other. The same is true for other questions that arise in the implementation of the basic agreement. Provisions would simply have to be made for territorial enclaves adequate for the headquarters, military establishment, and the inspection organization. Other details would involve recruitment, deployment, procedure, codes, transport, communications, and the thousand and one details of government. Each of these matters poses inordinate difficulties. But the point is that they are not the first and prime matters to be solved. If the solution of the prior question can be assumed, there will be time enough for detailed blueprints.


As indicated earlier, there is no theoretical reason why the present United Nations could not be transformed by extensive Charter amendment into an instrument of effective global control. Alternatively, the process could be a completely new start, in the way the Articles of Confederation were scrapped to write the American Constitution. But it is not a terribly important point which method is used. The essential point is the transfer of the most vital element of sovereign power from the states to a supranational government.

It is clear that, under the hypothetical circumstances, even the problem of amending the present Charter (subject to the veto) is not particularly meaningful, for it puts the matter in the wrong perspective. The paramount issue in creation an “effective UN” would not be first of all the difficulty of amending the Charter, but that of reaching the political agreement and establishing new ground rules about the possession and use of military power in the world. If this were feasible, it would surely be a secondary question whether to incorporate the changes in the present Charter, or to write a new one. The overwhelming central fact would still be the loss of control of their military power by individual nations. If this becomes achievable, the details will not be insurmountable.


The model finally needs to be tested against major threats to its stability and integrity. This we can do using as criteria half a dozen familiar types of threats emanating from expansionist, imperialist, revolutionary, or other aggressive forces. First, however, a word about the source of such threats.


Among the prime assumptions made here is that the present ideological and power conflict may continue indefinitely into the future. But it is not enough of a test of the viability and durability of different kinds of international political and governmental arrangements that they be capable of countering communist aggression. The communist threat grows out of the existing world system and feeds on its weaknesses and imperfections. The inadequacy of the present system engenders tension and conflict which must be dealt with wholly apart from the communist problem. The degree to which any international system has stability and operates within a tolerable equilibrium defines the situation with which communism must deal, and thus the field within which communism (or any other political force) can operate aggressively.

The ability of a system to deal with such aggressive behavior depends to an important extent on the means by which it can resolve instabilities and disequilibria, the extent to which this is done preventively, the extent to which it can apply generally acceptable notions of justice, and its capacity to adapt flexibly to a changing environment. Thus an international system built and aimed exclusively at countering possible communist aggression, even through in the short run it performs its mission successfully, would not by itself satisfy the requirement for a durable and viable system. For a world system by definition addresses itself to the whole fabric of relationships between nations, between cultures, and between economic units; over time; and in the face of changing problems.

While the hypothetical system elaborated earlier must be tested against its capacity to respond to the kinds of threats we can presently envisage, there may be a different and unforeseeable order of threat to cope with, once one assumes a vastly different political setting. This dynamic quality could affect both communist threats and threats from other sources equally designed to disequilibrate, capture, or destroy the new system.

Finally, the choice is not necessarily between an international system incapable of coping with important threats and one which can deal successfully with every contingency in the spectrum. At one end of the scale, the present international system has some capacity to cope, even with communist menaces. At the other end of the scale, we can guess that there would be finite limits to the capacity of a supranational system to handle such maximum challenges as international civil war. A civil war, domestic or international, can gather such force as to end the preponderance at the center. The system impressionistically sketched out in this paper, while its capacities go significantly beyond those presently in sight, remains subject to the basic laws of political life.

How, then, might our model be expected to cope with major destabilizing actions on the part of individual nations?

Nuclear War – General and Limited

The proposed system would explicitly forbid national possession of weapons of mass destruction, of the means of delivery, and of the trained personnel required to mount an attack. Thus the component nations would not have the capability to wage strategic war as we now conceive it. The inspection system would be designed to minimize the possibility of successful evasion or violation of this prohibition. A capacity to threaten nuclear war would arise under two circumstances. One would be a successfully executed violation that evaded the detection system. The reserve nuclear deterrent at the center would be designed to deter surprise attack of this scale, and thus discourage such attempts in the first place.

The other potential for strategic war would arise from the deliberate, overt repudiation of the new order and the political system representing it. The erection of a system of government presupposes the will on the part of its members and its governing institutions to make it work. Making it work includes the enforcement of the laws and, above all, the organic law which gives the government both legitimacy and its relative monopoly of force. If the system did not abort such violation by imposing timely sanction upon a violator in the form of immediate seizure of the forbidden facilities, punishment of those responsible, etc., the danger to the nations who relied upon it would clearly be immense. To abdicate responsibility for self-preservation through a failure of nerve would confront the world with far worse perils than it now faces, given the marginal nature of the authority’s nuclear force. The ultimate question would then be the utilization of the international force after failure to use it preventively. The failure to make early use of initially superior forces to overcome a major violation of the established order is reminiscent of the 1930s. The details of such a scenario in the future are difficult to foresee. Can one postulate this time a more purposeful and intelligent governing mentality? The experience of the postwar period makes for moderate optimism on this score (offset, however, by the new dimension of war by accident).

In the end, dangers in such breakdowns of the system need to be measured against the dangers of breakdowns in the current international system, at the present level of armaments. On balance, if there were any reasonable chance of achieving the system adumbrated here, the hazards inherent in its possible later collapse through failure of nerve or will may well be out-weighed by the possibility that it would in fact work.

Conventional War

It would seem far more plausible for a threat to arise to the system in the form of hostile movements of armed men, i.e., through conventional warfare. Particularly in the first years after the establishment of the system, large numbers of trained men would exist in reserve in numerous countries. Even with internal security forces limited to sidearms and light field weapons, it would not be difficult for sizeable numbers of men to be recruited and armed clandestinely with (or even conceivably without) the connivance of national governments. Soviet man-power could under these circumstances make real the picture that always leapt into the Western mind when the Soviets called for nuclear disarmament: that of Soviet hordes overrunning Russia’s neighbors in Europe and the Middle East.

Once more, of course, the real test of the capacity of the system to cope with such a threat is a function not only of its military capability but of the purposefulness and determination behind it. Here again, history supplies mixed evidence. Under NATO, for example, the argument for a nuclear “shield” has been the threat of overwhelming conventional forces from the East. But, as in the 1930s, the truth is that the free nations actually enjoy a clear superiority, even in numbers of military-age youth, if only the West were to make use of it. If an act of aggression were to occur under the world government, and the responsible powers best able to influence the actions of the organization refused to use its powers, or were hopelessly divided, or were unable to enlist adequate support from the necessary majority of nations, the system would not respond “effectively.” No voting arrangements, however ingenious, could force a decision from an unwilling majority. In this sense the key to effective response does not lie in international parliamentary arrangement, any more than the problem in the 1930s was the requirement for unanimity in the League Assembly, or the reason for failure to act in Hungary in 1956 the Soviet veto in the Security Council.

If the political organs were unresponsive, it could not be expected that the civil servants of the proposed organization could automatically respond to aggression, any more than General MacArthur, for example, automatically responded to the Korean aggression without Washington’s orders, or Dag Hammarskjold responded with such powers as he then possessed to the British-French-Israeli military attack on Egypt in 1956. Constitutional arrangements and parliamentary rules, after all, go only a fraction of the total distance in determining the way in which the body politic as a whole will respond to a crisis. For purposes of analysis we assume that the system would work. We assume that its principal actors will have the determination to make it work in the face of a major assault on its integrity, in the same way the leaders of the Union reacted in 1861 or de Gaulle a century later. How, then, would the system cope with an armed attack by one nation on another or on the international force itself on a scale that could be plausibly prepared and executed by a nation subject to the system of inspection built into the program?

My undocumented conclusion is that trained and mobile conventional forces contemplated here should be adequate to counter a single surprise thrust of moderate dimensions. Ten air-transportable divisions, for example, trained for vertical envelopment and armed with the latest field weapons, transport, and communications should be able to cope with the sort of secretly prepared attack across one nation’s borders of the dimension likely under the circumstances. Beyond that, the strategic nuclear deterrent in the hands of the central authority would presumably deter conventional attack on a massive scale in the same fashion as in American hands it presumably deterred Soviet conventional aggression in Europe in the late 1940s and early 1950s. (The latter analogy rests of course on an unproved hypothesis, as does the doctrine of massive retaliation associated with the preponderance in nuclear weapons.)

The international force would be decreasingly capable of coping with higher levels of aggression involving several countries, up to a point describable as true international civil war. This scenario is somewhat easier to depict. An outbreak of violence in many places of the globe, with national armies springing up, internal insurrection breaking out, national borders crossed in many places, and so on, poses an ultimately impossible task for the international force, even if it had not by that time been pre-empted, divided, or isolated.

The problem of United States security under such circumstances would then be acute. In some ways it would be analogous to the late 1930s, in other ways to the time of the Korean invasion. The alternatives confronting the United States would not be historically unfamiliar: the simple decision to rearm; whether to escalate the action on the ground with tactical nuclear weapons, or strategically with megaton weapons; or whether to beat a retreat, as in Indochina in 1954, Hungary in 1956, Tibet in the late 1950s, and Laos in 1961. These decisions in turn would depend on variables too numerous and complex to analyze here (although it would be illuminating to experiment with this novel policy problem through political gaming).

Proxy Aggression

Just as aggression by proxy leaves an escape hatch for the great power sponsoring it, so it enables an opposing power to intervene without seeming to challenge its adversary directly. The inhibitions on effective counteraction if Russia or China (or the US) were the aggressor might be appreciably less if done by proxy. In the Greek Civil War and the Korean action the doors remained open at all times for a truce or settlement without either great power having to admit defeat. US support of the rebel forces in Cuba in 1961 involved no real commitment.

If all nations were equally disarmed, however, proxy aggression takes a somewhat different meaning. One power cannot feed significant amounts of war material for use in a third area without soon establishing an observable violation — assuming, as we do, as efficient policing of disarmament. Proxy aggression thus seems an unlikely contingency.

Guerrilla War

This section and the next deal with the sort of conflict generally labelled “indirect aggression,” characteristically ambiguous as to national involvement, formal crossing of borders, and the like. Unconventional warfare between nations and, perhaps, against the central authority may well be the most characteristic type of conflict besetting our proposed system. Ability to cope with it will be subject to the same baffling complexities, uncertainties, and difficulties as torment us today in numerous areas. Whatever the international regime, we cannot safely predict an end to situations of civil war, rebellion, and other forms of internal instability. Nothing about a world government by itself alters the relation between blacks and whites in the Union of South Africa or Southern Rhodesia, or between French and Moslems in Algeria, leftists and rightists in Laos, between Serbs and Croats, Georgians and Great Russians, Austrians and Italians, Israelis and Arabs, Tibetans and Chinese, Moslems and Hindus, Turks and Kurds, etc.

So far as guerrilla warfare is concerned, a well-equipped and purposefully led guerrilla movement conducting irregular operations, living off the country, sabotaging a la Maquis, and, above all, favored by significant elements of the population, could tie up an international army just as easily as a national one, rendering its most potent weapons useless because inapplicable. Indochina, Malaya, Laos, and Lebanon all shared these characteristics in an important degree. None was a pure case of external aggression. All had international and internal ambiguities.

At the political level, the prospects for decisive management of this type of conflict are no clearer. For it must be assumed that ideological, racial, or cultural cleavages would divide a supranational legislature on such ambiguous charges of indirect aggression precisely as a United Nations General Assembly is today divided, and with the same disabling effects when it comes to preventive or enforcement action favoring one side or the other. No international system except a total tyranny complete with the apparatus of a police state would be capable of dealing with certainty with this type of disorder. The answer, if there is one, lies perhaps in peaceful change procedures to the extent that justice and equity can be meted to contending factions. Peaceful change procedures would also be relevant for legislating territorial changes where justified, as Israel, for example, was converted by UN statesmanship from a guerrilla force to a proponent of the established order. Procedures of this sort should, ideally, assure greater economic and social justice. (The international authority would, as noted, probably be limited in its powers to intervene in internal matters of domestic politics and economic and social policy, except insofar as international peace and security were jeopardized.)

On balance, provisions on a global scale for peaceful change and for responsive economic and social programs would go some distance toward removing the sources of conflict that characteristically underlie guerrilla war situations. But there remain the less complicated acts of aggression in the form of guerrilla warfare by a hostile, expansionist force such as international communism. An example might be the Huks in the Philippines in the 1940s. The international force should include a paramilitary capability to be used in appropriate circumstances. But there is no confidence that readier solutions would exist than at present. A system which limits the field of military action to guerrilla-type operations is probably an improvement over the present. But no system can wholly avoid the possibility of guerrilla-type problems arising from either source. It is not likely that an international authority would be more clearly capable of dealing effectively with all such threats than national governments have been able to do.

Subversion and Psychological Warfare

Everything that has been said about unconventional warfare applies here as well. At one extreme, a central authority might in theory operate a pervasive countersubversion net, creating a political-civil effect somewhere between the Holy Alliance and the Gestapo. At the other extreme, a world authority equipped only with carefully circumscribed powers to deal with formal acts of military aggression and breaches of the peace, even in a wholly disarmed world, would not be capable of coping at all with political subversion.

Under a system of reserved powers, subversion directed against a single government would be a problem for local authorities as before. Only if it involved more than one government would it become an international problem. If it were of the ambiguous type charged to the United Arab Republic (through Syria) in 1958, the appropriate counteraction would, as in Lebanon, appropriately take the form of observation along a border, or in a capital as in Amman in 1958, rather than the deployment of military force. International forces of a non-fighting variety could be utilized as adjuncts of the pacific settlement procedures by the organs of political investigation and pacific settlement, as the Security Council and Assembly used United Nations forces in Lebanon and, for that matter, in the Congo. Our postulated central authority would be as capable as the present United Nations to take such a situation under its cognizance and send observers to report. But we should be clear that its capacity would probably not be appreciably greater in a situation that resembled the Lebanese case in 1958, where a domestic population was almost evenly divided in a bitterly contested election.

For all the disorders of the oblique variety discussed in this and the previous section, it will undoubtedly remain true that the most meaningful answer lies in healthy, politically and socially coherent communities where conditions favoring internal disaffection and receptivity to subversion are held to a minimum. For the other kind — the malignant external pressure not primarily reflecting a lack of internal integrity and cohesion — there is an additional capacity that in the hands of the international authority would enable it to react effectively. That is the means to monitor and report to the executive authorities on hostile propaganda. The authority might also have in hand technical countermeasures, either direct jamming or adequate means of independent transmission, perhaps by 24-hour hovering satellites which would saturate the affected area with continuous FM or television information programs (although probably the rest of the world — at least one-third of it — would have to watch, too). One could conceive of simultaneous translation equipment in the receiving facilities. These possibilities, it should be said, exist today or will in the near future. World government is not needed to utilize them more effectively against subversive action in the form of international propaganda.

Threats to Use Force

As of April 1961, the Soviet Union had threatened nuclear destruction against various nations over 120 times. Without nuclear arms, or for that matter, any significant arms at all, such a policy would lose its present potency. The threat might well remain, but it would be a different one. It would lie in a given nation’s capacity to generate in secret enough of an independent military capability to impose — or threaten to impose — its will on other nations, on the central authority, or on the community in general. The ability to commit such a violation would depend on the comprehensiveness of the inspection system. The ability to get away with it would depend on the nerve and will of the rest of the community. To face down a Soviet or Chinese threat, backed by a suddenly unmasked stockpile of megaton rocket weapons, would require a high order of political courage and determination to resist.

It is conceivable that under such threat the United States would find that the community as a whole was paralyzed or at least bitterly divided as to whether to call the bluff. In this case the threatening power might safely take what it wanted. The threat, that is to say, might work. If the organs of the community failed to save its integrity, if above all the international force were not a guarantor against successful threat or blackmail, there might well be an irresistible demand within this country that the United States cease to reply on the world organization and once more look to its own defenses.

All of these contingencies depend on the Soviets — or anyone else — successfully concealing a violation to the point where a serious threat could be made. The inspection system might of course be inefficient, or incomplete, or even subverted. But we should, I think, also assume that the United States would continue to rely primarily on its own intelligence sources as a powerful supplement to the international monitoring of disarmament.

It seems hardly likely that any disarmament scheme would be acceptable otherwise. If this be assumed, then it becomes far more difficult to take the world by surprise with a military capacity in position, operational and targeted, sufficient to impose its will on the system, without having been discovered in preparation. Under these circumstances early discovery would be likely. In that case the violation would be either aborted or disavowed. If it were not, it must be assumed that appropriate sanctions would be undertaken unless the nations were totally unwilling to make their system work.


Thus a hypothetical model can be constructed, fulfilling the characteristics of “a world effectively controlled by the United Nations.” But we are left with profound unanswered questions about it. There is the dilemma of its feasibility — the paradox that it is unattainable when needed, and unneeded when attainable. We concluded that in theory it could come about in the short, medium, or long run by a brink of war — or a war — combined with the development of evolutionary trends that might favor it as the time span stretches out.

The dilemma of scope is related. A global security system which comes about in the short-run future through crisis or by war, its ground rules agreed to at the moment of maximum strain, is likely to be very limited in its non-security functions (as well as being unpredictable in terms of future stability and viability). Conversely, a supranational authority that developed more naturally over time, since it would be more likely to rest on genuine consensus and would thus represent a truer community, would probably encompass more non-security functions, and would be more likely to live comfortably over time with the ground rules embedded in its enabling instruments. But that gets into a time period of no interest to us here.

There is the Aristotelian dilemma of corruption of government into tyranny and there is the potential conflict between a centralized authority and the deep American values of pluralism, diversity, and home rule. As with the American Constitution in the Federal period, once the constituent units relinquish their vital powers to the center, the extent to which encroachment is subsequently resisted, “states’ rights” maintained, and tyranny prevented will depend on factors other than the constitutional provisions agreed to. The lesson of historical experience is that how this happens depends not so much on the language of the organic instrument as on the degree of genuine consensus which went into its making. To the extent that the community is an artificial one, resting largely on fiat, or imposed on one important part of the whole by another important part — to that extent its real underpinnings are so much in doubt that its survival potential could not be predicted.

There is the dilemma of depending for effective world order on total national disarmament. Without disarmament, such a world system is probably unattainable. If general disarmament were ever a reality, a scheme such as that outlined in this paper will need to accompany and follow it. Otherwise, there will be no means to prevent exploitation of a disarmed world in a way which would almost surely bring on a war. The crucial point here is the provision for an effective international force equipped with approximately a half million men and a nuclear capability sufficient to deter any likely level of clandestine violation, a combination most likely to create a stable military environment.

And for the central authority to have nuclear weapons poses one of the most difficult questions about world government: quis custodiet ipsos custodes? And perhaps even more to the point, how keep the keepers relatively insulated from the inevitable efforts to control them, wholly apart from the issue of their supervision?

But the details apart, two problems are sovereign. First is the quantum jump such centralization of military power would mean in historic terms. Second is the presently insurmountable difficulty of bringing into a world-wide system the messianic forces of the communist imperium so long as it is on the historic make. At present the very notion of a politico-military rubric superior to both East and West seems remote. By and large, there has been doctrinal continuity between Litvinov’s assertion that only angels can be impartial and Khrushchev’s statement to Walter Lippmann in April 1961 that there may be neutral nations but there are no neutral men. There are occasional indications that the Soviet Union agrees to an international force after disarmament (as in the third stage of the Soviet proposal of June 2, 1960). But it would be subject to the Security Council veto, and no real advance over Article 43 of the UN Charter agreed to in 1945. In addition, presently insurmountable problems seem to exist as to the sequence of disarmament and control.4

In sum, the structure of the model can be perceived more easily than the fundamental building blocks of consensus and community which would have to underlie it. But we must end by repeating that if such a system ever came into being, even in grave crisis, it would thenceforth have its own inner dynamic. New forces could be set into motion which we cannot now comprehend, leading in the direction of constitutional and organic development that might bear as little resemblance to the first stage as the United States system in 1961 bears to the thirteen colonies under the Articles of Confederation.

4. “…the formation of an international army before general and complete disarmament is effected would lead in practice either to the rise of unprecedented ‘super-militarism,’ if the international armed force were stronger than the armies of the Soviet Union and the United States, or to the perpetuation of extreme inequality in international relations if the international force were employed only against small and weak countries.” Y. Korovin, “Disarmament and Security,” International Affairs (USSR), February 1961, p. 57.

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