PEACE 2010. From the pens of young writers

IT was a gradual process, its success almost unforeseeable. Why? What happened?

The idea of humanitarianism was so well received across the United States it became state policy to ``Feed the Children'' of stricken areas. The administration discovered people liked the role of America the Benevolent much better than America the Strong and Stern. If the government of the stricken area did not appreciate the help, if cries of trying to buy influence, etc., went up, the citizens did not care. It satisfied a fundamental human need. Just as the human race supports aggressive tendencies, it harbors, also, a mothering instinct.

The American farmers had long overproduced and now there was a need for their harvest. Individual donations from the masses were used to buy the grain. Organizations that supplied many jobs developed and systematically took care of the buying and selling. The farm economy took a turn for the better.

But this was not happening only in America but all over the world. The Soviets did not want to be outdone and lose their influence. They sent some grain, but for the most part supplied manpower -- teaching how to farm, prevent disease and disaster, and so on. Also, graft among the superpower agencies was rare.

Neither side wanted to hamper their influence by dropping anchors of controversy. If they could make their work seem purely humanitarian, they tried it. The media scrutinized every aspect of the work, probing hard for ugly cracks in the veneer. Thus, activities had to remain, for the most part, nonmilitary. Neither side wanted to give the other the propaganda advantage.

But didn't the poor countries have to choose sides?

Oh, no, they played the superpowers just right. They knew enough to keep a distance. Then the superpowers would have to mind their manners with them and keep competing with each other instead.

All economies were stimulated. What's more, citizens felt good. Everyone liked the idea of feeding the children. It became a better bargaining chip than weapons and defense had ever been as far as gathering allies went. For example, a country could be assured only as much defense as the citizens of the other would tolerate. No one wanted to die for the impoverished, but sharing the wealth was OK, since it was painless. Therefore, more new money went into the Feed the Children Policy programs than for the military. In a sense, the swords had been bent into plowshares. . . .

But how did all war[s] stop?

They didn't! . . . World attitudes changed. The rivalries, wars, still exist. It is just expressed in a different way. . . .

It's a first step. We are becoming a civilization after nearly five millennia on the wrong track. . . .

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