Realism, idealism: possible roads to peace

``I feel with an Old Testament certainty that we cannot continue indefinitely the way the world is now going, with the world's weapons set on a hair trigger and the doomsday clock at five minutes to noon.'' With those sober words, Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm summarized the thinking that led him to submit his prize-winning essay to the Monitor's ``Peace 2010'' contest.

Speaking to the other two prize winners and to more than a hundred guests assembled here for the April 22 award luncheon at the Colonnade Hotel, Governor Lamm said that ``we must adapt our thinking . . . to the new realities around us because we face a new equation.

``It has historically been one thing to die for your country,'' said Lamm, whose essay, centering on a limited nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan, appeared in yesterday's paper. ``It is a different thing to die with your country.''

The contest, which drew more than 1,300 entries from 30 different nations, demonstrated what the Monitor's managing editor, Richard A. Nenneman, called ``the depth of feeling that the American public has about peace, and the amount of knowledge that exists in the so-called lay level about international affairs.''

It also illustrated the broad range of that concern. Lamm, who has held the governorship of the Rocky Mountain state for a decade, is a seasoned author with several books to his credit. His fellow winners -- like most contest entrants -- are less-public figures. Steven Horowitz, a free-lance journalist from Milwaukee, worked as a shepherd on an Israeli kibbutz while developing his ideas on geopolitical reconciliation. Thomas Fehsenfeld, a businessman from Grand Rapids, Mich., candidly told the audience that ``I've never had anything published before -- I'm deeply grateful for the chance to be heard.''

Mr. Horowitz, whose essay centered on a rapprochement between East and West Germany as a starting-point for world peace, focused on what he called ``the concept of reconciliation.''

``I think some of the important . . . questions about reconciliation have not been asked,'' he told his audience. Speaking in the context of President Reagan's forthcoming and controversial trip to West Germany, he noted that ``the real question we as Americans should ask is whether a reconciliation between the United States and East Germany can begin.''

Mr. Fehsenfeld, whose essay on the use of computer networking to promote the concepts of conflict management appears today on page 18, described his scenario as ``a hopeful one.''

``I believe in humanity,'' he said, ``and I believe in the creative power of the human mind to find better alternatives for us. I believe that every war or threat of war between nations represents the failure of the imagination,'' he continued, adding that ``there are always other alternatives besides war or surrender, and this I think is the real meaning of the Peace 2010 contest.''

The purpose of the contest, said Monitor editor Katherine W. Fanning, was ``to stimulate some breakthrough thinking'' that would help ``shed some of the baggage that suggests peace is an impossible dream.''

In opening remarks, Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn noted that the contest dealt with ``the fundamental issue that transcends all issues.'' And Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis noted that ``there is no subject that can be more important than the one which has been the subject of this . . . competition.''

The contest's panel of judges, represented on this occasion by Prof. Lincoln Bloomfield of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, made its final selections from a group of 45 essays sent forward after an initial screening by Monitor editors. The other judges were Kurt Waldheim, former secretary-general of the United Nations; Curt Gasteyger, director of the Program for Strategic and International Security Studies in Geneva; and Adm. Stansfield Turner, former director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency.

``When our international judges sat down to pick the winning entries,'' said Monitor editor in chief Earl Foell, ``they told us that they were looking for `realism and idealism.' ''

``We need both,'' Mr. Foell added, noting that ``One without the other won't work.''

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to Realism, idealism: possible roads to peace
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today