Current affairs

Global Nuclear Energy Risks: The Search for Preventive Medicine, by Bennett Ramberg. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press. 128 pp. $19.95. Bennett Ramberg thinks that atomic power will continue to be an increasingly important resource for economic growth. But if the industry is to prosper, it must meet the challenges of cost and safety. Preventive medicine is far more effective than post-incident cures. A new international nuclear regime is proposed to deal with the major security risks: a serious reactor accident, the potential link of the industry to nuclear weapons proliferation, terrorist use of nuclear weapons, sabotage of atomic plants, and wartime destruction. Ramberg, an analyst at the UCLA Center for International and Strategic Affairs, has also written ``Nuclear Power Plants as Weapons for the Enemy: An Unrecognized Military Peril'' (University of California Press, 1984), which asserts that the destruction of a nuclear facility could greatly augment nuclear weapons fallout. After Chernobyl, such cautions are more likely to be heeded. A Common Sense Guide to World Peace, by Benjamin B. Ferencz. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications. 112 pp. $15 paper.

In this introductory and nonpolemical overview of the erratic evolution toward a more rational world order, Benjamin Ferencz calmly describes what has been done, and what can and should be done. Genuine world peace requires far more than merely ending the arms race. Any peaceful society requires laws, courts, and a system of effective law enforcement. These three interlocking components are also needed for a peaceful world. We must have greater clarification of international law, a willingness to rely on courts instead of arms to resolve conflicts, and some sort of international peace force as the ultimate world law-enforcement agency. Among his proposals is one to establish a Permanent Council of Peace, a distinguished body of independent scholars, retired diplomats, and spiritual and business leaders that would serve as a mediator between governments, report truthfully on all problems that threaten peace, and campaign for a long-term vision of a better world. The Struggle for the Third World: Soviet Debates and American Options, by Jerry F. Hough. Washington: The Brookings Institution. 293 pp. $32.95 cloth; $12.95 paper.

Many Westerners still believe that the Soviet Union seeks to dominate the world. But what if this is no longer really the goal? After reading the Soviet foreign policy literature and talking with some 200 Soviet scholars, Jerry Hough, a professor of policy sciences at Duke University, concludes that the old Stalinist orthodoxy, which insisted that socialist revolution was the wave of the future, has been almost universally abandoned.

Many Soviet analysts now have serious doubts about the prospects for third-world revolutions in the near future, and thus about the advisability of trying to further such revolutions. Hough concludes that the United States should develop a ``new realism'' about the third world and place greater importance on the Western economic system, which has been the decisive factor in staying ahead of the Soviets. If the US continues to exaggerate the importance of military force, it may create an unnecessary crisis. Estrangement: America and the World, edited by Sanford J. Ungar. New York: Oxford University Press. 347 pp. $19.95.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace requested these essays on the symptoms, causes, and long-range effects of American alienation. Editor Ungar complains that the ignorance of Americans about international affairs is legendary and has been growing worse. Ali Masrui points to the inability of the US to listen to the less powerful. James Chace stresses the American propensity to intervene with force in the affairs of other nations, primarily because of a persistent sense of national vulnerability. Richard H. Ullman urges a drastic deescalation of the US-USSR conflict, along with creating a vision of a possible cooperative future. All are provocative and useful criticism from the liberal point of view. World Resources 1986: An Assessment of the Resource Base that Supports the Global Economy, by World Resources Institute and International Institute for Environment and Development. New York: Basic Books. 353 pp. $32.95 cloth; $16.95 paper.

Those who are seriously concerned with world conditions should welcome a general guide to the interrelated problems of world population, resources, and environment. There are now three of these global guides, each with a different style. The State of the World reports, issued annually for the past three years by Lester R. Brown and the Worldwatch Institute, focus more on key concepts, such as linking economics, environmental deterioration, and national security. ``GAIA: An Atlas of Planet Management,'' edited by Norman Myers (Doubleday, 1984), offers many imaginative charts and diagrams. ``World Resources 1986,'' the first in an annual series, provides global analysis and up-to-date basic data for each of 146 countries on population, human settlements, food, forests, wildlife, energy, fresh water, soil degradation, and climate. Special problems are highlighted, such as multiple pollutants and forest decline; the unique difficulties of Africa; and overcoming inadequate staff, data, and financial resources to instill sound management. The three guides are best viewed as companions, with the World Resources annual as most ``official.''

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