Almost no one reading this was alive in 1914. Read on, though, and reflect.

Europe had many new weapons, and new ideas on how to wage war. Several leaders, with low standing among their citizens, knew that the early stages of a war mobilized the nation: “My country right or wrong.”

That gambit worked until those cheering on the war died or were wounded, and civilian support turned to anger with the casualities, food and fuel shortages, and dislocation.

But there were parties, moderate, who warned against war. Yet, once the war started they were silenced, considered traitors, and imprisoned. And millions were conscripted to go to a war they opposed.

There they were: supporters and opponents from the same nation fighting, dying and suffering.

The war lasted four years. The leaders who felt it might solidify their power were gone. The peace was a disaster and led to the Second World War barely 20 years later.

Historical comparisons are imperfect, and North Korea and the United States are not Russia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1914; nor are they France and Germany.

However, as 2017 has more than wee hints of 1914, reflection, and a lof of it, is needed.

These thoughts, needless to add, should lead to a permanent peace instead of: “Hmmm, if we act right now we can win this war.”

The North Koreans have no power to alter their leader’s behavior. Americans do, and should, from the president to the Congress and massive peace demonstrations.

Here is opportunity for the United States to show that negotiation and global and regional cooperation for peace are possible, even if difficult.

Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky

summer resident


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