They are: 1. the end of human life, perhaps of all life on earth. 2. A going back to jungle life after the Third World War. 3. A unification of the world under a single government, having a monopoly of all the chief war weapons.
I do not pretend to know which of these will take place, or even which is the most likely. What I contend is that the kind of system that we now have cannot possibly go on.
The first possibility, the end of the human race, is not to be expected in the next world war, unless that war is postponed for a longer period than now seems probable. The second possibility, that of going back to jungle life, would leave open the likelihood of a slow return to civilization, as after the fall of Rome. The sudden change will, if it occurs, be very, very painful to those who experience it. And for some centuries afterwards life will be hard and boring. Yet there will still be a future for mankind. The third possibility that of the setting up of a single government for the whole world might be realised in different ways. For example, by the victory of the US in the next world war, or by the victory of Japan, China or India or, theoretically, by agreement or by an alliance of the nations that want an international government and so on.
What should be our policy, in view of the different dangers to which mankind is exposed? We have to guard against the above three dangers. Either the first or second of these disasters is almost certain, unless great wars can be brought to an end only by the concentration of armed force under a single power. Such a concentration cannot be brought about by agreement, because of the existing opposition of certain countries, but it must be brought about somehow.
The first step – a very difficult one – is to persuade the US and the British Commonwealth of the absolute necessity for a military unification of the world. The governments of the English-speaking countries should then offer to all other countries the option of entering into a firm alliance. This will involve a pooling of military resources and mutual defence against enemies.
At a certain stage, when the alliance had got enough strength, any great power still refusing to join should be threatened as outlawan and, if unwilling, should be looked upon as a public enemy. The resulting war, if it took place fairly soon, would probably leave the economic and political structure of the US intact, and would enable the victorious alliance to establish a monopoly of armed force. This will make peace secure. But perhaps, if the alliance were powerful enough, war would not be necessary. The unwilling powers would prefer to enter it as equals rather than, after a terrible war, submit to it as defeated enemies. If this were to happen, the world might emerge from its present: dangers without another great war.
I do not see any hope of such a happy issue by any other method. But whether opposing countries would yield when threatened with war is a question as to which I do not venture an opinion.