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In looking forward at the shape of history to come it is difficult to be sanguine about continuing world peace, even such as it has prevailed in the first years of this century. No bloviatings about end of history or violence reduction can hide the fact that the laws our interrelations have not been repealed and that the age-old patterns of rise and fall of empires are more than likely to recur.

Never in our history has a rising power with extended reach not fallen afoul of an older one, whose interests are threatened thereby. So it was with Sumer, Babylon and Egypt, and so it was with Athens and with Sparta, as it was with Persia, Rome, and the Caliphate. So it was with Spain, and England, Russia, Turkey, Germany, and now it appears to be our turn. The question is not if the West shall fight the rising China but rather when, and will the power have shifted by then to the newcomer far enough to grant it victory when the drones quit flying.

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