The Unconquerable World – Jonathan Schell (2003)

Twisted Gun

Schell’s book makes the argument that nuclear weapons have essentially broken the old war system, and reviews the history of nonviolent change. I found a couple quotes to be the most interesting material, on the idea that the major battleground is in people’s minds.

From John Adams, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson:

What do we mean by the revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years, before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington.

In a similar line of thought, Gandhi writes on India (before independence):

The causes that gave them [the English] India enable them to retain it. Some Englishmen state that they took and they hold India by the sword. Both these statements are wrong. The sword is entirely useless for holding India. We alone keep them.

In these days where we clearly see the limits of conventional warfare, it’s time to talk about alternative strategies, which may just every once and awhile change minds.

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