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The importance today to every human being of community control of international coercion needs no pedant's footnotes to bestow upon it a sense of reality. The increasingly rapid multiplication and diffusion of weapons capable of shattering the globe, the most recent successful orbiting of artificial satellites and launching of guided and ballistic missiles of intercontinental reach, the continued, if decelerated, hostile polarization of power in the world arena, the ever more precarious equilibrium between the polar opponents, the high and still rising levels in tension and expectations of comprehensive violence—all these and many other aspects of the contemporary world arena magnify with chilling insistence, even for the willful blind, the urgent need for rational inquiry into the potentialities and limitations of our inherited principles and procedures for controlling violence between peoples and for the invention and establishment of more effective alternatives in principles and procedures. This urgent need—not far removed, if at all, from that of simple survival—when considered in relation to the rising demands of people all over the world, whatever the perspectives of their rulers, for the securing of all their values by peaceful procedures, free from coercion and violence, confronts students of international law with unparalleled challenge and opportunity.
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