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World Military and Social Expenditures by Ruth Sivard, 7th edition (1981)
 

Foreword by George F. Kennan

The trends so clearly illustrated and documened in this volume - the relentless growth of the nuclear arsenals of the superpowers; the steady proliferation of nuclear weaponry into other hands; and the massive outflow of arms from the industrialized nations to the developing ones (at vast and tragic expense to the latter): these are all trends to which, unless they are reversed in tme, it is impossible to see any outcomes other than catastrophic ones - and catastrophic in the most extreme meaning of that term. We cannot discern the nature of these catastrophies; we can only recognize their inevitability.

Governments, obsessed with military fears or ambitions, seem paralyzed in the face of this ominous state of affairs. Public anxiety about it is growing importantly, particularly in Northern Europe; but in general - perhaps because these dangers, while the greatest the respective peoples have ever faced, are also the least visible - public opinion has not yet been able to exert any adequate inhibiting pressure on the government leaders most directly involved.

The only recourse for those who would like to avert this danger while there is still time is to see to it that the facts about what is now occuring are made accessible to as wide as possible a circle of concerned citizenry. Nowhere is this better done than in Ruth Sivard’s annual volumes on worldwide military and social expenditures. These volumes paint, as does scarcely any other publication of these dimensions, the irrefutable statistical picture of the way in which our civilization is hurrying, in its anxious preoccupation with armed conflict, towards its own destruction. These volumes deserve maximum distribution and attention.

George F. Kennan
United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union
United States Ambassador to Yugoslavia

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