postponing rather than altogether avoidingrndeath; nor should we be angry atrngovernments or diplomats for merelyrnpostponing war. The parallel mav be extended:rnoccasionally small wars are prophvlacticrnand avert bigger ones, just asrnsurgery may postpone hfe-threateningrndevelopments. World War II might havernbeen avoided had the Allies intervenedrnwhen Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland.rnSome argue that the Persian Gulf Warrnprevented a bigger war that would havernoccurred had Iraq been permitted tornconquer its neighbors.rnCouldn’t conflicts among sovereignrnnations be settled by adjudication whenrnnegotiations are unsuccessful? Not really.rnConflicts among citizens of any nationrnare settled peacefully by adjudication.rnViolence is avoided because eachrncountry has laws and courts that settlernconflicts, as well as police and militaryrnforces that enforce the verdicts of therncourts. The legitimate use of violence isrnmonopolized by the government. Individualsrnare not allowed to use force andrnare actuallv prevented from doing so byrnthe threat of the overwhelming power ofrnthe goernment. A reasonably efficientrngoernment is stronger by far than anyrnindixiduals or small groups and can,rntherefore, deter the use of force by mostrnindividuals most of the time as well as violentrnattempts to overthrow it.rnThe conditions that prevent nongovernmentalrnuse of force domesticallyrndo not exist in international relations.rnInternational law is not effectively bindingrnon sovereign nations. Each nationrnproclaims adherence to international lawrnbut interprets the law as it wishes. Therninternational court of justice in thernHague has but nonbinding jurisdiction;rnparties appear voluntarily; verdicts notrnvoluntarily complied with are unenforceable.rnThere are other international organizationsrnthat attempt to banish war andrnsometimes are useful in postponing it.rnBut this tends to obscure more than tornchange the essential situation: nationsrnhave the right—more importantly, theyrnretain the power—to go to war, howeverrnmuch they subscribe to treaties renouncingrnit.rnOrganizations such as the United Nationsrnare meant to outlaw and preventrnwar. They do the former but not the latter.rnWhether one looks back at the KoreanrnWar, the Persian Gulf War, or U.N.rnactions in Somalia (and the rest ofrnAfrica), the best that can be said is thatrnthe organization occasionally has beenrnhelpful in preventing more violence thanrnactuallv occurred. However, the U.N.rncannot avoid war when the divergent interestsrnof its members impel them to usernforce. The U.N. has no independentrnwill, or judicial or police powers. It canrnenforce the will of some members onlyrnwhen it is lent military force by thesernmembers. And when the membersrnthemselves use force, they can do so withrnor without the U.N.’s blessing.rnOptimists believe that a worid governmentrncould avoid war. Not so. To beginrnwith, it is unlikely that the Chinese, thernRussians, the Japanese, or even the Englishrnand the Frencl: would be willing tornsurrender their sovereignty, i.e., theirrnpower to make war or to defend themselves.rnBut let that go. Suppose thev did.rnExperience is showing currently that territoriesrnunited under one governmentrnbut including different nationalities tendrnto fall apart as soon as they are no longerrncompelled to stay together. Furthermore,rnthe American Civil War teachesrnthat different nationalities are not necessaryrnto bring about a civil war within arnnation previously united. .And as the formerrnYugoslavia shows, newlv independentrnnations may engage in war withrneach other about the size of the respectivernnational territories. After the SovietrnEmpire fell apart, there was and still isrnunrest and violence not only among thernnationalities previously governed fromrnMoscow but also within the Russian territoryrnthat remained. Many of the morernthan 100 nationalities included withinrnRussia are striving for independence.rnIf there were a world government,rninternational wars would be replaced byrncivil wars. The change of label would notrnreduce the frequency of war, or the sufferingrnof peoples. On the contrar’: civilrnwars tend to be particularly vicious, asrnthose in Spain or the former Yugoslaviarnshow.rnOne must conclude that the essentialrnsituation permits us to postpone, even tornavoid, specific wars but not ultimatelyrnto avoid war. We should concentrate onrnaoiding specific wars as we avoid specificrnillnesses, without expecting to livernforever, or wasting time and resourcesrnon attempts to banish war or death altogether.rnErnest van den Haag writes from NewrnYork City. New editions of his PunishingrnCriminals and The Jewish Mystique arernforthcoming from the University Press ofrnAmerica.rnpoLmcsrnLessons FromrnFrancernbyE. Christian KopffrnOn the French nightly news forrnMonday, June 12, the anchor’s facernwas so grim that, at first, I thought thernFrench forces in Bosnia had suffered seriousrnlosses. But, no, he was reporting onrnthe French municipal elections, the firstrnround of voting for mayors of cities withrnpopulations of 30,000 or more. The recentrnpresidential victory of GaullistrnJacques Chirac had not led to the collapsernof the Socialist Party. Instead, initialrnresults showed that the NationalrnFront was now a permanent part of thernpolitical scene. That was the bad news.rnFounded in 1972 by French nationalistrnJean-Marie Le Pen, the NationalrnFront (FN) had taken off in the 80’s,rnaided by its opposition to North Africanrnimmigration, permanent mass unemploymentrnresulting from France’s commitmentrnto global free trade, and therncorruption of the Socialist regime ofrnPresident Frangois Mitterrand. Mitterrandrngave the FN a boost when he halvedrnthe percentage of the vote needed tornsend representatives to the French Parliamentrnfrom 20 percent to 10 jjcrcent, expectingrnto split the French right. Instead,rnthe Communist Party went from its traditionalrn20 percent of the vote to aboutrn10 percent, while the National Front rosernto 10 percent. Political analysts assuredrnus that it was hasty to assume that halfrnthe communist working-class vote wentrnover to the National Front. That is, however,rnwhat happened.rnMitterrand continued to plav the LernPen card cynically against the traditionalrnrightist coalition, but responsible conservativesrnand socialists were not concerned.rnFrance had seen periodical outburstsrnof nationalist “fever” before, suchrnas the Poujadists of the I950’s, as Americarnand England had seen the brightrnflares of Joe McCarthy and Enoch Powellrnrise, lighten the sky, and then sputter outrnand fall harmlessly to the ground. Suchrnmovements rarelv attracted more thanrnOCTOBER 1995/45rnrnrn