one, America should set the Europeansrnfree to make their own decisions andrnbear the resulhng consequences. Let thernmembers of the European Union, with arncombined GDP of eight trilUon dollars,rnpopulation of nearly 400 million, andrnarmed forces of more than one million,rnsort out the problems of the Balkans ifrnthey believe doing so to be worth therncost.rnWhile Yugoslavia obviously poses norndirect threat to the United States or anyrnally, President Clinton has argued thatrnthere are indirect dangers: Failing to actrnrisks another continental, if not global,rnconflict. Contended former GermanrnForeign Minister Haus Kinkel: “Everythingrnmust be done to insure that anotherrnawful conflagration does not explodernin Europe.”rnThis was, of course, the same argumentrnused for Western intervention inrnBosnia. Yet the Yugoslavian civil war,rnrunning from Slovenia through Bosnia,rnlasted longer than World War I withoutrnexpanding beyond Yugoslavia. The lessonrnis obvious: It is better for surroundingrnstates to remain aloof rather than to intervenernin ethnic strife, thereby buildingrnfirebreaks rather than transmission beltsrnfor war. It is a paranoid fantasy to imaginernSerbia alone inaugurating such arnconflict. Serbian legions will not bernmarching on Ankara, Athens, or Tirana,rnlet alone Berlin, Moscow, or Paris.rnOnly if other states join in could thernwar become a serious one—yet even ifrnthe conflict in Kosovo spilled over intornAlbania and Macedonia, no major powerrnwould join the conflict. The worstrncase would be a Greco-Turkish war, butrnboth countries have made clear both privatelyrnand publicly that neither is interestedrnin intervening in the Balkans. Inrnfact, Ankara and Athens are far morernlikely to exchange blows over the Aegeanrnislands, Cyprus, or territorial sea claims.rnThe most important point, however, isrnthat any resulting instability is a European,rnnot an American, problem. ThernUnited States has a vital interest in preventingrna hostile hegemonic power fromrndominating Europe. Washington doesrnnot have even a minor interest in preventingrnEurope from having to deal withrnthe Balkan conflict left over from thernCold War. Instabilit’ on the peripher)’rnof Europe has other consequences—rneconomic and cultural, for instance —rnbut they are minimal, and to paraphrasernGerman Chancellor Otto von Bismarck,rnthe Balkans are not worth the bones of arnsingle healthy American rifleman.rnDoug Bandow is a senior fellow at thernCato Institute and a former special assistantrnto President Reagan. This article isrnadapted from his testimony before thernUnited States House of RepresentativesrnInternational Relations Committee onrnMarch 10, J 999.rnRELIGIONrnPitirim Sorokin:rnA Prophet ofrnOur Presentrnby Harold O.J. BrownrnThe desire to know what tomorrowrnwill bring, to know the future, is asrnold as the human race itself But how?rnWho among us has the “gift of prophecy”?rnThe book of history might seem tornoffer guidance, but human expectationsrnand prognosticahons often mislead.rnWhen the most brilliant generals, industrialists,rnscientists, and politicians of NazirnGermany planned for World War II, itrnwas not their intention or expectationrnthat all of them should end up eitherrndead, under arrest as war criminals, or inrnbitter exile, with Germany conqueredrnand overrun, split into four “zones,” herrnindustry in ruins, and millions dead,rnmaimed, and expelled from their homes.rnWhen the “best and the brightest” of thernUnited States ruling establishment decidedrnto interene militarily in Vietnam,rnit was not their intention or expectationrnto end with 50,000 young Americansrndead, their political leaders in disgrace,rnthe economy in recession, and the nationrnthey sought to protect completelyrnoverrun by its adversaries. Wlien thernTrojans decided to pull down their wallsrnto admit the “votive offering” horse intorntheir cit’, thej’ did not expect it to endrnwith the city burned, the men killed, thernwomen and children in slavery. Whatrncan we expect? If we cannot see whatrnlies ahead, how can we tell which turningrnof the road to take?rnCan the past be our guide? He whorndoes not know histor}’, it is said, is destinedrnto repeat its mistakes. But what canrnone who does know history do to help usrnavoid repeating them? Much indeed, ifrnwe have the wisdom to listen and therncourage to act. What is so often missingrnis the combination of incredibly thoroughrndata-gathering and genuinelyrnprophetic insight that characterized thernwork of Professor Pitirim Sorokin. Today,rnas we stand almost at the end of thernsecond millennium, it will be instructivernto look once more at what he thoughtrnand wrote concerning the shape ofrnthings to come.rnLet me tell you how I discovered thernprophetic gift, if we may call it that, ofrnthis great thinker. In 1941, as the Europeanrnwar was under way but before it engulfedrnRussia and the United States, thernexpatriate Russian scholar Pitirim A.rnSorokin (1889-1968) accurately predictedrnnot the outcome of the world conflictrnthat was brewing, but the world culturernof half a century later, in a lecture seriesrnwhich became a little book called ThernCrisis of Our Age. I bought this book inrn1956, when I first saw it ProfessorrnSorokin, whom I had heard speak butrndid not know, had a formidable reputation,rnand I bought his little book thinkingrnthat it would be quite “up to date.”rnWhen I saw the publication date, I wasrndisillusioned, as it seemed to me thatrnsomething 15 years old would be obsolete.rnI am not sure that I read it, but I putrnit into my bookcase. In I99I, 50 vears afterrnits original publication, it fell out ofrnmy bookshelf as I was looking for somernlight reading while recovering fromrnpneumonia. I read it in bed, amazed atrnthe incredible accuracy with which thernold professor described the beginningrn1990’s.rnBefore proceeding to discuss his predictivernskills, let us think for a momentrnabout the original meaning of “prophet.”rnIn the Old Testament, a prophet was notrnnecessarily a predictor of the future, andrncertainly never merely one. A priest addressedrnhimself to God on behalf of thernpeople; a prophet addressed the peoplernon behalf of God, bringing “the word ofrnthe Lord.” It is a simple matter to showrnthat Professor Sorokin had a gift for foretellingrnfuture developments, but othersrndo that too, although seldom so well asrnhe. What I would like to propose to yournis this; There is at least a trace of prophecyrnof the biblical type in Sorokin. Thernwords of the Hebrew prophet Micah —rn”He hath showed fliee, O man, what isrngood, and what doth the Lord require ofrnthee” (Micah 6:8)—apply to Sorokin, asrnJUNE 1999/49rnrnrn