OPINIONSrnWho Cares Who’s Number One?rnby Chilton Williamson, Jr.rn”All the great things have been done by little nations.”rn—Benjamin DisraelirnPreparing For the Twenty-FirstrnCenturyrnby Paul KennedyrnNew York: Random House;rn428 pp., $25.00rnThe Passionate Attachment:rnAmerica’s Involvement With Israel,rn1947 to the Presentrnby George W. Ball and Douglas B. BallrnNew York: W.W. Norton;rn328 pp., $24.95rnThere is definitely less to Paul Kennedy’srnnew book than might appearrnon the surface of it. Preparing for thernTwenty-First Century is an odd combinationrnof old-fashioned doomsdayrnalarmism, the modern lust for total planning,rnand the equally contemporary demandrnfor a future free of risk and insecurity.rnIt is also written in as bland andrnpedestrian a style as that of any journalistrnor public academic on this side of thernAtlantic; if Professor Kennedy is a fair indicator,rnthen the British hegemony inrnrespect of the English language has gonernthe way of the British hegemony in respectrnof economics, which is to say itrnhas been Americanized. Perhaps in thern21st century it will be Nipponized asrnwell.rnWhatever new ideas are in this book,rnI must have missed by inadvertent catnapping.rnKennedy’s thesis is the alreadyrnfamiliar argument that the so-calledrnglobal economy, human mass migration,rnand environmental crisis are all factors inrna process of transnational change that, inrnaddition to being resistant to nationalrncontrol, have rendered the nation-statern”the wrong sort of unit”—cither toornlarge or too small—to handle problemsrnof historically unprecedented size andrnChilton Williamson, jr., is senior editorrnfor books at Chronicles.rnscope. These problems, what is more,rncannot be dealt with by armed force,rnbut only by international cooperationrnand a ‘”relocation of authority’ both upwardrnor downward”—preferably upward,rnsince Kennedy is clearly uncomfortablernwith the present assertiveness of thernsmaller units active in the world today,rnwhich he seems to find exemplified byrnthe ethnic separatism of the Serbian nationalistsrnand uncooperative elementsrnwithin the republics of the former SovietrnUnion. He is a proponent of the EuropeanrnCommunity, since “the largerrnlogic of historical change favors the integrationists”rnand “Europe surely has nornreal alternative to moving forward, seekingrnto create an influential and responsiblernentity capable of meeting . . . challengesrncollectively in a way that twelve orrntwenty separate nation-states simply cannotrndo.” The “profundity of internationalrnchange,” Kennedy believes, “demandingrnnew thinking and newrnstructures, strengthens the position ofrnthose who argue that Europe simply cannotrnstand still.”rnProfessor Kennedy concedes that thernnation-state is likely to hang around for arnwhile, as it remains the “primary locus ofrnidentity of most people,” the “chief institutionrnthrough which societies will tryrnto respond to change.” Yet only suchrnstates as are willing to pursue “new thinkingrnand new structures” will have arnchance at being Number One—or Two,rnor Three, or Four—in the 21 st century, arnglobal status that Kennedy regards asrnboth quantifiable and significant. ThernProfessor’s Benthamite, pushpin-asgood-rnas-poetry bias is expressed by hisrndeprecation of Britain’s willingness atrnthe end of the last century to muddlernthrough in accordance with national traditionrnrather than seek to retain its preeminentrnposition in the world by apingrnforeign ones. If, in order to maintain anrnindustrial edge over Japan, economic logicrnsuggests the need for the United Statesrnto reorganize itself as a society of antpeoplernengaged in regulated calisthenicsrntogether, that possibility, Kennedy seemsrnto imply, is worth considering at least sornfar as it is compatible with Americanrnvalues and customs: further, perhaps,rnsince he goes on to inveigh againstrn”fundamentalist forces, partly in reactionrnto globalization, gather[ing]rnstrength to lash back, while even inrndemocracies, nationalist and anti-foreignrnpolitical movements gain ground—rnall of which hurts their long-termrnchances of ‘preparing’ for the future.”rn(One hundred thirty-two pages later, thernauthor offliandedly remarks that “societiesrnwhich possess technical and educationalrnresources, ample funds, and culturalrnsolidarity [my italics] are betterrnpositioned for the next century thanrn34/CHRONICLESrnrnrn