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Johan Galtung

anon — March 1983

Holy Blossom Temple offered a week-long series of lectures and panel discussions during January on the theme of the nuclear arms race.

Professor Johan Galtung was the keynote speaker. He was evidently not optimistic over the prospects for avoiding a nuclear war, but he was not as pessimistic about the future of the post-war world as other writers, notably Jonathan Schell, in that Galtung thinks it unlikely that a nuclear war in Europe would destroy the entire human species. He considers a more probable outcome to be the loss of between 1 and 2 billion lives, or up to half of the human population.

Galtung holds that a few European countries might survive such a holocaust. The most likely one would be Switzerland, which has been careful to stay clear of both superpowers and to keep its military preparations limited to defensive systems, refusing to acquire the capability of fighting beyond its own borders.

Switzerland, moreover, has made a point of being useful to other countries, who would probably make an effort to keep it intact.

Galtung was explicit in his suggestion that a nation like Canada might be able to copy many of the policies of the Swiss, thereby making its own survival more probable in the case of a nuclear war.

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