Naked into the conference chamber?
by Gwydion M. Williams
- Does anyone need weapons?
- Practical morality
- Bevin and Nato
- Bevan and the bomb
- The United Nations
- Why wars occur
- International Law?
- One World?
- Stalin’s legacy
- The Global Economy
- Labour’s chance
At the 1988 Conference, Neil Kinnock made an interesting proposal to the Labour Party. He suggested that they should risk the end of civilization, perhaps of human life in general, in order to improve their chances of getting re-elected. He didn’t put it quite like that, of course. But that was the substance of what he said – a believer in unilateralism arguing that unilateralism should be ditched.
It is hardly surprising, given such a proposal, that Labour decided to stick to its guns – or rather, to stick to its traditional distaste for guns and bombs. If Labour gives up its commitment to unilateralism now, it is unlikely ever to adopt it again. Unilateralism would be pushed back to the fringes of politics, where it was before the revival in the fortunes of CND.
The Kinnockites have tried to argue that the recent round of arms agreements have somehow made unilateralism irrelevant. This is illogical. If multilateral arms agreements can work, then unilateralism was a mistake all along. If it was not a mistake, then the current round of arms reductions can be expected to slow down and then stop.
There is also the question: what sort of world do we want in the long run? Most people, whether multilateralists or unilateralists, seem to see the future as very much a continuation of the present, with a world full of nation-states that can never fully trust each other.
Experience since World War Two has shown that where there are sovereign states. there will from time to time be wars. The United Nations is at best a means to wind down wars that both sides are sick of. A world without nuclear weapons would be a world that could no longer destroy itself, but also a world that could and probably would rip itself apart with the horrors of “conventional” weapons. It is, perhaps, time to ask if the whole peace movement has not concentrated on the wrong issue.
“One World” used to be a favourite Socialist and Radical slogan. As a slogan it may still occasionally be used, but it is no longer taken seriously. Yet the feeling is still there. The remarkable success of Band Aid and Live Aid has shown that ordinary people are not so fond of a world of competitive nation-states. Particularly since the poor countries are losing the competition, slipping back and getting poorer while the industrialised nation-states are doing very well.
Those who argue for unilateral disarmament, will argue that warfare is a deeply immoral activity. It is an organised slaughter between large numbers of young men who usually have no personal hatred for those they kill. It is an activity that eats up wealth: the global arms bill, if it could be diverted, is more than enough to provide clean water and good health-care for everyone. And warfare is an activity that will inevitably hurt non-combatants and innocent bystanders.
On the other hand, sovereign states cannot survive in the modern world unless they are willing to go to war under some circumstances. Even if a state has no interest in the world outside its boundaries, it must be willing to fight if it is invaded.
If the Soviet Union in the 1930s had concentrated on improving the supply of consumer goods, instead of building up heavy industry and the armed forces, then it would have been conquered by Hitler. And most of the world would have become fascist
Britain in 1940 could probably have made peace with Hitler. He offered what looked like a very good peace after the Fall of France. Many historians believe that he was quite sincere; he was quite ready to let Britain keep its homeland and its Empire, provided he was left free to do as he liked in the rest of the world. Assuming that this was indeed the case, was it immoral for Britain to keep on fighting?
If it means anything, morality means a practical guide to living a good life. Serious morality cannot ignore the likely consequences of any given principal. It may decide that the likely good results outweigh the likely bad results. But a careful audit of good and bad must be made. People who do not make such an audit are people who would drop their nice-sounding principals if the going got tough.
I would prefer to live in a world without warfare. But I do not believe that the best way towards this is for individual nations to abandon warfare, without any assurance that their neighbours will do the same.
If a state is unwilling to fight, and if no one is willing to fight on its behalf, it is almost certain to be invaded. Those that fight have some hope of surviving. Even those that lose have a better chance of regaining their freedom at some later date. Those that are too weak, too timid or too moral have no such hope. Contrast Tibet or Czechoslovakia with Finland or Cuba.
Nor am I happy with the concept of armed neutrality. In the war against Hitler, neutral Switzerland did nothing to harm him, while neutral Ireland made life harder than it need have been for allied shipping. A state that will not fight outside of its own borders is a state that relies on other people to keep the world a decent place.
I do not deny that many- wars – perhaps most of them, over the whole span of history – have been destructive and pointless. The whole Hundred Years War between the French Kings and the English Kings produced no net change, and it is questionable if anyone else would have gained had the Plantagenet Kings of England been able to make themselves kings of France as well. As for World War One – the sort of world that would have emerged from a German victory [in 1918] might have been no worse than the world we actually have. It might even have been better; it all depends which line of historical speculation you choose to believe in.
Preparations for warfare are not really avoidable, for as long as the world is divided up into a diversity of sovereign states.
In the post-war world, European socialists found that they had a choice between looking to the USA or looking to the USSR. And even this was not much of a choice: the ”big three” had more or less decided who was to get what.
It was Ernest Bevin who decided that the USA had to be kept involved in Europe. It was largely due to his influence that NATO was formed; putting into permanent form the alliance that had decayed after World War One. This had the effect of pushing the USA into becoming a global superpower, the British Empire being too small and too poor to continue in such a role. And Labour was in any case dismantling that Empire, most notably by giving India its independence.
Socialists who criticise NATO sometimes point out that NATO was formed before the Warsaw Pact. They tend not mention the actual year of its formation. The year was 1955, just a few months before Russian tanks were sent in to restore Moscow’s hegemony over Hungary.
Bevin was no dogmatic anti-communist. Indeed, he had helped undermine the British intervention in Russia after World War One. His initial hope was that socialists and communists could combine to make a more left-wing Europe. But he soon realised that the world communist movement had no long-term intention of co-existing with other forms of socialism.
The mainstream of British Socialism has a curious double-think on the matter. On the one hand, they denounce Stalin as a madman and a criminal. On the other hand, those like Bevin who took practical steps to limit Stalin’s power while he was alive are seen as having betrayed socialism.
Bevin, it should be added, took a more balanced view of Stalin. He had little personal hostility to Stalin; he once referred to him as “a working class lad made good”. On the other hand, he saw that Stalin after 1945 was intent on imposing his version of Communism for as far as his power extended. There was therefore no choice but to turn to the USA and set up NATO.
The fact is, those socialists in Eastern Europe who chose to look to the USSR were wiped out politically. Many of them were wiped out physically as well. The local communist parties were also purged. Since the 1940s, those countries have had a limited independence, within whatever parameters Moscow thought best. The “Peoples’ Democracies” have been neither popular nor democratic.
One could contrast Poland and France. Both were occupied by the Germans. Both had exiled governments and armed forces which made large contributions to the allied war effort. In France there was also massive collaboration with the Fascists; in Poland there was not. Poland was liberated by the USSR, and has been under Moscow’s hegemony ever since. France was liberated by Britain and the USA, and remains most definitely independent of both. France currently has an elected socialist government, and Poland an unpopular military dictatorship.
The anti-Americanism of the 1960s was a necessary corrective to cold war politics. But it lost all sense of proportion when it condemned those socialists who had been involved in setting up NATO. The choices that the Left might have wished for did not exist. The actual choice was becoming part of NATO or part of Stalin’s Eastern Bloc.
Aneurin Bevan was a politician who spoke from the heart. He didn’t like warfare; he didn’t like nuclear weapons. But he was also an experienced politician who could foresee the likely results of his actions. He recognised that Britain’s influence in the world was ultimately based on Britain’s ability to enforce its opinions should diplomacy fail.
Speaking against the unilateralist Composite 24 at the Labour conference of 1957, he said:
“But if you carry this resolution, and follow out all its implications and do not run away from it you will send a British Foreign Secretary, whoever he may be, naked into the conference chamber. Able to preach sermons, of course; he could make good sermons. But action of that sort is not necessarily the way in which you take the menace of this bomb from the world ….
Bevan thought that unilateral disarmament by Britain would not make it any safer:
“This country could be destroyed merely as an incident of a war between Russia and the U .SA. It is not necessary for any bombs to drop on us. If war broke out …. this country would be poisoned with the rest of mankind. What we have, therefore, to consider is how far the policies we are considering this morning can exert an influence and a leverage over the policies of the U .SA. and of the Soviet Union”. (Ibid. Emphasis added.)
Bevan was a man who tried to do what he thought was right. He could have supported unilateralism at party conferences, having privately decided to do nothing at all about it next time Labour were in office. Lots of people in the Labour Party have done exactly that, and will probably do it again next time Labour comes to power. But Bevan, having decided that unilateralism was not in fact a wise policy, insisted on standing up and telling the other members of his party what he really felt. Labour might be in a better position if more of its leaders had followed his example.
Warfare is not a nice business. But it is unavoidable under some circumstances. International law would be fine if it was actually enforced. But it hardly ever is. South Africa’s occupation of Namibia was illegal under international law. But it continued for a great many years, and is only now coming to an end as part of a political deal. Likewise the Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan.
The United Nations Organisation has not lived up to the hopes that people once placed in it. This is mainly because it is run by individual voting by the representatives of the various sovereign states, very few of which want to set up an international authority that would then be superior to them.
The UN fought on one side of the cold war in Korea. It messed about incoherently in the Congo. It was indirectly responsible for the death of Congolese Prime Minister Lumumba, who had been foolish and idealistic enough to invite in the UN forces in the first place. Since then, the UN has been mostly a powerless talking shop. The Congo is now Zaire, and is ruled [in 1988] by General Mobutu, one of the men that Lumumba hoped that the UN would protect him from. No other leader of a sovereign state has ever repeated Mr Lumumba’s error.
Had the UN done a proper job, defended the man who was the democratic choice of the Congolese people, a very different pattern of world politics might have emerged. But this was never likely; the UN was not what it pretended to be, and what poor Mr Lumumba took it to be. He treated it as if it really were an international police force; even a very bad police force will usually protect the public against robbers and burglars. But the UN was and is controlled by national politicians, who each act in accordance with the selfish interests of their own nations.
Wars usually arise because of real clashes of interest. There are disputes over wealth, disputes over territory, disputes over ideology.
In a world full of sovereign states, wars will continue to happen wherever a state believes that a war would be advantageous. Even those states that remain peaceful, do so only because they can see no advantage in being other than peaceful.
The Iran-Iraq war began because the Iraqis thought they could seize some valuable territory from a weakened Iran. They failed, and sought peace because they knew they had failed. But Iran rejected their peace offers. For a time, Iran hoped to spread its Islamic Revolution into Iraq, the Gulf States and beyond. The slogan “Onward to Jerusalem” was meant quite seriously; Iran simply lacked the power to carry through even the first stage of this programme.
The UN has now secured peace, only because neither side sees a continuing war as profitable. Given this situation, the UN can play a useful role as a neutral force between two mistrustful foes. But the UN could do nothing effective until both sovereign states were agreeable.
To take another example, Argentina seized the Falkland Islands, not because it had any particular need for them, but because ‘The Malvinas” were regarded as rightfully Argentine by most Argentinians. This was the root cause, although the actual seizure was caused by a mistaken belief by the Argentine military junta that it would provide some quick and bloodless glory for an unpopular regime. The junta would not have acted, had not the majority of Argentines believed that the seizure was a just recovery of what was rightfully Argentine.
Equally, the majority of Britons were no less convinced that the islands were rightfully British, and were willing to support a war to recover them. Britain was able to enforce its own idea of a just solution, only because the British Army fought better than the Argentinian Army.
I very much wish that the world was run on a basis of morality. But it is not. And the first step towards establishing something better is to point out that it is not.
Non-violent resistance is sometimes put as an alternative. It is true that it succeeded in getting the British out of India. But George Orwell argued that the British authorities preferred to let Mahatma Gandhi succeed rather than risk a violent nationalist or communist-led revolt a few years later. Writing during World War Two, he said:
“As long as twenty years ago it was cynically admitted in Anglo-Indian circles that Gandhi was very useful to the British Government. So he will be to the Japanese if they get there” (Pacifism and the War, My Country Right or Left, Penguin Books 1982, page 262).
In any case, India since independence has not hesitated to use conventional military means in its disputes with China and Pakistan, and in imposing peace in Sri Lanka. [And annexing Goa.] If there was ever a chance of non-violence becoming a general world pattern, that chance has long since vanished.
When Bevan spoke about nuclear weapons, there were cries of ‘Nehru has no bomb’. Bevan’s answer was:
“No, Nehru has no bomb, but he has got all the other weapons he wants. Nehru has no bomb, but ask Nehru to disband the whole of his police forces in relation to Pakistan and see what Nehru will tell you” (Conference Report, Page 181).
Nehru, chosen by Mahatma Gandhi to be India’s first Prime Minister, was holding on to half of the province of Kashmir. This was the main cause of the antagonism with Pakistan. Few people have ever doubted that the predominantly Muslim Kashmiris wanted to JOID Pakistan. But India argued that Kashmir was ‘an integral part of India’, and hung on to one half of it. Things are much the same today, except that it is thought likely that both India and Pakistan have secret nuclear weapons. Non-violence didn’t last very long.
Indeed, Mahatma Gandhi himself said:
“I do believe that, when there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence .. Hence also I advocate training in arms for those who believe in the method of violence. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour” (The Writings of Gandhi, edited by Ronald Duncan; Fontana/Collins 1983, page 48.)
Gandhi believed in the superiority of non-violent methods, when they could be applied. He reckoned – correctly – that the British could only rule for as long as their rule was seen as righteous, by themselves and by the mass of the Indian population. Non-violent protest destroyed this perception of righteousness, and made the British look like bullies rather than wise and paternal rulers.
He was well aware of the difficulty of applying this tactic in other circumstances. He would probably have accepted the argument that he would not have succeeded against Hitler. Hitler’s ideology enabled him to believe himself to be in the right at the same time as he organised world war and production-line mass-murder. Against this, or even against lesser villains like President Assad of Syria (who ordered the shelling of the rebellious city of Hama, killing maybe 10,000 to 15,000 people), Gandhi could never have won.
“I have not the capacity for preaching universal non-violence to the country. I preach, therefore, non-violence strictly to the purpose of winning our freedom …
“I have not yet the attainments of preaching universal non-violence with effect. I am not advanced enough for the great task. I have yet anger within me” (Ibid; p52).
Therefore, unless you can claim to have made spiritual progress beyond anything that Mahatma Gandhi achieved, please forget about non-violence as a way of dealing with the typical tyrant or conqueror.
When Mahatma Gandhi was asked about his view on Western Civilization, he answered that he thought it would be a very good idea. Much the same can be said of international law.
English Law applies to the English and Welsh, and to anyone else who lives in England and Wales. It applies because it can be enforced – by the courts, by the civil service, by the police, even in extreme cases by the army.
The Welsh had their own law once. In many ways it was a better and more civilised- system than the contemporary English Common Law. But the conquest of Wales destroyed its chance of becoming an operative system of law for Welsh people. It lingered on for a time as a special law for some regions, the “Welshry”. But eventually this too was abolished.
Scotland, by contrast, retains its own legal system. It has a separate line of descent from English Law, and has never been subordinate to it The two legal systems have to a large degree converged, each system taking what it most liked in the other. But some differences remain. For instance, English verdicts must be either “guilty” or “not guilty”, while the Scots can also return “not proven”.
Scottish Law and English Law remain operative, because they each have the backing of state power. Scottish Law did not go the way of Welsh law, because the various English attempts to conquer Scotland did not in the end succeed. Union was finally achieved on a voluntary basis.
And what of International Law? It is a set of more-or-less accepted rules that fill the gaps between the various sovereign legal systems of the rival nations. It cannot be enforced, except perhaps by moral pressure. But moral pressures have their limits. General Pinochet of Chile would doubtless consider that he is a very moral person, who has done no more than he had to do. So too would Pol Pot of Kampuchea. (That is, he would feel this about himself and his own deeds. Pol Pot would doubtless share the world community’s condemnation of Pinochet, and vice versa.)
International Law will only become valid if it becomes enforceable. For a brief time, it looked as if the United Nations might operate such a system. But not since the debacle of the Congo. In any case, the United Nations is controlled by the votes of sovereign states. It is hardly surprising that sovereign states are not keen on abolishing themselves, or on setting up a superior power that might restrain them.
Unilateralism tends to assume that sovereign states will carry on, but that they will somehow be good and moral enough to cut down on their armies. 11 expects them to give up nuclear weapons if they have them. But it cannot guarantee that a single power-mad ruler might not break the rules and dominate the rest of the world by nuclear blackmail.
Campaigns for unilateralism are a labour of Sisyphus. Sisyphus could get his stone a long way . up the slope, but he could never get it to the top. Unilateralism, as a simple appeal to moral instincts, can get quite a lot of support. Political parties may even make it part of their policy. But the more it seems likely that any given nation-state will actually give up a significant part of its weapons, the greater the pressures not to do so. People remember that the other sovereign states will still have weapons. They may have some major national interest to advance. . They may have rulers who are mad, bad or bent on military glory.
Some states can get away with having only a few weapons. Southern Ireland is a good example. Only Britain is in suitable position to invade, and there is not the least chance that Britain would ever want to. Even politicians on the lunatic fringe are not that crazy. Nor could Britain or the other NATO countries let some outside power invade Southern Ireland. Geo-politics would force them to prevent it, and geography would make, it easy for them to do this.
Ireland is very lucky in its place in the post-1945 world. Most of the other neutrals in Europe are heavily armed. Ireland would be the same, were it situated in the Mediterranean or the Baltic rather than the Atlantic.
It is unlikely that a world divided into more than a hundred sovereign states will ever achieve true peace. It is not realistic to suppose that any form of moral pressure or international diplomacy will ever remove the possibility of war. At best, some individual wars may be ended or prevented.
The obvious answer — and one that Socialists have almost forgotten about over the last 30 years — is to go to the root of the problem and advocate a single sovereign authority for the whole world. This need not be a tyrannical or monolithic world state. A world federation, with very great local autonomy, would be both more practical and more desirable. But the essential point would be for the separate states to give up the right to go to war with each other, to abolish their separate armies.
Such a goal would not be easy, of course. It might take decades to win over a sufficient number of states to establish such a thing. It would not be necessary to convince everyone – even though this would be highly desirable. In practice, it would be sufficient to set up a global federation consisting of Russia, America, China and India. This would be an odd combination of forces, but it might be workable for precisely that reason – the divergent interests could be expected to balance out in a global federation, so that everyone would have a fair say.
And in practice, such a federation would probably also include the EEC states, the rest of Comecon and Japan. The danger of global warfare or nuclear suicide would have vanished, even if warfare were to continue among the states that still remained sovereign. With luck, the impoverished states of Africa would also decide to join in. Using just half of the former arms spending for their development would soon close the gap between their living standards and those in the developed world. (The other half could be spent on peaceful high-technology projects like the exploration of space. There is evidence that government money spent on either weapons or spacecraft is of great long-term benefit to the economy.)
A united world would be difficult to create, but stable once it was created. It would not be a utopia, but it would be a clear advance on what we have now. It is impractical because the political forces to create it do not yet exist. But socialism did not exist, until people decided to get down and build it. The Welfare State was an impossible dream, until people decided that it could and should be achieved.
There is a vague but widespread feeling that a united world would be a very good thing to have. No one at present is trying to give serious form to that feeling. If a large body of people on the Left were to start arguing for it, as a serious political programme, then it is perfectly possible that we could actually achieve it over the next twenty or thirty years. The world today is vastly different from what it was a few decades ago, after all.
Instead, effort has been wasted on the alternative goal of unilateral disarmament. Unilateralism assumes that sovereign states continue, and then expects them to have nothing at all to quarrel about. And since there will in fact be quarrels, and the possibility of war, no sovereign state is ever likely to go unilateralist.
Most unilateralist would also be in favour of a united world, in principal. But they think that the first stage is to get people to disarm, and that world unity will only come in some more remote future. This is to put things exactly the wrong way round. Only in a united world could nations hope to get by without their own armies to defend their own national interests.
[I still think a United World was a feasible goal back in 1988. But what the West did in the Nineteen-Nineties and Twenty-Zeros has pushed much of the world in a series of different and incompatible directions. See https://gwydionwilliams.com/99-problems-magazine/the-west-fails-in-five-civilisations/.]
It is not only to avoid war that we need a united world. The signs are that effective socialism on a national basis is now more or less impossible.
Most socialists condemn Stalin. But most socialists remain firmly .confined to the definitions of socialism that he worked out during his period of rule.
“Socialism in one country” was a heresy when Stalin first put forward the notion. The general idea, for both socialists and communists, had been that socialism could only be possible on a global basis. But then he did succeed in developing the USSR as a great industrial power, at the same time as the capitalist powers were plagued by slump and mass unemployment. Gradually, the notion began to spread.
Stalin definitely intended to absorb the nations of Eastern Europe into an expanded Soviet Union. His goal was a world state, based on state planning and a monolithic political party. And in the absence of NATO, this might very well have been achieved, by him or by his successors. But the whole process was halted by NATO and by nuclear weapons. It was then thrown into confusion by Khrushchev.
What Khrushchev tried to do was fundamentally incoherent. Khrushchev condemned Stalin as a lunatic and a criminal, and then expected to exercise the same position of moral and political dominance among socialists that Stalin had enjoyed. He could not understand why Mao Tse Tung was disinclined to obey him, or why the nations of Eastern Europe felt that a denunciation of Stalin ought to mean that the hegemony Stalin had imposed upon them should be relaxed.
Khrushchev destroyed the moral basis of his position, and then enforced it with tanks in Hungary. His behaviour undermined the World Communist Movement’s sense of coherence and purpose. Brezhnev did nothing to restore it. That particular vision of ‘one world is no longer a serious possibility. The question of how good or how bad such 1 world might have been is a matter on which anyone can believe just what they please. It did not happen.
Paradoxically, the denunciation of Stalin after his death did not end the notion of “socialism in one country”. Indeed denunciations of Stalin were often a way of hanging on to old ideologies. If th( things that had gone wrong in the USSR were simply due to Stalin’s personal failings, then nothing very much needed to be changed.
Since the 1950s, there have been dozens of separate planned economies, each trying to follow its own “path to socialism”. The USSR kept political authority in Eastern Europe, but accepted that each separate state could have a lot of freedom to do what it wanted economically. Meanwhile, Capitalism has become increasingly global.
Far-flung trade routes have existed since the Stone Age. The Roman Empire had a “balance of payments” problem; its imports of Chinese silks and the like led to a chronic shortage of gold and silver. But that sort of trade was not important to the lives of most of the world’s population. It was a relatively small trade in rare or luxury goods.
What we have now is very different. The food in the larder of the average British household will have come from all over the globe. So too will many of the household consumer durables.
British workers find that their wages and their mortgage payments are very directly affected by economic decisions made in America, West Germany and Japan. And they in turn are strongly affected by what Britain does. These days, there is not so much trade between separate economies as a single global capitalist economy.
Up until the 1960s, centrally planned economies had done rather better than free-market ones. Since then, the trend has been very much the other way. Most notable is the way in which the capitalist states of East Asia have gone way ahead of the centrally-planned ones.
In Western Europe since the 1960s, socialist governments have repeatedly found that world economic forces made it impossible to carry out their programmes. Some socialists reacted by arguing that their own nation should more or less cut its links with the world economy and build socialism within its own borders. But China, one quarter of mankind, tried that and ended up much poorer than its neighbours.
Competition since the 1960s has been between a global capitalist economy and a number of fragmented centrally-planned economies. It is hardly surprising that the larger and more diverse system has done rather better.
The Labour Party cannot build socialism in Britain, because there is no longer a British economy. There is only a British sector of a global economy. The obvious solution would be to link up with other West European socialists. But Labour has repeatedly refused to do this. And the energies of the left have been wasted on unilateralism and opposition to the Common Market. The same amount of effort, better directed, could probably have produced a powerful and united West European Socialist Party.
The Labour Party can, if it so wishes, remain “the one fixed point in a changing world”. It can try to be more nationalist than Thatcher and the Tories, while backing away from the awkward fact that a sovereign nation-state has to be defended with guns and bombs if it is to survive in a dangerous world. That is one alternative. Labour could follow the lead of the French Communist Party, refuse to change, and dwindle away to nothing over the next twenty to thirty years. This is in fact the most likely future for the Labour Party; a “pragmatic” leadership that leads it down into oblivion.
The serious alternative is to accept that building socialism in Britain alone is no longer possible, if indeed it was ever possible. Socialism on a West European basis, socialism in one half of a continent, is the minimum that might be viable within a developing global economy.
Britain is well placed to take the lead, if only because English has become the de facto common international language. And the British Labour Party is the largest English-speaking socialist party in the world. The opportunity is there, if Labour will only overcome its present inertia and take internationalism seriously.
[What actually happened was that the Soviet collapse removed the need for either NATO or British nuclear weapons. But Labour under Blair got an enthusiasm for both, with disastrous results.]