WAR, N. A By-product Of The Arts Of Peace. The Most Menacing Political Condition Is A Period Of International Amity.

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WAR, n. A by-product of the arts of peace. The most menacing
political condition is a period of international amity. The student
of history who has not been taught to expect the unexpected may justly
boast himself inaccessible to the light. "In time of peace prepare
for war" has a deeper meaning than is commonly discerned; it means,
not merely that all things earthly have an end -- that change is the
one immutable and eternal law -- but that the soil of peace is thickly
sown with the seeds of war and singularly suited to their germination
and growth. It was when Kubla Khan had decreed his "stately pleasure
dome" -- when, that is to say, there were peace and fat feasting in
Xanadu -- that he

heard from afar
Ancestral voices prophesying war.

One of the greatest of poets, Coleridge was one of the wisest of
men, and it was not for nothing that he read us this parable. Let us
have a little less of "hands across the sea," and a little more of
that elemental distrust that is the security of nations. War loves to
come like a thief in the night; professions of eternal amity provide
the night.
-- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"