“The Great Being, wishing to reveal the prerequisites of the peace and tranquility of the world and the advancement of its peoples, hath written: The time must come when the imperative necessity for the holding of a vast, an all-embracing assemblage of men will be universally realized. The rulers and kings of the earth must needs attend it, and, participating in its deliberations, must consider such ways and means as will lay the foundations of the world’s Great Peace amongst men. Such a peace demandeth that the Great Powers should resolve, for the sake of the tranquility of the peoples of the earth, to be fully reconciled among themselves. Should any king take up arms against another, all should unitedly arise and prevent him. If this be done, the nations of the world will no longer require any armaments, except for the purpose of preserving the security of their realms and of maintaining internal order within their territories. This will ensure the peace and composure of every people, government and nation.” ((Bahá’u’lláh, Tablet of Maqsud, Tablets of Bahá‘u’lláh, p. 165))
This advice was written over one hundred years ago. No one paid any attention. How much bloodshed and destruction could have been avoided in the past century if the world had paid attention?
How many wars could have been avoided, or ended more quickly, if the aggressor nation knew with a certainty that all other nations would rise against it?
What levels of prosperity might the whole earth have reached without the destruction of war?
What culture would not have been lost if there had been no war?
How many people could contribute to the advancement of civilization if they had not been killed by war?
And, how much pain and suffering could have been avoided without war?
Such a conference to secure peace can still be held, if the governments of the world decide to do so. Any time would be a good time for such a conference. There is no benefit to waiting.
Among the matters to be agreed upon at such a conference are the definitive borders of each nation, and unilateral arms limitations augmented with a multi-national peace keeping force with more agreed upon authority than the United Nations Association now holds. The term “collective security” was not in use, or even conceived of a century ago, but that is the aim and purpose this advice intends. A federal system, such as in use in the United States and the European Union could be created globally.
Various attempts have been made that partially fulfill the advice on how to end war. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a multi-national defense pact which has maintained peace among its members, but it is regionally limited. The European Union has brought peace and prosperity to its member nations. Its benefits are so apparent that there is a waiting list of nations who want to join. Steps towards membership include changing internal laws and ordinances to conform to EU standards. These are among the partial, but incomplete steps towards a united world. But, these steps have not been enough.
The human race has experienced gradual steps towards unity from the time individual families united to form tribes because tribal membership had advantages over families alone. Tribes eventually united to form nations because nations had advantages over tribes. Now it is time for nations to unite. If not, the human race now has the power to self-destruct and destroy all life on Earth. Is that the purpose for which we were created? Because of that possibility, the need for more united efforts is more imperative than a century ago. Will we have another century of human civilization in order to have international chaos? No one can guarantee that.
The above quoted tablet concluded with the following exhortation: “That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race. The Great Being saith: Blessed and happy is he that ariseth to promote the best interests of the peoples and kindreds of the earth. In another passage He hath proclaimed: It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.” ((Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets, p. 167))
More and more, the earth has become one country in commerce, communication, and multi-national projects and endeavors, and all humankind ARE the citizens of our one earth. We have no other planet, natural or artificial, to live on. Earth is our only place.
On 8 October 1912, at Leland Stanford Junior University in Palo Alto, California, the Head of the Bahá’í Faith, Abdu’l-Bahá, ended a talk by commenting on war saying: “God created one earth and one mankind to people it. Man has no other habitation, but man himself has come forth and proclaimed imaginary boundary lines and territorial restrictions, naming them Germany, France, Russia, etc. And torrents of precious blood are spilled in defense of these imaginary divisions of our one human habitation, under the delusion of a fancied and limited patriotism.
“After all, a claim and title to territory or native land is but a claim and attachment to the dust of earth. We live upon this earth for a few days and then rest beneath it forever. So it is our graveyard eternally. Shall man fight for the tomb which devours him, for his eternal sepulcher? What ignorance could be greater than this? To fight over his grave, to kill another for his grave! What heedlessness! What a delusion!” ((Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 354))
What else needs be said? War can be avoided if those with power and authority put the welfare of people above their own egos or profits. What is war fought over anyway? Space for a grave. That is hardly noble.