As for the presumption that U.S. and Chinese leaders are incapable of transcending humankind’s innate belligerence, Angell has advice that they would do well to heed. In his June 12, 1935 Nobel Peace Prize address, he conceded that it might be impossible to:
“change human nature”—I don’t indeed know what the phrase means. But you can certainly change human behavior, which is what matters, as the whole panorama of history shows….The more it is true to say that certain impulses, like those of certain forms of nationalism, are destructive, the greater is the obligation to subject them to the direction of conscious intelligence and of social organization. But it can only be done if we believe that it can be done.
Image: A U.S. Air Force F-16D Fighting Falcon takes off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Flickr/U.S. Air Force