Brenda Karl walked out of the hotel lobby and declared victory. The sky was a deeper blue than normal, a sharp contrast against scattered clouds. She soaked briefly in the glory, then strode to her car as confident and controlled as a Green Beret—a posture true to her mission and her zeal for it. She’d wrapped her auburn hair in a tight bun, and her crisp navy skirt and jacket, starched white blouse, and black three-inch pumps said “I’m ready.”
Several blocks away, Matthew Crossly backed out of his driveway without looking left and his thoughts on the day’s business were broken by a long horn blast. He wondered for a moment if the other driver saw the flush in his face, then resumed mental rehearsal of his day while driving to his ritual pre-work coffee stop.
The line was long, as usual. Matthew found himself behind a well-dressed woman who looked like she was already wired. She turned to her left, checking her watch, then looked up and made eye contact with him.
“Big day today?” Matthew said.
The woman returned a nervous-looking smile. “Yes, actually.”
“Me too. All-day meeting with a new client, planning a new product launch. By the way, my name is Matthew.”
“Hello, I’m Brenda. You’re right about my big day. I’m presenting a paper this afternoon to a conference on global stability and security at UCLA.”
“I read about that online this morning. Isn’t it a simulcast with other universities around the world?”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
Matthew recalled the article’s rundown of the conference participants, groups whose political views did not align with his. He thought the theme of the conference—global disarmament—was at best naïve and at worst could foment the final war. He checked his watch and saw that he had two hours before the meeting with his new client. He felt a different sort of flush on his face now.
“I’m very interested in your conference. Do you have time to sit and chat a bit?”
Brenda’s gestures started to say no, then she looked up at Matthew. “Sure, I have a little time.”
A couple of chairs in the far corner of the shop opened up just as they entered the seating area. A stoic game face replaced the sliver of warmth Matthew saw in Brenda’s countenance as they stood in line. “You’ll be reading about my paper in the LA Times and many other places by this evening,” Brenda said.
“Oh? May I ask what you do Brenda?”
“I’m the chair of political science at the University of Washington. The paper I’m presenting offers a comprehensive framework for the eventual global eradication of armed conflict. I outline a global cooperation system for ensuring that every country in the world has stable supply of water, food, clothing, and shelter. It’s all about eliminating the incentives for conflict. It’s about redeeming the world.”
Matthew sat silent a few moments as the whisper of his worldview visited him. “Redeeming the world—noble, to be sure, but who exactly are the redeemers in your framework?”
“I envision a global security regime to coordinate efforts between nations and enforce cooperation agreements on agricultural and industrial production.”
“So you’re talking about a world government?”
“I suppose it could ultimately evolve into that, but only with the cooperation of individual nations.”
“And how exactly would the cooperation agreements be enforced? What if one or more nations decide this global cooperation isn’t in their best interest?”
“Well, I suppose by whatever means necessary to ensure the stability of the four major global supply stakes—again, it’s about eliminating the incentives for conflict.”
Matthew saw his opening. “So how exactly does this redemption extent to the hearts of leaders that are just plain evil?”
“They will need to be shut down.”
“If that’s what it takes, yes.”
“So you eliminate armed conflict with armed conflict.”
Brenda’s cool expression turned crimson. “How else are you going to do it? Religion? Whose religion? Christians? Muslims? Jews? Look at all the violence they’ve all caused over the millennia and are still causing!”
“So you and your supporters want to force your view of how the world should work onto everyone else.”
“It’s a new day, sir. Mankind has failed at every turn. This is the new way. It will work because we will make it work. That’s never been tried before.”
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