Are we in a watershed period in the world community today? It is impossible to say. In polities, particularly in international relations, there is a general tendency to speak of turning points, basic shifts, or watersheds. This is understandable. Of all forms of politics, foreign affairs is most fraught with danger and frustration. Affairs stumble from crisis to crisis; tension is the common element. Thus concerned men are constantly searching the signs of the times for a genuine turning point in foreign affairs.
The basic problem in locating and defining such a turning point is the lack of perspective. It is easier to look backward and to note the fundamental shifts that occurred in foreign affairs than it is to mark a contemporary watershed. The problem is how far back one must look before there is sufficient perspective to analyze both the emergence and the consequence of a basic change in the world situation. A man who can do that in contemporary affairs is a political prophet, but there are few such prophets.