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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Aug. 24, 1999)
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of
the Fall 1999 Daily Nebraskan. They do
not necessarily reflect the views of the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, its
employees, its student body or the
University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
Acolumn is solely the opinion of its autfior.
The Board of Regents serves as publisher
of the Daily Nebraskan; policy is set by
the Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board. The
UNL Publications Board, established by
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the regents, responsibility for the editorial
content of the newspaper lies solely in
the hands of its student employees.
Kansas ’schools made
Thank God we’re not in Kansas any
more, Toto, or we may not have come to
Earlier this month, the Kansas Board .
of Education decided to drop the theory
of evolution from its state science stan
dards, sending its schools back a centu
Maybe next they’ll start teaching that
the world is flat.
Teachers can still teach evolution,
but the state won’t test students on it.
The decision reinforces hayseed
stereotypes of Kansans and erodes the
foundation of modern biology.
Religious leaders have heralded the
decision. Evolution, they say, merely
makes it possible to be an intellectually
But worldwide, the scientific com
munity has balked at the decision.
Leaders of all six of the state’s universi
ties implored the board not to do this,
but their arguments were ignored.
Ultimately, the children of Kansas
will suffer because of the follies of the
state board of education. They will leave
high school without understanding one
of the most basic concepts of modern
Opponents of evolutionary theory
argue that it should not be taught
because it cannot be proven.
Then again, not much in science can.
Science does not attempt to prove
things. It is a system of developing and
testing theories of how the world around
If proof were the standard for teach
ing scientific theories, we would have to
get rid of chemistry and quantum
No biology teacher ever asked stu
dents to accept evolutionary theories on
faith alone. Teachers offer evidence.
The beautiful thing about science is
that it is not supposed to be accepted
blindly. It is supposed to be doubted.
Most of what we know about the
world has been proposed in the last 500
years. Those theories are based on a
combination of evidence and inference.
And evidence supporting evolution
Creationists may dislike evolution
because it is not compatible with their
beliefs. That does not mean it should not
be taught. Students should have the
opportunity to understand scientific the
Scientific discovery over the next
century may even render evolution
Until then, evolution should be
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The Daily Nebraskan retains the right to
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Submit material to: Daily Nebraskan, 20
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Evolution of a treaty
As NATO approaches age 50, world of changes awaits
Today the^world celebrates a most
Maybe not the whole world, but at
least the free world is getting down
tonight as it remembers 50 years of
faith in freedom.
The former Soviet Union took a
blow on This Day in History.
You know it - the North Atlantic
Treaty went into effect 50 years ago to
combat the influence of the USSR in
the Western Hemisphere.
In the short but momentous time
between 1945 and 1949, what was
already a fragile alliance between
Great Britain, the United States and the
Soviets in World War II degenerated
into an antiunion of mutual fear and
The Soviets, the scorn of Hitler and
co-conquerors of Berlin (though they
were there first), occupied almost
180,000 square miles of Eastern
Europe immediately following the
Nazi surrender in May 1945.
Aside from the Red Scare ot the
1920s and the occasional anti
Bolshevik piece of propaganda, it
appeared the United States, Britain,
France and other assorted Allies could
return to prewar tranquillity (for the
United States, read: isolationism).
Together, everyone should have
backed out of Europe gradually,
rebuilding the war-torn continent on
the plans of such men as George C.
Marshall, Harry S Truman, Winston
Churchill and, for what it’s worth, a
strong Soviet leader, Josef Stalin.
Instead, Marshall’s talents were
invested in a courageous but tense air
lift in the face of staunch Soviet aggres
sion in the 323-day Beilin blockade.
The rest of the future NATO
nations also watched in horror as the
USSR’s waf of attrition against the
nations it occupied widened.
Churchill delivered the haunting
“Iron Curtain” address in Fulton, Mo.
And Truman addressed the free people
of the world about the responsibility to
maintain the freedoms of the European
people in his “Truman Doctrine”
Adam J. Klinker is a junior
Yet, one by one, Poland,
Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary
and Romania aligned or were forced to
align themselves with the Soviet parent
It was crystal clear the Soviets were
not about to back down. Instead, they
had adopted a medieval winner-take
all frame of mind in their supposedly
peaceful laissez-faire dealings with the
nations that would make up the Eastern
Bloc, that in effect created the commu
nist puppet governments in those coun
Soviet armed forces buildup con
tinued and spread.
A small faction in the West coun
teracted with the preliminary Brussels
Treaty of 1948: a token starter pact
between France, Great Britain,
Belgium, the Netherlands and
Luxembourg that would serve as the
progenitor of the NATO alliance.The
United States, together with Canada
and other Northern European nations,
kept a watchful, proactive eye on the
situation unfolding in the new Western
alliance and the Soviet influence on the
East. It was decided a collective
defense system would be a necessity in
this version of the new world order.
Pledged among the member nations of
the Brussels Treaty and also including
the United States. Canada. Denmark.
Norway, Portugal and Italy, NATO was
established on April 4,1949, a utiliza
tion of Article 51 of the United Nations
charter - that nations may enter into a
contract of collective defense.
The North Atlantic Treaty, howev
er, did not go into effect until 50 years
ago today, Aug. 24,1949.
Then everything changed. There
was a Cold War pitting East against
West. There were hot wars in Korea and
Vietnam. There were nuclear missiles
aimed at the United States from the
neighboring Soviet-allied nation of
The events of the years following
NATO’s birth on the world stage read
like gothic letters carved into a granite
slab. There was NSC-68, the U-2 inci
dent, the Kitchen Debates, a feigned air
of friendliness between the United
States and the USSR that amounted to
a drop of rosewater in a great barrel of
Things thawed for a time in the
wake of Gorbachev’s economic and
social reforms - Perestroika - and it
looked as if the East and the West were
coming into a peaceful coexistence
based on an agreement to disagree.
Then it was all over.
English and histoiy major and a 1
The wall dividing Berlin, a stalwart
icon of the Cold War that hunched its
shoulders and sat slouched between
two worlds came down in 1989. The
USSR dissolved in December 1991.
Since then, the role of NATO has
been in question, though it still remains
on the forefront. There was war'in the
former Yugoslavia as it fell apart and
away from its communist government.
Centuries of fighting came to a conclu
sion several times as the warring cul
tures signed and subsequently ignored
NATO’s new face as the world’s
authority on and protectorate of
democracy and the free people of the
world led if to take a role in the
“The world is my idea,” said
German philosopher Arthur
Schopenauer. So would it seem for
NATO, the United Nations and the bur
geoning European Economic
Community. The world is their idea, for
better or for worse.
Now, as NATO seeks to extend its
membership to former Eastern Bloc
nations, should we begin a debate as to
whether or not this mutual defense con
tract is indeed necessary in the post
Cold War world?
how many alliances can oe iormea
before we are no longer a world of
nations but a single nation of the
world? Where does NATO’s jurisdic
tion extend now that European com
munism is a de facto dead horse?
At age 50, NATO may be in for
some minor surgery or a full-blown
quadruple bypass operation. In either
instance, a change in policy, scope and
goals has already been ordered. NATO
does not need to get any bigger. It does
not need to rotate on the same circles
and coexist with the EU.
Maybe NATO’s job is finished, and
it can coast into a well-timed retirement
with its children and grandchildren and
enemies alike at its side. But then
again, maybe not.
If the world is NATO’s idea, then
the job is not finished and may never
come to a definitive end. But the world
is not just its idea - the world is all of
our ideas together. That’s why there are
so many forms of government, reli
gion, culture and society.
Who is anyone to protect ideas of
democracy and freedom in parts of the
world where those sterling concepts are
not adhered to?
So Happy Birthday, NATO. We
give you the world as we see it, and ask
that you would think on it for us as well.
)aily Nebraskan columnist
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