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It was a great relief to be back in History again after so many decades of cold-war stasis, all those years spent Waiting for the End of the World. We were taught to expect holocaust but in the end (as usual) History surprised us. No one can name the exact occasion -- Nixon's dinner in Peking, the fall of Saigon, Brezhnev's death, the demise of the Shah, Reagan's re-election, the night the Berlin Wall came down -- but somehow the old world did find an end to its misery, and so we reach millenium's end looking down the tunnel at a New World Order.

No one knows what that really means. Mister Bush sings novus ordo saeculorum, thinking whoo-whoo! now returning on Track 91, the delayed American Century! But he is wrong. History is not about return or repetition. You can't get back to the future.

History, the big story, is about the possibility of rapid and fundamental change.

The kind of thing people fight wars about.

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