ANY MILITARY STRATEGIST can tell you that it is simply impossible for Romania to have a war with Chad. Why? you ask (do not attempt to pretend that you did not ask, for Dr. Boli knows better). Because they have the same flag.
Left, Romania; right, Chad. Or vice versa.
It is simply impossible to coordinate maneuvers against an enemy whose flag is exactly the same, or so similar that the two flags are easily confused. The Confederate States discovered this principle early on in the American Civil War, though their original flag and the Union flag were much easier to distinguish than the flags of Romania and Chad. And what has been the result? During the entire time when these two countries have used this flag, there has never been a war between Romania and Chad. The similarity of flags has caused blessed peace to prevail between two nations which might otherwise have been at each other’s throats.
For similar reasons, there can never be a war between Monaco and Poland:
Left, Monaco; right, Poland.
The flags are not identical, but what general would be so presumptuous as to gamble on the ability of his troops to distinguish them in the heat of battle? Once again, the flags have preserved two great nations from a war that might have meant the ruin of both.
Again, it would be the height of folly for Luxembourg to declare war on the Netherlands:
Left, Luxembourg; right, the Netherlands.
A little fading in the sun, and the flag of the Netherlands becomes the flag of Luxembourg. Nor would the addition of an illegible little rubber-stamp seal preserve Paraguay from ruin if it should declare war on either of those two nations:
For similar reasons, Chile can never go to war against Texas—
Left, Chile; right, Texas.
—or the Ivory Coast against Ireland—
Left, Ivory Coast; right, Ireland.
—or the United States against Malaysia—
Left, United States; right, Malaysia.
—without unspeakable confusion. Likewise, it would be foolish for the Netherlands to fight Yemen, or Luxembourg to fight Sierra Leone, if the war were fought in black and white:
The Netherlands, Yemen, Luxembourg, Sierra Leone.
Most wars in the first half of the twentieth century were fought in black and white, as documentary evidence shows, and it would be the height of folly to assume that it will not happen again.
In all these cases, peace has been preserved between potentially belligerent nations by the sheer impossibility of contemplating military action against a country with an indistinguishable flag. And this simple observation suggests a solution to the problem of world peace that, as far as Dr. Boli knows, has never been suggested before.
Dr. Boli’s proposal is as follows: Every nation may continue under its current government, ruled by whatever greedy and unstable despot it chooses to represent it on the world stage; but every nation must adopt a flag indistiguishable from those of its neighbors. Even this is a mere intermediate stage: the ultimate solution is for every country to adopt the same flag, or flags so similar that it would be impossible to tell the difference on the battlefield.
Dr. Boli is not a vexillographer (if the reader will pardon an ugly term made from Latin and Greek parts unnaturally mashed together), so he will not presume to dictate the design of that flag himself; but may he be permitted to suggest the French tricolor as a model? There are already so many tricolor flags, and so many countries whose flags consist of various combinations of blue, white, and red, that adopting a flag based on some variation of the tricolor would probably meet very little public resistance, if indeed anyone noticed the difference at all.
Dr. Boli would also like to inform the Nobel committee in Oslo that, should they wish to speak with him, he may be reached in care of this Magazine.