Dag Hammarskjöld often met at first hand the strong reactions of adversaries to one another’s words and acts. A well-intentioned third party finds it challenging to come between them: where is the opening, who is willing? The most astonishing—and mysterious—words in Entry 30 ("Negotiation (part 4)
") concern the Suez crisis of 1956–57, about which Hammarskjöld wrote: "It was one of those irrational and extremely dangerous situations in which only something as irrational on a different level could break the spell". Difficult to know just what he is referring to—perhaps to conviction, to the power of intelligent emotion. His words remain provocative. In another letter of 1956 about Suez, he was thinking along the same lines: "You saw them caught in the causal chain, making the wrong choice and again making the wrong choice. Maybe you could say that what we succeeded in doing was breaking the causality by rushing up on stage and forcing them to see for themselves—for a moment! And then?" Some years later, in early 1960, he was again working through issues in the Middle East and thinking about the danger of chain reactions of words and acts. His observations and ideas are startlingly relevant today. Has someone turned on a magical slow-motion camera, so that scarcely anything changes in the larger region? Who will turn it off, with a peaceful hand?