NORTHUMBRIA, UK - In 1973, Kaiyer Auwin, a fight leader of Milep village in Jiwaka, let me into his inner thoughts.
Kaiyer, who had once carried a spear against early explorer and prospector Jim Taylor, told me he could scarcely believe the benefits that followed the Kiap Administration’s subjugation of everyday inter-clan fighting.
He described how one outcome was that his Omgarl people had not fought with their neighbours for more than 20 years.
They felt free to walk where they wished, and when they did do they were not harmed.
Kaiyer stressed again and again that, when he thought back to pre-Australian contact days, and considered the freedom his people now enjoyed, he hardly believed such huge changes were possible.
The Kiap determination to subdue traditional tribal warfare in the Highlands was largely effective and, for the people, it was a prodigious change.
The peace was not perfect, but the warring was severely constrained.
For a region also mostly untouched by the traumas of the 1942-45 Pacific War, this was a wonderful platform from which to derive the benefits of peace.
While a patrol officer in Papua New Guinea, I needed to remind myself from time to time that Europe, and my family, had only recently been embroiled in two spectacularly destructive wars.
In World War I, my grandfather had been killed at Passchendaele in 1917) and in World War II my father was wounded at Dunkirk in 1940 and his cousin was killed in Norway in the same year.
Within my extended family many other men also died.
There have been many international conflicts since the end of World War II, but when Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine last month to signal that the tangled tribes of Europe were again taking up arms, it was difficult to watch.
For the first time, in the early 1960s, almost every household in the UK owned a television set.
One of the staple fares was documentary film footage showing the traumatic military struggles of 1939 - 1945.
It was unique because fathers sat with their wives and children to watch the visual record of actions they had taken part in.
One result was that my generation had no illusions about the brutality of war.
We saw thousands of mutilated corpses, we saw the destruction of Stalingrad, Coventry, Warsaw and Berlin.
We saw mile upon mile of weary refugees pushing hand carts. We saw the gas chambers of the concentration camps. We saw the German army retreat from Moscow with dreadful losses. We saw how lucky the British army had been to escape from Dunkirk in 1940.
Some of the most powerful pictures showed the ease with which German tank divisions had swept across the open plains of Czechoslovakia and Ukraine in 1941.
I had thought ours might be a blessed generation who went through a lifetime without experiencing another brutal war in Europe.
But that hope was shattered when Russian tanks and rockets once again flattened the cities and towns of Ukraine.
The political, military and economic shock waves have already been felt Moscow to Moresby.
After truth, the most immediate casualty is globalisation.
Astonishing in this modern world, extended, intricate supply lines are seen to be so vulnerable.
Food and fuel are priorities front of mind again. Maximising self-sufficiency and troops are new national goals again.
Friendly neighbouring countries are suddenly more important again.
And as the Russian invasion of Ukraine seems to have arrived at an impasse, neither side able to immediately outfight the other, another concern arises – of nuclear or biological or chemical weapons.
Russia seems willing to countenance the use of any of them.
National borders suddenly seem disconcertingly fragile. Moldova. The Baltic countries. Poland. Finland. Now frontline states.
Where does Poland (population 38 million) begin. Where does Poland end? Will Poland be allowed to exist? Is it about to be re-absorbed by Russia instead?
Russia’s economy is quite small - no bigger than Spain – and it has a disproportionately large army and quite poor people now getting much poorer. Can that continue?
Putin is willing it to do so. The Russian bear, humiliated by the late 20th century breakdown of it empire is back on the prowl.
And just as alarming to me, I hear German leaders, restrained since their defeat in 1945, talking publicly about taking part in kriég, war.
Kaiyer Auwin, fight leader of Milep, would recognise the implications of historical blood sacrifice, of the need to atone for humiliation, of the constant pressure of power lust, of the necessity to keep on winning.
The European tribes, there were 87 of them - Gauls, Teutons, Saxons, Celts, Slavs, Magyars, Romani, Russ and the rest – may be facing up to each other again.
Nobody is confident about where this leads or how it ends.
Kaiyer understood that strength of arms and cleverness in war bestowed many benefits, personal, economic and sovereign.
But he came to understand that the benefits of peace were even greater.