2013 December 21 Saturday
Nations Are Fighting Each Other Less Due To Less Opportunity?

We aren't all just becoming more peace-loving?

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- While some researchers have claimed that war between nations is in decline, a new analysis suggests we shouldn't be too quick to celebrate a more peaceful world.

The study finds that there is no clear trend indicating that nations are less eager to wage war, said Bear Braumoeller, author of the study and associate professor of political science at The Ohio State University.

Conflict does appear to be less common than it had been in the past, he said. But that's due more to an inability to fight than to an unwillingness to do so.

"As empires fragment, the world has split up into countries that are smaller, weaker and farther apart, so they are less able to fight each other," Braumoeller said.

"Once you control for their ability to fight each other, the proclivity to go to war hasn't really changed over the last two centuries."

I see another big reason for fewer wars: A very dominant hegemon has told assorted countries they are not allowed to fight each other. Some powers have encouraged the United States to play this role. Famously, British General Hastings Ismay said the purpose of NATO was to "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down". The Monroe Doctrine's purpose has been to keep other powers from outside the Western Hemisphere from fighting in the Western Hemisphere. The United States went further and assured the various governments in the Western Hemisphere didn't fight each other as well.

Look at the US role in the Gulf War of 1990. The purpose was to teach the various governments that they were not allowed to invade each other.

Will China's rise cancel out US power in some areas and thereby make wars more likely? Or will the costs of the entitlement state so starve the US military of funds that it will cease to be able to check moves by state actors?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2013 December 21 08:44 PM 


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