The End of War?
A highly informed reader with practical Iraq experience wrote me the following, reponding to my statement on New Year’s day,
“Now that nukes are becoming so common, humanity has to find a way to move into permanent cooperative and helping mode. War is gradually becoming unthinkable. The massive tsunami’s toll has now risen to 150,000, but an Indo-Pak nuclear exchange would have killed 10 million.”
This is the main, optimistic point. The after-math of the invasion of Iraq, coupled as is often done now with Vietnam, and also the experience of WWII, seems to demonstrate that wars – [even those not] involving MAD [Mutual Assured Destruction nuclear] exchanges – are impractical.
If the largest military power in the world (the PRC [People’s Republic of China] apart) cannot conduct a successful occupation of a relatively small and weak country, that seems to suggest QED. No one knows which nations’ companies will receive Iraqi oil field development contracts. Invasion to secure monopoly access to a vital resource seems not to work.
(Evidence is provided by the PRC, actively engaged in securing long-term supply contracts and arrangements all over the world.) As a market for exports Iraq and most countries are immaterial individually, and with the growing trend of free trade, invasion for that purpose is redundant. If occupations do not work, and profit little, there is no point in invasions, except to weaken or destroy a regime, but, in the absence of an occupation, the result of such weakening or destruction might be worse than before.
If wars are either mutually destructive or impractical, they would seem to make no sense. Apart from the US, there seem to be few nations in development who have any current apparent plans to wage a war. (Africa, about which I know little, is excluded from the above.) That is progress beyond measure.
There remains much to fight about, but the battlefield seems to be economics – and social-engineering legislation or not.