The Trouble With the Postwar Period

You likely live a charmed life. Westerners haven’t even had to worry about the threat of Soviet invasion or nuclear attack in twenty years. Even before then things were pretty content. The occasional skirmish in Granada wasn’t anything to worry about, if anything it reaffirmed your feelings of safety, knowing that we could take the fight to whomever we felt necessary and that they lacked that ability.

Yes the postwar period was/is indeed a fine existence for westerners. There’s just one problem with it.

Nobody told the rest of the world. Outside the worlds modern-western nations nobody else has the impression that the world is at peace.

There were some significant moments. Korea was the first effort of the United Nations, and we know how thats turned out. Vietnam was the only other significant western war. Sorry Brits but the Falklands wasn’t too much of a challenge for you. And of course there was the cold war.

Looking at the rest of the world however is a different story. Government overthrows abound in Latin America and Africa while many Asian countries aren’t without their squabbles as well. Struggles and battles in the rest of the world have been of both the inter- and intra- variety. There is no shortage to conflict in the rest of the world.

Considering that, hasn’t it been a bit naive for the enlightened peace loving western leaders to throw down their weapons so they can more safely hug each other. Naturally there’s no need to arm your nation against a nation that is also not arming itself but what about the ones that are?

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Posted on February 6, 2013, in Problems to Ponder and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I’m keeping my powder dry, that’s for sure. The number of internal conflicts in the world has more than dectupled since the end of the cold war. The cold war was a rather carefree and peaceful time by comparison! Our troops have been deployed far far more since the early nineties than they ever were during that several-decades-long period of US/USSR standoff (though those troops are far fewer in number).

    Large-scale conflicts are on the decline. The reason is the cost to gains equation. There aren’t many spoils of large-scale war, which was the case in the past. A country has little to gain by invading another (the trillion dollar cost of our Iraq fiasco comes to mind). Most victories are phyrric (sp?). South Korea, for example, cannot afford a war with the north. It would bankrupt them (and us for that matter). They cannot absorb the North’s economy. On the other hand, technological trends make it possible for very small groups to attain military effectiveness.

    Asymetrical warfare via proxies is the present and future, with smaller groups (and radical fringes) blackmailing larger ones, and radical groups aren’t necessarily dissuaded by the threat of mass retaliation as would be the case for most stable governments. Hypothetically, when juxtaposed next to the image of a few very large and stable countries targeting each other with cosmic death rays from space, the image now seems better. BUT, the odds of those death rays being used is much lower in that scenario than if every gang member had a slightly smaller but still powerful cosmic death ray. That is a destabilizing situation and will likely make for a more dangerous world both internally and externally, for everyone.

  2. Added you to the blogroll.

    Big Biz tried their best to avoid large conflict by encouraging a strategy that brought as many countries into what they called ‘the core’. They thought through increased trade and resource exchange that the rationale for war would decline.

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