Friday, May 20, 2005

The End of War? Who Should Get the Credit?

Gregg Easterbrook has another great and contrarian piece in the TNR this week explaining that "war" has actually been in sharp decline over the past 15 years. He relies on an academic study by two political scientists, Monty G. Marshall and Ted Robert Gurr, who have done a series of empirical studies demonstrating that violent conflict has been steadily decreasing since the end of the Cold War.

Not convinced? Well, you will have to look at the Easterbrook piece, or the original study, which measures "war" in a variety of ways: number of violent conflicts, numbers of war-related deaths, risk of death from war as compared to other causes, global military spending. The upshot? All of these measurements have shown a steady decline in the last 15 years.

Assuming this study is accurate, the important question becomes: what is the cause? Easterbrook throws some love to the UN, writing that, in addition to peacekeeping,

Peacekeeping is just one way in which the United Nations has made a significant contribution to the decline of war. American commentators love to disparage the organization in that big cereal-box building on the East River, and, of course, the United Nations has manifold faults. Yet we should not lose track of the fact that the global security system envisioned by the U.N. charter appears to be taking effect. Great-power military tensions are at the lowest level in centuries; wealthy nations are increasingly pressured by international diplomacy not to encourage war by client states; and much of the world respects U.N. guidance. Related to this, the rise in "international engagement," or the involvement of the world community in local disputes, increasingly mitigates against war.

This is certainly possible. But Easterbrook's review of possible causes curiously overlooks one important alternative. The U.S. has been calling itself the world's only superpower for about, oh, 15 years. Some have already proclaims this period a potential Pax Americana or American Imperium. The reduction in great power military tensions might reflect better diplomacy or it could simply reflect the overwhelming supremacy of U.S. military forces.

It is likely that all of these factors, and more not discussed here, have led to the comparative reduction in wars over the past 15 years (assuming that is really happening). The important question going forward then, is to figure out how best to keep the trendline heading downward.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Jeff V. said...

Nuclear proliferation -- most notably to India and Pakistan -- might also have played a role.

5/20/2005 8:49 AM  
Blogger Kirk H. Sowell said...

If one is going to argue that the UN has something to do with international peace, then it is first necessary to understand two things about the nature of the UN security system itself. One, the security council has the composition it has because FDR thought its purpose would be to contain Germany and Japan. This has helped make the security council irrelevant to the real threats in existence since 1945.

Two, the UN system, based as it is on collective security, requires unanimity for action. In theory, this means that for there to be effective action (a) the state or non-state actor which poses a threat cannot be a client of a security council members (a negative condition), and (b) there must be an affirmative national interest by security council members in taking action to prevent a regional war (a positive condition).

These conditions have worked together to make the UN system irrelevant because (a) most of the threat states - North Korea, Iran, Baathist Iraq and Syria, the Sudan - have close relationships with either Russia and/or China, and (b) where a regional war has killed huge numbers, such as in the Congo or Rwanda, there is no national interest on behalf of council members to spur them to action.

I think a more realistic explanation for the decline in conflict is the one given by Julian - the rise of American military hegemony ("Pax Americana") has allowed regional rivalries to be contained. There are numberous examples of this - Japan/China, Egypt/Israel, much of Latin America, etc. Where U.S. military hegemony has been lacking, such as central Africa, then violence has been greatest in such regions. Thus a major factor will be whether the United States and its free world allies have an interest in getting involved. If they don't, then locals are on their own.

Kirk H. Sowell
Window on the Arab World, and More!

5/22/2005 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Increasingly, one side has simply been slaughtered. The number of Genocides is on the rise. It is pretty easy to decrease war when one side is completely unable to defend itself. The U.N. and other powers have treaty obligations to go to war in the case of a nation or group attempting to commit genocide. Both the U.N. and other powers have consistently avoiding going to war in accordance with these obligations. So the number of official wars has decreased. This is not a real improvement.

5/24/2005 1:07 PM  
Blogger Term Papers said...

Wonderful article, very well explained...

Term papers

12/15/2009 5:59 AM  
Blogger Term Papers said...

Thanks for diverting my thoughts towards it.
Term papers

1/02/2010 1:35 AM  
Blogger beautifuls said...

Buy Cheap Fluro Cambridge Satchel Cambridge Satchel Fluro Fluro Yellow Cambridge Satchel Fluro Pink Cambridge Satchel Cambridge Satchel Fluro Yellow Cambridge Satchel Fluro Pink with lower price and high quality.

2/27/2012 3:03 AM  
Blogger GuildWars2Items said...

Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers.Pray for powers equal to Buy rs gold your tasks.Then the doing of work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle, Fear not that the life shall come to an end, but rather fear that Runescape Money it shall never have a beginning,. At twenty years of age Runescape2 Money., the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment.

3/27/2013 5:08 AM  
Blogger Meredith Andrews said...

I watched the British version of 'Big Brother' recently. That's the Dofus Kamas television show which is a human hamster cage. Viewers go 'ooh' and 'aah' over the one they like or dislike, and vote to decide who leaves the house. In the interim, the contestants do tricks for the amusement of the public. The last man in gets 100,000. The production Dofus Kamas company makes millions. All contestants lose any shred of dignity and anonymity. The 2005 version had an Essex boy and Essex girl on it; modern cockneys. Their speech was replete with annoying, redundant phrases; verbal filler, if you like. This 'got on my tits' (nerves) so much I decided to compile a list of these phrases. Now any Dofus Kamas visitor to London and surrounding areas can understand the natives.

8/08/2013 4:53 AM  
Blogger Meredith Andrews said...

Jack Hawkins was the football coach at an Amercian f2 penya college, and he was always trying to find good players, but they weren't always smart enought to be accepted by the college. One f2 gold day the coach brought an excellent young player to the dean of the college and asked that the student be allowed to enter without an f2 penya examination. "Well," the dean said after some persuasion, "I'd better ask him a few questions first."

8/08/2013 4:54 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 08.04
oakley sunglasses, nike air max, michael kors outlet, prada outlet, tiffany jewelry, louboutin shoes, nike outlet, michael kors outlet online, kate spade outlet, tiffany jewelry, burberry factory outlet, oakley sunglasses, coach outlet, michael kors outlet online, michael kors handbags, longchamp outlet, chanel handbags, michael kors, nike air max, kate spade, coach purses, nike free, replica watches, cheap jordans, ray ban sunglasses, prada handbags, louboutin uk, gucci handbags, burberry outlet, michael kors outlet store, true religion outlet, ralph lauren polo, ray ban sunglasses, coach outlet, coach outlet store online, oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin, christian louboutin, ralph lauren outlet, tory burch outlet, longchamp bags

8/03/2015 10:10 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

nike air force, jordan pas cher, vans pas cher, abercrombie and fitch UK, vanessa bruno pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, nike air max, true religion outlet, polo lacoste pas cher, michael kors uk, nike air max pas cher, lunette ray ban pas cher, north face pas cher, louboutin pas cher, longchamp soldes, michael kors, hermes pas cher, converse, nike air max uk, nike air max uk, nike free, polo ralph lauren uk, burberry pas cher, longchamp pas cher, nike free pas cher, nike roshe run pas cher, north face uk, mulberry uk, lululemon outlet, hollister uk, michael kors outlet online, true religion outlet, timberland pas cher, nike tn pas cher, ray ban uk, lunette oakley pas cher, hogan sito ufficiale, new balance, sac guess pas cher, true religion jeans, abercrombie and fitch, ralph lauren pas cher

8/03/2015 10:11 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

beats by dre, babyliss pro, nike roshe run, hollister clothing, abercrombie, mcm handbags, p90x workout, nike trainers uk, wedding dresses, softball bats, timberland boots, insanity workout, nike air huarache, instyler ionic styler, herve leger, lululemon outlet, north face outlet, asics running shoes, new balance shoes, valentino shoes, mac cosmetics, chi flat iron, hermes handbags, iphone 6 cases, nfl jerseys, nike air max, soccer jerseys, soccer shoes, celine handbags, nike roshe uk, oakley, reebok outlet, salvatore ferragamo, north face outlet, giuseppe zanotti, abercrombie and fitch, ghd hair, mont blanc, vans outlet, bottega veneta, jimmy choo outlet, longchamp uk

8/03/2015 10:13 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

coach outlet, pandora jewelry, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, hollister, pandora uk, converse shoes outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora charms, vans scarpe, ray ban, toms shoes, ugg pas cher, gucci, bottes ugg pas cher, uggs on sale, converse, replica watches, swarovski jewelry, thomas sabo uk, uggs on sale, wedding dresses uk, uggs outlet, supra shoes, marc jacobs, uggs on sale, juicy couture outlet, links of london uk, louboutin, ugg uk, juicy couture outlet, polo ralph lauren, hollister, montre pas cher, karen millen uk, lancel, swarovski uk, nike air max, uggs outlet
ninest123 08.04

8/03/2015 10:16 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

coach outlet, pandora jewelry, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, hollister, pandora uk, converse shoes outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora charms, vans scarpe, ray ban, toms shoes, ugg pas cher, gucci, bottes ugg pas cher, uggs on sale, converse, replica watches, swarovski jewelry, thomas sabo uk, uggs on sale, wedding dresses uk, uggs outlet, supra shoes, marc jacobs, uggs on sale, juicy couture outlet, links of london uk, louboutin, ugg uk, juicy couture outlet, polo ralph lauren, hollister, montre pas cher, karen millen uk, lancel, swarovski uk, nike air max, uggs outlet
ninest123 08.04

8/03/2015 10:18 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home