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fueledbycoffee
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02 Jun 2013, 9:37 am

The last war between developed, was World War II. Ever since, in Korea, in Vietnam, in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have fought enemies that were behind us in terms of tactics, training, available technology, and economy. It is widely touted that war between developed nations is obsolete. I hope that this is the case. However, I have some concerns.

First, it has been 70 years since World War II. Less than a century. We've had periods of peace longer than that before. We've had wars longer than that before. It seems rather absurd to think that 70 years is long enough to declare us permanently at peace with all other developed nations.

The UN has been pretty much ineffectual. The EU is faltering. American supremacy is at it's weakest point in a century. Meanwhile, nations like China & Iran are on the rise. China, I think, will think twice before attacking Taiwan or committing any other action that might destabilize their region, but I wouldn't put it past them. Iran is a ticking time bomb, and is perfectly situated to set off a regional conflict, drawing major nations into play. Pakistan is a wild card.

Meanwhile, the situation with Muslims in Europe is tense and getting tenser, and I wonder how long we have until someone does something incredibly stupid and sets off a powder keg. The Arab Spring has also put Jihadists, Mahdists, and other fundamentalists in the strongest position of power in the Levant and Africa that they've enjoyed in decades.

It's often said that war is in no one's interest, as it would disrupt business. That hasn't stopped us before. Both World Wars were fought despite the fact that they disrupted an entire continent and a half. Would business really stop a major war now?

We, in America and most of the West, have had an enviable position. Thanks to "modern war", we civilians are more detached than ever before from the conflicts that have go on for the better part of the last century. This means that despite constant war, we have been at peace, since none of our fights have require a total war approach. I have the sneaking suspicion that this situation will not maintain itself. I fear that a major war is inevitable.

What are your thoughts?



thomas81
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02 Jun 2013, 10:12 am

wars are now fought over resources rather than ideology. That is why NATO is only intervening in places where there is bounty to be plundered (Iraq, Libya etc) and turning a blind eye to dictators or percieved dictators where there is none (Zimbabwe, North Korea etc).


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The_Walrus
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02 Jun 2013, 10:40 am

fueledbycoffee wrote:
Meanwhile, the situation with Muslims in Europe is tense and getting tenser, and I wonder how long we have until someone does something incredibly stupid and sets off a powder keg.

I think this is more likely to lead to civil war than war between countries, unless Jobbik or the Golden Dawn take total power in their countries and try to re-enact the Holocaust. But so far Europe has survived several terrorist attacks and the subsequent backlash from nationalists. I suppose there could be a very shocking terrorist attack that causes a stronger nationalist backlash and then the rest of a country would go to war with the nationalists (I imagine the nationalists would lose badly). I guess if that happened in France then Britain and Germany would send troops to help fight the nationalists.

I don't see big war as inevitable. If Iran tried something, I reckon it would probably turn out more like Iraq or Afghanistan than WWII, although there's the nuclear element. China doesn't need to go to war with the US, but maybe it will provoke a US attack by flexing its muscles or something.

I guess that leaves some kind of "coalition of the wicked" between the jihadists in the Arab Spring nations (+Iran?) attacking southern Europe, but there are all kinds of sectarian and nationalist interests at work too. I'm not sure there's much appetite for war in Tunisia and I ultimately think relations with these countries will largely get better with time.



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02 Jun 2013, 10:40 am

I doubt there could be now a war between developed nations lasting 70 years—completely destroying humanity would probably take much less than that.


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ruveyn
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02 Jun 2013, 10:56 am

fueledbycoffee wrote:
It seems rather absurd to think that 70 years is long enough to declare us permanently at peace with all other developed nations.



The United States has been fighting the Forever War since the Korean War.

First the Cold War against Soviet Style communism. Now the Culture War with Islam.

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Arran
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02 Jun 2013, 11:15 am

The United States doesn't seem to know how survive without a bogeyman somewhere in the world. If there isn't a bogeyman then the US will create one. Remember the lie about the WMD in Iraq? I'm not falling for a similar lie about the nukes in Iran.

Wars are still fought on ideological grounds. The tensions between Iran and the US are over the Iranian foreign policy with respect to Israel and running an economy independent of the Wall Street Bankers more than anything to do with oil or Islam.



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02 Jun 2013, 11:42 am

I expect this thread will decend into arguing over which country is right/wrong. Until that happens, I do have some thoughts.

There are roughly....eight (maybe nine) countries capable of projecting force over any significant distance. Of those eight, it's unclear how many of them have the ability to pay for any sort of sustained force projection activity. Those are currently the only eight that have the ability to effectively engage in armed conflict with another functioning nation.

Other countries could engage in..."non-state" actions, but tolerance for that sort of thing has dropped signicantly in the last 12 years. But that's different than sustained force projection activity.

Force projection is expensive to maintain, and is even expensive to deploy. What sort of situation would develop that would require modern developed states to deploy that sort of firepower at each other, is unclear.


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fueledbycoffee
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02 Jun 2013, 11:58 am

Spiderpig wrote:
I doubt there could be now a war between developed nations lasting 70 years—completely destroying humanity would probably take much less than that.


I know. My point wasn't that a modern war could last that long; it's that we have had wars longer than that. The Eighty Years War, for example. Or the Hundred. Neither of which would last nearly as long if even 19th Century technology had been around, but I was attempting to illustrate how 70 years may seem like a long time to use, but it's really not.



naturalplastic
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02 Jun 2013, 12:56 pm

In the nineteenth centurey virtually all of Asia, and africa, was owned by a handful of powerful European colonial powers.

I included Russia as a european colonial power ( only a certain small fraction of the modern russian republic is the true "russia"-mother country of the empire).

Essentially - europe owned the world. So the world was not free to wage wars.
Only european powers could fight wars.In the first world war Indian and pakistani troops fought side by side on the western front under the british flag against the germans in france because the Indian subcontinent was part of the british empire- in 1962 they fought each other over Kashmir on the subcontinent itsself because the indian subcontinent had become free and soverign in 1947.

So in the nineteenth and early 20th centuries in the third world you had a "pax romana"- an artificially imposed peace, but europeans would have world wars.

After 1945 you had two things (1) the splitting of the atom, and (2) the independence movement in the third world.

So suddenly- industrialized nation could NOT fight wars because it was suicidal. And poor nations could go back to their normal state of soveriegnty and had the freedom to fight their territorial fights again. A complete reversal of the pre 1945 condition.

So suddenly ONLY third world countries had wars fought on thier soil. And Europe (with exception of northern Ireland and former Yugoslavia) was at peace.

WWII left two superpowers as rivals who now could not fight each other directly- so they proceded to exploit the poor countries with arms aid- proxy nations fighting proxy nations (arabs and isrealis), or the superpwer directly fighting a proxy nation ( vietnam, afganistan), but never the superpowers fighting each other directly(russia and the usa).

Today the dichotimy between industrialized and nonindustrialized nations is breaking down. India has made all of its own weapons for decades. China is ascending both industrially and militarily, and even Iran has a nuclear program.

So poor countries (especially in asia) are become both richer and more powerful. But they are also becoming more stable and more enfranchised into the global market ecnomy so they have more of stake in peace. So on balance its hard to say whether our coming Asian centurey will be more war prone or less.

I dont envision anyone invading the USA itsself anytime soon. Terrorist attacks are likely, but not invading armies.



ruveyn
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02 Jun 2013, 1:11 pm

Arran wrote:
The United States doesn't seem to know how survive without a bogeyman somewhere in the world. If there isn't a bogeyman then the US will create one. Remember the lie about the WMD in Iraq? I'm not falling for a similar lie about the nukes in Iran.



We only started a fatal dependence on bogeymen after the Korean war. The U.S. went without a war for almost thirty years between the end of the Civil War and the Spanish American war which was very short. We only barely got into the Great War mostly through the stupidity of the Germans and their use of submarines. If we had stayed out of the Great War (which we should have) we could have gone another 40 years without a war.

Unfortunately what the U.S. apparently needs is the moral equivalent of war. Hence our dalliance with Prohibition and the Temperance movement for god knows how long.

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The_Walrus
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02 Jun 2013, 1:29 pm

Arran wrote:
The United States doesn't seem to know how survive without a bogeyman somewhere in the world. If there isn't a bogeyman then the US will create one. Remember the lie about the WMD in Iraq? I'm not falling for a similar lie about the nukes in Iran.

Whilst you should be sceptical, you should also be open to the possibility that Iran does have nuclear weapons and assess the evidence available to you. Whether that's a good reason to invade is another question.



thomas81
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02 Jun 2013, 2:00 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
Arran wrote:
The United States doesn't seem to know how survive without a bogeyman somewhere in the world. If there isn't a bogeyman then the US will create one. Remember the lie about the WMD in Iraq? I'm not falling for a similar lie about the nukes in Iran.

Whilst you should be sceptical, you should also be open to the possibility that Iran does have nuclear weapons and assess the evidence available to you. Whether that's a good reason to invade is another question.


I think some people are forgetting that the horse pulls the cart.

The issue should not be whether or not Iran has nuclear weapons, but how can you persist in allowing the double of standard of allowing Israel to have a unchecked, unlimited nuclear arsenal while expecting its neighbouring adversary states to remain calm about it.

If you are against Iranian proliferation of nuclear arms, you must support Israeli disarmament.


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The_Walrus
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02 Jun 2013, 2:11 pm

Not necessarily. You could think that Israel are unlikely to use theirs, whereas Iran would.



thomas81
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02 Jun 2013, 2:44 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
Not necessarily. You could think that Israel are unlikely to use theirs, whereas Iran would.


You could think that the Israelis are more likely to use theirs pre-emptively, if there is no possibility of retaliation.

In the interests of peace, if you oppose Israeli disarmament you should support Iranian proliferation. Its completely disproportionate to have a nuclear stockpile if you have only enemies with only conventional weapons.


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Jacoby
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02 Jun 2013, 2:47 pm

'Developed' countries use proxies in other countries to wage war against each other.