Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Foreign Relations Boil Down to Two Things: Talking With People or Killing Them." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"Colt .45s; putting bad guys underground since 1873." -- Unknown

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Let’s eat all of these people!” — Venom

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Major War Coming Soon?

Roberta X makes a very good point about the outer time limits for serious wars: When everyone who participated in the last serious war dies.

I think she's onto something. The pro-war caucus in the U.S., Russia, Japan and China (among other nations) all seem to be afflicted by some sort of naive optimism that the next war between front-ranked militaries will be sharp, short and decisive. They play their tabletop games or computer simulations and they all think that it won't be too bad for their side and they'll win.

Think of those fools in 1914 who thought that a general war would be a quick and sharp conflict that would be over by Christmas. The British had not fought a serious war in over fifty years. For the French, it had been forty years (and they were still smarting at their defeat by the Prussians). Other than maybe the Boer War (which was more of an insurgency), none of them had fought a major war with machine guns or repeating rifles, let alone mechanized transport and aircraft. No doubt they all had exhaustive war plans that described how the war would be a short one.

Well. It never seems to work out the way the planners think it will. War is a messy business. A war between nations who possess nuclear weapons and the means to attack with them anywhere on Earth may turn out very badly, indeed. And then, it is not uncommon for famine to follow war like a ragged stepchild. If nuclear weapons are widely used, a global famine is almost a certainty, a famine that no amount of "prepping" will ensure survival from its effects. Not to mention that when things break down like that, disease is almost certain.

The Russians have almost forgotten the suffering of the Great Patriotic War, suffering that was severe enough to deter the leaders of the Soviet Union from getting into a general war with the United States and NATO. The Chinese have almost forgotten the massive suffering of their civil war and the second Sino-Japanese War. As for our own warhawks, the oceanic moats have kept the effects of war away from our soil for 150 years (200 years since foreign armies trod on our soil). But the oceans will not keep ICBMs away. If nuclear weapons are indeed used, only a starry-eyed fool would believe that there would be any distinction drawn between "tactical" and "strategic" nuclear uses.

It takes all sides to a potential conflict to keep the peace and work things out. It only takes one side to start a war.

And right now, in April of 2014, if I had to guess which pack of fools would be insanely stupid enough to start such a war, I'd put my money on the lunatics in Beijing.

(And read Peter's take on this, too.)


hans said...

there's a school of thought that says war is inevitable when there's a population of 16-30 year olds whose fathers have no experience of war...

Ole Phat Stu said...


Statistically it is the uSA that has started the most wars recently :-(

..... oh, and won none of them :-(

Comrade Misfit said...

Yes, Beijing. The Chinese are making a series of rather aggressive moves in the western Pacific, claiming islands that have long been claimed and held by other nations.

I suspect that after a decade of sending people off to fight in two ultimately futile wars, that most Americans are not exactly eager for more war. (Sociopaths such as Dick Cheney and Bill Kristol notwithstanding.)