The pattern of history points to another global, catastrophic conflict*. For a third time in a hundred years imperial government are about to plunge us into total war: this time nuclear war, for the old reason – power.
Power, manifested as interest, has been present in every conflict of the past – no exception. It is the underlying motivation for war. Other cultural factors might change, but not power. Interest cuts across all apparently unifying principles: family, kin, nation, religion, ideology, politics - everything. We unite with the enemies of our principles, because that is what serves our interest. It is power, not any of the above concepts, that is the cause of war.
The lust for power eventually brings every empire to the war it seeks to avoid: total defeat. But leaders and their advisors delude themselves into thinking that fateful war can be avoided, limited in scale or even won.
This has particular relevance today, with much talk of ‘a new Cold War’, and the dangerous mind set it will have the same outcome as the first one. Other terms from that era are being bandied about, such as ‘deterrence’ and ‘nuclear arms race’. Deterrence can only work if it can prevent the scenarios where Mutual Assured Destruction might have to be resorted to. It is becoming increasingly difficult to prevent such situations – Syria, Iran, South China Sea, Ukraine, the Baltic, Moldova to name a few potential flash points, any of which could trigger events leading to world war. We will soon face the scenario where (unlike the Cuban missile crisis or Euro missile crisis) one protagonist will not be able to step back from the brink, stumbling into a crisis they cannot de-escalate. All that is left is Deterrence’s fall-back position – annihilation. The nuclear powers will delude themselves that the outcome of this crisis will be like in 1991: ending without destruction. There’s a difference, the Cold War was the peace, a post-world war environment; we are now in a pre-world war environment.
Nuclear war will happen because governments convince themselves it won’t: it will be prevented because peace-makers convince themselves it will. That is the paradox. Only by accepting its inevitability is there any chance of stopping it; at that, the chances are negligible if they exist at all. Personally, I don’t think they do, but accept others have a more positive outlook. I admire them. But a problem denied can never be solved (however big or small it is). To save the planet, reverse climate change, make a better and just life for all will not be achieved if we walk blindly into a third world war.
*I can’t make statements without providing evidence. My arguments are explored in greater detail on my website, an essay Patterns and Power and a FREE book, Never Forget the Ghosts of History. https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/