Monday, January 28, 2013
Adrian Veidt aka Ozymandias - Watchmen film only
Over the last few years I have laid out a range of ways by which the human race can indeed make resources and personal wealth almost infinite. Unlimited nuclear power, unlimited physical resources in space, unlimited technological opportunities which the ecofascists are intend on suppressing and while technology prizes could greatly expand the rate of discovery.
So am I offering eternal peace.
Unfortunately I don't think I am. Veidt was wrong.
It is a considerable time since the last wars involving major countries were fought even mainly to get resources. Possibly as long ago as the Seven Years war 1756-63 when Britain got Canada and India and France, Austria, Russia and Prussia fought over Silesia (Prussia kept it though neither place remains).
The Napoleonic wars were fought for ideological reasons, as was the US Civil War. The Franco-Prussian War was fought for grandeur. The various Victorian military excursions, including the Sapnis american war were fought for the grandeur of having colonies. WW1 was fought because both sides thought the first strike option was necesary to win - if they didn't carry out their invasion plans first the train time tables would be out of kilter and it would be a mess.. You can make a good claim that Hitler started his war for resources (lebensrum) but the fact is that Germany post WW2 became wealthier though without all the lands Hitler wanted to conquer and it is at least as arguable that he was fighting for grandeur and ideological hatred of communists and Jews & Lebensrim was simply an excuse.
The cold war was fought for fear of the other side having that first strike option, so mainly, was the Six Day War. Vietnam was for grandeur. The destruction of Yugoslavia was ideological (to prevent a successful socialist society remaining in eastern Europe), racist (on Germany's part) & to provide the modern equivalent of gladiatorial games on TV. Afghanistan was initially revenge. Iraq, Libya, Syria nad now Mali are gladatorial. .
The ability of human beings to find reasons to compete is one of our strengths, but that competition is easily reduced to combat. We live in a world where travel is ever quicker which makes the first strike question ever more vital.
If we are goi8ng to have peaqce it will take something other than making us as wealthy as we ever dream. It will take us accepting the rule of law in international disputes as we, generally, accept it in argumentsw with neighbours.