The Amazing Rise of War Aversion

One of the big trends of the last century or so, is that the West has become highly averse to war. It began with the liberal Powers (UK and US) and then spread. This may be a surprise to those who regard the West as the heartland of imperialism, but consider these phenomena:

-the drastic decline in overt militarism, belligerency, and war-is-good-for-you ideologies

-the strand of pacifism and desire for disarmament

-the attempt at isolationism after World War One as a way of avoiding war

-the attempt at appeasement or accommodation in the 1930s, instead of confrontation

-the rise of realism which claimed to be the most effective path to peace

-the policy of containment rather than aggression tried against Germany and then the USSR

-the policy of deterrence rather than of challenge

-the creation of the League and then the United Nations to maintain peace and security

-the idea of collective security (or cooperation by the status-quo powers) in 1919 and 1945

-the policy of limited war and interventions

-the use of technological superiority to minimize on lives risked

-the reliance on naval and air forces rather than large land armies

-the move away from conscription

-the attempt to use of economic sanctions instead of war

-the reluctance to engage in massive ruthless violence in counter-insurgency wars

All this is a remarkable change from the earlier absence of aversion to war. Though pioneered in the West, war aversion has spread beyond it. This is one reason why I think the trend of decline in war is likely to stay.

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Filed under political evolution, war

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