Today the real test of power is not the capacity to make war but the capacity to prevent it.
Wars are fought on two fronts. Macro wars which involve governments and power brokers and micro wars which involve you and me. We have limited ability, other than our voice and democratic vote, to frustrate power brokers entering global war on our behalf but we can control the micro wars that take place within us and our smaller communities.
The capacity to prevent war starts with you and me. This statement may seem a little naive, but nevertheless I believe it to be true. We, as rational people, have to learn from past behaviors. The nuclear bombs dropped upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 caused approx. 200,000 deaths, half of the deaths were instant and the remainder took place over 2-4 months due to burns and radiation sickness. The radius of total destruction was one mile. with fires and lesser destruction up to a radius of 4.4 miles. These bombs had the equivalent of 15 kilotons of TNT (13,600 tons) in destructive power, today’s nuclear missiles by contrast have a destructive force of 1.2 megatons of TNT ( 1 million tons). We cannot afford another world war, there will be minimal survivors. We have to use our rational minds and all tools at our disposal to prevent such a catastrophe.
“All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.”
― John Steinbeck
Their have been attempts in the past to regulate war. There was recognition that war is an inhumane act, but let’s try to make it more palatable as we decimate each other. We have morphed from the introduction of chivalry, rules of engagement and the just war theory in the early ages to the present day arms control, proportionate strikes and economic sanctions. But war cannot be regulated. America walked into Iraq and won the war in 2003, yet here we are 17 years later. There are no winners in war. It is not a zero sum argument. To-days world is too complex. High tech weapons rule the roost.
Individual countries are changing with the shifting demographics of migration, usually caused by war. The influx of Syrians into Europe is a case in point. This is an opportunity to learn from each other and educate ourselves on what these new cultures can bring to the table to make a better society. Use interaction with others as your personal attempt to create peace. Think of the consequences of your actions, especially on social media. If we as individuals do not have the capacity to prevent the micro wars which we choose to enact in our everyday lives then there is no hope to restrain the dogs of war on a larger scale once unleashed.
The consequences of war on a macro level are too horrific to contemplate. Few powerful countries seek to walk into another powerful territory and take over. Rather the concept of war seems to be entering a preventive phase with competing ideologies between countries. Democratic countries seek to free the people of countries run by autocratic leaders in the belief of future harm from a rogue territory. Countries run by autocratic leaders seek to circumvent international rules to create powerful,destructive weapons. Terrorist groups seek to cause havoc in democracies they feel have unjustly invaded their countries. Perhaps one capacity to prevent war on a macro level is the least interference in other countries territories for noble reasons. Let the populace of that country work out its own problems.
One of the main capacities to prevent war is to have a strong defense plan. It is a little naive to think that countries with a weak defense and military will not be taken advantage of by stronger nations. The big debate is how big a budget needs to be spent on the military. The 2019 statistics for military spending in billion us$ is: U.S. -684, China-181, Saudi Arabia-78, Russia-62, India-60. (International Institute for Strategic Studies).
The capacity to prevent war starts with you and me. It starts with a shared cultural and ideological stance to not allow our governments and power factions lead us into war. It is up to you and me to build strong but peaceful communities. It is up to us to spread the idea of ” no more war ‘ from person to person within our culture. It is up to us to uphold democracy and hold governments/politicians to account. Dialogue, disarmament, sanctions with a strong defense plan have the capacity to prevent wars on a macro level. Ensuring we love, respect and help our neighbor negates war on a micro level.