War is certainly not inevitable. It results from decisions made by human beings, and human beings can choose different options for dealing with problems. Unfortunately, US policy and culture has become so militarized that many cannot even imagine alternatives to war and ways of preventing it. What we need is greater investment and creative thinking about alternatives to war, and a real political commitment to ending war, and we could build a world without war. See http://fcnl.org/ for more info.
If the question is outlawing war, that happened with the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, but that doesn't mean that war has ended. Same with slavery, outlawed in the 19th century but it still exists.
If the question is ridding ourselves of war, that depends on how you define war. The million man army wars of World War II are over--most probably--but can we rid ourselves of all outbreaks of violence inside or among countries? Now that it's generally considered that the only just wars are those of humanitarian intervention with the support of the UN--should those be outlawed?
The question might also be asked as to what is war, which assumes there are two states--complete war or complete peace, and that we can define exactly who starts the war and when. What if the good samaritan, ploughshare in hand, had arrived to see guerrilla warriors beating up on a defenseless enemy person, should the samaritan try to protect the victim using his ploughshare (a weapon certainly as vicious as the sword), or should he walk by and let the victim die? I would wager that the best action involves the least violence--but no one can know what that is. Gandhi would have said that it was the samaritan's responsibility to protect the victim--so although he's universally considered a pacifist, pacifists who believe in the total abdication of arms would disagree. Joseph Allen Baker, who worked for years to halt the build up in arms before World War I and galvanize religious and political leaders into making peace, decided after the War had begun to ask President Wilson to have the US enter the war, because of information supplied to him by a German friend about the dangers of Germany winning. Some say World War II might have been forestalled had pacifists not been so persuasive in preventing a vigorous response to Hitler, although socialist and pacifist A. J. Muste insisted that World War II could have been prevented on the eve of the war by the US making an apology to Hitler for treating Germany badly after World War I.
Since it really takes only one person to instigate a group to start a conflict, while it takes at least two people who are not working together to make peace is there any way to ever ensure peace.
Looking at defense spending and the military industrial complex assumes that only militaries create war, which many pacifists seem to consider as true. It's not simply the building up of arms which necessarily causes war. Even if the US and other countries were to totally disarm, there would always be armed individuals or groups ready to take up arms, And what if, during the 1990s, Clinton had stop focussing Pentagon funding on star wars and putting military spending into preventing terrorist attacks inside US borders the act of war that was September 11, 2001 might not have occurred. Like many, he considered the star wars defense as very important, as he told me in a very polite letter in response to my advice as to where his focus should be. Much of the work now done by our military is, ironically, relief work--which pacifists oppose in that they look at it militarization, even though it really involves civilianization of the military, and even though, throughout history, rebuilding countries has been the task of the military as wars end.
On defense spending, Gandhi once wrote, "Man for man, the strength of non-violence is in exact proportion to the ability, not the will, of the non-violent person to inflict violence." He probably wasn't thinking of military strength there, but the principle still applies--at times, though not always.
Two of the wisest suggestions I have found on defense spending were posted on Small Wars Journal (www.smallwarsjournal.com) in a discussion on defense spending--one guy pointing out that it's time we restored defense to the place it was given in the preamble to the constitution (4th), and another suggesting that all of our federal cabinets, not just defense, should include the provision of security as one of their goals--recognizing it's not just weapons that provide security, it's diplomacy, good roads, good education....
You're making a clown out of yourself. Human nature doesn't change. Your show today on the Military Industrial Complex was embarrassing. They killed 800,000 people in Rwanda with machetes, was that the result of some kind of conspiracy? Your show is the only NPR program I have ever turned off because the topic(s) were so absurd and irrelevant.
Just like oil, agriculture, livestock, investment instruments, and healthcare, WAR is BIG business. It's naive to consider the societal and human impacts of these "industries" without first considering the financial incentives and greed that lie behind them. I find it grossly negligent that so much debate occurs around these topics without a clearer understanding of where the money flows. We should all be demanding more details on where our tax dollars really flow - all the companies "related" to the political leaders (lobbying, etc.) managing this money. WNYC has done some outstanding coverage of some of these industries (e.g., companies profiting from pink slime production, etc.) but this morning's coverage of whether we can end war downplayed the influence of private contractors on government decision making. I'm a contractor to government, providing geographic analysis for various City agencies, and I can see all around me how contractors influence and manipulate government executives to the profit of their organizations.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment, Brian Lehrer, WNYC and NPR are GREAT!
In the short run, I expect we will continue to have regeonal wars. They are not likely to end until all have access to sufficient food and potable water. Once such access is obtained, there is a chance that the local jealousies will grind to an end, bringing peace. Control of the world's ever burgining population would help immeasurably.
No. But we are facing water resources, etc. which will cause conflicts that we should resolve via the UN, regional multi-national groups, etc.
I hope that the end of war is almost here. I hope that after all the lives that have been sacrificed in the name of war, have not been lost for naught.
We are Quakers, and although not "birthright Friends", our family has been on the forefront of the peace movement.
It seems to me, that one of the first impulses people learn, is to "defend our own" whether it is territory or just plain "stuff". If we could only see that what we have is a gift, and one to be shared or given away, then perhaps, the inevitability of fighting would diminish. Hope so.
I am hopeful that one-day war will be abolished.
However, the wars of the post Cold War, post 9/11 are symbolic to me as a new era of endless War where diplomacy has lost its necessity and ability to protect human life.
One of the good things about the Cold War was that, in a sense, it was black and white: communist democracy vs. capitalist democracy--highlighted by the USSR and the USA. Integral to these conflicts were delineation of power along said lines.
The mode of international affairs in the Cold War was much different: direct conflict was considered too dangerous to be permissible. Therefore, there was a kind of indirect conflict that not only opened up the possibility of diplomacy, but also made it necessary. What is so dangerous about the time we are living in is that there is no unquestionable need for diplomatic accord by the international community.
Without diplomacy, how can we hope as a species to move beyond the War? If history has taught me anything it is that unilateral power must assert itself without shame – from the Crusades to Hitler to Pol-Pot. Questions of legitimate cause or course of action have no place in blackouts by ideological certainty.
The post 9/11 era is evidence that this blackout is very real. From the prosecution of information whistleblowers, to secret military tribunals behind closed doors, there is little evidence to support that the attitude by Western power is not one in the same line of totalitarian regimes of the past.
When I think of that question of I think of the fact in the 21st century, it's like asking what is the meaning of life? War is inevitable, however not alway in conventional terms. Over the last forty to fifty years there has been a public policy taken, on so many wars that it is hard to keep count or even remeber.
After demonstrating @ Berkley and DC during my teen years against the Vietnam war and many rallies since then against apartheid, the Iraq war and other genocidal conflicts, it grieves me to say that I do think war is inevitable.
There will always be the greed and barbarism of mankind-it is in our nature.
It seems that despots and those who would annihilate the race or religion of the "other" with hate and determination will always exist.
I continue to pray, hope and work for peace.
It seems that "leaders" (either heads of state or religious institutions or communities) are put into those positions running on the idea that they have the "right idea". that somehow their way of doing things is the best morally or economically or politically. Unfortunately, everyone can't be "right". Healthy people find gray in their lives. They know when to assert themselves and when to defer. I hope the individuals can assert some pressure on the leadership to acknowledge the complexities of life and encourage inclusion rather than exclusion as their message. Then there would be no need for war.
Yes, war is inevitable. Major U.S. corporations depend on war for income. Male U.S. politicians view war as a way to prove their machismo which caters to their constituents. U.S. businessmen want war to enhance their fortunes. The NEWS media needs war to enhance their newscasts and sell more advertizing. NEWS personalities love war because it is exctiing and is an activity that creates many stories that draw an audience.
Yes, war is good for business.
I would like to see the argument about the gov't being stopped from making us eat broccoli and buy cell phones to how we get the gov't to stop intervening all over the globe and invading countries while our poor are the ones doing the fighting.
war will always be a constant.if it brings about change its a good thing.
Emphatically NO ! Humanity has a collective consciousness, much as it can be veiled, and over time humanistic insticts against hurting oneself create progress towards a more just and peaceful future. See more in "War in Art" comments.
Engraved across the street from the UN is Isaiah 2:4 as it pertains to bringing an end to war, and endorsed by religious institutions who support its function. However, as expressed by one of Jehovah's Witnesses on yesterday's program, the solution to the end to wars are not the efforts of man's ingenuity, which have proven to be quite deficient, but by a heavenly government in the hands of Christ Jesus and sanctioned by God according to the very scripture inscribed at the UN.
Arne - Queens
War is NOT inevitable,
but conflict is.
It is our choice about how to deal with conflict which determines if war has a role.
Work is a powerful antidote to war.
Respect, especially for what other consider holy is very important to minimize and resolve conflict.
Every war to date has been initiated and carried out by men. If men continue to be the powers that be, then yes, war will be inevitable.
I'd like to think not, I really would - but part of me thinks the way things are going currently and looking at history; wars, disputes, and grudges have been held for centuries. If war weren't inevitable at some point in time, then I don't think we, as a human race, would even have developed or possess negative/aggressive emotions in the first place. It is inevitable, but it is also avoidable at the same time - it all depends on who's involved and how they go about it. Everything is a multi-causual situation, things aren't simple anymore. For example, with the incident involving the Staff Sargent in Afghanistan, could add fuel to the fire; the situation with the middle-east is very foreboding and worrisome. After all, World War I started because the Archduke of Austria was shot. We can only hope for the best, and try out damnedest to avoid war.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am currently a student at Stevens Institute of Technology and took John Horgan's "History of Science and Technology" class in 2009, the one in which he proposes that war can end. With that out of the way, let me now state that I agree with his views. I don't think Mr. Horgan is saying it will happen tomorrow, or that when it does happen that it will be at all easy to achieve. He simply states that war is not an inevitability, and I can't see my way through to any argument against his stance that would hold water. War is a behavioral phenomenon, not an instinctual or reflexive one. We as human nations DECIDE to go to war. We, as humans, also have control over our actions, do we not? I can't control the inner workings of my body, such as the beating of my heart, but I can control whether or not I clench my fist and raise it in anger. War is absolutely not an inevitability. In order to end war, humankind would have to make the decision and act on it, and this is certainly no easy task. But the end of war is by no means impossible to achieve. I'll be interested to read some arguments to the contrary because I just can't think of any myself that wouldn't just consist of a pessimistic diatribe. We're talking probabilities here, not pessimism versus optimism. The probability that at some point in the future there will be peace on earth is non-zero. Prove me wrong...