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Is War Inevitable?

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March 21, 2012 10:51:07 AM
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Patrick

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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.

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March 20, 2012 08:05:01 PM
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Kip Francis

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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...

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March 20, 2012 11:26:59 AM
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Stephen W.

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War is not inevitable. All it takes is leadership, power, and sacrifice. But before you can achieve world peace, secure internal peace. Achieve overwhelming economic, military, and social power before you help and change other countries. Peace can only be achieve with patience through a historical timeline. Military is only for defense. World Peace and advancement of Humanity must be written into the Constitution once internal Nation peace are nearly achieved. The most important element is Leadership with the vision beyond humanity.

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March 19, 2012 09:11:11 AM
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Aaron Schwartz

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I believe war is inevitable. In the same way that a lion will kill another lion to defend his territory, humans make war. Now albeit the structure of civilization creates many complications that one would not see in the wild, but I believe the natural state of humans beings is to fight each other. Phenomena such as organized sports can be looked at as projections of our desire for war, and for our desire to be part of a 'tribe.' Also it is known that humans in tribes naturally look for an enemy, someone who we can call 'bad,' and thus make ourselves 'good.' Psychologist Sam Keen made a documentary on this exact phenomena, "Faces of the Enemy," and it might be interesting to discuss it on the show for you guys. So yes, I believe war is inevitable, and as good a 'world peace' sounds, it it a utopian and an idealistic denial of the truth.

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March 16, 2012 09:48:09 AM
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Marc

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It is not inevitable. Wars have declined since WWII and will continue to decline as we evolve and expand our understanding of our common humanity. This will happen through education and progress in science. As we evolve we will rely less on the primitive part of our brain that we share with all animals and more on our higher consciousness, the part that fosters compassion and love.

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March 15, 2012 04:40:09 PM
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Gavino Villapiano

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NO, war is not inevitable. In fact, war is becoming obsolete - not armed violence, not organized violence sponsored by some political groups, certainly not armed crime. But war as an instrument of state policy is nearly obsolete among advanced nations, even if the US has not gotten that memo yet. War is a highly organized form of theft, according to Jacob Bronowski, but, as nations become more affluent and as motivating scarcity evaporates, war will become a little if ever used method of theft, simply because theft itself, at the state level, will become unnecessary. This may not happen for 100 years, but it is the END of war that is inevitable.

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March 15, 2012 01:21:54 PM
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Rose

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War is inevitable. This isn't a judgement on humans, it's just a byproduct of our diversity. People are diverse and passionate, devoted and brave. These can be very positive things for humans, but these exact things can also lead to war. I do not believe that humans (individuals or cultures) can define themselves without some conflict with others. Complete peace would necessitate eerie homogeneity.

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March 15, 2012 02:34:03 AM
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Carole Ashley

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My father was one of the post-WWI military cartographers who redrew the map of North Africa using straight lines. As Dylan Ratigan said, those colonial boundaries created artificial territories and divisions that still contribute to wars and violence. So does the West's continuing perception of other cultures as lesser.

How many wars and interventions and political interferences have WE perpetrated just since WWII? According to William Blum 70, all of them carried out with little remorse. If we don't feel regret and horror for the chaos and huge loss of life we've caused we don't have a leg to stand on when we want others to stop their aggression. There's a big moat and beam story here (and I'm not religious).

We won't rethink warmongering unless we remove all our troops and military bases from around the world. I'm afraid though that such an obvious but radical step would need far more guts and creative thinking than the U.S. is capable of.

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March 15, 2012 12:58:12 AM
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Louise

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Unfortunately, I say no. Many are the good-natured of us who wish no more than to be at peace and happy in our day to day activities. But we live alongside those who wish for more and more, and who grasp for power. Even we ourselves cling to our material possessions, the development of which causes hardship around the world. Would we give up our many pleasures if it meant that all in the world could live more equally? I don't think so. If we are pushed out of our comfort zone and if we are forced to be concerned about the areas of the world in which there is conflict, war might end. Now, not enough people care.

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March 15, 2012 12:18:52 AM
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Richard Silbert

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I believe that, at this point in our evolution, war, sadly, is inevitable. But, I do believe we are learning. Just as slavery seems impossible to us today, so may war hundreds of years in the future. I do not believe human nature, as currently constituted, will allow for the abolition of war. As long as civillizations are at risk for exhausting our resources for food, shelter, and energy, we are at risk for going to war with one another. Religions aren't helping either. Just the same, I believe we will evolve, and future stages of evolution will include the necessity to preserve, share and use wisely those resources, to change massively our views of religion, and to learn the abhorrence of war.

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March 14, 2012 10:17:18 PM
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Nora Rocket

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We will never see the end of war - not in the specific ("The War on Terror") or in the general (war).

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March 14, 2012 12:10:54 PM
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Levent Tuncer

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War will happen. Middle East still has not resolved what was done to it after the first World War. They will; through war. Africa has been fighting non-stop for a long time. They will keep doing so.
Before we get rid off war, we must get rid of what feeds it. As long of we have so called "God" and religion, and men have major power ,and find meaning in brutal expression of it, humans waiting to go to haven, and while waiting, using earth's resources thoughtlessly,(just wait and see, what will happen about water!)wisdom against war, will remain comical. We are about a 1000 years away for this wisdom to be taken seriously. If ever. Today, in NYC. or anywhere on earth, nothing gets done, without brutal expression of power. For good or bad. From here and now, I cannot see humans, without culture of war. Very sad but it is what it is.

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March 14, 2012 12:06:49 PM
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Peggy

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Unfortunately, as long as there is religious fanaticism and economic disparity there will be war. Rigid dogma and greed lend themselves to power play and inhumane behavior. I think each human being is capable of any behavior be that behavior loving or hateful; I do hold out hope that war could become obsolete. That could only happen if each person wanted for others what they want for themselves. If we as humans come to the understanding that we are all connected then why would we war with parts of ourselves?

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March 14, 2012 12:03:45 PM
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Eric Medsker

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A resounding yes, it is inevitable. For two main reason, religion still exists and isn't going anywhere. With 99% of the worlds population believing in the end of times or a second coming we will continue to hurl ourselves towards barbarity and perpetuate our unsustainable presence on this world. The second reason is that lack of resources are only going to get worse in the times to come, which will fuel confrontation. As more of the worlds economies bring people out of poverty and provide better wages/living standards more productivity, consumer goods, and energy will need to be provided. The western model is not sustainable, and increasingly so as the world continues to warm, so the planet will not be able to support our growth. The western model will not change because it's too profitable, so it will be exported to growing economies, as we've seen, in the form of Starbucks, McDonald's, Walmart, BP, ect. in India, China, and other places. If we can't live with sustainability it will lead to scarcity of resources which will lead to War/Destruction. The way I see it, we're only going to have more war not less as the decades progress.
I think of myself as a skeptical optimist in life but can't help but feel like life is a spark, not a flame, occurring all over the universe. And that our and other lifeforms that are coupled with consciousness can never be sustained. They flicker in and out of existence.

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March 14, 2012 12:03:11 PM
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prefer not to give name

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fundamentally people love the thrill of a good fight. Educated or not, high social standing or low, we love a good fight. the populatity of professional sports of all kinds is evidence of this truth.

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March 14, 2012 11:59:28 AM
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Eugenie Bietry

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I believe the European Union is a good example of how a group of nations very prone to war over the centuries, understood the potential for destruction was becoming too great and chose to integrate instead. This became possible as modern technology brought them closer together both in terms of their ability to engage in mutual destruction and developing into a larger superstate.

With increased globalization resulting from major technological developments, the nations of the world are literally getting closer together so the same threats and opportunities seen by Europe could very well expand to the major nations of the world.

That would not preclude attacks by terrorist groups or similar clusters of disturbed individuals and the amount of destruction they could cause would be directly related to the power of their weapons -- but that is not 'war' and would probably not need 'war' to respond to and defend against.

Note: Attacks by terrorists and similar fringe groups are not new, people were blowing up tzars and princes in the 19th century, it was just their bombs weren't very powerful so the driver of the carriage died or was injured in the prince in the back seat of the carriage was fine.

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March 14, 2012 11:52:04 AM
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Carol Bergman

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I thought about this a lot when I was gathering "Another Day in Paradise; International Humanitarian Workers Tell Their Stories," and I continue to think about it. (This is a wonderful series, thank you.)

I agree with Nancy Soderbergh: War, in general, won't end in my lifetime. That said, much can be done to alleviate the "need" for war, or perceived "need."

Every conflict, every massacre has immediate and historical origins. Once ignited, once soldiers become killing machines, as they have been trained, other challenges surface. Think about the American soldiers recently who went berserk and killed innocents. War, by definition, is dehumanizing. I have an (unproven) theory that PTSD is partially the result of soldiers/fighters in psychic conflict with themselves as they kill and maim.

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March 14, 2012 11:49:57 AM
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Samir Sidiqi

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Yes, war is inevitable. Institutions, such as the UN have no real enforcement power, Perminent Security Council members always line up the same way ( Russia and China etc), resulting in inaction.

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March 14, 2012 11:47:33 AM
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George Sanders (a Simon & Schuster author)

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As suggested by a website called www.VotingInSanity.org, wouldn't WORLD PEACE be best promoted by changing the way we actually THINK about decision-making?? -- I.e., by changing our 'majority wins' voting methods of "It's US against THEM" into a communal body of "We're ALL in this TOGETHER" via Score Voting -- as already used by our most successful internet businesses like Amazon.com & the IMDb?

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March 13, 2012 10:14:01 AM
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