December 30, 2005


The Peace Epidemic: The world isn't so dangerous after all. (Timothy Noah, Dec. 29, 2005, Slate)

Although it's widely believed that the long standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union brought peace, that wasn't really true. Mutual deterrence successfully prevented war between the two great powers, and we can all be very grateful that humankind avoided nuclear annihilation. But the Cold War turned hot in a variety of proxy wars in which the United States supported one side and the Soviet Union supported the other. The human cost was enormous. By the report's reckoning, the number of "state-based armed conflicts" in the world increased by a factor of three between 1946 and 1991. Dire predictions that the Cold War's end would bequeath a long epoch of tribal anarchy may have seemed plausible in the early 1990s, as the Balkans were beset with ethnic violence. But in the end the jeremiads weren't borne out. The death of Soviet communism didn't just make the West safer; it made the entire world safer. (The report says the end of Western colonialism also played a role; because of anticolonial conflict, the greatest number of wars fought between 1946 and 2003 were waged by the United Kingdom, which fought 21, and France, which fought 19. The United States ranks next with 16, and the Soviet Union brings up the great-power rear with 9. Josef Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union until 1953, was no slouch in the killing department, but he tended to prefer murdering his own countrymen.)

One region must be excepted from this calculus. Interestingly, it isn't the Middle East (though certainly that region is a violent one). It's Africa. According to the Human Security Report, more people are being killed in wars in sub-Saharan Africa than in the rest of the world combined. [...]

If you go by the numbers, our planet is becoming less violent, not more so. Francis Fukuyama (who himself faltered slightly after 9/11) looks fairly prescient right now for predicting back in 1989 the "end of history," with "history" defined as "the evolution of human societies through different forms of government." In effect, Fukuyama was predicting an end to global armed ideological conflict, since "the evolution of human societies" is almost always achieved through warfare. The Human Security Report 2005 bears Fukuyama out. History may come back, but at the moment it's blessedly on the wane.

There was still a bit of clean-up left to do--disabusing the Islamnicists of the notion their system was a serious alternative--but it was always a dubious proposition that when parliamentarty democracy won the Long War it would lead to a less orderly world.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 30, 2005 3:05 PM

So it was that Ronald Reagan named Communism "the focus of evil in the modern world."

The evil existed long before Communism, and it persists, for it comes from deep inside the human heart. While Communism lasted, however, it plotted, and subverted, and incited through envy, hatred, greed, resentment, desire for revenge.

It spread evil not just in its own name, but in what it forced us to do to crush it--not the petty repressions undertaken by us or by our clients, but the day-in, day-out monstrosity of counter-value thermonuclear deterrence.

There will still be problems, like Africa, and there will be solutions, like Iraq

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 30, 2005 10:29 PM

Seems Hugo issued this, via Colby Cosh:

...In a paper currently being distributed in pro-government circles, titled "The role of social production companies in the new productive model", the ideological grounds of EPS are outlined. "If the government wants to conquer the second and ultimate independence of the country, our challenge in the ideological arena is even bolder: to make citizens feel the collective sentiment, love their neighbors as themselves, identify a common solution to get out of the swamp of egocentrism, alienation, lack of commitment and indifference, exacerbated by neoliberal globalization."

EPS are therefore essential to create "new" men and women within the framework of socialism for the next millennium....

Posted by: Sandy P at December 31, 2005 12:08 AM

There are more alternative policital systems than your stereotyping of Islamofascism. What those who can legitimately be called Islamofascists (no, not just every Islamic system that opposes US hegemony) and the US have in common, is an unswervable belief that their is the ONLY way.
It requires a kind egotistical, tyrannical, close-mindedness that will justify any means to an end that will never come.

Posted by: Grog at December 31, 2005 12:39 AM

What those who can legitimately be called Islamofascists and the U.S. don't have in common are readily identifiable results.

The Way of the West isn't the ONLY way, it's just THE ONLY WAY THAT WORKS.

Therefore, we have a situation where Islamofascists are reduced to blowing up random innocent women and children, not because it's a particularly effective way for them to achieve their dreams of a global caliphate, but because they have no other means left to them.

Meanwhile, the American hegemons have sent a human artifact out of our solar system, are actively and currently exploring Mars, have successfully reverse-engineered some of the alien artifacts that we keep at Area 51, invented and implemented the internet AND the World Wide Web, discovered and perfected a practically UNLIMITED supply of petroleum, produce enough food to feed North and South America, and even our no-doubt-befuddled allies are world-beaters in some areas - Europe in technology to generate power from wind and wave, Japan in bleeding-edge consumer electronics and robotics...

What can the Islamofascists show us ?
The wonders from a thousand years past ?

Shades of Ozymandias.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 31, 2005 4:45 AM