Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

[FORUM] War: what next?

The ongoing unpleasantness in Korea, which has the potential to erupt into a devastating Second Korean War but seems considerably more likely the self-limiting power games of the North Korean military elite as a new leader succeeds, has reminded me, at least, that Korea is the only area of the world where the potential of the Cold War to become a devastating conflict exists. (I exclude Taiwan, inasmuch as the trend seems to be towards Taiwanese rapprochement with China--trade agreements aside, at least hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese live in Shanghai alone. This does not seem to me likely to augur a resumption of the Chinese civil war.)

To an almost miraculous degree, the world is free of the risk of Great Power conflict. The world seems to be increasingly integrated from the cultural and economic perspectives, Great Powers (rising and otherwise) seem to be more interested in joining the world system than not, and not a one seems interested in igniting any sort of cold war. The Great Powers seem to have bought into non-zero-sum paradigm of international relations. (Or have they actually bought into that?)

Most wars seem to have been displaced to the periphery of the world system. Relatively low-tech insurgencies seem dominant, sometimes locally based and sometimes depending on foreign sponsorship, frequently marked by the commission of atrocities against subject civilian populations, some of these insurgencies seeing effective outside intervention, some not, and most remaining of only humanitarian interest to outsiders. (Or have they remained durably displaced?)

Has war become outmoded as a latent threat in international relations, at least at the core of the world system? Or does it have some potential yet for renewed chaos?

Tags: china, cold war, congo, forums, geopolitics, korea, war
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