Will There Be War?
By Adam Yoshida
August 10, 2011
An American credit downgrade. Europe in turmoil. Israel menaced by an Iran with nuclear ambitions. Mexican drug cartels run amok. Chinese ghost cities. With each passing day the news gets worse. To my amateur historian’s eye, we seem to be drowning under the greatest flood of crisis, both international and domestic, since the 1930s. We all know how that ended. Will it be possible, in terrible 2010s, to resolve the world’s problems without war? I’m not so certain.
About a decade ago, The National Review’s John Derbyshire wrote that the odds of us, or our children, dying in a “genuine mass-mobilization-type, carriers-going-down-with-all-hands-type, flattened-cities-type war” were higher than most people believed. At the time, even after September 11th, it didn’t seem likely to come to pass — at least in the short term.
Yet, even a decade ago, it was clear to some that we were headed towards some sort of cataclysm. Nations all over the world have made promises that, because they have been undermined by demographic change, cannot possibly be kept. It was always clear that, eventually, the laws of fixed numbers would catch up with us and that there would be a day of judgement. It’s just that, until very recently, it had always appeared that it would be in a further future and that maybe — just maybe — the white heat of technological advance would propel us faster than the danger. It had always been my belief that the crisis would come, but that it would arrive much later — perhaps in the third or fourth decade of the century when I would be, God willing, in a position to influence events directly. Alas, it increasingly appears that that will not be so. The world’s problems are so entrenched and so far-reaching that it seems doubtful that they will be resolved without the resort by some to the expedient of war. Worse, it now seems possible that a cascade of conflict will wash over the entire world as it did some seven decades ago.
Let’s consider just a few of the wars that seem possible to occur before this decade is out:
A Second Mexican War