Victor Davis Hanson
War seems to come out of nowhere, like rust that suddenly pops up on iron after a storm.
Throughout history, we have seen that war can sometimes be avoided or postponed, or its effects mitigated -- usually through a balance of power, alliances and deterrence rather than supranational collective agencies. But it never seems to go away entirely.
Just as otherwise lawful suburbanites might slug it out over silly driveway boundaries, or trivial road rage can escalate into shooting violence, so nations and factions can whip themselves up to go to war -- consider 1861, 1914 or 1939. Often, the pretexts for starting a war are not real shortages of land, food or fuel, but rather perceptions -- like fear, honor and perceived self-interest.
To the ancient Greek philosophers Heraclitus and Plato, war was the father of us all, while peace was a brief parenthesis in the human experience. In the past, Americans of both parties seemed to accept that tragic fact.
After the Second World War,
Such peacekeeping assumed that there would always pop up a
Such a bipartisan activist policy is coming to close with the new "lead from behind" policy of the Obama administration. Perhaps America now believes that
Yet the reasons for our new isolationism, analogous to early 1914 or 1939, do not matter, only the reality that lots of bad actors now believe that
The common theme?
In the last four years, tired of
Perhaps, but there is no evidence in either human nature or our recorded past to believe such a rosy prognosis.
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