I came across this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal cartoon just now.
And I thought of the ‘Security Dilemma’ in International Relations. States will seek to ‘escalate’ in order to defend themselves; crudely simplified to this punnet square:
blockquote>Which has had me reflecting on current affairs lately, and the passing anniversary of the start of WW1. Are we on the brink of a war?
I think yes, personally.
Not tomorrow, but within the next 10 years.
There will be some kind of international action or intervention that crosses someone’s ‘line’.
Globally involved wars have happened because of wider interest in the domestic affairs of one particular nation.
Allow me to use some examples:
In WW1 it was Austro-Hungary and their relationship with Serbia, most specifically following the assassination of Franz and Sophie Ferdinand. The consequence was an activation of allies on both sides, against each other. The assassination was a domestic catalyst for something bigger than anyone could have imagined.
In WW2 it was Germany and Hitler’s rise to power. WW2 was undeniably catalysed by the invasion of Poland; if Germany had just outwardly declared wars on Britain, I doubt they would have taken the bait. The actions taken were to prevent Germany furthering Hitler’s ‘national interest.’
In the Korean War, it was Japan and their colonial ownership of the Korean Peninsula. Post WW2, Korea was split along the 38th parallel; the USSR and USA to be temporary trustees until the UN would hold free elections. But that outcome did not occur. Korea and the succeeding war was a result of external interest in Japanese politics and dominions, totally incidental and the consequences are still very visible today.
In Vietnam, in was a power vacuum left by post colonial transition and the exit of the French. Vietnam was in a geographic and geo-politically tenuous position, exacerbated by the Cold War and it’s present power players.
There are a few places around the world which are considered high risk conflicts:
My gut prediction will be Israel.
So many nations have aligned one way or another, in support or Israel or Palestine. If the situations escalates, will all nations stay true to their words and support their ‘side’?
Despite tragedy in Syria and Libya, there has been no escalation. There hasn’t been that catalyst, that invasion or assassination to involve other nations, if they intervened it would be interpreted as an act of aggression or unwanted intervention.
I think Israel is a situation where there are more deeply involved ‘players’ and where there has been long running tensions. Without mentioning the surrounding nations’ distaste for Israel present a very dangerous situation, and wider implications.
But what more can it take than the death of innocent people, the destruction of stability, of good government, cultural cohesion?
Thoughts applicable to all areas of conflict.
We shall wait and see.
But I deeply hope that I am wrong.
Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing!