Judging by the media’s coverage of ongoing events, this year particularly might seem like a rather worrying one. Numerous terrorist attacks and civil conflicts are spelling, in the minds of many, the forthcoming disaster of war.
Fortunately, for once statistics appear to be telling a different story. The Human Security Report Project’s research shows that we are still living in one of the most peaceful times of human history. And that at a time when the global population is peaking. Even if endless discussion could be had on the topic, war’s ongoing decline boils down to three main reasons.
Firstly, democracies have consistently been found not to fight war with others of their kind. That is mostly because their residents think it is wrong to do so. While democracies do have a higher likeness to start wars with autocracies, they opportunities to do so are a lot fewer. That comes as a result of most countries being nowadays governed by the people.
Second is The Stability-Instability Paradox. It bases on the fact that nuclear weapons, in spite of their ability to wipe out the planet, have also in a weird way contributed to a decrease in violence. Nobody is willing to fight a nuclear war because there would be no winner. That results in countries which do have a nuclear arsenal making use of it’s threat merely to gain advantages in small conflicts.
Lastly comes the notion of sovereignty. This is an idea hundreds of years old that discourages interfering inside the borders of another state. People chose to override it in the past, because they would rather enjoy the economic gains of taking a state’s land for themselves. Presently, war is not as effective as it used to be in that regard and after World War II, nations pledged to (mostly) stop. Unfortunately, somewhat of a problem arises when weak governments undergo a civil war. The outside community will have a harder time intervening to help.
All in all, current conflicts get so much attention and shock so many explicitly because they are much more rare. While we still do not know that war is truly going away, if the next seventy years do not bring with them a major bloodshed, we can be confident that the world is truly getting closer to peace.