Never Confuse Power With Peace

What is Peace?

To my simple mind, Peace is when I have no conceivable reason to kill you and you have no conceivable reason to kill me. To my mind, if I might want to kill you or you might want to kill me, but we are not currently doing so, that is a cease fire.

By that definition, peace is in relative short supply in this world. After all, many nations and cultures have a number of conceivable reasons for going to war with one another.

By this same definition, peace is rarely achieved through victory in war. That is why the Romans (among others) frequently resorted to genocide or mass enslavement. Those methods are the only way to guarantee that victory equals peace.

Of course, peace does happen sometimes even without genocide or mass enslavement. The Saxons no longer have a deep desire to kill Normans. In fact, they can’t even tell each other apart. In a more modern context, it looks like real peace may be breaking out in Northern Ireland. People there seem to be losing all desire to kill each other. The younger generation in particular does not seem to want to continue their parents’ fight.

But Northern Ireland is the exception to the rule. In most places, peace is nowhere on the horizon. Yet people do not seem to realize that.

For example, take a look at this video that the Belmont Club posted (originally from Blackfive) ….

These people have the right to talk trash. A lot of people on the other side of the argument treated them as fools for believing that victory was possible. But this should not obscure the fact that victory over the insurgency is irrelevant.

For example, in the video clip above, the success of the surge looks a lot like Iraq under the rule of Saddam. After all, Saddam beat all the insurgencies that fought against him (with the exception of the Kurds and we never had to fight them). When he was in charge, there was traffic on the road highlighted in the YouTube clip above. Why is the ability of the US to beat the insurgency supposed to be so impressive? And what is to keep the fighting from flaring up the second American troops leave the country?

As I pointed out some time ago, the US goals in Iraq are unachievable. Anyone trying pretend otherwise is simply fooling themselves. But many people choose to do just that because the alternatives are too horrible to contemplate. People do not want to admit that peace is beyond their power to bring about.

This problem is not just limited to the pro-war side. The anti-war side is at least as naïve if not more so. The idea that things would have been better if American had never gotten involved is highly dubious to say the least. Saddam would not have lived forever even if no one had managed to kill him. And then what would have happened?

Yugoslavia had it even worse than Iraq did long before America got involved. A post Saddam Iraq was always going to resemble a post Tito Yugoslavia. And when Iraq started to fall apart, everyone in the whole world would have started screaming for America to restore stability to the Middle East. In the end, America would have gotten involved in Iraq for the same reasons we got involved in Yugoslavia. And who can say that the bloodshed would have been any less?

But the fact that America was fated to become involved in Iraq does not mean that it will achieve its goals any more then America will prove to be successful in Yugoslavia. The fact that we have a kind of enforced stability in Yugoslavia does not mean that the US brought peace to the Balkans. On the contrary, the increased support that far right parties have been experiencing in Serbia shows that people are not ready for peace yet.

Simply put, America has not been successful at bringing about peace. It has only managed to freeze various conflicts around the world to prevent them from spreading. This has created an unprecedented era of stability, but at the cost of building up tension all around the world. It is likely that Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, North vs South Korea, China vs Taiwan, Russia vs Georgia, Israel vs its neighbors and many other hot spots around the world will all get nasty at once. This is because they have been prevented from being nasty only by realities of American power.

Without American power all of those things would gotten a lot nastier then they did, but they would have also burned themselves out sequentially. As it is now, they are all being saved for the day when America no longer has the power to rule the roost. Then they shall all flair up at once.

To put it another way: the fate of Iraq when Saddam lost power and the fate Yugoslavia with the death of Tito show us what will happen when America is no longer the strong man of the world. The world is destined to fall apart the second that America loses its grip. And America will lose its grip because the problems facing the world are beyond America’s ability to contain.

Yet just as many people took it for granted that world financial system was secure until a couple of months ago, so too do many people think that stability brought about by American power will be an enduring feature. But all it will take is a temporary break down in American power for all of hell to break loose. And what nation has ever been strong at all times without any temporary break downs?

One Response to “Never Confuse Power With Peace”

  1. […] _uacct = “UA-1202685-1”; urchinTracker(); Map of the Ethereal Land The Ethereal Voice Front Page – Politics – Money – Knowledge – Art – Food – Fun Masthead About Never Confuse Power With Peace By Ape Man | November 15, 2008 – 1:39 pm Posted in Category: Front Page, Politics What is Peace? To my simple mind, Peace is when I have no conceivable reason to kill you and you have no conceivable reason to kill me. To my mind, if I might want to kill you or you might want to kill me, but we are not currently doing so, that is a cease Click Here to continue reading. […]

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