Brad DeLong, in his blog Grasping Reality with Both Hands was celebrating the fact that
- it is …65 years and 9 months since an army crossed the Rhine River bearing fire and sword.
I commented that Europeans (and I include N. Americans generally) share the same epistemology of war – we agree on how war should be used and what constitutes winning.
Unfortunately, we are in wars with people who do not share that epistemology. And I suspect that we don't have any idea of what their epistemology of war is.
But, the long European peace suggests that there is a way in which war can become obsolete if only we can find it.
I've made some suggestions in the past:
- War is a response to scarcity. The forms reflect the kind of scarcity each group experienced.
Nomads (Abel) experienced periodic scarcity became raiders. They used their knowledge of how to kill and how to herd and break up groups to kill and scatter their opponents. Since the scarcity the experienced was irregular and since they did not plant they did not have an attachment to owning geography. Their form of war was brutal and brief.
Agriculturists (Cain) settled and planted. As the populations grew they experienced a scarcity of land and expanded outward to take over more and more land. They developed war based on standing and defending a piece of geography first they built walled settlements, perhaps against the raiders and then with the rise of a new information technology – writing – cities and empires. Their attachment was to geography since wealth came from land. They developed defensive wars and then wars of imperialism.
Western wars have been Cain's wars and obey Cain's rules but we are now fighting against people from Abel's tradition.
We need to figure out what the epistemology is whether we want to end war or even if we still believe in winning.