I used to think it was, and the reason we still have war and violence is because of the greed of the elites. But now, I’m not so sure. The average human being seems pretty vicious; most people probably only care about themselves and their own families and would chop down the next person to get their own ahead given the chance. Based on my observations of people in public and on the Internet.
I think it’s entirely possible to have large-scale peace, i.e. no major country vs. country, force-on-force wars. We have that right now, as a matter of fact, and IMO, it’s because enough of the world is allied or affiliated with the US, and the threat of our powerful military keeps them in check.
I don’t think we’ll ever be able to get away from brushfire wars and guerrilla wars until there’s enough of EVERYTHING to go around. Unless that’s the case, someone will control the resource, and someone else will disagree with their decisions and want to control the resource themselves.
It’s human nature to want what you don’t have, whether it is physical like oil, water or grain, or something more metaphysical like power or prestige.
Look at Europe – for centuries the countries fought each other. Now they have the European Union and they look to be at peace with each other forever. Why can’t that happen for the whole human world?
Because the rest of the world aren’t Europeans. And that peace you’re looking at is only about sixty years old versus a history of conflict lasting for centuries. When they can no longer depend on American military support, things could get ugly for them very quickly.
World peace is theoretically possible, total peace never will exist. However, I don’t think you will see world peace until we move beyond a sovereign country system and into a world representative government. In addition we will have to lift a lot of areas out of abusive third world economic systems. We will have to invest globally in infrastructure, education, and the reduction of religious power of all stripes. It could happen, but barring a huge global shift to a new economic system I don’t see it happening soon.
American military support as against whom? Not jihadists. Not Russia. Not each other. Who in the world really needs American military protection any more? Nobody, not even South Korea. The Libyans could use a bit, but that’s a special case and the troops presumably wouldn’t stay.
Perhaps you missed that war against the Serbs back in the 90s? The Euros stood around with their thumbs up their butts waiting for America to provide the political leadership and military muscle to put a stop to the fighting in the Balkans, and IIRC, we still maintain troops there. I’m not saying that the Balkans are about to spark another world war, but obviously there’s a lot of conflict in the region that could easily spill over into other regions. Albania and Greece aren’t getting along. Turkey and Greece have never gotten along. There are jihadists trying their best, and sometimes succeeding, to radicalize Muslims in Europe. There are all kinds of stresses and conflicts that could erupt into brush wars in Europe, much like the wars in Chechnya and Georgia.
Except there never was any hint that the Yugoslav war would end up with German troops marching into Paris. For these brushfire wars to be significant, we would have to see one major power support one side, while another major power supports another side. So, say, France supporting the Croats and Germany supporting the Serbs. Except that’s not about to happen. The European Union countries aren’t going to disagree with each other about what to do, since as you point out their first inclination is to do nothing, which strikes me as wise.
Now that Russia and China have joined the rest of the world as normal countries rather than ideological holdouts, the prospect for armed conflict between major powers is extremely remote. Yeah, yeah, they said that in 1913. Except, it isn’t 1913. Yes, things could change and Europe will return to militarism. But the trend is exactly opposite.
I think it is more or less possible in the relatively near future. The thing is, what makes it easy to go to war with countries is when you have nothing to lose. Now, with so many allies, and particularly with the world economy being so intertwined, it’s difficult to raise war with a nation and not have it backfire both politically and economically. A country like the US can sort of get away with it because we are the top dogs, and countries that are already looked down up or don’t really rely on the world market as much can get away with it.
However, I think as the gap between the US and other countries closes, we won’t be able to do so much anymore, and as other countries catch up with much of the rest of the industrialized world, they’ll just have too much to lose.
Now, obviously, this could all go to hell with a complete economic breakdown or if some real nut-job gets power, but considering we’re not seeing hell now with the world economy where it is, I think that’s unlikely to happen.