There has not been one war between the major powers in over 60 years. Historians say this is unprecedented and call it the “the Long Peace.” It seems to suggest that we have entered a new era of declining war and more peace. If your view of looking into the future is through a rear-view mirror, then this historical analysis is great. But what about the rest of us?
Please watch this video titled, “The Mathematics of War”:
There is a mathematical process underlying conflicts and war. Attacks and wars precisely follow a power-law distribtion process. So what?
Well, power-law processes work through a feedback loop mechanism and exhibit self-organizing criticality. Periods of peace represent the time that tension can build. Longer periods of peace mean more tension can build. Eventually, the tension builds to the point where the system undergoes a phase change – collapse (war). What that means is that if one suppresses conflict and war, then eventually you will get one that is orders of magnitude (powers of 10) larger. So a period of unprecedented peace MUST be followed by a period of unprecedented war.
The Human Security Report, an annual study compiled by researchers at Simon Fraser University in Canada, spells out the changes since the end of World War II. In the 1950s, there was an average of just over six international wars being fought every year. In the new millennium, there has been an average of less than one. Even more remarkable, there has not been a single war between the major powers in more than 60 years. This is unprecedented. Historians call it “the Long Peace”.
Not only are there fewer international wars, they have become less deadly. The average war of the 1950s caused 20,000 battle deaths a year. In the past decade it’s fewer than 3000 per war.
But what of civil wars? The trend was ugly from the 1960s to the 1990s, when they trebled. A great many were proxy struggles by the superpowers. As soon as the Soviet Union gave up the fight, the Cold War ended and so did many civil wars. Their number halved from 1992 to 2003, when it reached 29. Last year there were 30 being waged.