The article titled “How are we doing — as human beings?” published on Monday was an interesting piece. The first of the human instincts, survival, is in fact linked with power. And therein lies the problem.
All the evidence suggests we are heading for another world war. And the pattern of history is clear. Power (manifested as interest) has been present in every conflict throughout history—no exception. It is the underlying motivation for war. Other cultural factors might change, but not power.
It is the one thing we will destroy ourselves for, as well as everyone else. When core interests are threatened and existential threat looms, nations go to war. There can be no compromise on this. As a result, every nation eventually gets the war it is trying to avoid. This applies as much today as any other time in history. Deterrence doctrine, made for the 20th-century Cold War, is irrelevant in the 21st and will ultimately fail us. Deterrence can no longer prevent the scenarios where Mutual Assured Destruction will be resorted to.
Unfortunately, leaders and decision-makers delude themselves, thinking they can avoid this fate—they can't. If survival is threatened, there is no alternative to war, however destructive.
Peter McLoughlin by email