Friday, December 29, 2006

War of the World

The War of the World by Niall Ferguson Hugh Hewitt recommends it strongly. From the book:
The hundred years after 1900 were without question the bloodiest century in modern history, far more violent in relative as well as absolute terms than any previous era. Significantly larger percentages of the world's population were killed in the two world wars that dominated the century than had been killed in any previous conflict of comparable geopolitical magnitude. Although wars between 'great powers' were more frequent in earlier centuries, the world wars were unparalleled in their severity (battle deaths per year) and concentration (battle deaths per nation-year). By any measure the Second World War was the greatest man-made catastrophe of all time. And yet, for all the attention they have attracted from historians, the world wars were only two of many twentieth-century conflicts. Death tolls quite probably passed the million mark in more than a dozen others.* Comparable fatalities were caused by the genocidal or 'politicidal' wars waged against civilian populations by the Young Turk regime during the First World War, the Soviet regime from the 1920s until the 1950s and the National Socialist regime in Germany between 1933 and 1945, to say nothing of the tyranny of Pol Pot in Cambodia. There was not a single year before, between, or after the world wars that did not see large-scale organized violence in one part of the world or another. *The Mexican Revolutionary War (1910-20), The Russian civil war (1917-21), the civil war in China (1926-37), the Korean War (1950-53), the intermittent civil wars in Rwanda and Burundi (1963-95), the post-colonial wars in Indo-China (1960-75), the Ethiopian civil war (1962-92), the Nigerian civil war (1966-70), the Bangladeshi war of independence (1971), the civil war in Mozambique (1975-93), the war in Afghanistan (1979-2001), the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) and the on-going civil wars in Sudan (since 1983) and Congo (since 1998). Before 1900 only the rebellions of nineteenth-century China, in particular the Taiping Rebellion, caused comparable amounts of lethal violence.
It is against that backdrop that Iran's thrust for nukes must be understood. All of the carnage of the previous century was completed with the only uses of a WMD at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Project forward the same level of violence of the last century into the new one, but imagine even four or five of the aggressors or factions possessing WMD, and the picture of what is ahead in the next 93 years is bleak beyond description

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