The Last War
We are living in the most peaceful era in history. International wars have dropped to an all-time low. With few exceptions, since 1945 states no longer invade other states in order to conquer and swallow them up. Such conquests had been the bread and butter of political history since time immemorial. It was how most great empires were established, and how most rulers and populations expected things to stay. But campaigns of conquest like those of the Romans, Mongols and Ottomans cannot take place today anywhere in the world. Since 1945, no independent country recognized by the UN has been conquered and wiped off the map. Limited international wars still occur from time to time, and millions still die in wars, but wars are no longer the norm.
Many people believe that the disappearance of international war is unique to the rich democracies of Western Europe. In fact, peace reached Europe after it prevailed in other parts of the world. Thus the last serious international wars between South American countries were the Peru-Ecuador War of 1941 and the Bolivia-Paraguay War of 1932-1935. And before that there hadn’t been a serious war between South American countries since 1879–1884, with Chile on one side and Bolivia and Peru on the other.
We seldom think of the Arab world as particularly peaceful. Yet only once since the Arab countries won their independence has one of them mounted a full-scale invasion of another (the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990). There have been quite a few border clashes (e.g., Syria vs. Jordan in 1970), many armed interventions of one in the affairs of another (e.g., Syria in Lebanon), numerous civil wars (Algeria, Yemen, Libya), and an abundance of coups and revolts. Yet there have been no full-scale international wars among the Arab states except the Gulf War. Even widening the scope to include the entire Muslim world adds only one more example, the Iran-Iraq War. There was no Turkey-Iran War, Pakistan-Afghanistan War, or Indonesia-Malaysia War.Read MoreClose