War doesn’t work anymore. From Iraq to Afghanistan to the Palestinian conflict, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the oldest method in human history for resolving disputes has become obsolete.
It’s not that war is wrong (it usually is). It’s not that war is ghastly (it always is). The simple fact is that war as a strategy to achieve a desired outcome no longer functions.
Look no further than the ongoing debacle in Iraq. The U.S., with the biggest military machine in human history, is mired in a losing struggle with determined insurgency equipped mainly with small arms and improvised roadside bombs.
After spending more than $480 billion and counting, the U.S. military still cannot pacify a country with no organized military opposition, even when the prize is the second biggest oil reserves in the world.
Instead of throwing good money after bad, we should admit that most military interventions are no longer effective and reallocate those resources towards preventing conditions that lead to conflict. Rather than lamenting the end of war, we should embrace the possibilities it creates.
The U.S. government spends 32 times more on the military than foreign aid. Globally, aid is less than 7 per cent of military spending. Based on those numbers, the potential to make the world a more civil, just and peaceful place is enormous.
The so-called “war on terror” will not be won on a battlefield; it will be resolved through economic development, fair trade practices, strategic assistance and respectful negotiation.
Like slavery, subjugation of women and eugenics, the age of war has come and gone. It will not be missed.