Thursday, March 2, 2023

Prelude to War

The Late Bronze Age Collapse was a widespread economic crisis from about 1200 to 1150 BC.  It happened because many countries ranging from Lybia and Egypt to the eastern Mediterranean were dependent upon trade with each other and war broke out disrupting that trade.

World War I may have been the most pointless war ever. A combination of an arms race between nations, conflicts in the Balkans, and military alliances created a situation where war was inevitable. Then the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand set off a conflict between Austria and Serbia. Other nations felt compelled to join because of their alliances. The war ended after 4 years and around 17 million military deaths.

Disease and war go hand in hand. Roughly two-thirds of the 620,000 military deaths from the American Civil War were due to disease. The Spanish Flu that killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide was spread by soldiers traveling between the World War I battlefields and their home countries.  The devastation from the disease was so great that it is partially responsible for ending the war.

We could be on the precipice of another world war.  China has made its intentions toward Taiwan clear, while the U.S. has promised to help defend Taiwan.  China has been very aggressive in violating the territorial waters of its neighbors by claiming ownership of the South China Sea and building artificial islands there and putting military bases on those islands.  China has also been aggressive in its economic alliances with other countries, often forcing them into deals favorable to China.  They will offer loans, and when countries can't pay back the loans, China will take over small parts of the countries such as vital seaports as part of a loan restructuring.

Meanwhile, Russia has invaded Ukraine, suspends participation in the last remaining nuclear treaty with the United States, and threatened to use nuclear weapons.  Putin has claimed part of Ukraine as Russian territory and has promised to use nuclear weapons to defend that territory.  The United States has given Ukraine $75 billion in assistance, making the United States a participant in the war.  Nine other countries are also giving aid to Ukraine.  

As a result of all this, China and Russia have increased their military and economic trade with each other.  Iran is also helping Russia.

Putin has claimed repeatedly that he is willing to negotiate an end to the war, requiring territorial concessions by Ukraine, but reportedly the United States has urged Ukraine to reject any agreement and fight on.

Russia's invasion was partially sparked by Ukrainian wishes to join NATO.  Russia was unwilling to tolerate a potentially hostile NATO in its backyard.  However, such an alliance was not in any way imminent.  It would have been a long way off.  I also think that Ukraine should have the right to form alliances for its own protection.

As much as I think that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is wrong, I don't believe that the war in Ukraine is in the national interest of the United States.  We are spending our treasure, and risking a possible World War if not a nuclear conflict over a country that is known for its corruption and human rights abuses.  I believe that Ukraine should have the right to defend its territory, but the country has very little impact on the United States.

I understand the desire to stand up to bullies and injustice.  However, going to war against a nuclear power, and a possible psychopath with his finger on the nuclear button should give us pause.  We could have negotiated a settlement months ago, and no matter how unjust it may seem, we should still do so.

Nobody suspected that Pearl Harbor would happen until it did.  The same thing could be said about 9-11.  It would only take one incident for events to spiral out of control, and we could find ourselves in a war that would cost tens of millions of lives.

We could be especially vulnerable to an EMP attack which would disable everything electrical that is not specially shielded. It wouldn't take much to send us back to the stone age.

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