Governments looking for a pretext to justify a predetermined course of action will undoubtedly find one. Some outrage can be seized upon, some barbarity can be dangled before the public, or some looming danger can be created to whip up support for a policy. It is an ancient stratagem, and an effective one. A convincing casus belli needs only the correct manner of its deployment.Continue reading
We hear a lot of talk about “new generations” of warfare. Everything is supposed to be new, different, and immutably changed from previous eras of conflict. Some people have even taken to numbering what they see as historical phases of warfare. First generation, second generation, third generation, etc. While there is some merit to this classification system, I think its disadvantages outweigh its advantages. Such neat categorizations tempt us into believing that things are somehow different now than they have been in the past.
Human nature being what it is, there will always be many different reasons why wars begin. All of these reasons ultimately find their roots in human passions: greed, the lust for power, or simply a desire to “put fortune to the test” (fortunam temptare) as the ancient Latin historians would say.