War

Recognizing a Safer World After Memorial Day

Something to celebrate.

|

Yesterday was Memorial Day and an opportunity to remember U.S. soldiers who died in battle. Today, let us look at some positive trends in the world of international conflict. First, the end of the Cold War has led to a decline in overall violence. Interstate wars have by and large ceased to exist, although "internationalized internal conflicts," such as the Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine and Saudi Arabia's bombing of Yemen, are still with us. Civil wars are also rarer, in spite of the on-going conflicts in Libya, Syria and Iraq. Unfortunately, battle-related deaths are increasing. That said, fewer people die in battle than was the case in the last years of the Cold War.

While the United States has had a professional military since 1973 when the draft ended, many countries around the world maintain conscript militaries. The length of military conscription has been falling globally, indicating that a growing number of governments in the world think that military conflict is less rather than more likely in the future. The "intensity" of militarization has also declined. The number of military personnel per 1,000 people, for example, continues to decline.

And, as I have written in Reason before, humanity's destructive potential–while still considerable–has been declining. In 1986, for example, the Soviet Union had over 40,000 nuclear warheads, while the United States' nuclear arsenal peaked in 1967 at over 31,000 warheads. Last year, both countries' nuclear arsenal contained less than 5,000 warheads each.

All the while, the world has continued to grow more prosperous and democratic. Let us hope that these salutary trends continue and that we never have to look back at the 2010s as the good old days. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

34 responses to “Recognizing a Safer World After Memorial Day

  1. But all this will be for nothing if we let climate deniers continue to deny climate change thus denying all these gains because deniers will kill us all!

    1. I deny climate. Climate is just a social construct. There’s no such thing as weather!

      1. Climate is the ultimate sex criminal and rapist! Climate wants to fuck and rape us all, but if we DENY climate our PERMISSION to rape us, I am SURE that Government Almighty will prosecute the climate! … So yes, I am a climate denier… We should ALL deny climate! It’s a CIS-het shitlord, climate is!!!

    2. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do… http://www.earnmore9.com

  2. And the world was a great deal more peaceful in the 1920s than it was in the 1910s and yet that didn’t stop the 1930s and 1940s from being even more violent than the 1910s.

    It is commendable that we are currently less violent, but the implication that we are converging towards greater peace is untenable; there are plenty of grievances and excuses for people to start another great war, or a good many lesser ones.

    Also, this is just plain clueless:

    And, as I have written in Reason before, humanity’s destructive potential?while still considerable?has been declining. In 1986, for example, the Soviet Union had over 40,000 nuclear warheads, while the United States’ nuclear arsenal peaked in 1967 at over 31,000 warheads. Last year, both countries’ nuclear arsenal contained less than 5,000 warheads each.

    No doubt a good deal of that reduction was due to treaties like SALT and START but the number of warheads and launchers is rather immaterial. No attempt has been made to limit the explosive yield, effective range, or other operational properties of the weapons. Not that it would much matter, as any such treaties will only be followed to the extent each side finds it in their interest to follow them (cf. Washington Naval Treaty).

    1. How do we know that the number of nuclear warheads have, in fact, been reduced?

    2. Every silver lining has a cloud, don’t it?

    3. And one nuclear weapon in the hands of Iran or worse a terrorist group is orders of magnitude more dangerous than 10,000 such weapons in the hands of the US or the old Soviet Union.

  3. What about the number of people assaulted, beaten, caged, killed, taxed, and tazed in connection with the wars on cash, drugs, money-movement, and the like?

    The narrative that the world is less violent fails to the extent that it fails to include internal violence perpetrated by states – and violence necessarily means any NAP violations by any state actors.

    1. And don’t forget violence by non state actors such as drug gangs and terrorist organizations. You are no less dead if the bullet that kills you was fired by a gang member or a terrorist than if the bullet was fired by a cop or a soldier.

      1. Yes, that be true – just look at Chicago.

        OT: How about them Warriors?! They are now in a very select class of teams to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the conference finals, joining the 1968 Celtics, the 1979 Bullets, and the 1981 Celtics (game 7 was one of the single best games in North American team sports history, imo). The 1982 Celtics almost duplicated their 1981 feat only to get blown out by the Sixers, at the garden, on May 23, 1982 (the birth of the “BEAT LA” chant).

        1. I can’t believe it. I think OKC was the better team. But GS had more poise and just rose to the occasion and executed under the pressure better and won. What GS did in the third quarter last night was remarkable. That is the difference between great teams and really talented and good teams. OKC had them but just gagged and GS came out in the second half and got better.

          I think they are going to roll Cleveland.

          1. John, it is vicarious and all, but I can’t tell you how much enjoyment I derived from seeing what GS did.

            Your assessment of OKC is spot on.

            I think Cleveland has a better shot than last year, although I think GS will win.

  4. What is that old joke about the guy jumping off a tall building and as he went past the fourth floor was heard saying “so far so good”? Or to put it in more scientific terms, past or current conditions are not always a perfect predictor of future ones.

    1. Why not read the article?!

      The article that never claimed current claims were predictive!!

      And ended just vaguely hoping that trends would continue!!

      It’s not saying that current trends are predictive, just reporting the current trends!!

      And saying that the current trends are good.

      Which is nice, considering most people assume the trends are bad.

      That article!!

      Go read it!!

      THEN comment 8 times.

  5. That said, fewer people die in battle than was the case in the last years of the Cold War.

    Well yes. Cold War.

    But enough about the article. Would perv.

  6. Ron Bailey in 1913

  7. Fewer people die in battle because field medicine among first-world militaries has gotten better and the trickle-down effect has improved field medicine among most organized combatant forces.

    1. That is a great point. If the US still had the same medical technology in the 2000s that it had in the 1960s, the Afghanistan Iraq war death totals would be much closer to that of Vietnam.

      1. My cousin’s husband, a former Navy medic, has often made that same point.

  8. Great article, goober bleating notwithstanding.

    What’s with Russia’s armed forces spike in the early ’90s?

    1. You really are the guy who jumps off a building and says “so far so good” going past the third floor.

  9. That said, fewer people die in battle than was the case in the last years of the Cold War.

    Well, except for on the 10 PM News.

  10. LOL. Comrade Obama’s weakness has made the world a much less safe place. After signing New START,Russia INCREASED their number of nuclear warheads,built new,modern road-mobile ICBMs,threatens it’s neighbors with nuclear attack if they allow NATO forces in their countries. Communist China is not signatory to ANY strategic arms treaties,and adds new nuclear missiles every year. Iran has developed the capability to build nuclear weapons,and the JOKE of a “deal”,the JCPOA is hardly any hindrance to it. Other nations are now considering “going nuclear”,despite the Non-Proliferation Treaty,now that Comrade Obama has effectively negated it with his “deal” that allowed Iran to violate it,and gave it official recognition. China has moved into the South China Sea,built reefs into military bases with huge airfields,installed surface-air and anti-ship missile batteries. It’s seized Philippine territory,Scarborough Shoals.
    Hezbollah has started moving into South America,perhaps even snuck across the undefended US southern border,establishing sleeper cells in the US.

  11. I’ve made $64,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. Im using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I do,

    =========== http://youtube.nypost55.com

  12. Make 7500 bucks every month? Start doing online computer-based work through our website. I have been working from home for 4 years now and I love it. I don’t have a boss standing over my shoulder and I make my own hours. The tips below are very informative and anyone currently working from home or planning to in the future could use this website??

    ~~~~~~~~~ http://www.NetSelf70.com

  13. I’m making $86 an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbour told me she was averaging $98 but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I’m my own boss…
    I work through this URL. Go here,,,
    This is what I do.————- http://www.earnmore9.com

  14. Deferred violence is not the same thing as peace. Just like deferred poverty (i.e., living on debt) is not the same thing as prosperity. Fiat currency is keeping up appearances in the world for now, but it won’t last.

    Winter is coming.

  15. Start making more money weekly. This is a valuable part time work for everyone. The best part work from comfort of your house and get paid from $100-$2k each week.Start today and have your first cash at the end of this week. For more details Check this link??

    Clik This Link inYour Browser?

    ???? http://www.selfCash10.com

  16. Start making more money weekly. This is a valuable part time work for everyone. The best part work from comfort of your house and get paid from $100-$2k each week.Start today and have your first cash at the end of this week. For more details Check this link??

    Clik This Link inYour Browser?

    ???? http://www.selfCash10.com

  17. 2″My friend just told me about this easiest method of freelancing. I’ve just tried it and now II am getting paid 15000usd monthly without spending too much time.You can also do this.

    >>>>> https://www.Cashpay60.tk

  18. I loved what you’ve done here. The design is elegant, your content classy. Appreciate this post. I’m interested in your article..!!
    Love Marriage Problem Solutions
    Husband wife relationship problem solutions

  19. Good post. It is really help to us. Its give us lots of interest and pleasure. Its opportunity are so fantastic and working style so speedy. Its really a good article. It gives me lots of pleasure and interest..!!
    Islamic Vashikaran Specialist | Islamic Black Magic Specialist

  20. untuk anda untuk berkonsultasi terlebih Distributor besi h beam baja Distributor besi h beam baja

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.