Statesmenof the 20th century seem to have taken one of Machiavelli’s dictum abit too seriously; ‘there is no avoiding war: it can only be postponed to theadvantage of others’.
With the world having witnessed two World Wars, and theensuing Cold War in the second half of the century, many were confident aboutthe prospects of peace prevailing in the 21st century. 17 years intothis century, with the benefit of the hindsight, one can easily defy the notionof perpetual peace; rather the world has merely changed the nature of conflictto engage in. Upsurge of terrorism, undecided states plunging into chaos,revolutions against dictatorships, ever-changing alliances, and the risinginequalities between the nations of global north and south are prettyconvincing arguments to accentuate the threat our world faces today.
However,this time the threat does not stick its head in the form of direct engagementsor invasions; rather in the form of proxies. The most important stimulus forthis change in nature of conflict is the technological advancement in terms ofweaponry. With the nuclear proliferation on the rise, even the most developednations seldom resort to direct confrontation with third-world rogue states.One can obviously not ignore the rise in nationalistic sentiments in Europewhere right-wing parties are gaining more popularity than ever witnessed sincethe Second World War.
Common interests and challenges faced by nations,nevertheless, might add weight to the arguments of liberalists who see a worldmoving towards peace with growing interdependence and engagements through IGOsand NGOs. Climate Change, for example, staring in the face of this world is achallenge to all the nations alike. But still, these challenges andopportunities are seldom exploited to mitigate the tensions arising out ofstate interests. One can only hope against hope for this century to be unlikethe previous one where millions perished and several million others were deeplyaffected, directly or indirectly, by war, destruction, partisanship, and catastropheslike famine.