We live in the most peaceful time in human history. Wait, what? Seriously? That can’t be right, there are more wars than ever! Well, no and they’re killing fewer and fewer people, even though the world population is at an all-time high…and the numbers prove it! We explain how we came to this conclusion, and why war might… go away.
Maybe you’ve seen the video, maybe not… However..
Economic interdependence theory only works in practice if everyone’s equally dependent. A dependent or subordinate economic relationship with a rival power or bloc is as much a liability as it is an insurance against conflict. A country in a disadvantageous or worsening relative economic position may be impelled to go to war to salvage their strategic position. Look at security competition between Britain and Germany in the early 1900’s. Look at Russia, Ukraine and the EU today. And why is it that China and the US continue to spend billions preparing for war with one another as their economic ties increase…
Also, democratic peace is by no means an axiom of IR, and the fact that the video treats it as such is a little bit vexing. I’m worried people might watch this and take what he says as fact, because the video has an extremely presumptuous title. Democracies make war all the time. Democracies haven’t had wars with each other because they happened to land on the same side of their respective geopolitical fences; European democracies balance against USSR/Russia, Asian democracies tacitly balance against China, therefore most democracies get along. An oversimplification obviously, but much less of an oversimplification than “democracies are peaceful.”
The question you have to ask is, has there ever been a case where it would have made strategic sense for two modern democracies to go to war? When has the logic of democratic peace ever superseded the logic of geopolitics? As much as I hate having to trot out this dusty old mantra, correlation is not causation.
-Image and Video from Kurzgesagt