chapter  2
16 Pages

Accounting for the waning of major war

ByJOHN MUELLER

In early 1989 I published Retreat from Doomsday: The Obsolescence of Major War, a book that dealt with war among developed countries. Military and diplomatic historian Michael Howard reviewed the book at the time with considerable skepticism about its central thesis, helpfully suggesting the ‘prudent reader will check that his air raid shelter is in good repair’. But then, in 1991, he mused that it had become ‘quite possible that war in the sense of major, organised armed conflict between highly developed societies may not recur, and that a stable framework for international order will become firmly established’.1