chapter  3
15 Pages

Trends in major war: too early for waning?

ByPETER WALLENSTEEN

The thesis that major wars are waning is attractive. It means that the world gradually comes closer to the first lines of the goal in the UN Charter: we are beginning ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’. Is it also possible to establish such a trend over the past decades and to make a prognosis that such a trend is likely to continue? This is what will be discussed in this chapter, in two ways. First, is there an absolute change in numbers of different types of war, and secondly, is there a trend of declining probability of war in categories of war? This would help to confirm the general thesis or specify its range. Either way it means that the thesis is challenging, even provocative, and thus requires a closer scrutiny.