Conflicts, development and progress: Introduction
Wars and conflicts, in the opinion of many European philosophers like Baron d’Holbach, are nothing but a ‘remnant of savage customs’. In 1788 George Washington, a contemporary of d’Holbach from the other side of the Atlantic, issued a stern warning that it was time for agriculture and commerce ‘to supersede the waste of war and the rage of conquest.’ Yet time and again, the wild rage of war has pivoted on the calculating and often a rational belief that a brief and momentary madness of war can smother many future and catastrophic wars. This belief offers the rational foundation to wars as a war for peace as the globe witnesses wars – unfolding with an unfailing regularity – in the Balkans, in the Gulf, and then the unleashing of wars on terror after 9/ 11. This sentiment is nothing new as in 1790 the new French Revolutionary State enunciated the ‘declaration of peace to the world’, which rather prematurely announced to have ended the savage wars in Europe forever. The declaration of peace after the French revolution assumed ‘a single society, whose object is the peace and happiness of each and all of its members’. It took less than two years after the declaration of peace for Europe to be dragged into a series of bloody wars that continued for 23 more years. It temporarily halted with the defeat of France in 1815. In other words, many wars are fought with the forlorn hope of a perpetual peace at the end of this final war, yet wars and conflicts bedevil our human history with unfailing repetitions. Nation states often direct every possible political, social and economic resource towards the ‘just’ war for an utter defeat of the enemy – one last time. This is the war for peace – the abiding theme of our work in this monograph.