An alternative history of peacemaking: a century of disarmament efforts
Writing in the Guardian, Adam Horschild called World War One the ‘War of Unintended Consequences’. He’s right to do so. The most heavily armed nations are most likely to resort to war. Yet most, if not all wars result in upheaval and serious negative consequences for the societies and leaders that rely on military force, whether or not they are officially deemed to have won or lost. Think of recent wars from Vietnam to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, from the US/NATO war in Afghanistan to Iraq, and Israel’s devastating and ill-judged war on the Palestinians in Gaza.
In order to prevent wars as well as make peace, we have to continually work on disarmament and address the causes of conflict. Those who keep investing in armaments and prioritising the making and selling of weapons generally get rewarded with more wars. And quite often the inhumane weapons developed for their own use spread to others, fuelling unanticipated conflicts that come back to haunt their makers.