Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Welcome to World Peace (well, half)

This week, the government of Columbia reached a peace treaty with FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, whom they had been fighting for 52 years. The end of any conflict is a milestone, but this one is exceptional:

  • This ends the last war in the Western Hemisphere. Half the world is now free of war. This does not mean there is not still violence, and crime, and strife, of course, but this is a milestone occurring for the first time in modern history ... and perhaps all of human history.
  • We should also consider that the Eastern Hemisphere is not completely war-torn, despite our daily headlines. Europe remains free of war. East Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia, Oceania - all war-free. In fact, all of the outright war in the world is localized in one large strip stretching from central Africa through the Middle East to Pakistan. Objectively, this is still a lot of war ... unless you compare it to any other point in human history.

    source: Angus Hervey
  • As the ever-reliable Steven Pinker writes, "Today, there are no military governments in the Americas. No countries are fighting one another. And no governments are battling major insurgencies. ... This progress of an entire hemisphere toward peace follows the path of other major regions of the world."
  • This war lasted 52 years. This is older than 75% of our population. If a war like this, and a conflict like the one in Northern Ireland for example, can reach peace, then surely any conflict can. These are fights that people called intractable, for decades. Surely this must give renewed hope to other seemingly unsolvable conflicts, like India/Pakistan, Shia/Sunni, and particularly Israel/Palestine.
  • What's next? After we stop all wars in the world, can we move on to smaller forms of violence? Ending all terrorism? All gang war? All murder? All crime? ... Or, we can work on all those things at once, since all those trends are declining as well.


There is no war visible in this photo.