Sustainability and war

Posted in: Comment, New Publications

I reckon that anyone interested in sustainability needs to be interested (in that academic, enquiring sense) in war.  After all, war is something humans are quite good at and seem to like.  We have certainly been indulging in it for a long while now either as conquest or defence of homeland – or both at the same time.  War is almost, you might say, sustainable.  Many seem to think that sustainability implies the absence of war (even of conflict: think lions lying down with lambs); if so, we're in for a long wait.

With all this, and more, in mind, I read Christopher Coker's article in the Spectator on the future of war with particular interest – and not a little concern.  Coker is professor of international relations at the LSE.  Reading his article, and thinking about contemporary conflicts, it seems to me that the future is already with us.

He began his article with a reminder of Yoko Ono's advert / article in the New York Times (New Year's Day 2013).  This said (in the middle of an otherwise blank page): Imagine Peace.  I remember that – sort of.  What I didn't know was that the Guardian ran a poll a few days later asking readers whether they thought that the piece would produce world peace.  An astonishing 33% of respondents said that they thought it would.  Like the rest of us, they are still waiting.

Perhaps the credulous fool who was interviewed by ITV's Paul Brand on April 16th was amongst them.  I've got my children to promise that, if I ever start to shout nonsense in public to a TV reporter, they'll quietly lock me away.

Posted in: Comment, New Publications


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