Author Topic: History: Economics or Politics (And Wars). Which is more important?  (Read 4527 times)

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Offline m52nickerson

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Re: History: Economics or Politics (And Wars). Which is more important?
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2012, 10:13:36 pm »
I guess it depends on what you mean by total war. The Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Iran-Iraq War probably count for some (or all in the case of the last) of the combatants.

To a point, yes.

I think they are remembered a lot more then almost any financial event. 
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Offline Lt. Fred

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Re: History: Economics or Politics (And Wars). Which is more important?
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2012, 10:30:09 pm »
The number of people killed in war increased pretty much in proportion to population until 1945. It then went into a massive and continuous decline until the present day. Nowadays, war is not a significant cause of mass death. We beat it.

Nuclear weapons- in my opinion- saved untold millions of lives.

We have not had a total war since 1945.

I guess it depends on what you mean by total war. The Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Iran-Iraq War probably count for some (or all in the case of the last) of the combatants.

None of them had nuclear weapons.
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Offline m52nickerson

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Re: History: Economics or Politics (And Wars). Which is more important?
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2012, 08:10:52 am »
None of them had nuclear weapons.

Lt. Fred I agree with you that nuclear weapons have largely prevented large scale conflicts, total wars, since they have come into providence.  I do however do not think it is impossible for another such conflict to come about.  Hopefully it never does. 
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Re: History: Economics or Politics (And Wars). Which is more important?
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2012, 11:16:52 am »
None of them had nuclear weapons.

Lt. Fred I agree with you that nuclear weapons have largely prevented large scale conflicts, total wars, since they have come into providence.  I do however do not think it is impossible for another such conflict to come about.  Hopefully it never does. 

First of all: Do you need nuclear weapons for total war? Because I thought that attacking civilian targets and otherwise targeting the civilians as well as the military is "total war."

Because as long as we have MAD fear of escalation will keep the use of nukes as the absolutely last choice. (in more than one way) But since MAD only counts if you actually have enough nukes to be a real threat. Or you could have a ally with nukes AND be certain that this ally is ready and willing to end their own lives for your sake. Because that is what would happen in a war with nukes! And this is the situation where the smaller NATO countries are. And those that rely on China or Russia as well I guess.

So if someone attacks... lets say Macedonia and the attacker is backed up by Russia, would the NATO countries be willing to use nukes? If the choice is between loss of one of their allies or a war that could end the life on earth what would the politicians do? On the other hand, sending troops to Afghanistan and Iraq was hard for some countries since it meant risking the lives of their citizens (soldiers in this case) how much higher would the stakes be if Iraq (or her allies) had been able to retaliate directly against the countries that participated in the occupation? So if someone does attack a "lesser country" and they don't have allies (or they are unwilling to use nukes) you can have a total war.

Countries these days have a low tolerance for blood. Even the few coffins coming back from overseas is enough to start protests in USA. Some UN countries have wanted to pull back their troops from peacekeeping missions after few casualties. And these were situations where their own civilian populations were safe.

I have to think about this more, because I might be on on to something.
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Offline armandtanzarian

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Re: History: Economics or Politics (And Wars). Which is more important?
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2012, 11:58:09 am »
That and war in the post-Cold War era means something totally different now. There is currently no power that can match the US in terms of firepower, not even China. They can't do any sort of Red Dawn tactics, because they'd get crushed as quickly as if North Korea tried to pull the same shit on South Korea. So we have the only logical type of war fought against the US, which is the guerilla-tactics employed by stateless terrorists. These guys have that taste for less tactical, more mindless violence that the US and USSR didn't.

Anyway as mentioned politics and economics is inseperable because they essentially deal with the same goal; resource allocation. Economics studies how different modes of allocation leads to different outcomes and recommends accordingly, politics is the action of allocation of resources (let's leave social norms and morality out of this for simplicity's sake). War is, of course, the attempt to retrieve resources by force.

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Re: History: Economics or Politics (And Wars). Which is more important?
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2012, 03:47:46 pm »
There are a host of bloodless options for war against a superpower that are available now, particularly if you are willing to play the long game and consider victory to be the ability to impose your will vs. raising your flag over their capital. Economic and political sabotage are good examples, cultural domination/appropriation, and emerging in importance is cyber warfare. As Sun Tzu said, real victory is to win without a fight.

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Re: History: Economics or Politics (And Wars). Which is more important?
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2012, 08:12:44 pm »
First of all: Do you need nuclear weapons for total war? Because I thought that attacking civilian targets and otherwise targeting the civilians as well as the military is "total war."

Because as long as we have MAD fear of escalation will keep the use of nukes as the absolutely last choice. (in more than one way) But since MAD only counts if you actually have enough nukes to be a real threat. Or you could have a ally with nukes AND be certain that this ally is ready and willing to end their own lives for your sake. Because that is what would happen in a war with nukes! And this is the situation where the smaller NATO countries are. And those that rely on China or Russia as well I guess.

So if someone attacks... lets say Macedonia and the attacker is backed up by Russia, would the NATO countries be willing to use nukes? If the choice is between loss of one of their allies or a war that could end the life on earth what would the politicians do? On the other hand, sending troops to Afghanistan and Iraq was hard for some countries since it meant risking the lives of their citizens (soldiers in this case) how much higher would the stakes be if Iraq (or her allies) had been able to retaliate directly against the countries that participated in the occupation? So if someone does attack a "lesser country" and they don't have allies (or they are unwilling to use nukes) you can have a total war.

Countries these days have a low tolerance for blood. Even the few coffins coming back from overseas is enough to start protests in USA. Some UN countries have wanted to pull back their troops from peacekeeping missions after few casualties. And these were situations where their own civilian populations were safe.

I have to think about this more, because I might be on on to something.

Do we need to involve nukes to be a total war? I'd say probably not. If the United States were to really commit to a war like we did during WWI and WWII (tanks driving down European streets, kicking in doors and hiding out while the family who lives there cowers in fear), I'd say that looks enough like total war for it to count. Especially if there was another standing army we were fighting. (Standing army using uniforms, having a military command structure, volumes of rules and regulations, you get the idea.)

One of the great things about this era we live in is the safeguards we have in place. We have institutions like the UN, NATO, and various alliances and such that make it much harder for one country to go off the deep end. Does it happen? Well, as a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, obviously I'll say yes it does. But not to the scale it could and not near as often as it might otherwise. Another safeguard is how everyone's currencies are tied in together to some degree. While it doesn't make us "citizens of the world" as some might claim, it does tend to provide a kind of incentive to take a more reasoned view. I'm not sure if that's the right turn of phrase. Saudi Arabia is not really a friendly nation for us. But we kinda dig their oil and they don't really hate our dollars. So we play nice. And as long as the world acts like it's getting smaller, that will keep helping us avoid "total war".
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Offline Fpqxz

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Re: History: Economics or Politics (And Wars). Which is more important?
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2012, 09:02:31 pm »
The number of people killed in war increased pretty much in proportion to population until 1945. It then went into a massive and continuous decline until the present day. Nowadays, war is not a significant cause of mass death. We beat it.

Nuclear weapons- in my opinion- saved untold millions of lives.

We have not had a total war since 1945.

I think the Rwandans and the Congolese would disagree with you on that point.
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Offline m52nickerson

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Re: History: Economics or Politics (And Wars). Which is more important?
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2012, 12:38:51 am »
They most likely would.  Thing is neither of them are a nuclear state.  To be clear we are are saying that total war has basically been eliminated for nuclear states.

We don't have to involve nukes for it to be total war, but the fear that a nuclear state could resort to them if pushed far enough is a powerful deterrent.  Is it enough to prevent war between nuclear states?  As I said, never say never.
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Offline Lt. Fred

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Re: History: Economics or Politics (And Wars). Which is more important?
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2012, 04:35:40 am »
Total War is a theoretical (?) conflict where every single person devotes all their time to beating t'other guys, who are doing the same thing. Congo is no such thing, nor was Rwanda. The World Wars probably are the closest we've come- I'd argue they are close enough to be describable as total wars, despite obviously people watching films and so on.

Obviously, Total war is ridiculously bloody. Even if you have similar casualty rates among combatants to previous wars, the proportion of society mobilised creates a far more serious impact on society. If, as we have, you reduce the size of armies (and casualties) that's really good and I'm happy.
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The party's name is the Democratic Party. It has been since 1830. Please spell correctly.

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-FDR