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For all the triumphalist BS you'll hear out of American mouths, nobody here is claiming that any "Pax Americana" ever existed. Cross-border conflict is way down to be sure, but the number of casualties in the various civil wars that have and are still going on around the world meets or exceeds those of both world wars put together.

Here's a factoid I've borne in mind a lot these last few years: when the 20th century opened, civilian casualties accounted for about 10% of all casualties in conflict. By the century's close that ratio had reversed - about 90% of all casualties of conflict are civilian casualties. Likely it's military technologies and the assymetric tactical doctrine account for much of this, other reasons might be deliberate civilian targeting (genocide, ethnic cleasning) and what I'll call disorganized military formations that forage off, recruit from, and pass disease among the noncombattants they live among.

Conflict is one of the reasons foreign affiars in general has gotten its hooks into me.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 06:35:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
papicek:
Here's a factoid I've borne in mind a lot these last few years: when the 20th century opened, civilian casualties accounted for about 10% of all casualties in conflict. By the century's close that ratio had reversed - about 90% of all casualties of conflict are civilian casualties.

I doubt this factoid is true if you do not (as they did at the time) constrain the definition of war to the conflicts between european powers. When dealing with people without machineguns (Congo, Tasmania and the list goes on) attempted genocide was common. WW2 saw these practices spread to europe, hence the horror.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 06:59:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A good point. I hop around books and white papers so much I forget where I've read things...so I cannot speak to the authority of that assertion, but I can say this: when I read it, I immediately absorbed it as if it were true, so I was in general agreement with the author's premise.

Damn, I thought I had that one down, and now I'll have to go back and check it.

Grrrrrrrrrr!

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 07:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"as they did at the time"

This is a current author. He'd have to be to be speaking to what happened at the end of the 20th century, wouldn't he?

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 07:24:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, but I assume he uses the start of the 20th century definition of conflict and casualties for those. However, I doubt that the sum of military casualties in 19th century wars matched the sum of killed civilians in the Congo alone.

It is a fairly common mistake, similar to using start of 20th century definitions of democracy. My guess would be that the author is primarily concerned with the atrocities of the 20th century and uses the earlier episode as backdrop for contrast. Am I right?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 09:38:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... when its a trademark, its doesn't have to be true, like Fox News, or Fair and Balanced, or Free Trade Agreement, or Conservative Movement.

Pointing out that Pax Americana means no wars America did not start except in trivial countries which are mostly important as sources of raw materials ... does not contradict the absence of Great Power Armed Conflict, it just underlines the limitations of Great Power Armed Conflict as a framing for violence against people around the world.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 01:06:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I tend to always use the term in an ironic sense but am aware - when writing for a more general audience - that many don't get the irony.  However those are just the people I don't want to get into an argument with about whether the USA is the fount of freedom throughout the world - and thus I am happy to let the irony deficit stand.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 01:24:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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