I have been thinking about writing something like your essay for a while now. Of course there’s the confirmation bias of remembering each fact I that supports this theory while disregarding the others; but here are some other points that support this argument (mostly writing them down for myself so that I finally get to write that piece):
- Economic protectionism reduces incentives to not go to war with your neighbour. We saw that in WWII and was the kind of argument that the now crumbling EU was built on. Globalization has halted and Trump, Brexit, etc, suggest the trend of trade liberalizatio of the past 40 years is reversing. Not to mention the role of globalization and the Great Recesssion in the shift of people’s attitudes towards authoritarianism and the almost blatant parallelism to the Great Depression and nazism.
- Climate Change as a risk multiplier. You know, some say that the Syrian war was caused by a climate-change-caused-drought that moved people to the cities that would later be involved in the Arab spring. Then came ISIS and its terrorism, as well as the refugee crisis (two things that certainly fuel the Brexit, Trumpist, and Front National’s narratives). In any case, the more we heat the planet, the more geopolitical crises we’ll have.
- Ever heard about Thucydides trap?
- And finally there’s the role of technology. The digital revolution is truly disrupting, and it has changed our lifes to an inimaginable extent, much like the steam engine or the advances in navigation that made Columbus’ trip possible. In such great disruptions, you’ll always have the conflict of interest between the pioneers and the laggards, be it in terms of social classes or countries. And you’ll always have some marshall trying to figure out how to use this new technology for warfare, because it certainly gives you a competitive advantage (ISIS in a way has been the first one actually fighting a digital war).
Bottom line, thanks for your essay, it prompted me to order my own thoughts! And I agree that the future looks very, very grim. But I also think that we study history to know how to change our future, and the we have the advantage of knowing the mistakes of the people that came before us.