Between Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano and the oil slick in the Gulf, everybody seems to have disasters on the brain lately. Some of it stems from the nonstop global media coverage, while a good portion relates to our growing awareness of climate change. But a lot of this heightened anxiety is simply misplaced. We don’t live in an increasingly dangerous world, whether you’re talking wars, terrorism, disasters — or just the weather. In fact, we live in the safest times yet known to humanity. We just choose not to see it that way for a variety of reasons. First, we love [...]
Russian officials have recently accused U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan of “conniving with drug producers” and urged the coalition to pursue aggressive aerial eradication operations against Afghanistan’s opium poppy crops. Despite having spent over $1 billion on counternarcotics programs in Afghanistan since 2002, including eradication efforts, the U.S. and the U.K. have failed to curb the illicit drug industry there. Moscow’s tough stance on narcotics stems from its own internal consumption levels, which have steadily reached epidemic proportions. According to 2008 records, up to 21 percent of the world’s production of illicit opiates ended up in Russia, resulting in [...]
Most people look back upon the 20th century as the deadliest in human history, with scholarly estimates suggesting that close to 200 million people died in all the wars, revolutions, genocides and totalitarian purges of those bloody decades. As a result, we regard the entire century as the age of total war, even though we have not experienced great-power war since 1945. Even more telling, state-based war almost completely disappeared as the century drew to a close, leaving us with primarily civil strife, failed states, and the transnational bad actors they both spawn. But instead of celebrating the peaking and [...]
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