By Berry Posen, Foreign policy magazine, April 23, 2020
The article investigates an assumption of whether pandemics slow or limit the chances of war. It has been examined in the article by taking a recent example of the novel coronavirus which has spread across the world, of which the writer has taken the benefit to examine his hypothesis. He tried to examine and answer whether the pandemic has increased or decreased different states' motives of waging or halting/stopping intentions of war. The writer has provided a brief profile of war, its characteristics, fundamental reasons and that how it impacts economies? The writer has also written the gaps in the existing literature about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on war intentions. The writer has showcased various reasons as headlines of why war and pandemics are inversely related to each other.
The article tells about the causes of the war and his assumption when he says that war shares a common characteristic which is optimism and limited resources and is a risky business with very high costs to the economies and exemplified optimism, as said by historian Geoffrey Blainey in “The causes of war”. Peace on the opposite is a consequence of pessimism. If a country is confidant of war, it will never seek peace, because of the assumed better results out of war won. The consequences of which are nations start to analyze their military power to count the odds of success in war, which results in more flow of money into the military power with compromises in other sectors. The other reason why war and pandemic are opposite to each other are the simple reasons given by the writer that war cannot be fought when people fall ill, and resources needed to be invested in their health and safety and saving the economy. The writer has given the example possible responses of countries towards the present coronavirus that has to be seen whether it will have the pessimistic effect, will it dampen the aggression, depends on the longevity of the pandemic.
The theory here which explains the causes of war and peace here is given by Geoffrey Blainey in his book “The causes of war”; the wars have their birth in the optimism of winning, as competition for limited resources has always caused wars. When the nations are confident of winning, they always are belligerent because they see better results in winning a war than to negotiate in which they have to sacrifice something which winning the war will never demand. Peace can only be served when a party is pessimistic of winning a war. This theory does help very well by explaining the current situations when wars are being avoided as the nations need their resources except in the military and thus are less optimistic about winning the war. However, there is no mention of the hypothesis of intentional pandemic spread by one of a group of countries who are pessimistic of war and thus want to avoid war conditions by spreading the pandemics or epidemics causing wars or wars in the middle of epidemics.
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