The Future of War Technology, Conflict, and Change

Article excerpt

Our conception of war has never been constant, and its evolving nature has animated philosophical and strategic debate for centuries. This past century has been no exception. The increasing military strength of the major powers has paradoxically correlated with the decreasing frequency of large-scale interstate warfare. However, ethnic demands unleashed by the end of the Cold War have led to a dramatic rise in intrastate wars, which, although smaller in scale, give rise to massive destruction and complicated ethical consequences. Our symposium will examine old lessons and new truths concerning the institution of war, speculating on the manner in which the international community will and should approach future conflicts.

Opening the symposium, Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution identifies potential flashpoints that may precipitate interstate war in the future, including the threat of resource scarcity. Another oft-cited development in the changing face of military action is peacekeeping operations. David Carment, a specialist on conflict analysis, prevention, and resolution at Harvard University's JFK School of Government, evaluates the international community's track record in the face of increasing peacekeeping needs. …