Friday, August 03, 2012

The End of Territorial War

One of the interesting changes in World History (in Caps), is the end of territorial wars - and what that change leads to.  (Okay, maybe just interesting to me.)
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So much of our human history is based on wars over land.  The Roman Empire, the US / Mexican war, World Wars 1 and 2, Ottoman Expansion, the South American Wars between Bolivia, Chile and Peru,  and on and on.  In fact, we still tend to think of wars in terms of "land" taken and controlled.
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The last big war over land (as opposed to control) was Saddam Hussein's Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in the 1980s, and pretty much the entire world joined to overturn it.  (George Bush 1 - the good one) had an alliance of 30 countries that supplied arms or support and no country supporting Iraq. Not even Russia and China veto'ed action in the Security council.  Countries, acting in their own interest, believe that borders must be inviolate.


Most wars since World War 2 have fallen into categories outside of land acquisition.
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Proxy Wars between cold war philosophies - but usually the governments changed - not land.
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Civil Wars.  I almost all Civil Wars were the direct result of the end of colonization and the arbitrary lines drawn by the ex-governing powers.  This continues through today in Kashmir and South Sudan.
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Wars of Independence: There are still some areas that feel they should be free.  Most of these conflicts are over.  A few resulted in countries that most other countries recognize as defacto areas of control (Kosovo, Greek Cyprus, Trans Diniper) But most of these types of wars were bought off with local freedoms (Basque, Hong Kong) or put down rather ruthlessly (Chechnya, Tibet).
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I would say the George Bush the Younger's wars were fought to place a more favorable government in place - that almost never works.  Israel is in a tough situation where they have land, but if they try to incorporate it into the country, they will face a civil war and UN Sanctions, but not a physical response because the US won't be part of it.
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(By the way, I think the Afghanistan War as a response to 9/11 was originally intended as just a war of retribution, but we Americans don't really like to think of ourselves that way.  Our original requirement was for the Taliban to kick out Al Queda - not for them to give up power.  We only changed the goal, after we kicked out the Taliban and tried to prop up our guy.)
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But the bigger "battlefield", if you will, is now economic.  And in this case, the United States (and a few other countries) have fostered an environment that creates powerhouses; GE, Boeing, Johnson and Johnson, Exxon, Google, etc.  However, creation and support of a champion doesn't engender devotion.
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These champions now compete on a global stage, but not necessarily to enrich the United States or any other "land".  They now compete for their own wealth and survival.  And this  is as designed, the United States didn't foster a positive economic environment to enrich the country, but to enable individual Americans reach their potential.  In the olden days (Pre-USSR split), supporting the country was de rigueur, because only the US - West European sponsored system allowed for a purely profit motive.
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But once the world abandoned most other economic models (communism, nationalization, etc) AND technological advances reduced communication and transportation costs to near zero - companies became untethered from a physical location.  So it makes sense to "build" where labor is cheapest, to "incorporate" where taxes are lowest and to distribute in the manner best to make profits.
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This logic destroys cotton mills in South Carolina, moves taxes offshore and creates superstores that  destroy small town America, but those are the considerations we ask of Corporations.
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Personally (warning - opinion follows) Personally, I think we should make some of these requirements for success of Corporations.  Boeing opened a Chinese factory, because without a factory in China, China wouldn't buy their planes.  In fact, we did that with import restrictions on Japanese cars, making it profitable to build factories in the US.  Once they were stable, we removed the restrictions and they are still profitable.
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At an individual level, people have to become uniquely valuable to employers.  The problem is that then, we become less community oriented.  And I find that a little sad.

1 comment:

Allen said...

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