"Long Wars Are Antithetical to Democracy"

Robert Gentel
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2010 04:09 pm
panzade wrote:
The Hundred-year war didn't break up British or French society. And that's exponentially longer than our longest one.

True. So you're saying "Long wars are not antithetical to Democracies."

I think technology has a lot more to do with the previous ability to wage longer war with less political capital than does politics itself. In the past you didn't have My Lai imagery (a transformative event in warfare and politics) spread across the society as easily, they were less connected than people are today. Additionally, economics were very different and economic contagion today is another thing that makes for much less tolerance for war (you could also say that long wars are antithetical to capitalism in a more global market).

Long wars are antithetical to societies, not just democracies, of course. But in a democracy war weariness can grow more easily than in political systems where the press is not free and where the leaders do not have to answer to public opinion.

These fundamental differences make a huge difference in the political capital it takes to wage war. If public outrage is only going to meet your iron fist anyway you can afford to wage an unpopular war more easily than the guy who needs to be reelected in four years (and war is an easy platform to campaign against) and who can't squelch the press.
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Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2010 08:06 pm
Bill, I'm leaving my involvement in this thread here.
I disagree with you, but this doesn't appear to be the right thread to ague those points.
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Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2010 09:34 pm
Cycloptichorn wrote:

panzade wrote:

Authoritarian rule allows for more censorship and control of the narrative.

Even so. The breakup of the Soviet Union dovetails nicely with the end of the Russia's incursion into Afghanistan; about 10 years or so. No amount of PR it seems could dispel war weariness for this authoritarian regime.
In my mind Art's premise doesn't ring true. Rather it should be: Long wars are antithetical to Society.

Oh, I dunno. The Hundred-year war didn't break up British or French society. And that's exponentially longer than our longest one.


Except that a hundred years later they were back where they started, and If I remember correctly, England's hold on her continental possession was reduced to nothing... It did not break up the society except in the physical and moral sense...The king of England could say: I lost my continental properties; except I didn't really lose them, because I still know where they are, but when I go there they now belong to the king of France....
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