Baron von Skippy on Sat, 20 Mar 2004 15:52:02 -0600 (CST)

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Re: [spoon-discuss] historiographic comments

>> -I think we have different notions of "all-out." There have been
>> dozens if not hundreds of wars between European states since the
>> Peace of Westphalia (which was in 1638, and established the
>> recognition of states by other states)....
>You mean 1648.  See, I am paying attention.

-Around there somewhere.-
>I thought about the Thirty Years' War, but decided that although the
>Holy Roman Empire was unmatched in Europe it was not a world power -
>the Emperor's influence was strictly local, like China, Persia, the
>Mughals, or the Ottomans.  France and Spain were world powers, but
>their participation was limited.  And the contemporary wars in the
>British Isles were within a world power.  So by my off-the-cuff
>definition it doesn't count.  

-China's power is still local, because they want it that way. However, they're still a massive power. And there have only ever been a few wars fought on multiple continents simultaneously - so that sort of spread is a poor definition of a real war. Wars between the little states of Europe as empires built up were just as much wars as WWI/II.-
>In any case this was before the era of total war, which might be
>regarded as a slightly less imprecise definition of all-out.  Or we
>could define it as a war that threatened the existence of one or more
>belligerent powers, in which case maybe it does count.

-Today, total war is shunned, though.-
>> What I mean is that the
>> United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Israel (let's
>> assume that "major" means "nuclear," for the time being) have not had
>> a war between themselves since 1945, despite representing about three
>> and a half rival groups. Wars with and through surrogates, yes, but
>> not direct. The threat of utter devastation is enough to deter wild
>> behavior.-
>It didn't deter China from repulsing the US-led forces in Korea when
>they came uncomfortably close - and three other nuclear powers also
>fought there directly.  Nor did it deter the British and French
>colonies from rebelling in the 50s and 60s.
-But the battles never entered China. That was surrogates, like Afghanistan. And the rebelling colonies were not a war between great powers. For one thing, the imperialists were in many cases already getting ready to leave. For another, they didn't fight each other on the way out, just the independence movements. Not like the American Revolution, where they /did/ fight each other on the way out. And why are we still talking about this?-

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