Who Needs War Propaganda for Millennials?
There is nothing more natural for people to hold different views. That’s what makes us individuals. What might to certain extent be a matter of concern, however, is when views with very questionable contents assertively aspire to dominate the public space through constructs that are completely detached from logic or aggressively assault basic values of the human civilization. Many may argue that contemporary media is allowed to tolerate anything, but when renowned think-tanks get involved in such mass consumption exercises, as is the following example from the Geopolitical Futures presentation in Brain Bar Budapest of July 07, 2017, different views should not be restrained.
At least views on the following constructs:
Inexactitude One: Global War is coming because wars are inevitable.
Wars are NOT inevitable for the simple reason that wars are not a natural disaster, like earthquake, tsunami, landslide, or huge meteorite colliding with the Earth. The character of wars is anthropogenic – wars are planned, initiated and carried out by people. Every war is designed and prepared by a group of people who see for themselves some profit in the outcome of that particular war. This far only it is possible to implement an interpretation of Hegel who “… designed history showing its predictability, its agonies, showing its moral dimension”, and who “addresses the reality of human life”. But analysis of reality must go further. Because you definitely would not expect that the people who come with the idea of a new war are the soldiers for the frontline trenches, who would be expected to die in the very initial stage of that war. The people who plan a war are not expecting at all that they themselves die in the war they plan. They expect to become wealthier and more powerful when their war is over. This distinction is ethically fundamental because it reveals that a war is an enterprise in which some people – military or civilians – are planned to die in order some other people to become richer and more powerful. But the most important point here is that the decision about a war to be prepared and started is a human decision, and if humans do not make such decision, or do not allow some group of individuals to materialize such decision, no war will happen. It is only in the Greek mythology where wars among humans are ordered by the Gods residing on the mount of Olympus.
Inexactitude Two: Wars occur when some nations rise and some nations fall
Well, the Bolshevik leader Lenin has definitely shared this kind of views. But he did not live long enough to witness the post WW2 economic developments of modern world. Japan, for example, became the third world economy after WW2 without a single gunshot being fired. No war was needed by Germany either to develop its economy to the forth position in the world. On the contrary, many economists argue that the main cause for the intensive postwar economic growth of those two countries was the restricted military budget. And if you look at the numerous economically successful countries during the last few decades in South East Asia, for example, that were called the new “economic tigers”, you would spot no trace of war-blood dripping down their fangs.
Wars start when leaders with hypertrophied egos for wealth, power or world dominance, often influenced by military industries and encouraged by ambitious generals, build the necessary military power that gives them the enough confidence to attack and invade other countries. War is a manmade disaster designed to satisfy abnormal egos. The meaning of war for people like Hitler or Napoleon was to solve their personal mental, very often to the extent of psychiatric problems, at the expense of millions of other people’s interests and lives. That makes wars organized activities against Humankind. And Hegel has nothing to do with that.
A 21st century global war could most probably occur if a political leader with hypertrophied ego gets to power and attempts to control the world by military force. The only thing that can stop him (or her) from starting a full-fledged global war is the assessment of their military headquarters that they cannot win that war. The assessment of military can also be wrong – and that was the case when Japan decided to attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The Japanese at that time had a brilliant military mind – Marshal Admiral of the Navy Isoroku Yamamoto, who clearly warned that military victory over America is impossible. His opinion was neglected, Japan air force attacked Pearl Harbor, and as a result Japan suffered the greatest national catastrophe in its history. Nowadays, if two powers clash into a conflict, such conflict would soon get hot and would quickly expand geographically by each side activating its allies. And when, after the culmination of an intensive military phase, one of the parties would conclude that it is losing the war, it will resort to pushing the red button for the nuclear missiles or whatever sophisticated weapons they have prepared for doomsday.
In other words, international peace survives on the assessment of balance of power – a complex category that is to certain extent both inaccurate and irrational: inaccurate because there is no military intelligence in the world that can guarantee hundred percent its information on all important details of potential enemy’s military machine, and irrational because the decision to start the war can anyway be made only on the basis of the available military intelligence, especially if the decision-makers are already obsessed with the grandeur of a big military victory, or pressed by issues of domestic policies character. And Hegel has nothing to do with that either.
Another crucial problem for humanity is that military machines have their perfect algorithms how to try to win a real war in real time, but military machines have no brain that can process the consequences of nuclear global war for the basic values of human life. Theoretically, one side could win a global nuclear war, but only at the cost of having survived on a planet that, as a result of the war they have won, has become practically uninhabitable.
Inexactitude Three: Wars and preparation for wars propel technological innovations.
Microchips, digital cameras, GPS, internet and cell phones are described in the presentation as gifts generously presented to us, the billions common human creatures on Earth, by the “warriors or the scientists of warriors.”
The reality is that military research and weapons inventions are financed by taxpayers’ money, and this is the wisest policy for any government making decisions to build strong national armed forces in the world of ubiquitous violence we have had so far.
But more importantly, you can mention microchips, digital cameras, GPS, internet and publicly advertise iPhone, but no one is allowed to disclose thousands of edge technologies that are perfectly applicable for great innovations to appear on the market, but at this point of time are classified for military purposes only. We know nothing about them. These new technologies came into being in laboratories financed by our money, but civil business has no access and no chance to apply them in making gadget that could miraculously make the everyday life of us all easier and better. This is a case when military is depriving the advance of human civilization of immeasurable chances for multiplication of scientific and technological results through chain reaction.
So, in fact military classification of high edge technologies hugely delays material wellbeing and obstructs humanity progress.
Inexactitude Four: Military is Life
This is perfectly true, provided the cause is defending your Homeland.
But are all military activities related to this high cause?
Here there is one more important point – the new technologies brought new methods of waging wars: in the Troy war, for example, and until the wars of the medieval ages, it was the rule of the battlefield that the chief military commander, very often King himself, mounted on a horseback and with a sword in hand, leads their soldiers into the battle with the fierce enemy. Today, the top military generals are designing war tactics in bunkers, in nuclear-bomb proof bunkers. And this is what radically changes their personal attitude to war itself, and to what would be the best strategy for winning the war, in regard to what consequences that particular strategy could bring.
Inexactitude Five: The fantasy that you can decide to avoid wars
Finally, in regard to some excerpts from the mentioned presentation like: “Ask people in 1935 do you want a world war? No. They would have voted that way. It didn’t matter what they wanted. … War lurks in your life. … Believe that the life you lead is up to you? You think you shape your lives? … I am a millennial. I get to choose. The confidence of youth is dangerous. The illusion of powerfulness. … The illusion of making decisions that determine your future. … Strange statements made by leaders actually could not just change your life but end it.”,
I am fully confident that the hundreds of young girls and boys who attended the Geopolitical Futures presentation in Brain Bar Budapest on July 07, 2017, will maturely survive what they have heard there.
And that would be very easy, because there are other words written by the great Americans forefathers that bring by orders greater civilizational power than that of a primitive military propaganda:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are … endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
— That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
In terms of violence, millenials definitely are not going to inherit from our generation a world that is acceptable.
But they can certainly change that.