Niall Ferguson writes about how the “Great War of 2007” was made certain by three causes:
1. increasing reliance on the Middle East as a source of petroleum
2. large increase in a younger population in the Middle East compared to Europe and North America.
3. increase in religious fervour in Middle East compared to Europe
It is also interesting how Ferguson notes that history is repeating itself.
As in the 1930s, an anti-Semitic demagogue broke his country’s treaty obligations and armed for war. Having first tried appeasement, offering the Iranians economic incentives to desist, the West appealed to international agencies – the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Security Council. Thanks to China’s veto, however, the UN produced nothing but empty resolutions and ineffectual sanctions, like the exclusion of Iran from the 2006 World Cup finals.
A risk of those change demographics are more people with an alternative view of the past. As discussed in “Failing the Stalin Test” by Sarah E. Mendelson and Theodore Gerber in Jan/Feb 2006 issue of Foreign Affairs, that most young people in Russia think that Stalin did a good job and about 20% said they would vote for him if he ran for president today.
How, without remembering and understanding the past will be able to avoid the same mistakes?