Perpetual war: The world map of an Orwellian 1984.
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Once Japan and the Nazis were defeated, our weary grandparents may have thought a time of peace was at hand. But then they were enlisted, and their children with them, in the battle to contain communism wherever and in whatever form it might appear; this took us to Indochina, Korea and all around Central and South America. The communist threat, such as it was, collapsed with the USSR in 1991, but today the godless communists are replaced in our military’s sights by God-abusing terrorists, and the wars go on.
Today we are fighting openly in — and occupying — Afghanistan (and until recently also Iraq), and covertly in a dozen other nations of North Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. The Pentagon has already drawn contingency plans to bomb (potentially even with nuclear warheads) or invade Iran, Yemen, Syria, Libya, and North Korea, although it is too busy at present to carry them out, and is reputedly entertaining designs against even its obsequious but potentially unstable client states, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan (beyond the drone attacks in the latter already in progress). But it seems likely to me that, once the bulk of troops have been declared unnecessary in our current open wars, new enemies will be anointed ad infinitum.
This page discusses some of the reasons for such perpetual conflict. Not only do such wars immeasurably enrich the “defense” industry, supplying plenty of lobbyists with plenty of cash to contribute to the campaign chests of compliant politicians willing to habituate their nation to strife, but war also serves as a potent psychological weapon for the suppression of dissent and the rallying of the majority of the populace to the banner of its ruling elite.
Until one or both of these conditions change, expect the wars to continue.