Give War a Chance

Kate McMillan observes,

We also make the mistake of assuming that violent struggle is an impediment to the process of stabilization and democracy. Very few countries emerge as stable democracies without bloody, gut-wrenching political upheaval, or a struggle for their survival from threats without – it has a maturing effect on nations, transforming populations into peoples.

And over the past year or so, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is at the core of Canada’s problem in achieving a “national identity”.

Edward Luttwak made a broader version of this argument about five years ago:

An unpleasant truth often overlooked is that although war is a great evil, it does have a great virtue: it can resolve political conflicts and lead to peace. This can happen when all belligerents become exhausted or when one wins decisively. Either way the key is that the fighting must continue until a resolution is reached. War brings peace only after passing a culminating phase of violence. Hopes of military success must fade for accommodation to become more attractive than further combat.

There’s definitely something to this, although there’s not much actionable information here. I wouldn’t advocate that Canada start a civil war to work through it’s problems!

FILED UNDER: Democracy, World Politics, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. akim says:

    Thanks :-0

    Kate should be temporarily deported to Iraq and be made to walk through a pile of torn up corpses – as opposed to reading books and watching tv.