Megatrends in the Use of Force
The Law of Armed Conflict: Into the Next Millennium, Volume 71, pp. 1-16 (1998)
11 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2013
Date Written: 1998
At any given moment in history, there are hundreds if not thousands of political, cultural, and economic trends that an observer can identify. Some of the trends will be short and of no consequence, some long but also inconsequential, and many of them just "noise," but there will also be a few significant megatrends. A later historian has an easy job: she looks back at the visible long-term trends that changed the world. But how can we identify the significant megatrends of today? As we approach the end of the twentieth century, millenary thinking encourages one to try. I will suggest some megatrends that I believe will impact most significantly on the future use of force. Yet in contributing to a volume that is part of an historic and enduring series, I am troubled by the likelihood that a future reader may be interested in my essay only for how blindsided I was. Of course, some things could possibly happen that would make any such enterprise, not just mine, quite obsolete: invasion from another galaxy, conquest by deadly viruses, or more benignly, cheaply converting water into energy. But macro-convulsive events aside, and with more than customary trepidation, what follows is a discussion of some of the megatrends that I see will probably have the greatest impact on the future use of force.
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