China vs USA: World war of the XXI century
Material posted: Publication date: 25-01-2014

This year the world celebrates a sad anniversary - one hundred years from the beginning of the First world war, which claimed the lives of 20 million people and destroyed 3 of the European Empire. It would seem that over the past century the world learned a lot, and such meaningless and ridiculous the conflict will never happen again. However, economists argue that between 1914 and today there are some frightening Parallels.

By the time the guns finally fell silent the first world, the world has changed beyond recognition. The fighting has killed 20 million soldiers. Three great empires - Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman were destroyed. But on the map there were new States - Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, Finland and many others.

Even winning the war France, Britain and Italy suffered seriously: the standards of living are seriously sagged - even though it was rebuilt during the boom of the 20s. When shortly after the outbreak of the First world war, German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Wolvega asked to explain what happened, he replied: "Oh, if I only knew!" A hundred years later, the causes of the first ever global conflict remain a mystery to historians. Today it seems that the world has gone far ahead, and military confrontation, similar to the First world war, it is impossible. But one hundred years ago, most experts believed exactly the same. Professor Margaret Macmillan of Oxford University in essays for British research of the Institute of international relations Chatham House argues that between 1914 and 2014 there are some disturbing Parallels.

There are many, perhaps too many, different explanations of the events of 1914.

In the pre-war decade, Europe has experienced an arms race. European countries were afraid of each other, and ended up in a vicious circle of constant military build-up. Germany and Britain built battleships. Russia, France and Austria-Hungary increased the size of their armies and spent huge sums of money on rearmament. The European rulers had other things to worry about. For 20 years prior to the war, Europe experienced a serious economic downturn that lasted from the 1870s through the 1890s. As a result of the crisis in most countries has increased the gap between the very rich and the very poor. This in turn led to the rising popularity of militant socialists. Talk of revolution filled the air, and in some places even developed into a real rebellion (for example, in Russia in 1905). The world has experienced a surge of international terrorism. However, despite all these assumptions, it was believed that a big war in Europe unlikely. And so the scale of the carnage that followed the August of 1914, no one could not imagine.

1914 and 2014: dangerous similarities

Globalization In the early twentieth century Europeans and Americans believed that a Golden future awaits them. Science is discovering new secrets of nature. New inventions made it possible to move through the world with hitherto unseen speed. And new means of communication like telephone, Telegraph and mass media contributed to the rapid spread of information.

Economies of different countries become interdependent. So, France was responsible for investments in the Russian Railways and industry, and Germany and Britain were major trading partners. War in this situation seemed insane, destructive of all economic ties. Today the level of globalization of the last century seems a childish game. And the phrase quick dissemination of information with respect to the Telegraph is laughable. However, in the beginning of the XXI century people still believe that the future will be bright, but new technologies will lead to universal prosperity.

Changing the balance of power. Paradoxically, but one hundred years ago, globalization has not made the world safer, but also intensified competition between countries.

Despite the close trade ties, Germany and Britain became enemies. Close family connection between the German and British Royal families are not softened the mutual antipathies of the elites. On the contrary, Wilhelm II considered that his uncle king Edward "the intriguer and mischief" that tends to surround Germany with hostile Alliance. Edward, in turn, believed his nephew a bully who is obsessed with the desire to dominate in Europe.

The change in the balance of power in Europe. Germany needed economic development, and the war was seen as the best way to achieve this. Today the world is witnessing a similar process. The gap in power between China and the United States is rapidly declining. China's rise is already having a significant impact on strengthening the US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Economist, University of Chicago John Birchmeier straight text said that China cannot rise peacefully.

The ambitions of rulers. On the eve of the war, Europe was in the hands not very far-sighted rulers. Kaiser was too insecure. Historians believe that his decision to participate in the war was motivated by a desire not to appear weak.

In France the politician Joseph caillaux , who was a major supporter of friendship with Germany , was forced to resign from the government in the spring of 1914, when his wife shot wrote nasty things about her journalist. In a sad twist of fate, the only man in Austria-Hungary, able to stop the war - Archduke Franz Ferdinand - and became the formal reason of the conflict. It was his assassination in Sarajevo started the First world.

Russia was ruled by Nicholas II, was deeply convinced that the honour of his family and his country. (Macmillan believes that Russia now controls the Governor with similar views. "Sometimes Putin reminds him (Nicholas II - Russia) in their unwillingness to go for reform," writes the economist).

However, former Deputy Minister of defense and the Chairman of the National intelligence Council Joseph Nye is confident that today's world differs from the world of 1914 in several important ways, eliminating power conflict.

1914 and 2014: differences

The gap in overall power between the US and China today is greater than that between Germany and England in 1914.

The heads of States have nuclear weapons. Perhaps if the Emperor, the Kaiser and the Tsar had such a "crystal ball", which would show a bleak future after world, they would have been more prudent. Now this ball is - everyone wants war can easily imagine a Smoking radioactive ruins in the future.

Another difference is that the ideology of war is much less popular today. In 1914, war was considered inevitable, this fatalism was reinforced by social Darwinism - war should be welcomed, because it will be "clearing the air" after a good summer thunderstorm.

Although in China today there is a growing nationalism, while the US launched two wars after September 11, 2001, none of the countries is not the true aggressor. Moreover, on many issues - for example, energy, climate change, and financial stability - China and the United States have strong incentives to cooperate.


Tags: war , USA , China