For peace to continue, everyone has to play by the rules established in the last round of wars. Even if the rule is that the hegemon gets his way, he got to be hegemon by doing dreadful things, which tend to be forgotten or denied as time passes.
So there is always a temptation to bend the rules, which tend to get bent further and further, until one party responds to that bending with escalated violence, to which the other party responds with even more escalated violence. And people forget that this tends to get out of hand. They assume that if they escalate, the other party will have no alternative but to yield. And the other party, since so long has passed since the last all out general war, thinks the same.
People forget that the rules are maintained by the threat of general war, and become too clever by half at adjusting the rules in their own favor.
Europe’s peace is based on rule by America. They are all muppet states and have been since World War II. America’s peace is based on the fact that people still think the government is complying with the constitution, as radically re-interpreted after the civil war. But as speech gets suppressed ever more forcefully that illusion grows thinner. And so, in Ferguson, we see the state restraining whites so that blacks can attack them without being killed.
The president, who commands both the pentagon and the state department, keeps pentagon and state department from going to war with each other. For this to work, the pentagon must see the president as more than just a puppet of the state department.
If a government is cohesive, revolution is impossible, but war between governments all too likely. If a government is incohesive, war between elements of the government is likely, and, because of governmental weakness, war between the government and its citizens is likely.
We are moving towards all three forms of war at roughly comparable speed. Hard to say which one will come first. Likely one will trigger the others. The proximate cause of the fall of the Soviet Union was that Reagan drew them into more wars than they could afford, but upon losing one external war, it suddenly became apparent that no one believed in communism any more, and a wave of collapse spread from Afghanistan to Moscow.
The Pax Americana draws to an end, the American government becomes weaker internally and externally, at the same time as it acts more aggressively than ever, internally and externally. This does not mean war tomorrow, perhaps it might mean war in a decade. But it does mean war eventually. Perhaps external war and external defeat will result in economic collapse which will result in internal war. Perhaps internal war will result in external war and external defeat. The general trend in the US empire is that the restraints against all forms of war, external war, intrastate war between elements of the state apparatus, and revolutionary war with subjects of the state, are diminishing, and the provocations are increasing.
There is a great deal of ruin in a nation. This trend has been going on for a very long time without anything remarkable happening, and it could go on for a very long time further without any very remarkable results. But in the end …
In November 2005 I thought the financial crisis would blow up immediately, or within a few months. Instead, the superficial appearance of financial normality was maintained for two years, as underneath things became more and more abnormal. But in the end, the appearance of normality collapsed.
There will be war.