During the cold war years there were 75 insurgencies, revolutions, tribal battles and violent disruptions occurring on a daily basis, according to retired Brigadeier General Richard Wilmot. Bring that fast forward to today. We are living in violent times and it feels like a very dangerous world. But it isn't. Ted Burr and a team of scholars at the University of Maryland have tracked the data of violence very carefully and have come to this conclusion: The general magnitude of global warfare has decreased by 60% since the mid 1980's and at the end of 2004 fell to its lowest level since the 1950's. Harvard Professor Steven Pinker argues that today we are probably living in the most peaceful time in our species.
The chance of dying of a consequence of organized violence of any kind are getting lower and lower. The data reveal a broad trend away from wars among major countries, the kind of conflict that produces major casualties.
Islamic terror which makes the headlines daily, is a large and persistent problem but one involving a small number of fanataics. It feeds on the dysfunction of the Muslim world, the sense of real and imagined humiliation at the hands of the West, and easy access to technologies of violence. And yet, it does not rank as a threat on the order of Germany's drive for world domination or Soviet expansionism or Mao's effort to forment war and revolution across the third world.
Do we have blinders on? The times we are living in are historically very calm. Could peace be overtaking us right before our eyes?
Information Sources: The Post American World by Fareed Zakaria and Brigadier General Richard Wilmot ( Ret.).