Wars have always been fought for the profit of the very few and brought about anguish and sufferings for the very many. They have always been caused by the rapaciousness of the leaders. The people have always been the ones who had to bear the grim consequences of the selfish greed and lust for power of these very few who see plunder and destruction of lives and happiness of the many as their self-evident birthright. Wars have had many different stated reasons over the centuries, but the common denominator has always been greed. It's frightening to realize that in every generation there are a number of unfeeling human beings who gladly sacrifice anything of real value in their lives in order to gain power and accumulate wealth. The price does not count, only the booty that is carried home. These emotionally handicapped people do not know of the sufferings of others. They are blind and deaf to anything that might intrude on their predatory instincts and get in the way of their own self-interests.
Wars of conquest of yesteryear
Throughout past history wars used to leave the conquering nations exhausted and impoverished. The greatly reduced numbers of the conquering armies dragged their sore feet and their tired and frozen bodies back to their homes. Back to their countries that were suffering from hunger and general neglect due to the absence of the men who had died or who came back sick and wounded. Only the generals and the nobility lived high on the hog after the conquests and the people had to pay all the rigors, the suffering and the deaths. Rewards for the mighty were of course substantial from the conquered regions, but the poor got nothing but starvation and bleeding.
Today, the nature of wars has changed in some respects. The thousands if not millions of dead and severely wounded are now mainly to be found in the invaded countries where lives are of no consequence to the invading nation. Nothing fundamental has changed however. It's still the people who have to suffer from exhaustion and from the loss of limbs and health. The rulers of the world remain in safe havens just waiting for the booty to come home.
The colonial wars, the real beginning of the destruction that is currently ruining lives, environment and entire civilizations, began with the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadores in the 16th century, who brought back huge treasures of precious metals, spices and other priceless booty from the defenseless native populations in what is today Latin America.
These colonial imperial conquests were followed up much later by the various European empires-to-be in Africa and Asia and were to continue flourishing until well after the Second World War, when it finally became clear that the booty was not worth the price, when the uprisings of the conquered people were becoming so loud and strong that the colonial powers had no choice but to withdraw. The plunder of defenseless countries would from now on put on a different face.
The most powerful colonial power in the past was of course Great Britain and we know how their relentless efforts to colonize a multitude of countries in Asia, Africa and America in many cases ended up with total failure. Afghanistan for one would never let itself become a slave nation to Great Britain and India ended up being such an expensive and hard to manage nation (or multitude of kingdoms) to rule over that Britain finally sent out Lord and Lady Mountbatten in February 1947 to wind down the critical situation in the only way that was left for the British, that is, to let India have its independence. All of the wealth that India produces went to the people in power and the majority of the people have remained in deep poverty.
The rest of the European colonial powers saw their advantages diminish in rapid succession after the end of World War II. Most of the countries having gained their independence went into long periods of wars, ethnic and religious, that for all too many of them are still not over today. The mayhem sown by the colonial powers and maintained by those same powers to their own advantage is far from over and neocolonialism has followed rapidly in the footsteps of 19th century and early 20th century colonialism. European nations, including Russia are interfering cruelly in the present-day local wars and fomenting unrest and tension wherever there is a delicate power struggle. Wherever there is smoldering discontent and conflicts, Europe intervenes and pours fuel on the fire and grabs a share of the booty. Just look at Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the nefarious influence of former colonial powers.
But the face of neocolonialism has changed too and the most visible aggression is now mainly being exerted by the lone Superpower in today's world; the U.S. Empire. Europe is carefully making sure it's still on board, but the power center is the U.S of A in the most intimate cooperation with the multinational Corporations. The new colonies in this global game will be the countries that are seen as potential hurdles in the never-ending race for the supremacy of the lone Superpower. Modesty and collaboration are completely foreign notions that just do not enter into the equation .