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I think it's more about perceived threat

Reader comment on item: Op Eds Now More Central in War than Bullets

Submitted by Noto (Canada), Oct 18, 2006 at 22:45

The division of the west, as you described, is likely only due to a sense of distance from the conflict and coupled with a perception of invulnerability. If warfare were to reach, say, the shores of north america, I would guess that people would become more united. (Although the larger the population, the more difficult it is to unify them.)

The west handles these conflicts with kiddy gloves because it's not seen as an existential threat. And all indications are that, at this point, it's not immediately dangerous. When the perceived threat is more potent (IE, after 9/11), the will to fight becomes stronger. It's a natural process. If a nation is to mobilize for war, the enemy has to appear to be a serious concern, and that's where the media engines come in. However, if there are strong internal grievances within a nation (such as a nation held together by a dictatorship, or one split along tribal lines), intensifying conflict will generally split it into several smaller nations, as is likely to happen in Afghanistan (Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, to name a few), and I won't comment on Iraq. This kind of thing has happened before in a few places in Europe.

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