Student Column - Bethany Thompson - 'War over the horizon - history repeats!'

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As you know there is always a strong chance of war happening at any moment. This honestly comes as no surprise to me but for reasons you wouldn’t expect. Some likely won’t find this surprising either because they know about the tensions between America and the Middle East in general and the fact that Trump may inevitably start a war during his presidency at some point. Now whether this has changed or not is not truly important; what is important is understanding what I'm about to say.

I’m a History student who, obviously, has a real passion for the past and has noticed patterns in how a war can break out. People never seem to learn the outcomes of war or even what happens before war hence causing history to repeat itself. War always starts with two opposing ideas or beliefs and someone thinking that they can play the hero.

Most people who pay attention to the news are well aware of the on-going tensions and conflict between America and the Middle East; mostly it’s either to do with oil or weapons the Middle East are trying to make or obtain. Most wars start out in the same way; the war in Afghanistan was about the weapons they contained making them dangerous so America decided to “contain” the situation so to speak (which is more recent but still happened 20 years ago).

Moving on from America, you’ve got groups like ISIS starting conflicts over religion and if you want to go really historical you could go all the way back to the Crusades where the Christian's travelled by foot all the to the Holy Land and fought with the Muslims to “take it back” for well over a few hundred years. Or with the French Revolution where the peasants revolted and made Napoleon their new leader which unsurprisingly led to the Napoleonic Wars which caused trouble for many countries. Then we have the obvious: World War II. Germany wanted justice for how they treated during the previous war; they simply sought to take over Europe to make themselves strong again contrary to how they felt at the end of the Great War.

Now, there are clearly many more wars and conflicts I haven’t mentioned but you may ask what did all this have to do with anything. I would feel obliged to respond with sometimes we learn from our mistakes for the better as have yet to have another massive scale war such as WW2.

But there are also the countless horrible mistakes we have made which only appear to promote the idea of a future threat of war. After America developed the Atomic bomb Russia soon devolved its own bomb and America made a more powerful version. This continued until treaties were put in place. But that didn’t stop others countries like us preparing for a real threat of nuclear war.

So then, why? Why do people still fight and cause devastation everywhere they go and justify themselves that they’re defending themselves from the danger. I blame it all on ignorance.

Ignorance to the people it hurts the most. Ignorance to the future damage it could cause. And ignorance from not learning from our past. If we actually as people took a step back and focused on the bigger picture on what war does and how it happens then the world could start to become a safer and smarter place to live.

“History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives”, Abba Eban