From the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 to the end of World War II and beyond the Cold War period, the prevailing assumption was that interstate warfare would continue to be the dominant threat to global peace and prosperity. Today’s wars, by contrast, are intrastate conflicts that take place mainly within—not across—national borders. As a consequence, the disease of intrastate conflict has been allowed to rage relatively unchecked across large areas of the world, and has devastated the lives of millions of human beings. At the same time, indirect and implicit unmet needs (e.g., poverty) lead people into greater and greater personal and collective insecurity. In the past, the traditional security dilemma was: What is defensive, and what is aggressive? This problem has never been sorted out. It depends entirely on one’s interpretation—based on culture, values, external relationships, interests, and concepts of threat to national security.
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