Serving as a sort of beacon of light, the United Nations formed in the wake of the devastating Second World War. Although the influence of the United Nations is debatable, the primary goal is “the maintenance of international peace and security,” according to the official website. The notion that humans are inherently confrontational is an excuse; in reality, we put ourselves in situations that call for violence and quick fixes. The United Nations focuses on all facets of the development of a conflict, by using “preventive diplomacy and mediation,” “peacekeeping” during a conflict, and “peacebuilding” to ensure that the aftermath of a struggle does not send a nation into disarray. However, wartime is far too complex to be stopped by a third party once it has started.
According to Jim Powell for Forbes, “war is the most costly, violent and unpredictable thing governments do.” Woodrow Wilson is far from a moral role model but he was a bit of an isolationist and an advocate for prioritizing peace as World War I approached. Powell cites Wilson’s “Fourteen Points” speech with which he tried to “negotiate peace.” However, even when a powerful leader like Wilson rallies for diplomatic conflict resolution, a relatively rare occurrence, violence still prevailed. According to Powell, about a million British soldiers and civilians died, along with 1.7 million French soldiers and civilians. He goes on to explain that aside from the violence, “hundreds of thousands succumbed to the influenza pandemic” likely because of intolerable conditions. It is nearly impossible to stop a war in its tracks once the damage has begun.
According to Powell, it is important to note that allies during wartime are just as unstable as the conflict itself. He explains that if the allies have “conflicting aims,” the skirmish is likely to end detrimentally for at least one of them. If a nation finds itself in a life-threatening struggle, it will always sacrifice another country for its own people, no matter the apparent solidity of the alliance.
In the summer of 1945 during World War II, President Truman dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands of Japanese people. The aftermath was arguably even worse, due to pervasive and fatal radiation. Such violence was employed under the guise of ‘ending the war.’ The tragedy of this immense loss of life is palpable, but perhaps most troubling is the fact that Japanese people were othered and killed at such an astronomical proportion in order to save American lives. Violence, as they say, begets violence. A war will move players to make horrendous choices so that it does not happen to them first.