The past two weeks have led to some paradigm revisions here at the Library You See In Dreams.
Turns out there is no Roomful of Dust, ready to ignite. There is instead a large pile of wet newspaper.
The United States assassinated one of the highest ranking Iranian military leaders. And in return…the Iranians gave advance warning they were going to bomb an American airbase, so any Americans could be cleared out of the way.
Not exactly Pearl Harbor.
Last year Pakistan and India got so far as to actually carry out airstrikes on each other. No war. Iran and Saudi Arabia have been carrying out a proxy fight in Yemen for some time now. No war.
So this requires some thought. All conclusions must hang tentative.
My developing hypothesis is that war no longer works for the purposes of the modern nation-state. It’s too expensive and risky. Self-preservation is the name of the game. Make one error and Syria, now a fractured, war-ravaged mess dependent on outside powers, is your best case scenario.
The trick is, of course, that if this ceased to be true—if any one nation decided that the possibilities of gain were worth the risk—they wouldn’t say so. They’d just go and start the war. It would only be visible in hindsight.
But for now, it doesn’t look like that moment is anywhere near.