Is peace for chumps?

David Barno, in Foreign Policy magazine, recently claimed that “the U.S. must prepare to battle in cyberspace and in the shadows.”

If one would bother to look at the reports from these sources:

  • Institute for Economics and Peace
  • Human Security Report Project
  • The World Bank
  • UN Human Development Reports
  • Economic Research Service
  • Center for Systemic Peace
  • Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative
  • A History of Violence by Steven Pinker
  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

— one might just conclude that war and violence are soon to be, if not already, obsolete. The psychological sensationalism of stories such as Barno’s, of potential conflict and the fear that it spreads, has very little basis in reality and definitely feeds the hunger that people naturally have for security at any price, because it sounds so reassuring to hear “oh boy, do we have an ultimate weapon for you!”

We may need software firewalls, and in the long view of things, we DO NOT need hardware weapons to resolve conflict. The knowledge and skills of nonviolent conflict resolution are expanding exponentially. Pay attention to THAT, and you may have something about which to really get excited.

This is not about changing the nature of man. It’s about simply being well-informed. I’ve done a search on all those sites I’ve mentioned, and more. The information is out there, and it’s pretty damn exciting. I found that poverty is declining, tolerance of minorities is increasing, the rate of population growth is tapering off, international trade is skyrocketing, democracy is spreading, gun ownership is declining, illiteracy is declining, inter-state wars are declining, battle deaths are declining, genocide is declining, membership in intergovernmental organizations is climbing, capital punishment is declining, the homicide rate is declining, even rape and child abuse are going down. I think it is natural for humanity to be curious, to learn and improve the quality of life. At this time in our history, the science of building peace and preventing war is one of the most exciting frontiers of human exploration.

I don’t think believing in the advance of peace is related to one’s level of gullibility, or weakness, or stupidity. It’s what we can see is coming, if we just pay attention to the indicators. I have included below two of the many that will be included in a slideshow video now in production, to be released this year before the International Day of Peace, September 21, 2013.

BattleDeaths by type of war

Look carefully at these images. What shift occurs in your thinking?



  1. Powerful and uplifting! Thanks David. It’s so easy to see and focus on what’s wrong. I love your focus on what’s going right. A great reminder. Emily

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s