One page guide to Taming War

Taming War is about how we can solve the problems of war.

War has been around a long time. We’ll need to use a number of strategies to tackle it.

One of the major suggestions in Taming War is that we should examine the technology of war. Changing technology has made war ever more unpleasant. Indeed, it’s now made warfare so dangerous that a world nuclear war could kill us all.

But technology might also provide us with a way to peace. It could be used for resolving conflicts without causing major damage.

It seems likely that conflict will be with us for a long time to come – just like drugs and crime. Perhaps through using ‘technology for peace’ we can minimise the harm.

What sort of technology? There are many kinds of technology that could be useful. Some already exist as ‘non-lethal weapons’. These halt, resist and contain violent aggressive action without themselves (usually) causing major injury or death. They include tasers, rubber bullets, riot gases and foams. They’re not perfect and they sometimes even kill people. But they’re a start.

If we put even just a billion or two, of the (more than) 1500 billion dollars we spend each year on warfare, into the research and development of non-lethal weapons we’d almost certainly produce some much safer and more effective devices. 

Is the idea of non-lethal war a bit naive?  Won’t nations, in the final resort, pick up the most lethal weapon they can put their hands on?  If it comes to that, yes, of course. However, if we can develop a culture which shows that non-lethal methods are more effective – starting with UN peacekeeping – such outcomes become less likely.

The non-lethal approach needs to start at home, for example with police officers swopping their hand guns for non-lethal weapons (and even that won’t be easy to start with.) 

Taming War says that technology is not the only factor. We need to improve our political processes, moving to an eventual world parliament. We should look at splitting up today’s empires – the USA, China and India (again, not easy). We need to examine the biology of war – the instincts that make us behave like tribal hunting groups.  We could create ‘armies’ of young people in which those drives are channelled into handling important challenges like Global Warming.

Why should we do all this? Because otherwise almost certainly we will drift further into nuclear proliferation and almost inevitably lurch into some kind of nuclear conflict, perhaps even into a terminal nuclear world war.