The number of wars and war-related deaths has apparently plummeted

CNN: Study: Fewer wars, less deadly

A study issued paints a surprising picture of war and peace in the 21st century: Armed conflicts have declined by more than 40 percent since 1992, and genocide and human rights abuses have plummeted around the world.

The only form of political violence that appears to be getting worse is terrorism — a serious threat but one that kills markedly fewer people than open warfare, it said.

Who needs wars when we’ve got Mother Nature?

Seriously, does this mean that more people are content with their lives than ten years ago? It seems to me that you have to have a lot of discontented people before you can get a full-blown war. Is a general sense of complacency the reason some people turn to terrorism?

Professor Andrew Mack, who directed the three-year study, said there has been a shift away from the huge wars of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s where million-strong armies faced each other with conventional weapons.

“The average war today tends to be very small, low intensity conflict, fought with ill-trained troops, small arms and light weapons, often very brutal, with lots of civilians killed — but the absolute numbers of people being killed are … much, much smaller than they were before,” he said.

Armed conflicts have not only declined by more than 40 percent since 1992, but the deadliest conflicts with over 1,000 battle deaths dropped even more dramatically — by 80 percent. The number of international crises, often harbingers of war, fell by more than 70 percent between 1981 and 2001, the report said.

There’s plenty more interesting stuff in that article. I am, of course, interested in the whys. I don’t know enough about history to make very good guesses. What might have caused the violence to go down? Better and faster communications? A desire not to repeat history? Improved standard of living?

Anybody out there care to speculate?