The War to End All Wars

One can perhaps go as far as contending that Washington would have preferred to keep the balloon hovering over American territory rather than shoot it down if it would have prolonged and augmented the window of opportunity to hack its motherboard. But despite the Chinese claims that this was a “scientific balloon” which went off course because of the wind, lies and broken promises are the norms and unwritten rules of diplomatic language rather than the anomaly or exception. The likelihood is that Beijing had control over the movement of the balloon, and if Washington could not keep the balloon hovering over American territory based on Beijing’s volition and in turn prolong the window of opportunity to hack its motherboard, then the instinctual course of action for Washington was to shoot it down and bring it down to where the remnants of the balloon could still be within Washington’s grasp rather than letting it slip out of Washington’s grip. 

And as mentioned before, this balloon incident has to be seen as the latest culmination of a global hybrid war that has been going on since the start of the 21st century, when Washington decided to break its “social contract” with other countries. In a sense, this global hybrid war is likely to take one of either two paths from this point forward. For one, it can be settled based on the concept or understanding that the comparative advantages of the two sides would amount to mutual benefit if the war were to be settled based on diplomatic terms. Or, this global hybrid war can be taken to its finish, which may not be beneficial for anyone. 

Russia, coincidentally, has dubbed the latest stage of this global hybrid war as the “the war to end all wars.” But we must step back and unpack this claim or suggestion, namely, the claim or suggestion that the latest stage of this global hybrid war will be “the war to end all wars.” First of all, in what conditions and circumstances are the Russians seeking to bring this war to an end? How will the ending look like? If we were to close our eyes and envision a resolute outcome or end to this global hybrid war without a diplomatic settlement sometime before this resolute outcome or end based on an automatic unfolding of circumstances and events, what would it look like? Moreover, based on the way in which the circumstances and events surrounding this global hybrid war have culminated, the ending may not be rosy or idyllic.

Another thing worth noting is that the basic infrastructure to end this global hybrid war is already in place, and the story behind the setting of this basic infrastructure is quite interesting. The story began when a British mathematician and scientist named Alan Turing built the prototype of what is now the modern-day computer in order to break encrypted Nazi communications during World War II. What the Americans did after Turing’s creation and invention was to create a communication system – namely, the internet – which would endure a state of war and in turn keep computers all around the world interconnected in the future. 

Thus, the irony and the paradox of our situation is that while Washington and London essentially sowed the seeds of chaos and war in past decades due to colonial policies, Washington and London also laid the basic infrastructure for the resolution and settlement of the global hybrid war which we are waging with each other at the moment. Hence, the complexity, paradox, and uncertainty of everything we are going through at the moment. And in the end, perhaps anyone’s contribution or course of action can determine the outcome, given the very complex nature of the war we are all fighting at the moment. 

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