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Politics and invincible deities - observable insanity

by Johan Astrom, Online editor

The causes of war  

Pinpointing the exact causes of wars can be hazardous. Most conflicts are thought to be of ethnic origin. However, at a closer look, history tells a different story. Religious elements are the most common reason for most conflicts around the world—faithfully fueled by a belief in something you cannot see—a god.

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Research shows us that since 3600 B.C., there have been 14,531 wars resulting in 3 billion deaths. Peace has only prevailed for a total of 292 years on earth. That is about 5 percent of the time since 3600 B.C. At any given time, there has been 40-100 wars going on somewhere in the world. In the closing year of the 20th century, a group of religious leaders have tried to do something about the madness.

In October 1999, leaders from the Buddhist, Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths met in Geneva Switzerland. They issued a document, The Geneva Spiritual Appeal, asking politicians, religious leaders, and organizations to enforce that religion not be accepted as justification for violence. It was an astonishing attempt, since it has been a 6000-year long tradition to glorify war with the aid of deities.

Another variable that contributes a world in flames is the arms trade. The economic importance of the arms trade is underscored by the table, below. Many of these nations, depicted in the table below, contradict themselves saying that they are nations of peace given that they make business of selling armaments to warring religious and political powers around the world.

Top 10 arms exporters, importers

Top Exporters $Billions

1 United States 91.5
2 U.K. 15.1
3 France 15.1
4 Russia 7.9
5 Germany 4.5
6 Sweden 2.9
7 China 2.0
8 Canada 1.6
9 Israel 1.6
10 Ukraine 1.5

Top Importers $Billions

1 Saudi Arabia 27.5
2 China-Taiwan 17.4
3 Japan 7.9
4 U.K. 6.6
5 Turkey 6.2
6 Israel 5.8
7 South Korea 5.3
8 United States 5.1
9 Australia 4.0
10 Unit. Arab Emir 3.7

Sources: Defense Almanac, 1996; DoD and Military Department Public Affairs Offices; Dirty Little Secrets: Military Information You’re Not Supposed to Know, by J. Dunnigan and A. Nofi (1990); and Terrorism Today by C. Simonsen and J. Spindlove (2000).


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