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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Cooling Trend in the World's Conflicts

A recent report from the University of Maryland's Center for International Development and Conflict Management indicates the number of armed conflicts in the world continues to decline. However, despite the positive trends, half the world's countries have the potential for future armed conflict because of serious political weaknesses suggesting that international monitoring and engagement, i.e., nation building, is not going away anytime soon. Read Zenit's analysis of the report.

One point of interest is the assessment of the situation re the Global War on Terror. Zenit summarizes:

The report noted that terrorism, though it receives a lot of media attention, causes relatively few deaths compared to other conflicts. There have been 10 incidents in the last seven years that have caused more than 100 deaths. During the 1990s there were about 300 deaths per year by international terrorism and 3,000 deaths per annum by acts of local terrorism.

In contrast, there were more than 300,000 deaths per annum in warfare in the 1990s. Most of the victims were noncombatants. The report does acknowledge the potential for danger if terrorists obtain weapons of mass destruction, but the probability of this happening remains hard to evaluate.

Overall, the report concluded, even though terrorism causes much fear, "our greatest fears can be realized when the state becomes the terrorist, or when the powerful weapons created by the state fall into the hands of the evildoer."
Hmmm. Keep your eye on the ball, Mr. President.

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