If asked what is is the most important ingredient for war, most of us would say stuff like greed, ambition, hostility, envy or any other one of a dozen negative and universal failings of Man, or even those necessities like food and water, but while each may have a place in a particular instance, there is only one, inescapable requirement for all wars.
For war to take place, We need Them.
This may seem a trite and irrelevant observation, and for most of history, it probably was.
When wars were fought between nation states, kingdoms and tribes, there was always an us and them, to fight and go to war over over all manner of justified and unjustified causes and excuses. But in today's globalized and idealized world, it is not always obvious just who They are.
For years the much vaunted but largely non-existent 5th column was feared in every conflict, and rightly so. Experience of many colonial conquests was of precursors bringing gifts and supposed benefits to a population, thus garnering support and allegiance, before showing their true colours and aiding the invaders from within.
This goes back to way before the mythical wooden horse of Troy, and was always seen as one of the greatest threats to a society or culture under attack.
Today, most countries in the world are vulnerable to such a threat as never before, and it may be one of the reasons that nations with diverse populations and ideals are so reluctant to embark upon military adventures.
It is no coincidence that those nations with the least to fear from their internal cultures and beliefs, should be the greatest sponsors of war and discord throughout the world today.
For the rest of us, who are no longer sure of, and cannot say with certainty, who We are, much less who They might be, war is not a thing to be engaged in lightly.
So what does this mean?
For war to be effective the vital first step is to create, sponsor or instigate an opposing force, people, or ideology, i.e. to identify or create and enemy to go to war with.
This process is more commonly called:- Polarization >>