Nothing resembles 2013 more than 1913. That year, a period of extraordinary growth was greatly restricted by a financial crisis caused by the first economic power at the time (Great Britain).
Enormous progress in technology, in the fields of Energy and Communication (electricity, automobile, aircraft, radio, submarine) told us this would lead to broad new uplands of progress.
A wide array of movements for democracy were emerging in Latin America, Africa, Russia and Asia. But also terrorist movements that began to rampage
(then called “nihilists”).
Totalitarian ideologies denigrated the market economy and democracy; announcing their intention to combat the ideology of human rights.
That year, though, in 1913, nobody knew the name of Lenin, who was going to take power in Russia 4 years later. And even less that of Mussolini, who will march on Rome 7 years later, same for Hitler, who will attempt his first coup d’etat ten years later.
No one imagined, that one terrorist attack among many others would ignite, by the game of alliances, a First World War which will be replaced by a severe economic crisis, and then by a Second World War. And in the same line of thought the Soviet regime, an outcome of the first World War, that will collapse only 75 years later.
Today, the same forces of progress and freedom express themselves; the same rumblings exist; the same destructive ideologies and movements. The same economic crisis. The same temptation to survive by using protectionism, violence and even war, at least a cold one.
Let us look lucidly at today’s world: a very brief period has just ended when there was no war between two countries, anywhere in the world.
Now an arch of violence is traveling across the world: a war in Mali, conflicts in Libya (which has freed a powerful conventional weapon), a conflict between Israel and Palestine, a civil war in Syria (with the possibility of releasing horrifying chemical weapons), tensions between Israel and Iran, a war in Afghanistan, some tension between India and Pakistan, between China and Japan, which may involve its American ally, down towards Mexico, Brazil and via the drug cartels, to finally join Equatorial Guinea and Mali.
Therefore the stage is set to be under the threat of a third world war.
Nobody knows just where will take place the equivalent of the incident of Sarajevo which led to August 14: on the disputed islands between China and Japan, no doubt.
In order to avoid this, a clear distinction should be made between the fight against narco-islamic terrorism, that all should pursue, in the form of concerted international action at police level (where are the Germans in Mali? The British? The Americans?) and disputes, often pathetic over territories between nations, which should be subjected to civilized arbitrations.
If there is no clarity about these principles, if we let our economies fall back on protectionism and let wars begin, it will be a recipe for an awful disaster, from which we will come out, if everything is like the past century, only in 2089, after, all things being equal, more than 200 million victims.