|There are no urgent threats to us. There's small scale terrorism and threats to some individual's financial interests, but by and large national sovereignty in the west isn't at stake.|
Prospect of a direct confrontation in the next couple of years and relative safety are still two different things. I wouldnt say that there is a lack of threat these days (though Im inclined to agree that the situation is probably more stable than some decades ago).
|It was his response to someone saying war isn't worth cheap gas, so I think that was the point, and I wouldn't argue that it has no positive side effects.|
I agree that just one resource isnt worth a war. However, wars are rarely born from a single catalyst because the benefits of a conflict have to outweigh the costs. War definitely isnt worth cheap gas... but lets face it... getting cheap gas as a result of a (relatively inevitable) conflict isnt that bad of a prospect.
|Yes, and I've already explained that it's no longer such an urgent affair, war no longer gets full national attention and priority over resources.|
Depends on which nations viewpoint you are using. To Norway or Denmark it might not be such an urgent affair (at the moment)... but Im sure Israelis (or Georgians for that matter) would care to disagree with you. And Israel is a relatively good example because its technological advancements in recent times have been quite significant in my opinion (as is expected when their R&D spending relative to their GDP is among the highest in the world).
Also, I dont think that a superpower like USA could afford to stifle its own military sectors spendings purely because there is no direct threat at the moment. They can improve efficiency but not cut it like some other sectors. Such an act would be incredibly short-sighted.
Anyway, to bring up an earlier point. The problem with consumers is that they have the choice of not consuming and the problem with war is that once its under way, you dont have that many choices in getting out of it. Again, faster progress (at least on the level were discussing here) cant really be considered as a proper incentive for a war, but it definitely is a positive side-effect. Such things dont make war necessary but they do give some weight to its benefits, which is what we use to judge the prospect of conducting or getting involved in one.
Wars are necessary for very different sets of underlying reasons. Wed have to pick each war appart individually to determine whether we can agree with the reasons. You cant really slap them all with one stick. And wouldnt that be moot anyway, since the people who ultimately make these choices are surely much better informed than us - armchair scientist.