One of thinkers of the present, the professor of the Harvard University Niall Ferguson, answers on вопрсы about influence of economy on wars in world history.
A question: In 20 century which was initially perceived as a century of total progress, there were the most bloody conflicts in mankind history - two world wars and some certificates of a genocide. How you think, whether people are capable to take lessons from own past?
Ferguson: Certainly, there is a huge progress in economic, scientific and political aspirations of mankind. Our problem consists that we too often resolve disputes between the states and political groups violent by. In 20 century it was especially obvious. It was time of unprecedented economic and scientific progress when democracy has stepped far forward, but it also was time of surprising cruelty - in wars was lost about 200 million persons. In a new century we should see, how far we have promoted in this respect. But I do not think, that someone can tell for certain, that in the near future wars will be forgotten.
Question: whether you Agree, what we on eyes have a crash of system of the national states?
Ferguson: it seems To me малоинтереснойидея that the world is divided into the national states. Since 19 centuries, and to this day empires, as though you them did not name - empires or in other words - really were the most important players in the world of the big and small states. They are often guilty in развязывании scale conflicts. So affairs in 20 century were, and I think, that and will proceed further.
When I speak "empire", I mean the big countries which have imperial history. Russia - it is unconditional, one of such countries, as well as China, Iran etc. In spite of the fact that Americans do not like to admit it, the USA too are among empires. The idea that since times of the Vestfalsky world (actually two peace treaties which have been concluded in 1648 on the European diplomatic congress first in history is wrong; they have put in pawn bases of modern international law, the world have divided into the beautiful and accurate states-nations. To me as to the historian, the world is represented coexistence of the big empires and less large states which destiny is solved very often by empires.
Question: What empire is necessary to the world in present conditions?
Ferguson: Someone could tell, that the European Union - just such type of empire which is required to us. It is said that it is the empire based not on violence, and on economic cooperation. A problem that it is very difficult to imagine completely ordered as the European Union, the world. Too many disputed zones in the Near East, in the Central Africa, East Asia - are improbable, that there the organisation of the European type will function successfully.
That it is really necessary for us - and it is very important - that the big empires tried to solve problems by means of the international organisations, whether it be the United Nations or the G8, instead of by conflicts. If we also observed progress within last 50-60th years it has been noted only in sphere of the international organisations as there are many ways to solve disputes peace by. It gives the bases for modest optimism.
Question: representation, that money - a root of all harms is popular. Whether you consider, what economy - the basic ruling force in the international relations?
Ferguson: More likely, the love to money is a root of all harms, instead of money. Certainly, the economy plays very important role in the international system. For other world the Near East would mean much less if in that part of globe there was no considerable share of world's reserves of energy carriers. Power of China grows in much thanks to that its economy grows.
However, if to look at this theme from higher belltower it is difficult to come to a conclusion, that the majority of conflicts are caused by the economic reasons. The First World War was not result of rivalry of capitalist powers as confirmed Lenin. It was, more likely, is caused by the catastrophic accident which has occurred in relations between the European powers.
In the Second World War there was an economic implied sense. For example, Japan had a reason to attack Pearl Harbour - it has taken this step because of economic the sanctions entered by the USA. But when Adolf Hitler has begun war, over it the racist ideology, ideology of vital space and racial transformation, instead of economic stimulus supervised, first of all.
It is necessary to understand limitation of a role of business factors in sphere of the international relations. Without an economic power it is very difficult to have any power, but powerful economy - the only thing is far not, than it is necessary to possess. Since 1960, Japan stably was the economy of the world second for the sizes. However, possessing insignificant military power, in sphere of the international relations it was enough weak power.
Question: There is a theory according to which economic integration will lead to more peace international coexistence. How much important role will be played in that case by racial and ethnic friction?
Ferguson: Economic integration was and earlier: with 1880 for 1914 there was that it is possible to name "the first era of globalisation". However it has not prevented the world war beginning in 1914. Even taking into account that, for example, the Great Britain and Germany have been closely connected with each other economically, and actually were the greatest trading partners, these державыстали to be at war, and the technical question on a neutrality of Belgium became an occasion to war.
Therefore it is not necessary to rely on economic integration too. It will not relieve the world of wars. I remember, the journalist Volume Фридман (Thomas Friedman, the known journalist and the writer, thought mentioned by Ferguson contains in its book "Лексус" and the Olive "\The Lexus and the Olive Tree, published in 1999, asserted, that there is a theory of" gold arches "world according to which two countries in which there are networks of restaurants of fast food McDonald's, will never be at war with each other. This argument has appeared almost in the same month when the American planes have started to bomb Belgrad in which just and network McDonald's worked.
Therefore the economy does not cancel conflicts - for this purpose it is required much bigger. That is especially necessary are the organisations which are capable to resolve disputes without violence application: whether it be dispute on territory or dispute on human rights. We have corresponding organisations, but they are not ideal. An obvious example - the UN Security Council.
Question: whether you Believe, what the person is capable to affect world history? What of factors has played the big role in world history - wisdom or nonsense?
Ferguson: Certainly, nonsense. She played more important role, than wisdom all extent of human history. When historians undertake to explain great events, they unsuccessfully aspire to find for them the serious reasons.
But at times great events are caused by insignificant enough reasons, and good to volume an example - the Second World War. So, summer of 1938, be at the power in the Great Britain other prime minister - not Невилл Чемберлен - it could lead itself(himself) more aggressively in relation to Hitler. If to compare Чемберлена and Churchill which, in effect, were two main applicants for an armchair of the prime minister, we will understand, how much many depended on character of the person which was on a Downing street, 10 during that critical moment. If the Great Britain would not allow Germany to occupy Czechoslovakia in 1938 the history could go absolutely other by.
Therefore I think, that historians never should remove a role of separate persons from accounts. The power in hands of the concrete person can play very big role in a course choice on which the country moves. I can wish only that wise leaders on historical development bends would be more than reckless. But now it is represented to me, that reckless leaders nevertheless was more.
Question: taking into consideration the past, let's look in the future. What "best" and "worst" scenarios of development of mankind within the next two decades?
Ferguson: it is good, that you have given me two variants of the scenario because there is no unique future. There are only various variants of the future from which somehow it is necessary to choose. It is useful to imagine the worst variant of the scenario because thus we have a chance to avoid it.
The conflict aggravation in the Near East outside of Iraq and on all region in which would participate not only the USA and Iran, but also Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, probably Egypt and Turkey would be my "worst" scenario. It would be in the same degree the conflict between Islam branches - шиитами and суннитами, as well as, say, the conflict between Islam and other world or Islam and the West. Here there is a potential for enormous explosion - all necessary components available. Would be the present accident if such conflict left from under the control. We know, that similar sometimes happens. If to choose a place where there will be a following world war it, most likely, will be the Near East.
Inclusion of all economic forces of the Near East in uniform economic would be the "best" scenario to show to youth of the Near East that it is better to earn money, instead of to be at war. The old slogan of 1960th years sounded so: "Make love, instead of war". I think, that the motto "be engaged in earning money, instead of war" - the most suitable. When it is available economic stimulus when there are possibilities for fruitful work and profit reception - it is improbable, that people will resort to violence.
In this sense it would be possible to be optimists, but cautiously, at least, prior to the beginning of present world financial crisis. I, more likely, the pessimist, speaking about prospects of globalisation in the conditions of a prompt rise in prices for the goods, strengthenings of contradictions in the field of trade and currency transactions. Therefore I not too trust in credibility of my optimistic scenario in which economic globalisation reduces danger of Near-Eastern conflicts.
Question: What do you think of the future of the countries of the former USSR?
Ferguson: In many respects we should rejoice to so considerable economic lifting which has followed crisis of 1990th years. Those years inhabitants of Russia and other republics of the former USSR have gone through more difficulties, than can present the West European society. The situation has seriously improved, substantially thanks to a rise in prices for raw materials, in particular - on energy carriers.
However all these countries still should pass a long way. The riches in Russia are distributed non-uniformly, some regions stay till now in an abject poverty condition. The answer to a question will be solving: "what relations will be created between Russia and the former Soviet republics?". In the West obviously there is a concern that some people can feel nostalgia across Soviet Union and would wish its restoration. I also think, that Russia is disturbed fairly by the pressure rendered by extending block of NATO.
Such countries as Georgia and, in particular, Ukraine, are now clamped, on the one hand, by desire of Russia to restore the right in the traditional sphere of influence, and with another - desire of the USA to reap the fruits of a victory in Cold war. Important that neither the USA, nor Russia should not encroach on political independence of these countries. I think, it is very important, that all concerned their independence as to the come true fact.
Russia - last failed empire of 20 centuries, also there was it very quickly. But lessons of history of the Western Europe say that when the empire disappears from a political card of the world, there is sense no it to revive. Ask the Great Britain, France, Holland, any European power which once was empire! Russia are important for understanding, that the traditional state-nation, instead of empire is a quite good future.
Question: What it is possible to tell about the future of the USA?
Ferguson: the USA are the most successful political system of the world and the most successful economy, but its imperial past is absolutely inconsistent. Many of its intrusions into other countries have ended with failures - only units have crowned success, as, for example, occupation of the Western Germany and Japan. The USA balance on the verge of empire.
If Barrack Обама, that, possibly becomes the US president, the American presence at Iraq will end. It is the big risk because prematurely having left the Iraq project, administration Obamy will leave chaos in Iraq. There all only began more or to be adjusted, eat signs of improvement of a situation less. It gives to the big hope, but all can collapse completely if by November it becomes clear, that the new administration does not have real intentions to stabilise a situation in Iraq.
Therefore, on my sensations in spite of the fact that the USA - not so successful empire, they all the same need to finish that they have begun in Iraq. And at all for the sake of the United States, and for the sake of everything because failure in Iraq and its returning to a condition of civil war that was in 2006, will manage to economic very expensively.