Not too long ago, one could almost believe that mankind was entering a new era. It would be an era when war was unthinkable. There were too many opportunities for collaboration for folks to resort to war for gain.
That idea was thrown about in 1913 and more recently, it was thrown about in 2002. In each case, the dreamers who proclaimed the new era failed to grasp that conflict does not arise from global trends. It is a profoundly local process — arising when agendas collide.
The agendas may use global vocabulary, like the strife within Islam. But they are fueled by impasse at the local level. To see this more clearly, consider a conflict that is not supposed to happen – the clash between marketing directors and heads of IT departments. Both are supposed to be advancing the interests of the firm. But they are often at odds with each other about who makes IT purchases. There is no ideological clash. Nor is there a global problem. But a local problem repeats itself because of the same root cause — the question of which department will control the IT purchase budget.