Mandelbaum concedes China and Russia are still major power that make war likely.
Survival 41(2) Jan. 1999. [As major war obsolete? an exchange, p. 139-52]
In the Winter 1998-99 issue of Survival, Michael Mandelbaum argued that 'major war is obsolete'. He conceded that war
itself 'has not been abolished', but considered it 'increasingly unlikely' that we will again see a major war - that is to say, 'a
war fought by the most powerful members of the international system, drawing on all of their resources and using every
weapon at their command, over a period of years, leading to an outcome with revolutionary geopolitical consequences
including the birth and death of regimes, the redrawing of borders and the reordering of the hierarchy of sovereign states'.
Mandelbaum identified four wars in the past two centuries that fit this definition: the wars of the French Revolution (1792-
1815); the First World War (1914-18); the Second World War (1939-45); and the Cold War (late 1940s-early 1990s). In his
article, Mandelbaum was also careful about defining 'obsolete'. Major war had gone out of fashion and become 'obsolete in
the sense that it no longer serves the purpose for which it was designed'. But major war was not impossible: indeed, there
remained two large countries - China and Russia - where the trends of 'warlessness have made less headway than in Japan,
the US and Western Europe'. Moreover, both countries had irredentist claims 'to territories that were once governed from
their capitals but which they no longer control': China's official claim to Taiwan, and Russia's lingering, albeit unofficial,
nostalgia for some kind of union with Ukraine. Since powerful Western states would be likely to oppose any forceful
exercise of these claims, the Taiwan Strait and the Russian-Ukrainian border constituted 'the most dangerous spots on the
.. the potential Sarajevos of the twenty-first century'. Yet notwithstanding these qualifications, Mandelbaum
presented the obsolescence of major war as an important historical development and the 'measure of something in which the
generation living at the end of the nineteenth century devoutly believed, which the bloody decades that followed widely
discredited, but of which the rise of debellicisation is both a symptom and a cause: human progress'.
AT: Mandelbaum—Yes Major War
Great power war is realistic as ever—false hopes like Mandelbaum’s are repeatedly proven wrong.
Kagan Ph.D. History 99
(Donald Kagan, Ph.D., Professor of History at Yale, Jan. 1999. [Survival 41(2) As major war obsolete? an exchange, p. 139-
I agree that the present moment in history provides a better chance than ever for achieving a long period of peace, that the
deterrent offered by nuclear weapons works towards that end, and that the growth of trade, democracy and economic
interdependence assists that prospect. I do not, however, believe that war is obsolete - not yet, anyway. Nor do I believe that