I was always perplexed by the whole debate around North Korea's ballistic missile tests until I read Mandelbaum's article, "Is major war obsolete?" Mandelbaum's ideas have helped me gain meaningful insight into the concept of war, with particular focus on issues such as the cost of a major war, the reward of a major war, the status of war in the contemporary world, the anarchy of the international community, and the debate on secession and irredentism.
I've learnt that a big war is one in which the belligerent parties are world superpower nations, not just any other kind of battle. In the major war, the aftermath is a geopolitical interference in the world with events such as regime births, redrawing of borders and even death of regimes take place. The most common examples of such wars include the first and second world wars (Mandelbaum, M 1998, p.20).

I have also discovered that the cost of war is not only what other people can imagine being bad, but is disastrous borrowing the views of Mandelbaum, M (1998, p.21-22). I use the word disaster to signify the far-reaching negative consequences that come with major wars. In the Second World War, for instance, over fifty million people died in the war. Besides, there were and remains to be several health problems as a result of the war.

The good news is, war attracts less incentive in the current world and has become obsolete. However, the consistent international anarchy prevents one from assuming that the world is peaceful. With the debates of secession and irredentism, I hold the view that some nations could still resort to a major war to redraw such boundaries (Mandelbaum, M 1998, p.25-38).


Mandelbaum, M., 1998. Is major war obsolete? Survival, 40(4), pp.20-38.

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