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Eyewitness History

with Joshua Cohen

History Unplugged Clip With Christopher Blattman

00:00 19:38
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War Isn’t the Natural State of Human Affairs: It Shouldn’t Happen, and Most of the Time It Doesn't."

War is assumed to be one of the chief features of human history. Plenty of ancient and modern writers back up this perspective (Plato said that only the dead have seen the end of war; John Steinbeck said all war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal, suggesting it was hard-wired into our brutish nature). But what if the conventional wisdom is wrong? What if war isn’t the status quo? This is the argument made by today’s guest, who says prolonged violence between groups isn’t normal. Wars shouldn’t happen, and most of the time they don’t.


Rank and Blattman discuss why Russia invaded Ukraine; why it took so long for the US to leave Afghanistan; why he thinks it’s unlikely the US will have a civil war; and what to do about the spiking gang violence in big American cities. But what he really focuses on is peace -- what of remedies that shift incentives away from violence and get parties back to dealmaking? He walks us through the places where compromises and tradeoffs have worked, highlighting successful negotiation techniques or exploring often the much-maligned peacekeeping armies actually succeed, even using cognitive behavior therapy on drug lords, with surprising results.

Check out Scott's podcast at https://www.parthenonpodcast.com/history-unplugged-podcast/
June 01, 2022
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Meet Your Host
Josh Cohen is a journalist and commentator living out of the Midwest.

He has written for a number of reputable publications.

His fascination with history is in the story of our existence and how it is told. Keeping the tradition of storytelling alive in Eyewitness History is what drives him.
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