David M. Kennedy is the Donald J. McLachian Professor of History at Stanford University. His scholarship is notable for its integration of economic analysis with social history and political history.[…]
War, Kennedy says, should always be the last resort.
David Kennedy: The connection between fear and war? Well war is, or should be, a last resort in human affairs. It unfortunately is not always the last resort. But when it is, I think it’s often propelled by fear. Maybe not even a specific fear of this adversary’s role, but just a generalized fear of uncertainty about the future. I think nations are often driven to war by a very ______, generalized, free-floating anxiety about what the future might hold; and by the . . . it usually turns out to be vain hope that by force of arms – by the application of organized disciplined force, which is another name for war – that the future can be held secure, or at least less insecure than it would be otherwise. But that’s usually a pretty forlorn aspiration.