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Who's in the Video

David Kennedy

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.

Recorded on: 7/4/07