Forbes has a really interesting article up looking at the continuing cascade of conflicts stemming from World War I. The writer draws some conclusions that I broadly agree with, particularly the interweaving of violence and liberalism (“make the world a safer place for democracy” wasn’t just a slogan they came up with in the 1990s it seems), the ineffectiveness of global social engineering, and the fact that war often brings unexpected blowback, causing more conflict sometimes decades later.
It reminds me of what I heard at a conference about Syria recently. Many of the leaders of the rebels against the Assad regime were personally tied in some way to the massacre of thousands of anti-regime Islamists in 1982 in the Syrian city of Hama. Syrian Islamists who survived fled to Europe or parts of the Islamic world and would rise to become leading figures in today’s violent jihadi groups.