But considering the military side, it seems to me that an interesting thing has happened, in that the availability of consistent and high funding over many years has resulted in technology and resulting products that have invalidated the classic western Clauswitz theory of total war —massive armies and navies slugging it out as in World War II. So-called weapons of mass destruction (nuclear bombs, bio-chemical weapons) have made the potential cost in property and lives of civilian as well as members of the military ridiculously high on both sides of any conflict in which they are used. It is possible to make treaties banning their use in conflicts between nations, but there is always a risk of desperate usage by dictatorial governments or fanatics under attack.
Wars (or “police actions”) in which the U.S. has been involved since World War II have remained limited, and have not result in the hoped for “victories”. And they have often veered toward more eastern theory of wars (read Sun Tsu), which recognize the effectiveness of such things as surprise (Pearl Harbor), ambush, deception, patience (Mao and Ho Chi Minh}, and avoiding un-winnable battles. And the nature of battle itself has been drastically changed by the use of air, modern transportation and communication, night vision capability, improved personal arms and armor, observation satellites, computers, and the global positioning satellite system.
And in the U.S., at least, there is a growing antipathy toward what is euphemistically called collateral damage, as well as military casualties, and it is about time, since the civilian casualty count in modern wars is often larger than that of the military, and the civilians are in a sense innocent by-standers. The present uproar about drone attacks, in which relatively few people are killed is a symptom of this antipathy. Though the casualties are relatively few, they seem to violate our sense of fairness. They are the opposite of Gary Cooper and the one-on-one duel in the classic movie High Noon.
I certainly do not claim to know the answer to this. The Cold War period was a period of relative peace, but high anxiety. I understand the desire of nations to possess nuclear weapons, since for better or worse, they definitely help in becoming recognized as a power to be reckoned with (North Korea?). The League of Nations failed, and the U.N. and the world court seem to have only limited power. And leaders of nations, even though they deny it, seem to like to fight. Do we need a new type of war? Now there is an opportunity for creativity.