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7 Seminal Moments in Modern Global Security History
Published by Wham Media, 2016.
While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.
7 SEMINAL MOMENTS IN MODERN GLOBAL SECURITY HISTORY
First edition. October 29, 2016.
Copyright © 2016 JR Tinkerton.
Written by JR Tinkerton.
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
CHAPTER ONE - #7 - The Treaty of Versailles
CHAPTER TWO: #6- The Russian Revolution
CHAPTER THREE - #5- The Iranian Revolution
CHAPTER FOUR - #4- A-Bomb Explosions
CHAPTER FIVE - #3 - End of Cold War Without Nuclear War
CHAPTER SIX - #2 – September 11, 2001
CHAPTER SEVEN - #1 - Decay of US-Led Global Order
Welcome to the countdown of 7 Seminal Moments in Modern Global Security History.
Each of the seven events spanning the 20th and 21st century has altered the course of history.
One way or another, freedom was impacted. You probably have your own list. A careful weighing of facts and clear-eyed view of world history are persuasive in creating the list of top seven moments in modern global security history.
Historians, international affairs and security officials may quibble with the rankings, but these seven events are undeniably important to the fabric of modern history for their significant impact in global security affairs.
Thucydides, the Ancient Greek historian of the fifth century B.C., is widely considered the father of realism in international relations.
The following monograph, 7 Seminal Moments in Modern Global Security History, exhibits the pitfalls of forgetting that it is power in the international system that really matters.
These seven key events in the modern era are inflection points whose impact rippled for some time after their occurrence.
Some of these seminal moments continue to shape – for better and for worse – the current global security environment.
These seven strategic moments are ranked in reverse order according to their impact in the course of world history:
Chapter One: Treaty of Versailles (VII) – The punitive Treaty of Versailles officially ended World War I and indirectly started the drive to World War II.
Chapter Two: Russian Revolution (VI) – This revolution led to the establishment of one of the most murderous regimes in world history that dominated the last half of the twentieth century.
Chapter Three: Iranian Revolution (V) – This revolution replaced a secular dictatorship with an Islamist one and its dire impact continues today.
Chapter Four: Explosion of A-Bombs (IV) – The War in the Pacific in World War II was cut short, but another dangerous chapter in warfare opened.
Chapter Five: End of Cold War without Nuclear War (III) – In two instances, the United States and Soviet Union almost contemplated a nuclear exchange, but in the end the latter collapsed from exhaustion.
Chapter Six: September 11, 2001 (II) – The opening salvo in the twentieth-first century from Islamist fascism marked a turning point in world history.
Chapter Seven: Decay of US-Led Global Order (I) – As evidenced from a sweep of history, no country is guaranteed an easy existence, especially when its leaders just give up its advantages.
Read on and enjoy an analysis of each event.
Then contemplate the severity of each event and how the global security environment was shaped thereafter.
– geopolitical analyst, researcher, and chess player
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The Treaty of Versailles, signed on June 28, 1919, ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. Separate treaties were signed with each of the losing Central Powers.
The date is significant – exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand – the spark in the “Balkan tinderbox” that set off World War I.
The Treaty that ironically concluded the "War to End All Wars” sowed the seeds for even a greater conflagration, World War II, twenty years later.
However, it would be a mistake to blame Versailles for directly causing the Second World War.
A common take on the Treaty is that the victors provoked German hostility by pursuing an unnecessarily punitive settlement and thus arrived the Nazis.
Adolf Hitler, himself a soldier in the Great War, indeed capitalized on the war guilt (article 231)1and reparation clauses in the Treaty that went unratified by the United States (because of Senate opposition to the League of Nations).2
While the Treaty created fertile ground for a murderous maniacal demigod like Hitler, World War 2 broke out principally because he wanted war right from the start to fulfill his hateful vision.
He also wanted to fulfill the German ambition that spurred World War I – Imperial Berlin’s determination3 to achieve world power status.
The misery of the Great Depression and the worthless German mark were conveniently blamed on Versailles to stir the masses.
The Treaty thus was a convenient foil for the rise of the Nazis in Germany.
However, France and Great Britain enforced its stipulations to punish Germany for a war that was not wholly its fault. France believed the Treaty was not harsh enough.4
European battlefields strewn with dead, gassed corpses hardly dampened the zeal to make Germany pay for its “sins.”
The immediate surrender of 10% of pre-war German territory (including demilitarization of Rhineland)5 became another point of contention in Hitler's drive to constitute the supposed Reich.
In sum, the Treaty of Versailles did help spur the Second World War, but the Axis Powers and weak response by the Allies contributed more.
Now, read on to for the global security implications of the Treaty.
Global Security Impact
In retrospect, the Treaty of Versailles was as misguided as the rush to war among the Great Powers that ignited the tinderbox of Europe in World War I.
There are two clear lessons for global security specialists: the failure of collective security on the part of the League of Nations created by Versailles and the hollowing out of the Treaty to render it meaningless to restrain dictators bent on war.
Failed Collective Security
The premise of the League of Nations – like the United Nations later – was collective security.
Multilateralism was hailed as a better path from the unilateral moves of individual European states which had contributed to World War I.
The “all for one and one for all” concept was based on wishful thinking.
The naïve hope was the League would be a forum for states to discuss their differences and avoid war at all costs.
Besides the faulty idea of “collective security,” three major weaknesses debilitated the League from the start: 1) the United States (though the League was President Woodrow Wilson’s idea!) was not a member – the Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles nor was Russia; 2) a unanimous vote was required for any League action; and 3) the League had no military to backup any decisions.
The League could not be expected to fulfill its mission to avoid war. Global security affairs cannot be managed by committee, especially without the principal powers absent from the negotiation table and sometimes war just cannot be avoided.
Harmony of interests among disparate states is elusive and therefore it is only realistic to believe that the reconciliation of eventual conflicts is not possible.
Even friendly states like Great Britain and France split on the Corfu Incident (1923)6and divisions grew deep over in the future on just how to manage Germany.