by Gavin Don
An old Chinese curse runs “may you live in interesting times”. These are interesting times. Today’s geopolitical strategists learned their trade in a bi-polar world, in which two clear competing ideologies wrestled for global dominance within a fairly weak framework of international law. Occasionally the wrestling match became violent, but for the most part lethal violence was confined to wars between states – North Korea against South Korea, North Vietnam against South, Egypt against Israel, among others. Occasionally lethal violence between Capitalists and Communists cropped up in civil war within states, with the two camps each supporting a side (think Angola and Afghanistan for significant examples). But in general the Cold War was characterised by the lack of open war fighting, and a pleasingly low level of general violence compared with what might have been.