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Extreme Weather Events May Shape the 21st Century, as Wars Shaped the Last Century

David Callahan

Veterans Day has long been a moment to reflect on how deeply the successive wars of the 20th Century reshaped America and the world. But judging by what just happened in the Philippines, cataclysmic weather events may turn out be the big shape of the 21st Century.

First, a brief point about the decline of war. While it's true that there are literally a few dozen armed conflicts happening right now around the world, none of these wars are between great powers -- a hallmark of the last century when the world's mightiest industrial nations foughtly directly or by proxy (e.g., Vietnam) on multiple occasions. Three million people may have died in the Congo over the past decade, but that war hasn't really altered human history.