The Future Of Present Threats



The aim of this paper is to present the importance of technology in the evolution of warfare. Moreover, this material analyses the issue posed by the use of the atomic bomb and it offers a pragmatic perspective on the future of war, by underlining essential related phenomena.



future of warfare, information warfare, modern warfare, technological evolution

JEL Classification

N40, O30

The Future of Present Threats

In response to a book on the relevance of Clausewitz’s work On war on the issue of war in the 21st century, Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor Emeritus, an expert in conflict analysis, states that “Christopher Coker answers the question of whether Clausewitz is still relevant in the 21st century, imagining the great master justifying his theory in front of the modern audience. His approach is captivating, enlightening and a little mischievous”. Coker, a professor of international relations, concludes in the previously discussed book, Rebooting Clausewitz. On war in the 21st century (2017), that “No phenomenology can ever be complete. It can help us, at most, to get something out of the complexity of the phenomenon studied, something essential, but it will never be able to fully explain what the author is trying to understand. It may reveal certain fundamental truths of what Clausewitz called the reality of war, but as the phenomenon unfolds, it can often become even more impenetrable. Even if this is not the case here, no one can capture the war in its entirety, because it is constantly evolving. Clausewitz’s book is, at best, seen as a work in progress, just as war should be seen”.

The ongoing war is therefore the only constant that a historian should bear in mind about this issue. The indefinite process – through which conflict is reached, unfolds and, further, the conflict ends – has been the main concern of historians and theorists in the field. The constant threat of a future war has constantly called the attention of specialists able to assess the imminence of such a phenomenon, which has taken many forms throughout history, but which has always managed to capture through violence and military creativity. In addition, there are many war-related phenomena – because they cannot be called official causes -, which are the subject of social, economic and political developments. Perhaps most of all, through the obvious force of change in the way wars are wagered, technology has constantly marked the transition from one level to another.

The way in which war is waged, from hand to hand, to combat with firearms, to that with weapons of destruction and, later, to nuclear weapons, has always highlighted either the usefulness of war, through the ability to subdue enemy and confiscate their property, including citizens, turning them into slaves, or its absolute uselessness, or rather said, inefficiency, since modern military technologies can lead to the disappearance of the human species as a whole, not just the enemy group concerned. Nowadays, this feature of war is not only ambiguous to experts in history and political philosophy, but also a way to keep public opinion numb, due to the fact that the general public continues to understand the issue in pre-1990 terms, at the best. The idea that the nuclear bomb cannot be used leads many to believe that the war, as they have learned from history textbooks, is gone; a conclusion not entirely erroneous, but which presents only a limited version of the truth. In his commercial effort to increase public access to information through pop-science, Yuval Noah Harari (2018) presents the current situation for everyone to understand: “if the US now attacks a country with even moderate cyber warfare capabilities, war could reach California or Illinois in just a few minutes. Virus programs and logic bombs could stop air traffic in Dallas, cause trains to collide in Philadelphia, and turn off the power grid in Michigan”. From the analysis of the past, it is noticed that the future of the war, in the moments when it was seen as inevitable, took on prophetic dimensions. A paradox of human thinking is to be able to even self-destruct, only to prove itself a hypothesis in which it believes insanely (extremely). This is demonstrated by both psychologists and sociologists, following studies on the evolution and ritual manifestations of various cults. Thus, the force of belief in the inevitability of war leads to armament and ferocity, with political leaders living under constant pressure that any act of benevolence can lead to a loss of chances of winning, and thus the prophecy is fulfilled and the war breaks out unreservedly.

After all, few things happen in reality, without having happened before in the imaginary – this is also the leitmotif pursued by Sir Lawrence Freedman in his book, The Future of War. A metaphor meant to keep the reader’s attention constant on the psychological factor, while, rigorously, the author exposes the historical data and technological evolutions of the war. The combination of the two components is not only a proof of erudition, but also a mechanism by which it is noticed that the great narratives of the Zeitgeist determine the great events of the moment. The technological means of waging war have conditioned their type and, chronologically, the transition from “decisive battles”, “total wars” and “nuclear age” to “new wars and failed states” or “anti-terrorism”, to “hybrid wars”, “cyber wars” and, last but not least, “the future of the future of war” (Freedman, 2019).

The specific analysis of the technological means, through typologies of weapons and military strategies, shows that, although in a continuous improvement, the deadlock did not delay appearing with the nuclear bomb. Albert Einstein’s statement, “I do not know what weapons the third world war will be fought with, but certainly the fourth will be fought with stones and sticks” (Isaacson, 2019), although full of fun and extremely popularized, it no longer makes sense for a connoisseur of the current international political reality. Therefore, although possible, the use of mass destruction has no logical basis. Although it sounds conspiratorial and it is not appropriate to consider that World War III is taking place before our eyes, the fact that data is the main weapon in the 21st century is not to be neglected. Therefore, whether or not information technology or biotechnology will influence the wagering of future wars, a logical and proven fact cannot be combated, namely that technology has had, has and will have an enormous impact on the future of war.


About the Author

Andrei Stupu

Creator & Owner, Ziua Mintzii




Coker, Christopher. (2017). Rebooting Clausewitz. On war in the 21st century. London, C. Hurst & Co., pp. 158.

Isaacson, Walter. (2019). Einstein: viața și universul său [Einstein: His Life and His Universe], translation by Louis Ulrich. Bucharest, Publica Printing House. Lawrence Freedman, Lawrence. (2019) Viitorul Războiului: o istorie [The Future of War: A History], translation by Corina Hădăreanu. Bucharest, Litera Printing House.

Yuval Noah Harari, Yuval Noah. (2018). 21 de lecții pentru secolul XXI [21 Lessons for the 21st Century], translation by Lucia Popovici. Iași, Polirom Printing House, pp. 181.



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