Enquiring minds want to know. (Top experts weigh in on several flash points.)
In different ways, these flashpoints all underline the continued diffusion of power away from the United States to other actors, whether to different regional powers or to nonstate actors. They remind us that such diffusion will multiply the sources of violent conflict in the world. They also are a sober tonic for anyone who started to believe that military force was somehow on its way out in international relations.
Professor Steven Pinker may be right about the overall decline in violence in the world when looked at in a larger historical perspective. But these multiple flashpoints make clear that violence, or the threat of violence by actors of many different types, will continue to shape different parts of the international landscape for the foreseeable future.