Why Has War Become Obsolete in Europe

It is quite remarkable that a continent, which for much of its modern history was embroiled in internecine warfare, now seems to be one of the most stable regions of the world. Since the end of World War II, no wars have been fought in Europe. That is if one excludes the Balkan wars of the 1990s, something I will return to below. It is not surprising, therefore, that scholars working within the discipline of International Relations have been eager to explain this apparent puzzle in an effort to see this state of affairs maintained and/or to transfer any "lessons learned" to other regions of the world. In this essay I will set out three sets of explanations which are debated in the literature 1) Cold War overlay arguments; 2) democracy and economic interdependence arguments; and 3) security community arguments.