I asked my first-year humanities classes if war will ever end. The threat of war between nations and the end of all wars were things that I had in mind. I gave my students two assignments, one by Margaret Mead and the other by a psychologist.

Some students think that the war is the result of deep-rooted evolutionary impulses. Others agree that war is a bad invention rather than a biological necessity.

My students say war is inevitable because humans are greedy. militarism has become a permanent part of our culture. Even if most of us don't like war, warmongers like Hitler and Putin will always arise, forcing the people to fight in self-defense.

My students reactions don't surprise me. During the U.S. invasion of Iraq, I asked if war would ever end. Thousands of people of all ages and political persuasions have been surveyed since then. Nine out of 10 people think war is inevitable.

This fatalism is understandable. Since 9/11, the U.S. has been at war. The U.S. still has a global military empire that spans 80 countries and territories after American troops left Afghanistan last year. When one war ends, another begins.

War fatalism is a part of our culture. In The Expanse, a sci-fi series, a character describes war as a madness that flares up and fades but never disappears.

The fatalism is wrong in two ways. It is wrong. According to research, war is a relatively recent cultural invention. Since World War II, casualties from interstate wars and even civil conflicts have declined sharply, in spite of recent deadly clashes in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. War between France and Germany, bitter enemies for hundreds of years, has become a thing of the past.

Fatalism helps perpetuate war. We are unlikely to try to end the war if we think it will never end. When wars break out, we are more likely to keep armed forces. Russia's invasion of Ukraine is almost certain to start a new arms race.

The annual U.S. defense budget is currently $813 billion. The U.S. spends more on armed forces than China and Russia, according to the SIPRI. Kallas asserts in the New York Times that the best way to achieve peace is to be willing to use military strength.

The peace-through-strength thesis was questioned by the military historian. In his 1993 masterpiece A History of Warfare, Keegan argued that war stems from theinstitution of war.

Military spending diverts resources, ingenuity and energy away from other urgent problems. The U.S. accounts for half of the $2 trillion spent on armed forces. Education, health care, clean-energy research, and antipoverty programs are all dedicated to death and destruction. War and militarism damage the natural environment, erode civil liberties, and drain our economies, according to the nonprofit World Beyond War.

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The war is unjust. During World War II, the U.S. dropped firebombs and nuclear weapons on civilians. Russia is being criticized by the U.S. for killing civilians. According to the Costs of War project at Brown University, since 9/11, the US military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen have resulted in the deaths of more than 400,000 civilians. The lives of soldiers matter.

The horrors of war have been exposed by Russia's attack on Ukraine. We should talk about how to create a world without bloody conflicts instead of beefing up our weaponry. It won't be easy, but ending war should be a moral imperative as much as ending slavery and the subjugation of women. It is the first step in ending war.