As weapons of war depend increasingly on computers — the modern fighter aircraft, for example — all the major powers are no doubt dedicating part of their defence budget to even more advanced weaponry. Some of those involved in this line of research and development think that warfare will be completely robotised in future years.
This is what Lieutenant General Andrey Grigoriev, head of Russia’s Advanced Research Foundation said recently in a newspaper interview — “I see a greater robotization [of war]. In fact future warfare will involve operators and machines, not soldiers shooting at each other on the battlefield. It would be powerful robot units fighting on land, in the air, at sea as well as underwater and in outer space.”
But what is the point of all that? All it would prove is that one power has more advanced electronic methods than another. Does it lessen the immense costs that would be involved in the forced territorial take-over of another country? But, in any case, advanced electronic warfare is already going on between the major powers by means of hacking into opponents’ electronic systems.
Any of the major powers could already bring another to its knees instantly by damaging its electricity grid. So why fight a robotic war when you can do that? But even that is much too dangerous to contemplate.
All countries will always be territorially and culturally defensive — thus permanently on the cusp of aggressiveness if necessary. Territorial defensiveness is too deep in our genes to imagine that the urge to wage war can ever be neutralised.
Proxy warfare is taking place right now by means of competitive trade regulations, tariffs and the preferential taxation of large corporations. We’ll have to put up with those for the time being until politicians and civil servants are more educated in the human sciences.