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I was in the back of a car, a courtesy ride offered by the company that services my own vehicle. The driver and another customer got talking. The driver explained that he had spent a long time working on a kibbutz but had to leave for some reason in 2001. “The Israelis are just like us,” he said. “They are really ready for the end-time”. The fellow in the front passenger seat replied: “Yes, this is the longest the world has been at peace [inaudible] since the Second World War.” It was really hard to remain silent, yet I did.

His statement about the “longest peace” statement threw up many questions about war. It completely ignored all the wars of the post-war period from Southeast Asia to Western Asia, the former Yugoslavia, not forgetting that little Football War between El Salvador and Honduras in 1969, and a slew of proxy wars from the Horn of Africa to Angola. It also ignored the first and second Chechen wars, and more recently the violent annexation of Crimea by Russia......

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