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Farewell to world peace?

The Georgian conflict ended 1,716 days of no war between nations. But trends favor peace.

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When Russian troops attacked Georgia this month, rolling tanks into Tskhinvali and bombing Gori, it was not just a tragedy for the Caucasus. It also marked the demise of more than four years of no war between nations, the longest period in modern history.

With the news so full of violence, you may not have noticed that the world was at peace. But ever since India and Pakistan signed a cease-fire in November 2003, there have been no wars between governments. That's 1,716 straight days of world peace. Russia's invasion ended the streak on Aug. 8.

The previous record had been just over 600 days, from the end of the second Taiwan Straits crisis in 1958 to border skirmishes between Ethiopia and Somalia in 1960. Since then, there had been as many as nine interstate conflicts at a time, according to the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo, which counts conflicts with 25 or more battle-related deaths. But none of these involved national armies fighting one another.

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