In Vietnam and Ukraine, a momentum is at work destroying the very goals towards which people say they are striving. In both cases there are open doors toward education, health, transport, dignity and the wealth that builds security for future generations. As corrupt as Ukraine’s previous government was — and the present one no doubt remains — no-one is starving, and a similar parallel applies to China’s ham-fisted activities in the South China Sea that have prompted Vietnam’s violent protests. Yet, day on day the precise mechanisms needed to run prosperous societies are being wrecked within those societies. Trust and trade risks vanishing altogether, giving way to war between people who are literate, sheltered, well-fed and, if they choose, gifted with a bright future. How much, then, has been learned in the past century about the forces that cause war, or even the past 20 years. The UN now says that Ukraine has worrying echoes of the 1990s break up of Yugoslavia, begging the question: Why do we fight?