We can all agree that governing elites sometimes, perhaps often, betray the interests of the wider population, and that this betrayal is the explanation for many if not all wars. However, this uncontroversial position has a logical entailment to which we give little nor no consideration, namely that since it is the elite that also negotiates the inter-state compromises that we call peace, either as an avoidance of war or an end to it, it is clear that some of declarations and preservations of peace are likely to be harmful to the interests of the people. If the governing classes favour themselves and sacrifice the ruled by starting wars, then they will do the same when bringing them to an end or preventing them.

We temporarily blind ourselves to this conclusion by hazily and insincerely asserting something that we do not actually believe, namely that wars are always wrong and harmful to the interests of the people. In fact, we all know that some wars have to be fought. Most, for example, would agree that Britain would have been wrong to sue for peace with the aggressive racial state of Germany in 1940.

However, if there are some wars which are in the interests of the people, and we can hardly deny this, then there must be some, perhaps many, instances of peace which are not. We find this proposition very hard to contemplate let alone accept, but only because we are horrified by the prospect of war.