The relationships between countries are always in a state of flux with some trying to score advantage over others, motivated by self-interests. Obviously, these create friction but luckily we baulk before going over the brink! With weapons of mass destructions, being the prize catch with many, we could well be facing Armageddon; that harsh reality make us blink at the last moment despite all the saber-rattling till the very end!
US has realized that it is better not to play world policeman anymore, it is just not worth it, with the backlash at home & even abroad; why be a busybody? Of course, it could well embolden the states with rogue leaders but what use if that role proves to be a thankless job, with loss of precious lives & resources, and without much to show for it in the end! The other powers mostly mind their own business & take a detached view; of course, negative reactions for affirmative actions at home, is a deciding factor.
Lots of friction between countries is generated by some better endowed with natural resources, that others cannot do without. Oil & Gas are prime examples and later water could also prove a flash-point. Some rivers that provide livelihood across South East Asia & India originate in China. With increasing own needs, China is already under the scanner that they are diverting the water. This, if true, will prove the death-knell for the livelihood of millions in other countries across which these rivers traverse later.
There are many other issues that can act as flash-points for disaster. Rather than engaging in military conflicts that prove to be worse than the problem itself at hand, the world should act in unison to harness the natural resources & tap renewable energy so that we are weaned away form the sources of friction. The Iraq conflict had its genesis in oil & gas in the region that attracted more attention than otherwise it would have. Easy money could be made without much effort on a commodity that the world thirsted for!
As the US is facing increasing backlash at home & even across the world, it is time a new path is blazed to cement better understanding between countries. Rather than find solutions through might, why not act in unison, to put all heads together, to solve our basic issues that look increasingly within our reach, provided real effort is channeled into Science and Research & Development, to supplement those made already, piece-meal.
Already, buildings are built that harness solar energy & recycle rain water. Solar energy costs are coming down every year and if the total costs to environment & health issues of oil & coal dependency are factored-in, it is already a viable proposition to go for en-masse switch-over. Add to that the benefits to poorer countries that are generally more endowed to tap this endless source. In sum, all countries can become independent for essential needs, thereby reducing frictions arising out of fear of being left-out. Even for water, better management of rain water, which mostly flows into the sea, can help all countries.
A new approach is needed than enforcing discipline with might. Once hope is planted that we are in the process together for sustainable development in every nook & corner of our planet, the world would be a much safer & saner place to live-in. With the progress of science & increasing media exposure that make it clear to everyone that suffering does not leave anyone; why add to that with our own contribution with ill-conceived actions that do not solve the basic issues, at most treat only the symptoms but the disease is left intact, that can erupt anytime like volcanoes considered even dormant!