Is Ayn Rand right? Is capitalism in itself enough to prevent war? Like freedom of speech, it is a necessary condition, but it's not a sufficient condition to have peaceful societies and a peaceful world. See Where Libertarianism Fails.
"Ok. But what can we in the west do to help prevent war?"
First, if we wish to prevent war, we better stop getting up other people’s noses. The more people of other nations dislike or hate us, the more likely a war will start. If we are not kind, honest, fair, brave, and hardworking people, we will be hated.
“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” - Benjamin Franklin
Many countries in this world are not very stable, they are ruled by oligarchies or dictators who are only interested in holding onto power. We often make those countries less stable by sending them money, as the rulers use that money to strengthen their own grip. Sometimes powerful people even fight wars against their governments to try and get their hands on that money. So how best to help the poorer countries of the world? We should be helping to develop their infrastructure by building ports, highways, railways and airstrips. This we should do for free, using local labour. (See Wealth, Poverty and Politics by Thomas Sowell)
We also destabilise those countries by encouraging their best people to leave. We should not be incentivising doctors, engineers etc to leave those poor countries. We should be incentivising them to stay so their countries can develop.1
Thirdly, no matter what we do, we will be hated by fanatics who are in control of many non-democratic nations around the world. (See here, here and here.) The only thing that will deter such people is a strong military.2
“...an obviously aggressive nation, such as Nazi Germany during the 1930s, launches a military buildup in order to accomplish its goals by force or the threat of force, while those who build up counter-force are seeking to avoid being attacked or forced into surrender. If a defensive military buildup—an “arms race”—fails to secure any net advantage whatever against the aggressor, it is nevertheless a huge success if it prevents aggression or the need to surrender. From the standpoint of the non-aggressor nation, it is not trying to gain anything at the expense of anybody else, but simply recognizes the grim reality that military preparedness is part of the price of maintaining the peace, independence, and freedom that it already has. If military deterrence permits that to be done without bloodshed, it is not a “waste” because the arms are never used, but instead is a bargain because they were formidable enough that they did not have to be used, nor lives sacrificed in the carnage of war.” —Thomas Sowell, The Quest for Cosmic Justice (p.109, 110, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1999.)
Finally, the vast majority of the peoples of the world must become convinced that God loves all people unconditionally and eternally. People who believe that tend to start loving those God loves. It does not mean they agree with or approve of everything others do,3 it simply means that they will treat even their enemies fairly and try to win those enemies over through the power of love. If we truly believe that God is good, and that he wants us to love all people, we too will begin to treat them kindly.
1. There are only so many people we can take. (However, I do think we should double the number of refugees we take, but with an important change to our selection criteria. We should prioritise refugees that have been in a refugee camp in or near their country of origin for over three years. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for refugees to be in such camps for a lot longer. I know many South Sudanese who were in refugee camps for more than 9 years.) See here.
2. Which can only be built on a strong economy. (See Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell)
3. Do loving parents who accept their children unconditionally always approve of what their children do?