When you look at history there seems to be two types of wars: 1) the "unilateral" or asymmetric wars (like recently the Iraq war where one group of people overwhelmingly keep the conflict under their control) and 2) the total wars (like WWII for example).
I am interested here in total wars i.e. wars where the only "choice" left is to win or die for ALL participants. Under that definition, WWII was a total war for Russians and Nazi Germany (note that WWI was not). In fact WWII was so total that it lead to the Russians people fighting with no commanders when they started invading Germany.
Now there is no question that deciding to wage an asymmetric war can have some benefits. But which leader could decide to "trigger" a total war? As the bottom line is negative (millions dead, countries wiped out), there is always a better guaranteed outcome: as it will wipe one of both opponents, peace talks will always have more benefits for humanity as a whole.
Let's push the example a bit further: a thermonuclear war between Russia and the US would (most likely) terminate the human race. I am not saying it will happen, but that's definitely a total war so not completely out of the realm of possibilities. If there is a thermonuclear war, the bottom line will be a definite negative for humanity as a whole.
But for some reason, humans cannot refrain from total wars.
Hence my question: as total war is a reality in history, does that mean that there is a limit to what free-will can achieve? That would be some sort of hidden principle attached to the free-will.
What is interesting here is that, obviously that total wars, as political phenomenon ARE entirely included in our free-will sphere, i.e. in our rationality. Of course there are a lot of things free-will cannot achieve as there are logical and physical limits to what is possible. But total war is not a result of some asteroid crashing on earth, volcanoes' eruption or gravity. There is always a rational possible way to escape a total war: decide not to go there.
Therefore if total war indeed means there is some sort of limit to our free-will, it really means there are some political "invisible hand" principle which stops our free-will...