( Twenty minute read)
The major cause of war is war.
Today’s wars are mostly undeclared, undefined and inglorious affairs typically involving multiple parties, foreign governments, proxy forces, covert methods and novel weapons.
We have just had the season of good will, with every war movie made from Dunkirk to Dancing with the wolves’ presented on TV as Entertainment.
It is sad that we have to continue to confront the pernicious argument of the “deep roots” of warfare in humanity. There is absolutely no scientific evidence in either biology or archaeology (the only two disciplines that really count in this debate) for human warfare going back more than 10,000 years.
While in the real world we go about our lives as if it is the norm to witness more and more Conflicts/Wars.
The world is scary enough without forever imagining smoking guns morphing into mushroom clouds.
If one quality characterizes our wars today, it’s their endurance. They never seem to end. Our media outlets, intelligence agencies, politicians, foreign policy establishment, and bureaucracy are so intertwined with military priorities and agendas as to be inseparable from them.
One does not have to go back too far to remember hearing. If we withdraw from Afghanistan, the government of Hamid Karzai will collapse, the Taliban will surge to victory, al-Qaeda will pour into Afghan safe havens, and Pakistan will be further destabilized, its atomic bombs falling into the hands of terrorists.
The truth is that no one really knows what would happen if a war starts.
60% of the world’s wars have lasted for at least a decade,
Because we’ve managed to isolate war’s physical and emotional costs however we do well to have an understanding of how they broke out in the first place.
Started on Oct 1968 when a banned civil rights march in Londonderry led to clashes between police and protesters, it sparked widespread disorder and rioting across Northern Ireland. For many, this is the moment 30 years of violent conflict known as the Troubles began.
Ethiopia’s Tigray war:
A dispute over territory along their shared border was the cause of a war fought between Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1998 until 2000.
The roots of this crisis can be traced to Ethiopia’s system of government. Started on 4 November, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive against regional forces in Tigray.
America’s Afghan war is now its longest ever, part of the open-ended US “global war on terror” launched after the 2001 al-Qaida attacks. The US invasion initially aimed to kill or capture the al-Qaida terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks. But it quickly expanded into a “regime change” operation tasked with eliminating the Taliban and creating a functioning, democratic state.
Turmoil in Libya actually began in October 2011 when the dictator Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in a popular revolt backed by the UK, France and the US. Libya’s civil war entered its 7th year this month.
The conflict is in its sixth pitiless year. The Yemeni government, led by exiled president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and the Houthi rebel movement, which represents Yemen’s Zaidi Shia minority – are backed by regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran respectively.
Started with an uprising against the autocratic presidency of Bashar al-Assad formed part of the 2011 Arab Spring revolts. It quickly turned into full-scale war as Assad’s regional foes, notably Saudi Arabia, seized a chance to overthrow a regime allied with Iran. Since then upwards of half a million people are estimated to have died.
Democratic Republic of Congo:
How this started is Anyone’s guess. The country experienced an extraordinary civil war between 1997 and 2003 when an estimated five million people died. Continuing instability in lawless areas of north-eastern DRC bordering Uganda stems from that period. Across the country the security situation has deteriorated markedly as government authority has collapsed, emboldening rival militia groups who hold sway over large areas of territory, often competing for the DRC’s rich resources.
Started after world war two when Jews fleeing Europe where given Arabic land now conflict over who owns the region.
In Israel-Palestine, war – or rather the absence of peace – has characterised life since 1948.
Somalis have endured 40 years of fighting. These are but a few examples in a world where the idea of war without end seems to have become accepted, even normalised.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, broadly speaking, wars commenced and concluded with formal ultimatums, declarations, agreed protocols, truces, armistices and treaties.
A classic case of a state of chaos deliberately fed and manipulated by external powers, in this instance Turkey, Qatar, Russia, Egypt and the UAE. Here, as elsewhere, rival rulers claim to be upholding order or fighting “terrorism” while, in reality, they seek to extend national influence and economic advantage. As long as these aims remain unmet, they show scant interest in peace.
Russia Ukraine war:
Started in 2014 after the people of Ukraine elected a new president, Petro Poroshenko. This was not welcomed by Russia, which saw Ukraine as its own territory. In response to the election, Russian troops invaded Ukraine and took control of Crimea.
In most cases wars are initiated by governments, not by populations. And, most of the time, they are the result of disputes over resources and land, or of a government’s desire to increase its influence and power.
It binds people together – not just the army engaged in battle, but the whole community. It brings a sense of cohesion, with communal goals, and inspires individual citizens (not just soldiers) to behave honourably and unselfishly, in the service of a greater good. It supplies meaning and purpose, transcending the monotony of everyday life. Warfare also enables the expression of higher human qualities that often lie dormant in ordinary life, such as courage and self-sacrifice.
War used to creates a sense of unity in the face of a collective threat but now new technologies and weapons such as drones and cyber warfare are lowering the up-front cost of conflict while enlarging potential theatres of war. Global warming is turning the newly accessible Arctic into a vast, pristine battleground. Outer space presents infinite possibilities for violence.
For many people, if they are honest, war has a fatal attraction. As WB Yeats noted after the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland, violent conflict can spawn a “terrible beauty” – a mix of fascination and horror that is difficult to forswear. This seems tantamount to suggesting that human beings fight wars because we enjoy doing so.
Warfare provides people with a semblance of psychological positivity in oppressed societies where other outlets are lacking but this sort of fatalism undermines efforts to achieve permanent peace.
Believe it or not it was not until January 22, 2021, when the requires 50 states signed up to the he UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons it entry into force, and became law. AS IF PEOPLE MATTERED.
Let’s reject the idea that war is either admirable or good.
Let’s reverse the militarization of so many dimensions of our society.
Let’s recognize that expensive high-tech weapons systems are not war-winners.
Let’s retool our economy and reinvest our money, moving it out of the military-industrial complex and into strengthening our anaemic system of mass transit, our crumbling infrastructure, and alternative energy technology.
It’s time to make war a non-profit, last-resort activity.
Many people think that if war is ancient and innate, it must also be inevitable, militarism remains entrenched in modern culture however the archaeological record, for 190,000 years of human existence, there is simply no evidence of warfare in the human repertoire.
War stems primarily not from our warlike nature or competition for resources but from “the institution of war itself.” represented by NATO which lacks factors that distinguish peaceful from nonpeaceful systems. These include “overarching common identity; positive social interconnectedness; interdependence; non-warring values and norms; non-warring myths, rituals, and symbols; and peace leadership. Only when we have a shared commitment to “non-warring norms and values,” which can make war within the system inconceivable.
War’s roots extend back hundreds of thousands or even millions of years, and that war is an adaptive trait, favoured by natural selection. The evidence however is overwhelming that war is a relatively recent cultural invention. War emerged toward the end of the Paleolithic era, and then only sporadically.
We have to find alternative activities to give us that sense of feeling alive, of belonging and purpose.
If these needs are unsatisfied, and if there is an obvious enemy or oppressor to direct them towards, then warfare is almost inevitable.
We know that any stable, lasting peace depends on creating societies with a richness of opportunity and variety that can meet human needs. The fact that so many societies throughout the world fail to do this makes our future prospects of peace look very bleak.
So can we end wars?
Actually, that’s the wrong question. The right question is: How do we end war?
Ending war, which makes monsters of us, should be a moral imperative, as much as ending slavery or the subjugation of women Presently it can only be aspiration
As inequality is the root of violence, it is also rooted in the climate crisis and resulting resource scarcity, poverty and dislocation.
Fitna (which can mean both “charm, enchantment, captivation” and “rebellion, riot, discord, civil strife is a fitting word for describing not only the Islamic sphere but the troubled state of the world as a whole in 2020, beset as it is by wars without end.
Another related factor is the collapse of the western-led consensus favouring multilateral, collaborative approaches to international problems. This is matched by the parallel rise of authoritarian and populist regimes that prioritise narrow national interest over perceptions of the common good.
It is obvious that the invasion of the Ukraine by Russia has now turned into another proxy war.
Ukraine was a part of the Russian empire until the fall of the USSR in 1991. This war has been going on for seven years developing into an ugly strain of Ukrainian nationalism that made life difficult for ethnic Russians in Ukraine.
Ukraine has since tried to align itself with the West.
After citizen protests led to the removal of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014 (who leaned toward Russia), Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. Last year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked to be able to join the intergovernmental military alliance NATO.
Russia feels strongly against NATO’s eastward expansion. According to Russia, this would provide NATO members the opportunity to establish military bases in the region.
Supplies of weapons and large-scale financial assistance are important, but not enough to bring a end to this war which is developing into a war conducted by drones, laptops, Mobil phones, in its current phase, the conflict appears to have become a war of attrition.
The current war will change the perception of traditional alliances, Russia’s containment and possible future threats.
The war will continue to transform the world.
Depending on when and how it ends, and providing that Heir Putin doesn’t push the button, we will find out how far back history has rolled for Europe.
On a global level the war may be seen as a manifestation of power transition and a struggle for dominance. No military is perfect. Putin has repeatedly made nuclear threats since he began the invasion of Ukraine.
All wars come to an end, either by the fighting reaches a stalemate, but a frozen conflict that can heat up or cool down depending on the range of factors.
Not all wars end with a clear victory for one side but with this conflict, a peace deal, though a settlement is difficult, because of Russia’s and Ukraine’s different goals and what they both view as their rightful territory.
It is unlikely now that Russia would be able to turn the war around entirely and achieve its original aims, but it could accept a “victory” in the form of a peace deal in which it takes more territory than it had before the invasion began.
As long as Putin is at the country’s helm, it would be very unlikely that Russian forces would retreat entirely. The chances of him being overthrown in a coup are perhaps higher than ever, but this will not happen while the war remains active. However, a total Russian retreat could be possible if Putin were to be ousted or die.
Ukrainians believe outright victory is possible.
In the end countries will use Ukraine as a battering ram for reasons of their own.
NATO declaring war on Russia would be too create a major war that could pull in other countries like China.
The notion of Russia’s absolute incompetence must be eliminated before Heir Putin is back into pushing a button.
If a year or more of fighting will achieve nothing, then why prolong the bloodshed?
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.