How has the character of armed conflict changed since 1989? What are the key characteristics of New Wars?
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The character of armed conflict has significantly changed since 1989. Baylis, Smith and Owens (2008) confirm that war has been regarded as a central feature human history especially in as far as freedom is concerned. After the end of the cold war, there has been a significant decline in armed conflicts (war) between various nations of the world (Baylis, Smith, &Owens, 2008). Unlike in the previous years, eras, and centuries where the powerful nations fought against each other for purposes of gaining control over the world, the period after 1989 has seen a substantial decline on the same. The character of armed conflicts amongst great power nations have since declined since 1989.
Notably, the character of armed conflicts since 1989 has substantially changed with respect to changes within international systems (Baylis, Smith, &Owens, 2008). The contemporary international systems widely differ from classical systems thereby forcing many aspects to change including the armed conflicts. Within the contemporary world, international systems are structured such that there is free movement as well as socialization amongst parties from different nations (Kaldor, 1999). Increased movements and socializations have enhanced a friendly environment since 1989, which has so far led to the decline of armed conflicts. Indeed, the character of armed conflicts has significantly changed since 1989.
On the other hand, the new war in the contemporary society depicts different characteristics from the classical war. According to Baylis, Smith, and Owens (2008), war in the contemporary era is considered as a form of brutal politics. Other than the characteristics of being a form of brutal politics, contemporary wars are mainly influenced by globalization (Kaldor, 1999). Increased globalization within the contemporary world has influenced the kind of armed conflicts experienced. Other characteristics of contemporary war include the fact that they (wars) are society-centred in addition to being powerful catalysts for attaining change (Kaldor, 1999). Most of the wars in the contemporary world are organized by societies in order to initiate and attain specific changes.
With improvements and advancements in technology, the contemporary wars are likely to take a different shape where there are revolutions within military affairs (Baylis, Smith, &Owens, 2008). Nonetheless, there are only specific economies or nations that have technologies capable of revolving military affairs. Another characteristic of new wars is the fact that they are conflicts revolving over identity and not territory as it was during the classical era (Kaldor, 1999). In addition, Kaldor (1999) confirms that such new wars usually follow a given pattern of warfare and occur in countries considered to be less developed with high economic insecurity (Baylis, Smith, &Owens, 2008). Indeed, contemporary wars have taken a significantly new shape.
Two conflict-affected states picked from the “Crisis Watch” report for November 2012
Which states are chosen to look at?
The selected states include Syria, Pakistan, and Somalia. These are conflict-affected countries based on different problems that require serious measures in order to resolve the problem.
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What is the political problem causing the state’s violent conflict?
Syria, Pakistan, and Somalia have different political problems that cause a violent conflict within their territories. Syria’s political problem that has so far led to the violent conflict is the presence of Salafi group (Crisisgroup.org., 2012a). Salafi groups are an armed opposition within the Syria’s government that continues to pose political problems causing the conflicts (Crisisgroup.org., 2012a). Pakistan on the other hand faces problems of radical Islamists given the increased military operations and militancy (Crisisgroup.org., 2012b). Such operations have provided more opportunities for radical Islamists to engage in more conflicts. Lastly, Somalia has not stable government thus creating political problems leading to violence (Crisisgroup.org., 2012c).
What are the security issues affecting people in these states?
The three states have securities issues affecting the citizens. In Syria there are increased fights between the government and rebels causing high mortality rates (Crisisgroup.org., 2012a). As the government fights with the rebels, the citizens are not insecure. Furthermore, there is economic insecurity as the government spends resources aimed for economic development to fight the rebels. Pakistan on the other hand has security issues affecting the citizens ranging from personal security, environmental security, and economic security (Crisisgroup.org., 2012b). Citizens, especially the activists, continue to loss their lives due to fighting the government. In addition, Pakistan faces environmental security issues especially due to increased flooding that has claimed lives and displaced citizens. Lastly, Somalia’s citizens continue to face political insecurity given the wars and lack of stable government (Crisisgroup.org., 2012c).
Do the conflicts in these states bear any similarity to the mentioned “New War” concept?
The above conflicts correlate with the characteristics of ‘new wars’ on the basis that they are organized by societies and are driven by the need for identity and not territories.
List of References
Baylis, J., Smith, S, & Owens, P. (Eds.), 2008, “The changing character of war” in The Globalisation of World Politics, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Crisisgroup.org., 2012a, International crisis group: Syria, Web.
Crisisgroup.org., 2012b, International crisis group: Pakistan, Web.
Crisisgroup.org., 2012c, International crisis group: Somalia, Web.
Kaldor, M., 1999, New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era , Polity Press, Cambridge.