Unit 4D New Warfare


  • Changing nature of war from ‘old’ wars to ‘new’ wars – Mary Kaldor (From New Wars to Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Age, (1999; 2007)
  • Features of conventional wars
    • armed conflict between states; Iran-Iraq war 1980-1988, Russia V Georgia 2008
    • war an extension of politics, (Von Clausewitz, 1831)
    • clear civilian/military divide
    • The inevitability of war – Thucydides & KN Waltz Man State and War, 1959 – war is intrinsic to human nature.
    • Offensive Realism – Mearsheimer (2001) States seek to maximise their power. War is one means by which states can do this, however does not account for intra-state conflict
    • Defensive Realism – Mastanduno – state’s primary concern is to guarantee its own security
    • War is obsolete  – Gray 1997
  • Realism
  • dynamics of power politics as states pursue national interests
  • Classical realists emphasize state egoism. Rivalry is driven the human nature of self-seeking.
  • Neorealists argue that the international system is anarchic, states are forced to be self-help to achieve survival and security (ensured by maximising military power).
  • The principal factor distinguishing between war and peace is the balance of power.
  • States that wish to preserve peace must therefore prepare for war, “Si vis pacem, para bellum” hoping to deter potential aggressors and avoid predominance of a rival state. However this may give rise to the security dilemma (Booth and Wheeler, 2008, Graham Allison, 2015 – The Thucydides Trap)
  • Liberal
  • War arises from three sets of circumstances.
  • First, liberals accept that state egoism may lead to conflict and a possibility of war.
  • Second, there is a link to economic nationalism and autarky. (quest for economic self-sufficiency).
  • Peace can be achieved through free trade, because it make war economically costly.
  • Third, a state’s disposition to war and peace is determine by its constitutional character.
  • Authoritarian, tend to be militaristic, Democratic, tend to be more peaceful, especially to other democratic countries – democratic zones of peace – Max Singer & Aaron WildawaskyThe Real World Order: Zones of Peace/Zones of Turmoil, 1994)
  • Critical
  • Tend to explain war primarily in economic terms – Marxist Analysis
  • WWI was an imperialist war fought in pursuit of colonial gains in Africa. (Lenin 1970).
  • War, being the pursuit of economic advantage by other means.
  • Chomsky- (hegemonic war), powerful states use war to defend or expand their global economic and political interests.
  • From ‘old’ wars to ‘new’ wars –  features of modern or ‘new’ wars
      • civil wars rather than inter-state wars; Interstate Vs Intra-state; Civil Wars – (Syria, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan (Before the secession of Southern Sudan) and Southern Sudan now.
      • wars of identity (fuelled by ethnic nationalism or religious radicalism; intractability nature of warfare)
      • use of guerrilla and insurgency tactics
      • asymmetrical war – ‘mismatched’ enemies
  • Post Westphalian
  • Post Structuralist (Post Modern)
  • Post ClausewitzianWhat Von Clausewitz meant is that war was effectively an extension of that state sovereignty/external sovereignty and foreign policy, but because some theorists argue that we are in a post sovereign phase of global politics we are also in a post-Clausewitzian phase of warfare. War is no longer primarily state v. state
  • Post Sovereign
  • uncertain outcomes – intractability no clear decisive outcomes; wars are more prolonged
  • blurring of civilian/military divide; – irregular fighters; civilian targets; overlaps between war and criminality
  • Ethnic conflict; Ethnic cleansing; Genocide; War Crimes; Crimes against Humanity; Wars of Aggression
  • International Law and Humanitarian intervention; ICISS; R2P, Conditional Sovereignty
  • Afghanistan and Iraq as ‘new’ wars;
  • WMD – increased willingness to use chemical weapons Syria; USA in Fallujuah 2004 – Depleted Uranium Munitions; Phosphorous Bombs; Gaza and in first Gulf War
  • Barrel Bombs (Syria/Assad)
  • An increase in breaches of Human Rights:
  • Genocide, (Rwanda, East Timor)
  • Ethnic cleansing, (Bosnia and Kosovo)
  • Summary execution
  • Rape as a weapon of warfare (Sierra Leone and Bosnia),
  • Torture (The CIA and waterboarding), Extraordinary rendition, (USA in cooperation with 55 other states around the world) held without due process or legal representation
  • Wars of aggression (Iraq),
  • Child Soldiers (Uganda and the DRC),
  • Insurgency, Kidnap Execution,
  • Thus new wars are far more likely to be more barbaric than traditional warfare.
  • Challenges to ‘new’ war thesis
    • little genuinely new about such warfare – Algeria; Vietnam;
    • war has always been barbaric;
    • civilians have always been targets;
    • Nothing new about the Arab Spring
  • Escalation in terrorism as a weapon of warfare. 9/11, Nairobi (1998), US embassy in Lebanon (1983), Madrid Train Bombing (2004), London Tube Bombings (7/7, 2005), Bali 2005, Mumbai, (2008) Al Shabbab in Nairobi- 2013, Boko Haram-2013, Nigeria. (Attack on dormitories) Paris attacks November 2015
  • Postmodern’ wars– revolution in military affairs; Post Modern ‘virtual war’ and ‘cyber war’ Derian (2001)
    • ‘hi-tech’ weaponry; drones
    • ‘virtual’ warfare;
    • casualty-less warfare (Kosovo)
    • War on Terror – Highly problematic. Very difficult to wage or conclude decisively  Howard 2002
  • Diaspora / Refugees -Syria Yarmouk, Lebanon, Iraq UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for refugees) Fillipo Grandi – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihEv_F_VIO4
  • Secessionist Conflicts – Chechnya, Annexation Crimea
  • Timothy Garton Ash –  New World Disorder 2008
  • Joseph NyeChaotic distributions of power
  • Seamus Milne The Weakness of the Strong – US and UK Intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq was an abject failure

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