world_war_australian_infantry_small_box_respirators_ypres_1917.jpgMotives of Global War


History has proven that many wars have been motivated by drastically different causes. In the early times, wars were started through assassinations and invasions. Then war evolved into being motivated by political ideology. Soon after that it changed yet again to reflect growing humanitarian emphases. It is expected that soon war will evolve into something that was not common among people until recently; war is believed to be evolving into struggles primarily over resources and politics rather than just over land.

This chapter is about the motives of the causes of wars all over the world from the past and present to a prediction of what might cause war in the future.This chapter will take you through a time-line of wars from World War One to the present day conflict in Iraq. Be prepared to experience a flashback of and a jump forward of wars to come.

Before we can take you through a time-line you need to be informed on a few theories for the motives of war and who and why the use these theories. These theories would be:Greed vs. Grievance, Environment, Peopolitics & Political geography, and International Law.

Greed vs. Grievance Debate
This theory is backed by economists Paul Collier and David Keen. This theory says that those who start a war are driven by economic incentives. They are described as "conflict entrepreneurs" or profit seekers who use war to create profit for themselves, and they treat war like running a business. A few of these economists give solid reasoning for this theory. Paul Collier who concluded:
  • Religious and ethnic diversity reduce the risk of war; however, ethical dominance (where one group forms an absolute majority) and ethnic polarization (when society is split into two equal groups) significantly increase the risk or war.
  • There is no relationship between political freedom (level of democracy) and conflict.
  • Inequality of income has no effect on the risk of war; however, an overall higher level of per capita income and an overall growth of income decreases the likelihood of war.
  • Inequality of landownership has no effect on the risk of war.
  • The dependence of an economy on the export of primary commodities increases the likelihood of war.

Paul Collier drew his conclusions from statistical research, but other research sometimes confirmed and sometimes contradicted his findings.

David keen noted that it is often mistakenly assumed that war has only negative economic consequences. He made a list of possible benefits for those who are involved in warfare.
  • Pillage: organized or individual cases of plundering and piracy
  • Racketeering: extortion of individuals, collecting protection money from companies and kidnapping for ransom
  • Trade: during warfare black markets thrive, and some are able to make enormous profits trading in scarce goods
  • Exploitation: military control over industrial sites or mining areas and even certain agricultural zones can be lucrative
  • Forced labor: during wars, people are often forced to work for small amounts or nothing at all, increasing a company's profit margin
  • Foreign aid: the monopolization of foreign aid can be a source of wealth in wartime
  • Wage benefits: the military salaries increase in wartime
Because of all these possible benefits, it is often in the interest of warring parties to prolong the fighting and spoil the peace.

The grievance side of the debate is favored mainly by the media. On this side they say the wars emerge from the opposition to perceived or actual injustice. In their view, people fight because of oppression, inequality, discrimination etc. A central dichotomy in grievance literature is the distinction between identity wars and ideological wars. If grievance wars are about the opposition to perceived or actual injustice, then this opposition can be motivated by ideological (political/social) or identity (ethnic/religious) reasons, often greatly impacting the way the "wronged" groups operate. Often it is easier to find money and troops for an identity group than for revolutionary movements. Identity groups might be inclined to fight for secession, whereas ideological groups are more likely to strive for revolution.

The important shortcomings of the Greed vs. Grievance debate:
  • The debate creates two exclusive motives for war; however, other explanations are largely ignored.
  • the participants in this theoretical exchange analyze data to explain armed conflicts in general, but this often cannot be used to assess a specific war situations. One makes stipulations about the motives of civil war but it does not include a way to prove or disprove its ideas.
  • The quest for general insight, applicable to all wars, creates an analytic bias because the explanation for any war situation is already at hand before the developments on the ground have even been studied.
  • The Greed vs. Grievance debate is a simplistic story that ignores the complexity of the war phenomenon and leads to statements such as "The war in Iraq is all about the oil money."

This theory is backed by environmental researchers. There are two different sides to this theory: the Neo-Malthusians and the Political Ecologists.

The Neo-Malthusians' Beliefs

exaggerated stresses within countries

migration, expulsion and decreased economic productivity

ethnic conflicts and deprivation conflicts

cause violent conflicts, especially in developing countries

The Political Ecologists' Beliefs

  • Do not categorize resource related conflicts as a 'primitive' and 'immediate' local survival technique
  • Try to find the historical and social processes in which the resource-related conflict is embedded
  • Often suggest that violence is frequently a matter of control over abundant resources, not dwindling resources

Geopolitics & Political Geography
Many put Geopolitics and political geography can be considered as two sides of the same coin. Both deal with the relationship between geography and (international) politics, But geopolitics deals with descriptive whereas the second is more prescriptive in nature. Geopolitical studies focus on two types of variables. On the one hand they analyze 'permanent' geographical features like lakes, mountains and forests but also language, religion and ethnicity. On the hand they have to take into account certain historical developments and events with a significant impact on geography. After this Geopolitics splits into three groups,the classic geopolitics, the cognitive geopolitics, and Critical geopolitics. Classic Geopolitics tries to explain the behavior of states through their geographical location and features. One of the forerunners of classical geopolitics is Karl Haushofer who came up with one of the most widely accepted theory that even Nazi Germany adopted. Haushofer used his theory to diffuse the concept of "Lebensraum."
In cognitive geopolitical view, there are no objective and absolute laws that can explain the power relations between states from their geographic profiles. Cognitive geopolitics recognizes the importance of the 'material' environment in explaining policy decisions put argues that the perceptions of political and military elites are equally, if not more, decisive in shaping state policies. A breakthrough of cognitive geopolitics came in 1956 with the publication of the essay "Man-milie relationship hypotheses in the context of international politics" by Harold and Margaret Sprout. Sprout launched the idea of a psycho milieu, and individual perceived image of a situation, as a major determinant for policy measures. finally Critical Geopolitics denounces the classic geopolitical assertion that environments shape foreign policy. Instead it focuses on the opposite relationship by asking the question on how political and societal discourses shape the perception of the world political system.

International Law
This is studied by jurists. The look at war using the 'ius ad bellum', a branch of international law that contains all regulations answering the question when it is legally permitted to go to war. The most used legal means since world war II for war is the Charter of the United Nations. The most used way to legalize war is to submit a reveiw to the UN Security Council and have it dubbed as a right to self-defense.

Essential Questions:
1) Q: What were the main causes of Global Wars and what did they accomplish?

2) Q: How was the world (economy / lives) affected by the wars?
A: Often countires put
Global Wars often cause unprecedented casualties and destruction across the theatres of conflict. Unlike in most previous conflicts, civilians suffered as badly as or worse than soldiers, and the distinction between combatants and civilians was often erased.
The outcome of the World Wars had a profound effect on the course of world history. The old European empires collapsed or were dismantled as a direct result of the wars' crushing costs and in some cases the defeats of imperial powers. The modern international security, economic and diplomatic system was created in the aftermath of the wars. The wars also greatly changed the course of daily life. Technologies developed during wartime had a profound effect on peacetime life as well—for instance, jet aircraft, penicillin, nuclear energy, and electronic computers.

3) Q: Based on what has happened in the past, in the future, how will wars affect the countries involved?
A: Economically, countries will most likely suffer financially, especially if the countries they were at war with used to provide them with products.
In some cases, the environment may not be altered all that much. It just depends. If alot of bombing and nuclear weapons were involved in the war, then yes, the environment would suffer greatly.

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