By Joveria Baig
“War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.”
Jimmy Carter, Nobel Lecture, Dec. 10, 2002
War is act of extreme violence between two or more organized bodies against each other that is making human beings less safe and more vulnerable. Killing, injuring and traumatizing infants to adults and in turn leaving them dead or making them incapable of participating in betterment of society at any level. Causing heavy damage to natural environment .When we the humans commit inhumanity of war, despite uncontrolled human loss it results in gradual erosion of civil and political liberties, resource depletion and economic collapse usually on both sides.
No single definition of war is agreed upon and no two wars are ever similar in their polity, objectives and goals, ranging from limited wars to all-out wars. Clausewitz defines war as the continuation of politics by other means. And Jomini tells us that policy is intangible and static, these words express continuity of competition and inevitability of war. In barbera’s words War and peace differ not in goals pursued, only in means used to attain them (Barbera 1973). While destructive nature of war proves there are no good wars or just wars. War must not be abolished if and only if human race wants to risk its existence; planet is facing escalated weapon proliferation, gradual evaluation of warfare has made every war way more and more devastating and catastrophic.
No problem can be deemed to be addressed without developing complete understanding of it, which is in this case, abolition of war hence here it is appropriate to consider the brief history and main causes of war. History of war dates back to the very start of human race, from small scale raids on opponents and movement of defeated groups, from their respective place to large scale defensive and offensive wars of nuclear era. War is a universal phenomenon and cultural entity, still is not law of nature. Being very broad subject plenty of analysts have given their ideas and theories on war in view of their respective fields.
Whether we discuss two famous world wars, or any state specified civil war sociology tries to explain all via its theories. Two most famous schools of thought dealing with the subject are
- Primacy of Domestic Politics
- Primacy of Foreign Politics
School of Primacy of Domestic Politics argues that war is product of different domestic situations, where only the object or the target of aggression is determined by international realities. It says WW1 was not a result of balance of power, international secret treaties or disputes rather internal socio economic and political problems of the countries/ states involved in it. And the other one is traditional Primacy of Foreign Politics school whose advocate is Clausewitz and he sees the geo-political situations and the statesmen responsible for dragging the nations into war.
Warfare has been gradually and continuously evolved so are the nature and objectives of war from relatively limited wars of 17th & 18th century’s dynastic or border conflict to latest trend of 20th n 21st century’s power based and ideological wars . Up gradation of arms and weaponry from arrow bows & bronze swords to newest strategic & tactical weapons of mass destruction has made war extremely devastating and annihilating. Nuclear weapons release excessive heat and dangerous radiations. Which have the potential of massive destruction at every level from humans to buildings and form short term like Death, destruction to long term effects as gene mutation and permanent infertility of land and women.
Uncountable and variety of reasons are there which results in wars. In his book Why nations Go into War, John G. states ‘Both sides will claim that morality justifies their fight and the rationale for binging depends on an overly optimistic assessment of the outcome of hostilities (Causalities and Costs) and misperceptions of enemy’s intentions’. Mainly and broadly reasons for war can be categorized into two
- Economic Reasons
- Political Reasons
Pursuit of dominance & Geo-political factors: especially old wars were fought for sake of supremacy over land and water. Modern wars are still fought for geo-strategic dominance.
Boundary Disputes: Territorial or border disputes are another main reason of wars which are caused by disagreement on possession of land between two or more adjacent territorial entities.
Competition of Resources: Population growth, technological advancement and climate change has caused competition in possession of natural resources which intern produces.
Ideological differences: Two radically different and conflicting ideologies usually end in war e.g crusades and Taliban war.
Freedom from Oppression: Long term human oppression and cruelty results in rebellions and wars.
Question here is why war shall be abolished?? Very simple answer to this question is War simply Sanctioned collective madness, it never has Nobel motives. Wars do not benefit anyone not even promote rule of law rather encourages its greater violation. Even if any good comes from war it is negligible in comparison to its side effects. Wars never benefit its victims or the nation where it is waged neither to the nation which is responsible for wedging it. Product of war is mere destruction and instability at every level.
Advocates of abolition of war can easily use the latest trends of war deterrents in abolishment of war in other words war can be abolished by working and promoting these ideas and incorporating them into minds of mankind which suffers the most from war as Mikhail Gorbachev, 1997 says “If the majority of human beings do not want wars, but at the same time believe that it is impossible to stop them, then the first change we must bring about is in our hands. We must change the idea that “it is not possible” because it is only what we believe about reality that prevents us from transforming it”.
Modern Warfare (Nuclear deterrence): Along with evaluation of warfare humans have developed weapons of mass destruction which can eliminate more and more nuclear warheads which can end up the entire world in minutes. In the words of Albert Einstein “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”. Side effects of these strategic weapons resulted in creation of theory of nuclear deterrence Specially during US Soviet cold war . That was not to use but to keep them to avoid and avert war. This concept is still very applicable and is now well established not only in Nuclear States but in their allies as well. Strategic stability and ‘No more war’ condition in different continents is result of the same approach. In other words strong defense line of state results in no war against that state or at least minimizes the risk.
Balance of power & Globalization: World has become global village continuously interconnected and interdependent by International integration via interchange of views, products, ideas and other aspects of culture. This maintains peaceful relations in globalized world. While! Balance of power theory created alliance of different states or a group of states particularly with super powers which is a source of strength. It reduced the chances of War among states to minimum level the chances of wars against weaker states that have joined strong alliances. It helps keeping approaching threats at bay and enemies under check. e.g. NATO Alliance.
Economic interdependence (MNC’s): another aspect of globalization is economic interdependence. Growth of economies of states depends upon that of one another. It helps almost equal spread of resources throughout the world. Economic exchanges act higher levels accelerates mutual cooperation despite socio-political differences. Just like multinational Companies which are spread throughout the world irrespective of political boundaries do exert influence on respective states if they go into war as war is detrimental to their business interests. While states do consider their say because multinational companies have major role in the improvement of their GDPs.
War is not in human genes (Not natural): Human genetics has nothing to do with war .a new born never know to fight if he is not taught so. Having “survival of the fittest” theory in mind some analysts suggest that war is in our genes. But this is something different. People don’t hate each other History shows many of the societies have never knew or got indulged into war. Some nations abandoned war and some decided to have no military e.g Japan. War is simply not in human nature neither the culture. People need to be conditioned to take part in war in this process proper nurturing is involved.
Peace Treaties: Modern world has made many Peace treaties, pacts in which hostile parties accept to lay down all tools of aggression and war, and to never incite war or produce war tools. Varying from Earliest known peace treaty i-e ‘Treaty of Kadesh’ in early 1350 BC , to modern peace treaties involving nuclear non-proliferation treaty, serve the same purpose . By one way or other such treaties help in development of peace and abolishment of war.
No one desires war especially in recent times. This much undesired phenomenon can be ended or reduced to very low level if not completely abolished. A little effort is needed at national and international level. For instance at national level
- Implication of Clausewitz’s trinity and proper involvement of all three actors Government, Military and General Population in decision making processes.
- Strengthening elements of national power,
- Elevating poverty and dependency on other nations,
- Adopting technological advancements,
- Working on national Socio-economic structure.
While! At international level
- Neglecting differences and promoting similarities.
- Making alliances and development of mutual trade.
- People to people contacts and socio-political ties.
- Working on plans and projects of mutual interest and mutual benefits.
All such measures can act as war resistant. Human race is known to abolish many false practices from slavery to death penalty. Abolition of war is a desirable and popular idea which needs to be worked on. There is dire need of an international body that is unbiased and natural. That is accepted by all states and has equal representation of all nations despite of geo-political boundaries, religion color or creed and need of international law based on equality for all. Education for general masses on need for elimination of war and how can they contribute to it via development of multilateral relations. Hence concluded that Global peace is need of time, few steps are to be taken by human race and abolishment of war will not only remain a desired goad but will actually become achievable.
Joveria Baig and Saqib Lodhi are students and researchers of psychological warfare at the National Defense University in Islamabad, Pakistan