Which Has Exerted a Bigger Effect on War: the End of the Cold War, or Globalization?

Topics: Cold War, United States, War Pages: 5 (1777 words) Published: May 31, 2011
Which has exerted a bigger effect on war:
The end of the cold war, or globalization?


Back in human history, there could be found more than 14, 400 records of wars that have occurred in the past, by taking the lives of billions and affecting the social and political order worldwide. Wars in the contemporary world have gradually been changing in form, mainly due to globalization, by overlapping in different spheres of brutal conflicts and small but extremely dangerous organizations like terrorism and insurgencies. Nevertheless, their true nature and intentions have managed to preserve through ages, as a general norm of social behavior, involving extreme violence, desire for power and manipulation, as well as conflicts established on the basis of religious or ethnic issues. In addition, the end of the cold war had a great impact on the global socio-political picture by establishing a completely new image of international relations, forms of external associations and a strong push for a military affair progress. To understand the nature of war, its influence on current affairs, as well as the impact of globalization on war matters, I would first provide a general definition of “war”, by presenting some theoretical approaches. Eventually I would concentrate on the impact of the post-cold period and finally, conclude with the affect of globalization.

War and theoretical approaches:

Scholars have always provided quite contradictory definitions for a “war”. Indeed defining “war” could be a complicated task. This is due to the fact that even if the nature of a war remains constant, it always reflects the particular time and place in which it occurs. In other words, the current time, situation, the initial core of the problem, as well as, the level of violence and particular actors would greatly influence and define the type of conflict. Thus, establishing a general idea of a ‘war’ might end to be quite inaccurate. Nevertheless, I would try to present the main general definitions, based on different theoretical approaches. Quincy Wright, for example, describes war as a “conflict among political groups, especially sovereign states, carried on by armed forces of considerable magnitude, for a considerable period of time”.(Baylis, 2008, p. 213) Judging by his statement, we could conclude that it’s a realist approach, emphasizing on the power of the state and the highest level of sovereignty that possesses. Another approach of defining war is the definition of Hedly Bulls claiming that war is an “organized violence, carried by political units against each other”. (Baylis, 2008, p.214) This definition could be accepted as inappropriate because not every single action of violence is defined as a war. In addition, war could involve and other internal actors except political ones like citizens for example (religious, racial conflicts). A third approach by Clausewitz explains war as “an act of force intended to compel our opponents to fulfill our will”. (Baylis, 2008, p.214) This definition is more liberal based as it stresses more on the power and affect of globalization than on the state sovereignty. Even though all of these definitions seem to differ in terms of theory, we could generalize some common characteristics between them, which are organized violence, state or non-state actors, as well as military force and manipulation. To get a better understanding on the definitions, the change of warfare, as well as the impact of globalization and post-cold war period, I would like to summarize and stress on two well known theories: Realism and Liberalism. Realism, first of all, stresses on the power of the state and its sovereignty, representing it as the main actor on the world stage. It also expresses world politics as a ‘self-help system’ and a ‘struggle for power’ between states (Baylis, 2008, p.5), trying to dominate and maximize their national interests. In addition, globalization is not important...
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