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A2 Government & Politics
Why have some modern wars been classified as new wars? 15 marks
Mary Kaldor has defined new war as the following- New war takes place in the
context of the disintegration of states which suggests that it they are
authoritarian states under the impact of globalisation. These are wars fought by
networks of state and non-state actors, often without uniforms and sometimes
they have distinctive signs as in the case of the Croatian militia in Bosnia
Herzegovina. New wars are wars where battles are rare and where most violence
is directed against civilians as a consequence of counter-insurgency tactics or
ethnic cleansing. They are wars where taxation is falling and war finance consists
of loot and pillage, illegal trading and other war generated revenue.
They are wars where the distinctions between combatant and non-combatant,
legitimate violence and criminality are breaking down. These are wars which
exacerbate the disintegration of the state-declines in GDP, loss of tax revenue,
loss of legitimacy and many more. They construct new sectarian identities such
as religious, ethnic and tribal groups that undermine the sense of a shared
political community. They recreate the sense of political community along new
divisive lines through the manufacture of fear and hate and they establish new
Post-modern wars may also be seen as a new war, in the sense that they rely
heavily on the use of modern technology and smart weapons, greatly reduce the
causalities from warfare, and often take place between combatants with very
different levels (asymmetric warfare).
Old war has changed over time from traditional old wars to new wars. New wars
has many features and they are Samuel Huntington's thesis which is the clash of
civilisation, identity of politics, Islam vs. West and the wars of identity such as
ethnic nationalism or religious radicalism.
An example of a new war would be the Bosnia war. In the Republic of
Bosnia-Herzegovina, conflict between the three main ethnic groups, the Serbs,
Croats, and Muslims, resulted in genocide committed by the Serbs against the
Muslims in Bosnia.
Bosnia is one of several small countries that emerged from the break-up of
Yugoslavia, a multicultural country created after world war one by the victorious
Western Allies. Yugoslavia was composed of ethnic and religious groups that had
been historical rivals, even bitter enemies including the Serbs (Orthodox
Christians), Croats (Catholics) and ethnic Albanians (Muslims).
The causes were that essentially, the Bosnian War was fought because Serbs
and Croats living in Bosnia wanted to take over Bosnian territory for Serbia and
Croatia respectively. Because of ethnic cleansing it forced expulsion of people to
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A2 Government & Politics
create national homogeneity- an action that often leads to widespread
massacre. In the Bosnia case, the "ethnic cleansing" that the Serbs inflicted on
the Bosnian Muslims was a form of extermination and even genocide.
In addition, the Iraq war has been considered as being both old and new wars. The
Iraq War has been viewed as an old war in a number of ways.…read more