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Student: W10672297

Question 1: To what extent can conflicts in the post-cold war era be

characterized as ‘new wars’?

This essay will attempt to draw attention to events that unfolded in the aftermath of

the Cold War and that have led our understanding of war to a different level. It will

take into account the more prominent role of the United Nations Security Council and

other INGOs and its past humanitarian interventions, the Bosnian-Herzegovina

conflict and transactional movements. Furthermore, in light of the change of the

world’s architecture since the post-Cold War period it will argue that the way in

which wars are being fought, the reaction of the global actors in light of war prospects

and the participation of non-state actors (private actors) have re-shaped the

understandings of wars.

The advent of the Internet era, fast transnational movements, growth of NGOs and

INGOs have shed some of the state’s responsibilities to a greater amount of actors.

This has made the Clausewitzean assumptions of war, for instance, that of the notion

of war as a state activity and ‘as an act of violence intended to compel our opponent

to fulfil our will’ (Kaldor, 2006: 17) have to be revised in order for a better

understanding of conflict, humanitarian and military interventions after the fall of the

Berlin Wall.

For Kaldor (2006:27) the total wars premises, despite having its certainties, do not

taken into account the growth of a thinner division line between the state and non-


having their weapons pointing and their eyes fixed on one another. and continual spies upon neighbours-which is a posture of war (Leviathan. cited in Dunbain. However. 17. is taken into account.This description of relationship between states may reflect the situation encountered in the Middle East and its constant Israeli-Palestine tensions around the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. their forts. 2 . the transactional movements of the 20th Century. between combatants and non combatants started to break down in the twentieth century. in Leviathan. and are remembered for it in after years with honour’ (Hobbes cited in Dunbain1994:437). 1994:437). chaps. the ever-growing cooperation amongst states in humanitarian missions. ‘for their own security enlarge their dominions upon all pretences of danger…. that is. for instance. described as a new type of war by Kaldor (2006: chapter 3). In discussions of international relations the vision of conflict described by Thomas Hobbes. economic policies.state actors and the contrast between military and the civil. quest for borders legitimacy and the anti- Israeli rhetoric exacerbated by the Arab summit in January 1964. accordingly kings ‘are in continuing jealousies and the state and posture of gladiator. Further. 13. Further. inter-state cooperation and participation of non state actors in national affairs have made Hobbes’ assumptions limited in relation to our understanding of new types of wars emerged in the last two decades. garrisons and guns upon frontiers of their kingdoms.cited in Dunbain. Hobbes saw the struggle for power and acknowledge the premise of state sovereignty and the need for its protection by all means and its self-centred interests. it does not explain the ethnic conflicts in Bosnia- Herzegovina. and endeavour…to subdue or weaken their neighbours by open force and secret arts…. for Hobbes.

The war in Bosnia-Herzegovina was fought for political goals and assumed unique characteristics (therefore can be classified as a new war). The magnitude of the conflict. the involvement of non-state actors such as the United Nations (UN) and North Atlantic Treaty Organizations (NATO) as well as the American attempts with the Dayton Agreement confirm the birth of new forms of violence and measures to tackle them. have played a prominent role in the years following the end of the Cold-War and the shift away from a bipolar world system to fairly pluralistic one. One can argue that altruistic interventions from the side of powerful nation states in conflict states involving failed ones or in problematic regions. As mentioned above. 2006:35). wars can include non-sovereign states. The concern of the above mentioned actors in the new type of conflict suggests that different from the old wars ways of tackling conflicts. For instance. For this reason. ethnic cleansing was a characteristic of East European nationalism in the twentieth century (Kaldor. Rwanda and Kosovo were all legitimated in humanitarian terms by the intervening states’. where not all participants are spying. 3 . subduing or having the intention to weaken those involved in the conflict. Somalia. prolific high politics actors and groups in which would not benefit directly from the outcome or doings of war. protection of national borders and altruistic motives. For Baylis and Smith (2005:567) ‘the interventions in northern Iraq. new types of conflict and motives for legitimising the use of coercive force have emerged since the end of the cold war.Conflicts can no longer only be explained by the premises of the old war assumptions of territorial annexation.

2005:567) in light of the need to protect the Kurds in northern Iraq from Saddam Hussein. This is certainly a significant shift towards a broader arena for dialogue amongst global states. The acknowledge of threat to ‘international peace and security’ (Baylis and Smith 2005: 567) highlighted in Chapter VII. it has certainly become less and less tenable as the 1990s progressed. The wish to gain access to territories but preserve the morality and perception of goodwill 4 . of the necessity to use coercive force in order to establish or maintain peace in challenging regions. even though some UN resolutions.most specifically its prevailing Security Council. based on the state sovereignty premise. This can be proof of the need to tackle new types of conflicts and the more prominent role of the United Nations Security Council and other INGOs. within the realms of the global arena. have caused tension and disapproval amongst some of the UN Member States. The humanitarian interventions after the Cold war period bring to light the underlying and new motives for involvement in conflicts and characteristics of the nature of some military and humanitarian interventions in the aftermath of the Cold-War era. the recognition for humanitarian interventions based on the Human Rights Charter and the fear of possible legal challenges against states advocating the state sovereignty principle. such as NATO or the Arabic League for instance. for instance in the case of Resolution 688 adopted on 5 April 1991(Baylis and Smith.Additionally. even though some states questioned the enforcement of provisions in Charter VII of the UN Charter. Furthermore. point out the recognition by the United Nation. is a tremendous step towards global consensus in relation to the protection of global civil societies from their own abusive nation states.

Even though the international community who was involved in the Bosnian- Herzegovina conflict may claim non-altruistic reasons for collaborating in bringing peace to region. J. which ‘brought peace to Bosnia in 1995. in the case of the American concern over the preservation of the Dayton Agreement.intact certainly highlights the participation of certain global prominent actors (states) in conflicts that they would not benefit directly from its involvement. At the time the American government wished to preserve its reputation for reaching an agreement thorough diplomatic negotiations with the Serbian Milosevic. one can affirm that states can cooperate amongst each other not always having the ‘posture of gladiator’ willing to annex its enemy’s territories or obtain other forms of gain. Therefore. The American participation in the diplomatic process may have boosted America’s profile as an active and powerful global actor. and S. not as the goal of war’ (Kaldor. For instance. however it was certainly not at their absolute interest or economically convenient at a national level nor an easy task for winning the ‘hearts and minds’ of Americans so to gather American financial resources and moral public support. highlighted the wish of President Clinton’s administrative team to preserve the agreement and consequently the credit for successfully bringing peace to the region. Smith (2005:566). 2006:61). which was viewed as an American diplomatic triumph’ (Baylis. The international community was incapable to understand the nature of the new type of 5 . The American state did not possess the traditional motives for intervening in the peace making talks in this particular matter. While the evidence of ethnic cleansing was visible ‘this was treated as a side-effect of the fighting. the devastating outcome of it can be accounted to the failure of its inability to act promptly in order to avoid the crimes against humanity that took place during that period.

underline the fact that the Bosnian-Herzegovina conflict cannot be understood from an old war perspective. 6 . use of coercive force and reaction from international actors. Not only the military element is involved.this worries can certainly be linked to the advent of the UN charter of Human Rights and the growth of NGOs prepared to fight for the causes of the global civil societies. three main types of irregular force: paramilitary organization. highlights how much the world system has changed and also how the monopoly of violence has been broken down. The Bosnian-Herzegovina conflict created a serious of new issues to be taken on board when one assessing the nature of violence. foreign mercenary groups. the caution by the western states to avoid bloodshed (even though they were visibly military superior) can also be linked to concerns over the massive flow of refugees in the southern Balkans and subsequently the spread across other European regions. generally under the control of an individual. in particular European ones. Moreover.war.rather than watch passively the fighting and stepping in only to protect civilians and provide material comforts. The lack of will to make use of the UN army in a more active way. There was not only one organized army in each side of the conflict. and local police augmented by armed civilians’. Further the interest of western states. in avoiding the conflict by means of deterring violence rather than attacking those responsible for the cause of the conflict. therefore was unable to avoid the unnecessary killings of civilians. which for instance for totally dependent on outside sources of assistance. but there was a significant proportion of fighters that belonged to gangster groups- certainly a new prominent element of war. as Kaldor (2006:48) note ‘in addition to regular forces.

this would have been virtually impossible in the context of pre-WWI and WWII. the company Bluewater (a private contractor therefore not subjected to 7 . Although one can argue that during the period that preceded WWI and WWII European governments had to gather public support. disdain the name of mercenary (Walzer. it can certainly not be compared to the massive scale that the invasion of Afghanistan and subsequently Iraq provoked in the global civil society.2006:27). the US President nevertheless felt the need to make a humanitarian argument to support. This can be understood with the fact that the mass media vehicles in conjunction with the access to intercommunication across the globe. as well as domestic. Furthermore in the assumptions of old wars. who can find no other way of feeding themselves and their families except by signing up’. who wrote in the aftermath of a great war.The final aspect of the characteristics of new wars this essay will attempt to highlight is the use of mercenaries and the humanitarian interventions in light of the ‘war on terror’ in the 11 September. Walzer (2006:27). but there are other professionals who serve only their own prince or people and. in order to justify the need for war. This has not been the case of the current war in Iraq where. This certainly point out the necessity of the American government to drawn global support. The recruitment of mercenaries in a wider scale. mercenaries are professional soldiers who sell their services in open market. though they may earn their break by soldering. affirmed that ‘…mercenary armies are recruited (as they often are) from among desperately impoverished men. as mentioned above is another characteristic of the new wars. as an example. played a vital role in informing and instigating public reaction in the worldwide arena. Although US-led intervention in Afghanistan was a war of self-defence.

Word count: 2.232 words 8 . This essay has attempted to highlight the characteristics of the new wars in relation to the relevance of non state actors in conflicts realized in the aftermath of the cold war. it attempted to demonstrate the rise of the use of mercenaries who do not fit the description and definitions laid in by Walzer when reflecting on this subject as the ‘modern mercenaries’ substitutes market scrutiny of governments when compared with the military also not being covered by international law at the same clarity) that has been actively engaged in war activities on behalf of the American state in Iraq. in particular the Bosnian-Herzegovina conflict. of the international community. Afghanistan and Iraq subsequently. it used examples of humanitarian intervention in conflict in order to justify the participation. Further. for traditional political mechanisms of accountability (Cowen. active and passively. T. The use of highly skilled and well trained individuals to fight on behalf of a state breaks the premise of the monopoly of violence and demonstrate the shits away from state accountability to private accountability in war fighting. The above-mentioned use of mercenaries in post-cold war conflicts cannot be overlooked and can certainly highlight the characteristics of the new wars. controlled by the executive branch. that being the UN or the United States during in the Balkans region. New York Times). Further.

J. New York: Perseus Books Group. (1994).html? ex=1351224000&en=54f273e5beefca57&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss> [ Accessed 29 November 2008].. Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations. England: Pearson Education Limited. T. and S.List of References Baylis. The Post-Imperial Age: The Great Powers and the Wider World.D. The USA: New York Times. To Know Contractors. Oxford University Press [online article]. M.nytimes. J.. The Globalization of Word Politics. Available from: <http://www. Walzer. (1997). Dunbain. 9 . 4th ed.P. Know Government. (2007). Smith (2005).