You are on page 1of 6

Name: Paul Beaineh

Are Sociocultural Dissimilarities The Single Main Reasons for Wars?

Humanity faced two global conflicts: the west against Russian communism and now the west against political Islam. Why would another world war begin? What would this war result in? Citizens and world leaders should ponder these questions and prepare for the future. It remains evident that a third world war would arise from the differences evident in cultures. International conflict behavior is aggravated by opposing interests and capabilities, significant change in the balance of powers or cognitive imbalance but intensively triggered by sociocultural dissimilarities. Primarily, the cause of World War III will stem directly from the differences of the cultural beliefs of countries (Dunford, 2011, p.2). The differences of the Christian West and the Islamic Middle East will ignite the world in what will become known as, if anyone survives, the most brutal war fought on earth. Not only cultural differences are serving as the main impetus of war but also other causes including socio-economic, political and technological. Cutural conflict is mostly due to the physical differences. Some races consider themselves superior to other races and there are also races which feel that they are inferior to other. The feeling of superiority or inferiority is the root cause of racial conflict (Dean, 2009, p. 2). Conflict between the Whites and Negroes in the U.S.A. provides an example of racial conflict. The conflict in the former Yugoslavia provides the most recent sample of cultural differences serving as the prevalent cause of war. The war, still commonly referred to as an "ethnic-conflict," is based upon religion and not ethnic differences. Rarely in modern times has

conflict been so simple as to come from one cause. A combination of the causes of war (political, physical, economical, cultural) is more likely, although one may dominate. When Yugoslavia first fragmented, ethnic-Slavic groups within the country attempted to form their own independent states. Soon after, a bitter civil war erupted when the Serbs attempted to expand their territorial claims. This action resulted in the division of Bosnia-Herzegovina into the three distinct groups of Serbs, Croats, and Muslims. All are Ethnic-slays but the different cultural traditions of each group served as the stimulus that fueled the duration and intensity of the conflict (Harf, 2001, p.311). Many colleges in the United States analyze the relation between war and cultural difference. The Marine Corps War College provides a course titled "War, Policy, and Strategy" which presents culture as an aspect of study in analyzing past wars. Culture remains a recurring theme throughout the course and weighs heavily during the subcourse of "Regional Studies. The School of Advanced Warfare introduces culture as one of the "enduring realities" of conflict in its regional case-study of the Middle East. This subcourse identifies cultural influences as a recurring theme for subsequent blocks of instruction (Shah, 2011, p.9). The Psychoanalytic psychology explains cultural difference and war in another way. Dutch psychoanalyst Joost Meerloo held that, "War is often...a mass discharge of accumulated internal rage (where)...the inner fears of mankind are discharged in mass destruction. Thus war can sometimes be a means by which man's own frustration at his inability to master his own self is expressed and temporarily relieved via his unleashing of destructive behavior upon others. Other psychoanalysts such as E.F.M. Durban and John Bowlby have argued that human beings are inherently violent. This aggressiveness is fueled by displacement and projection where a person transfers his or her grievances into bias and hatred against other races, religions, nations or ideologies. By this theory, the nation state preserves order in the local society while creating

an outlet for aggression through warfare. If war is innate to human nature, as is presupposed and predetermined by many psychological theories, then there is little hope of ever escaping it (Dean, 2009, p. 4). Having researched wars going back to BC with the Romans, Greeks, etc. to present; wars occurs for territorial control. Land grabbing was and somewhat still is the direct route to power. The real question should be did improving education reduce, or actually increase the continued need for warfare? I am not ruling religion out, the Crusades, and other Christianity created wars weren't as much for territory grabbing but for unification of the masses, but there too the Roman Catholic Church was at one time one of the biggest land holders. Looking at it from all aspects of Religion, Economic, Political, and every aspect is included as well as greed and intolerance that seems to factor into why there is a need for warfare. In the twenty first century education for the masses across the World is at its highest compared to the any century, BC or AD, and yet people still have the need to destroy each other (Gowdy, 2007, p.28). Nowadays, the war has another form: Carl von Clausewitz, the famous German military theorist stated, every age has its own kind of war, its own limiting conditions and its own peculiar preconceptions. Thus besides wars assuming cross- border and national dimensions and increasing use of terrorism, this age also has to contend with cyber wars. The world is now in the ICT and Information Super Highway age making information a priceless commodity. The use and sabotage of information is thus becoming a new form and cause of war that is being waged endlessly in this century. The increased use of technology in critical and sensitive institutions and services makes cyber warfare even more appealing. In this century, humanity have seen an organization like WikiLeaks caring out a cyber-warfare that it claims are targeted at improving freedoms and rights and not necessarily to fight a nation or the other. Since technically cyber war fare has to be

politically motivated, this disqualifies WikiLeaks but it is still a good example of what cyber wars entail. Followers of cybercrime and war may have heard of the Stuxnet malware that is a very sophisticated malware that targets critical national installations, large multinational businesses, et cetera. With tons of critical information and personal information available on the data bases of such organizations, the harm that a terrorist group or enemy nation can cause with such information is enormous (Ebert, 2012, p.6). While cultural difference is the main trigger for war; however, war can be seen as a growth of economic competition in a competitive international system. In this view wars begin as a pursuit of markets for natural resources and for wealth. Globalization of the economy can be a motivation for war, and it can also add fuel to war's bonfires (Wright, 2003, p.441). "It is said that when there are economic interdependences between nations, the potential of conflicts is developed," said Jacques Fontanel, a professor of economics at the Pierre-Mends- France University in Grenoble. In fact, war depends on economic conditions of people. If globalization gives more and more money to the owners and less and less to the workers, more and more for some nations and less and less to others, the occasions of conflict grow (Cullivan, 2009, p.3). Fontanel said that the rapid growth of economies like the United States, aided by globalization, could also contribute to conflict if demand for raw materials increased faster than supply. As John Baylis, a deputy vice chancellor at Swansea University in Wales writes in the best-selling text "The Globalization of World Politics," the conception of statehood and security are changing along with globalization. Citizens' expectations of what their governments should provide, and governments' abilities to meet those expectations, may be diverging. As Baylis writes, globalization could be generating a new class of wars that separate cosmopolitan citizens of the world from those left out by economic and social integration. People who are unable to exploit

globalization's opportunities may harbor resentment, which manifests itself in violence, against those who can (Cullivan, 2009, p.7). The events that mark the world today indicate that the nature of war, its causes, its conduct, and its unconventional tactics and strategies have fundamentally changed. Conflicts or wars today range across a spectrum that encompasses not only conventional war between largescaled armed forces, but also includes unconventional warfare between smaller groups at lowerintensity levels based on sociocultural dissimilarities, socio-economic, political or technological. It remains the responsibility of the worldwide leadership and its educational institutions to acknowledge accept and develop its cultural awareness programs to fully integrate, reconcile and balance the benefits of technology for example with the human approach to formulate effective strategies for preventing future wars.


Cullivan, Justin. Interview by Andrew C. Revkin. Cultural War and Terrorism. New York Times. New York Times, May 2007. Web. 25 May 2009. Dean, Cornelia. "Saving the Planet from Racism". New York Times. New York Times, 22 May 2007. Web. 25 May 2009. Ebert, Roger. "An Inconvenient Truth." Rev. of An Inconvenient Truth, dir. Davis Guggenheim. Sun-Times News Group, 2 March 2012. Web. 15 May 2012. Gowdy, John. "Avoiding Self-organized Extinction: Toward a Co-evolutionary Economics of Sustainability." International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 14.1 (2007): 27-36. Print. Harf, James E. "Internation conflict resolution and national attributes," in James N. Rosenau (Ed.), Comparing Foreign Policies: Theories, Findings, and Methods. New York: Halsted Press, 2001, 305-325. Shah, Anup. World Military Spending. Global Issues: Social, Political, Economic and Environmental Issues That Affect Us All. May 02, 2011. Retrieved May 15, 2012 from: Dunford, Paul. UCDP/Human Security Centre Dataset. October 2011. Retrieved May 15, 2012 from: Wright, Quincy, The escalation of international conflict. The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 9 (December, 2003). 434-449.