The greatest victory is that which requires nobattle” ( The Art of War; Sun Tzu ) Yet, the typicalconcept of a war implies an armed conflict between political entities to obtainpeace. This is the shape taken by the two greatest warsin history, opposing two political blocks and mobilizing over 700 million soldiers/troopstogether. However, in recent decades new forms of combat have emerged.
The cold war, for examplehas applied unprecedented forms of battle while conflicts of decolonizationexpand their horizons to new shapes and actors. More recently, wars havefurther evolved, adopting new shapes and aspects which fascinate the media.This transforms terrorism into today’s most infamous form of war.
“New Wars” isan expression that represents warfare in the Post-Cold war era.New Wars is a term that Mary Kaldor developed.Mary Kaldor is a professor at the London school of economics. She is anauthor’s who’s books study the different aspects of war. Throughout the 1980’sand the 1990’s, notably in Africa and Eastern Europe, new forms of violencebegan to prevail.
Terrorism was described under the term “low intensity”conflict by U.S military during the cold war. What differentiates the cold warfrom the previous ones? First of all, cold wars distinguish themselves by theirnature as they are based on indirect conflict rather than physical combat suchas shooting and bombing. Whereas during WWI and WWII, there has been directarmed conflict between 2 political entities, the Cold War opposed 2 nations,the Americans and the Soviets with no set battle-ground. While the UnitedStates functioned on the basis of a democratic government and its economy onfree enterprise, the Soviet Union was a communist State where property andproduction are controlled by a single party. The opposition of the democraticsystem and the communist system engaged the respective nations in a conflictinvolving several spheres of society: economic, political, cultural Old warswere fought by armed forces of states.
New Wars are fought by a mix of non- stateand state actors. Kaldor states that new wars need to be known in terms oftoday’s process of globalization ( Mary Kaldor New and Old War). Mary Kaldordefines old war as a traditional warfare, where conflicts are usually betweeninterstates, these states play an important role in running and funding thewar.According to Mary Kaldor, “new wars” were not infact “new”.
What’s different from ‘old wars’ and ‘new wars’ are thatglobalization and technology are growing. Kaldor states that that the war inIraq is indeed a ‘ new kind of war’ and uses new technologies like satellite system.NewWars are the wars of the era of globalization, usually, they happen in placesthat were significantly weakened. New wars are the wars of the era ofglobalization, usually they happen in places that were significantly weakned.Also, old wars and new wars were not fought for the same reasons.
Kaldor statedthe differences between the old wars and new wars by stating for what reasons theconflict happened ( Methods, goals, finance , actors).Old wars were fought byregular armies from different states,new wars are a combination of non-state and state actors.Old wars were fought for geo political matter ( socialism or democracy),whereas , new wars were fought for ethnic , religious or tribal reasons. In oldwars, the method of pursuing war was taking over territory across militarymeans. Violence was used towards civilians to control territory rather thanenemy forces.
Kaldor stated that theforms of finance were different in old wars and new wars. Old wars were mainlyfinanced by states (tax). New wars , especially weaker states tax revenue is fallingwhich created new forms of finance that include kidnapping, smuggling diamonds,drugs etc..
. The most common criticism of ‘new wars’ discusses that new warsare not new. It can be said that the Cold war made it hard to analyze ‘smallwars’, many of the features of new wars related with weak states are found inearly modern period and that occurrences like mass rape, banditry forced thepopulation to move. Many of the same feature of new wars are found in previouswars. It can be argued that there are some new elements. The main elements areof course globalization and technology, which has made it a symmetrical war(war between opponents that have the same armory) An example of a symmetricalwar is the first Gulf war between Iran and Iraq.