Mary Kaldor in her book, “New and old wars” Violence in a global era 1999 wrote about the New War thesis which remarkable explains the changing paradigm of war in the 21st century moving forward. The nature of war in the world today differs greatly from those in the 20th, 19th and 18th centuries in terms of ACTORS, whereby old wars were fought mainly by state soldiers and state agents but the actors of the current wars in the world today range from local militias, warlords, and drug barons, terrorists where identity politics is the driving factor. Also modern wars have differed from old ones in terms of MOTIVE; whereby in old wars the motives and goals of war were mainly territorial acquisition but in modern wars the motive involves the re-shaping the social fabric or changing how thing are done in society. Last but not list today’s wars differ from old ones in terms of the METHODS used in war; whereby in old wars opponents met at the battle field and interests were achieved through military warfare. But modern methods of warfare are different, women and children are the main targets, population displacement where identity politics is the key motive, acts of civil disobedience and social media are used to fuel propaganda and promote extreme ideologies.
So does this analysis explain the current war hot spots in the world today?
Syria for example remarkably presents a war like no other; with geopolitical implication, now making it difficult to determine the future of the Middle East. Elements of the new war thesis include: ACTORS. Those fighting in Syria today include Russia fighting against the enemies of Bashar Assad, France, the United States, and Hezbollah from Lebanon known to be vast in guerilla warfare, the Islamic State who intends to be building a state through Iron and Blood. The METHODS of this encounter includes air fire, women and children are the main targets, population displacement and transformation of social fabric with an intention of trying to change how things are done. The MOTIVES behind these actors range from identity politics, resource interventionist and the creation of an Islamic state.
The South China Sea
The situation in South China Sea presents a maritime dispute that might shape the future geopolitics of East Asia. China is tied in a maritime dispute with her neighbours (Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam) that might shape the geopolitics of East Asia. This has brought tension due to the aggressive nature of China’s assertions of territorial claim. The region has been referred to be rich in oil, fish and an excellent strategic point for international security. Now this has driven the United States against china; while the Chinese neighbours view china as a threat therefore seeking help from the U.S. International law should used as a tool manage this disputes while the association for the South East Asia nation should be at the fore front in ensuring that the problems in that region are accorded home remedy rather than foreign. As the conflict is interstate, factors of the new war thesis come in to play for example the Actors to the conflict are interest driven.
The D.R.C conflict
The conflict in D.R.C presents an epicenter of Africa most deadly conflict. It has even been referred as the world war of Africa thus presenting geopolitical challenges for the continent. The characteristic of the new war thesis among others include a whole range of Actors that is deferent governments, international organizations, multinational cooperation’s, local militias; all driven by deferent interests. BUT one aspect that stands out is the Longevity of the conflict. It has persisted for a very long time yet the conflict has the highest number of peace keepers and the most expensive United Nations peacekeeping mission in the world. The reason behind this persistence in such conflicts is that the Actors such conflicts gain politically and economically from the perpetration of violence itself rather than the actual wining.
Carl Von Clausewitz wrote that war is merely a continuation of policy by any means; war has featured in the world since its beginning but the nature and the dynamic of war has been changing over time fueled by globalization, boundaries have today became porous while interests have become global.