Confronting (Encouraging?) War in 2014

Foreign Policy magazine has published an article predicting the top 10 most likely places 2014 wars will begin, or continue, and shake global stability.

033-plates1_0013_els-fleebombingThe new entries: Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Honduras, Libya, and North Caucasus. The continuing hotbeds: Central Asia, Iraq, the Sahel, Sudan, and Syria/Lebanon.

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The Dec. 30 article, “Next Year’s Wars,” is authored by Louise Arbour, president and CEO of the International Crisis Group (ICG), an “anti-conflict” non-profit crowded with U.S. and NATO politicians and diplomats. Arbour is a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Court of Appeal for Ontario and a former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

Arbour also finds Syria and Central Africa the worst of the lethally worrisome:

…it is Syria and the recent muscular interventions in Central Africa that best illustrate alarming deficiencies in our collective ability to manage conflict.

 

In Syria, the speed and decisiveness with which the international community acted to eliminate Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons can’t help but underscore its failure to act with equal determination to end the fighting; even concerted humanitarian action remains elusive…

 

…In the Central African Republic, meanwhile, the international community was apparently taken by surprise by the collapse into violence. There is no excuse for this: Decades of misrule, under-development, and economic mismanagement had left behind a phantom state long before this year’s coup unleashed turmoil and now escalating confessional violence. France’s robust support for the African Union (AU) in a full-fledged humanitarian intervention was commendable. But without concerted, sustained commitment to rebuilding the Central African Republic (CAR), it is unlikely to make much difference in the long run.

But Arbour is too experienced to believe that a top ten list is the limit of the growing global unrest, or that broiling tensions in other countries couldn’t easily impose on the leading war zones:

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She adds to her concerns Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan.

babyliftHearing Arbour, and considering realities, one could question whether the West, and Russia, really want to “manage conflict.” Arbour doesn’t say this, Peculiar Progressive says this: Where there’s regional conflict, the U.S. and Russia seem to dutifully follow. In the U.S., it’s our way of keeping the military-industrial complex (which President Eisenhower warned us about) growing. This involves our government operating as military advisers in foreign conflicts, or taking part in conflicts through NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), or simply invading nations, or selling arms to countries to aid their war efforts.

U.S. and Russian arms sales continue to grow in controlling the global arms market. The Congressional Research Service in August 2012, reviewing arms sales since 2004, reported:

Developing nations continue to be the primary focus of foreign arms sales activity by weapons suppliers. During the years 2004-2011, the value of arms transfer agreements with developing nations comprised 68.6% of all such agreements worldwide. More recently, arms transfer agreements with developing nations constituted 79.2% of all such agreements globally from 2008-2011, and 83.9% of these agreements in 2011.

 

The value of all arms transfer agreements with developing nations in 2011 was over $71.5 billion. This was a substantial increase from $32.7 billion in 2010. In 2011, the value of all arms deliveries to developing nations was $28 billion, the highest total in these deliveries values since 2004.

From 2008-11, America and the largest of the former Soviet countries ranked first and second in arms sales:

From 2008 to 2011, the United States made nearly $113 billion in such agreements, 54.5% of all these agreements (expressed in current dollars). Russia made $31.1 billion, 15% of these agreements. During this same period, collectively, the United States and Russia made 69.5% of all arms transfer agreements with developing nations, $207.3 billion in current dollars) during this four-year period.

You can read the entire Congressional Research report here.

But, while the U.S. and Russia lead the arms suppliers’ pack, other NATO nations are also involved. Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, all reap annual sales in the hundreds of millions to a billion dollars. Do you really think those countries want to see regional conflicts end any time soon?

Farther down in Arbour’s long article, she speaks of how the African country Mali is “far from stable today.” Peculiar Progressive covered the Mali situation at length in a column last year, predicting that it could possibly become America’s next “Viet-ghanistan.”

Arbour didn’t mention the possibility of conflict over oil, minerals, and water in the Arctic. But we reviewed the growing potential in our Christmas Day column, which is here.

How can you affect these continuing efforts in endless war, and U.S. involvement in them? You’ll need to order your U.S. senators and Congressmembers to quit funding military invasions into foreign lands, and Congress’s supporting multinational corporations–and the Defense Department–benefiting from arms sales. You’ll have to get organized, get educated, and get active with others to do this. Can you do that? Sure you can. A worthy project to benefit you and your children in 2014. Bring it!!

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