Contemporary Conflicts

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24 Nov 2010
International Relations: Week 9 t November 16th, 2010
End of Cold War:
- Emergence of Gorbachev as new leader of Soviet Union key moment
o Relatively young leader, willingness to reform the Soviet system
o Domestically he launched a series of reforms aimed at economic efficiency, the fight
against corruption, to make the Soviet Union a more efficient power
o Two pillars of reform:
1. Restructuring of Soviet economy starting with more freedom for a
corporation to decide what to produce and how to produce
2. Transparency
o Most dramatic aspect was linked to external relations
Foreign affairs agenda was revolutionary
Assumption was the Soviet Union was spending far too much money on defence
Objective was to negotiate with the US a new series of arms control treaties so
as to cap expenses linked to the military
At the same time, as early as 86-87, Gorbachev founded the Sinatra doctrine
x Countries under Soviet interests responsible for their own destiny
x Red Army would not intervene anymore in Soviet satellites
o Western Europe reacted extremely enthusiastic to reforms
o 'uvÇ]ooÇÁÁ]oo]vP}u'}ZÀ[Á}(Àoµ
o In the US, the boss of the CIA, Robert Gates, was extremely doubtful that Gorbachev
would succeed in reforming the Soviet Union
Likely scenario, the more reform Gorbachev wanted to implement, the more
likely he would be ousted by a coup, conservatives would prevail
Not enthusiastic in negotiating with Gorbachev, very cautious dealing with him
Took Gorbachev seriously when Berlin wall fell, 1989
Cautiousness linked to detente of the 70s, when first arms control treaties were
x Soviet Union cheated on treaties, expanded their influence notably in
x Detante was a huge failure, Soviet Union benefited from it, not the US
o Bush team wanted to win the Cold War, not negotiate the end
Imposed largely American terms on the end of the Cold War
Condition of united Germany inside NATO
x Nobody expected Moscow would accept that option
o Key element was end of the Cold War was largely peaceful
o Consequences for Europe: united again, no Iron Curtain anymore, one European aspect
in which Moscow was not considered the enemy
Landscape was paradoxical as NATO was kept as the tool of victory for US, no
strictly European framework for security
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Peace dividend, defence budgets were slashed drastically, arms products were
reduced, number of troops in Europe were cut in half
Disappearance of concern related to military defence meant that armed forces
in all scenarios would be projected outside Europe
x Projection of force demands other kinds of capabilities: strategic air lifts,
light flexible armed forces, extremely costly yet budgets were slashed
drastically in Europe and the US
Another transformation of the armed forces was increased professionalization,
conscription system no longer relied on as causes not linked to survival of own
nation, need professional army
Landscape in early 1990s:
x On one side, huge relief, Cold War has ended peacefully
x Tension in summer Eastern countries started to rise dramatically
o Civil war in Bosnia, end of the Cold War meant a rise in other
x Is war as an instrument of foreign policy obsolete?
o Yes, the Western model of democracy, free market will prevail
o Reality different
Golf War of 1991, Hussein invaded Kuwait
- Definition of warfare:
o The organized violence carried by political units against each other (broad definition of
- War in history of modern Europe has been a phenomenon that has largely built and shaped the
state itself
o Largely shaped by permanent warfare against each other
Better taxation brought from necessity for money for war fighting
Democracy as we know it implemented after WWI
x Norway exception
- State in Africa were largely an artificial import from European colonizers
o After War of Independence and decolonization process, independent states built armies
Armies were most of the time a private militia, protective force for the rulers
rather than a protection for civil society
Civil wars became an issue in Africa
- Failed state as security concern rose in early 90s, linked to human rights, mass murder, and
o Motives by foreign intervention driven by humanitarian concern not security concern
Changed after 9/11, terrorism became salient concern
- Napoleon to Sputnik, every period saw transformation in methods of warfare
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Post-Modern War Today:
Civil Wars in Ex-Yugoslavia
- As early as 1991, relationships between Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia
o Resurgence of war in Europe came as a shock
o European powers disagreed on what to do
Germany was keen to recognize the independence of Croatia and Slovenia
France refused to see a change of borders in Europe by force
x EÇUuµ}v(µoU&v]v[}Pv
partition of Yugoslavia
x Meant that key ally for France was Serbia
Britain had largely American view, Civil War is so complex the ethnic dimension
of it is so prominent, foreign powers cannot bring any solution to it, an armed
intervention will not solve the problem
The U.S. in 1991-1992 was not interested in the conflict
Disagreement in Europe meant that minimum agreement was humanitarian
management of the conflict
x Peace keepers sent to place where there was no peace to keep
o Busy providing food and protecting convoys
o Started to be taken hostages
Principle of neutrality of UN impractical on the ground
Concentration camps in 1993 extraordinary shock, European countries reluctant
to intervene as had humanitarian troops on the ground, any intervention might
mean that troops would be shot at
When finally decided to intervene three years later, took two weeks to remove
troops in Serbia
x First conflict after WWII was huge failure for international community
First Gulf War of 1991
- Saddam Hussein decided to invade Kuwait, money being number one reason
- At that time, US succeeded to build largest coalition at international level including with Arab
o Huge force sent to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait
o Resolved in three months
- First conflict where media broadcast peculiar image of conflict, Pentagon decided to show
videos of a missile striking a bridge or the second floor of a building
o Some analysts asked whether it was the real war broadcast on TV, did images have
anything to do with reality of conflict
- Apparition of smart weapons in that conflict shocked the world
o Only 7% of bombings were made of smart weapons, rest was classic carpet bombings
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