Wars and conflict have been a part of our human history almost since the beginning of time. We as a civilization have grown up learning in schools about the vast number of great wars from the Medieval Ages all the way to the modern days. War and conflict have been engrained so much into our way of life that we almost instinctively assume that disputes between nations which end up in a bloody conflict is almost normality. Perhaps this is why the majority of citizens do not do enough to protest against wars. Let’s take the United Kingdom for example. Undoubtedly thousands, if not millions, of Brits were angered by the British government’s involvement in recent conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Yet this anger does not truly transform into mass action against conflict. While much of society is displeased with Britain’s warmongering over the years, many simply assume that war is just a way of life.
If thought through in detail war is perhaps the most illogical creation of mankind. Some might argue war is natural, because we humans are animals, and animals often fight and kill each other. This is a valid point; however it does not take into account that humans are the only species on our planet that can use their tongues not just to make noises, but to communicate with language, leading to a beautiful possibility of diplomacy. Others may argue that despite diplomacy, some disputes cannot be solved without the use of violence to measure who is the strongest and thus who makes the rules. While history may back this point up, once again it does not take into account that there are some pockets of society who have never utilised war to resolve a dispute. Buddhists, Kibbutzim in Israel, and even Iceland have never been involved in international wars. A skeptic may argue that such small minorities do not represent the overall picture, but the vital point here is the fact that humans are capable of going through lifetimes without conflicts. Some people argue that guns are to blame for wars, thus as long as nations have some sort of military equipment, war is inevitable. Yet there are a number of nations without armed forces like Andorra, Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, Grenada and others who seem to survive well without militarisation. Perhaps the strongest arguments against the idea that war is natural and inevitable is the fact that at some point during our human history, slavery, the caste system, inferiority of women, dictatorship, human sacrifices were also considered natural and inevitable. Ultimately simply because something seems normal and inevitable now does not necessarily mean it is right to follow through with it.
To put the above theory into practice, one has to ask themselves whether the recent wars in the Middle East and possible future conflicts with Syria and Iran are also inevitable. The Western governments claim that diplomacy will not work with the “barbaric” and “ruthless” terrorists that operate in the Middle East. Yet the fact that the amount of terrorist attacks in the region have increased and that levels of insecurity are higher than ever should demonstrate that the invasions and occupations are also not the answer. Currently Iraq is a crippling disaster with car bombs explosions happening practically every day. The USA has given up on Afghanistan due to rising deaths (2000 deaths for the American troops and countless civilian deaths for the Afghan population). The supply of arms to the rebels in Syria has increased the death total dramatically and the invasion of Iran will lead to catastrophic consequences in the whole region. Perhaps the best option to take is to leave the Middle Eastern region alone. Undoubtedly there are a number of vital problems that need addressing in the region, but the Arab populations are more than capable to solve these themselves. After all, the most peaceful transition of the Arab Spring happened in a county where the West played a minor role (Tunisia).
Evidently conflict and violence will grip the Middle East for some years to come due to instability and recent drastic change. Nevertheless, Western nations frequently claim that they are the creators of peace and diplomacy. Perhaps instead of encouraging violence, the West should live up to its claims and encourage dialogue between different factions in the Middle East. After all, Europe went through the most horrific period of wars and if we have learned anything from that period, it is to not let it happen again somewhere else. Some theorists claim that democracies never go to war with each other. That may be true, but unfortunately over the years democracies have played a crucial role in adding fuel to wars elsewhere. If we as humanity are to carve a path away from the illogical concept of war, we must start treating wars with similar attitude as towards slavery and human sacrifice: disgust and contempt.
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