2007/11/01

War within Europe

The exhausting effect of World War Two and the unifying effect of common enemies turned both Eastern and Western Europe into quite peaceful regions during the Cold War. Europe saw conflicts and even a civil war in this time, but no inter-state war.
People became used to living in peace with each other apparently, as we saw no inter-state wars in former Warsaw Pact or NATO countries since then as well. The Yugoslavian Wars of 1991-1999 were a very unpleasant variation of the norm, as well as tensions between Greece and Turkey.

So what might lead to intra-European wars in the future?

The old idea of conquest don't seem to be as strong as a few generations ago. Most people realize that land mass does not equal wealth or power, even own natural riches are dispensable. Germany, Italy and Japan began to flourish once they gave up expansionism.

Conflicts of religion are hardly imaginable. The Balkans had their semi-religious conflicts in the Yugoslavian War, and the borderline between Christian and Muslim regions is mostly on Europe's edges.
Minority insurgencies based on religion (like German Muslim Turks vs. German state and so on) are quite unlikely as the immigrants dominate no territories and it's excessively difficult to even launch an insurgency if your supporters are a minority everywhere. They cannot claim any territory for the same and historical reasons.

Wars over natural resources are unlikely as well. Europe has much less natural resources than it uses, which makes its own resources an asset of minor importance. Water is only short in South and Southwest Europe and even then it's much simpler to fix the water transport system than to wage war.

Wars over trade opportunities (like control over pipelines or harbors) offer little good reasons for war as well.

War over influence/power. That's the Russia card. A direct confrontation between nuclear powers about something secondary like prestige or influence seems not advisable. It might happen that the West-East conflict causes wars in or between smaller influenced nations in East Europe (Moldavia, possible Ukraine civil war) or Russia's southern periphery (Caucasus), though.
Another possibility is that the Western world divides into two alliances, with some European nations allying with non-European nations (like UK with USA and so on).

Finally there's war over ethnics.
It' likely good thing that Hungary is only a small power as Hungarian enclaves exist in many of its neighboring countries. The ethnic cleansing in former Yugoslavia has apparently been thorough and might prevent future wars. Conflicts may arise around the Albanians which live in Kosovo and Macedonia and not only in Albania itself.
One of the safest way to cause a war is to put several nationalities into one state, rule the state with marginal or no democracy and wait till it collapses.
This happened in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Soviet Union, Austria-Hungary and a couple of other states which had well-developed nationalities (instead of just tribes like African mixed states) on their territory.
Can anybody explain to me why so many politicians want to enlarge and empower the European Union while accepting that it offers less democracy (especially ridiculously indirect-indirect-indirect democracy that assures that the voters have no significant power anymore)?

The current development of the EU to a state with marginal democracy is laying the foundations for an intra-European war of secession by 2030-2060. The potential of this is in my opinion greater than that of many other imaginable intra-European conflicts.

Sven Ortmann

1 comment:

  1. Great idea about the EU causing a war. You might on the other hand see that many European secessionists want to join the EU together. In my opinion war derives from the desire to not solve a dispute through discussion. The Spanish Civil War is one example of that kind.
    Futhermore you didn't mention predatory wars like the planned Second World War. The predation was about land, resources and exploiting people as slave labour, but it also contained theft of intellectual property on a large scale. The victors also appropriated themselves of the intellectual property spoils of knowledge that otherwise would have been well guarded by specific groups. Part of the theft was also involuntary movement of specialists for exploitation of their skills and know-how. That's similar to the old concept of stealing specialists and exploit them as slaves practiced through the ages. The Mongols were made notorious for their slaughtering all inhabitants of cities they didn't consider useful, sparing the artisans.
    Another renown war spoil is paper production, the Muslim army captured Chinese specialists of this trade in Samarkand and thus created the foundation for several centuries of intellectual progress being distributed on a suitable hardware.
    I'm certain that intellectual property theft will be the major spoil of major future wars. Europe and America are rather hunting grounds in this aspect and you could consider ongoing intellectual theft as something similar to the euphemism "kleiner Grenzverkehr" for the constant small scale raids on the Late Roman Empire's borders.

    ReplyDelete

Use a nickname and stick to it! I may block anonymous comments. Offensive comments may also be blocked, in part due to the duties of a blogger in Germany.