Thursday, January 5, 2023

A summary of current conflicts


Strategy Page has just published its annual list of armed conflicts, wars, insurrections, rebellions, terrorism and other nasties.  They update it every year, so that those of us with an interest in the subject can find a potted summary of almost any fight and dig deeper from there.

This is our annual summary of current war zones and an overview of where it is all heading. After this overview there is the alphabetical list of the war zones and a quick summary of how the local mayhem has been proceeding. Since we have been covering this sort of thing for over twenty years now there are many war zones that have gone quiet, we left most of those in summary, with a note that those wars had gone dormant, and maybe extinct. History shows that dormant is more common than extinct. Forever wars, or at least multi-century ones, are an ancient tradition.

. . .

Aside from the Russian war in Ukraine, the rest of the world is a lot more peaceful than the headlines or Internet chatter would have you believe. Like most major trends, world peace just kind of sneaked up on everyone and a lot of people have not noticed. Thanks to modern tech, mainly ubiquitous access to cell phones and the Internet, any mayhem anywhere on the planet easily becomes another news item for a global audience. This gives the impression of more violence when it is nothing more than unprecedented general public access to news of violence that, until recently, was never broadcast worldwide and accompanied by video. That gives a false impression which has not been widely acknowledged. Historians, anthropologists and archeologists have found that centuries ago life was a lot more violent while we have long known that life spans then were much shorter. This is still the case with surviving tribal and Stone Age cultures as well as what we have come to call “failed states” like Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan.

While there are still a few stone-age cultures left on the planet, there are also several more advanced ones that are cursed with a culture of medieval mayhem. These are the failed states and the most active ones, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan are often in the news. There are still a few imperial powers making headlines as they try to rebuild lost empires. Most empires disappeared over the last two centuries but several have survived and are trying to bring back the good old days, for the emperor and his cronies, of power and glory. Empires are dictatorships because democracy and imperial behavior do not mix. The troublesome empires currently in the news include China, Russia, Iran, Turkey and the Islamic Caliphate. Turkey, Russia and Iran are technically democracies but for the moment the imperial spirit is ascendant and the main cause of problems is aggression towards neighbors who were once part of their empire. The most active current example is Russia, which is actively seeking to reclaim Ukraine, Belarus, and the three Baltic States. All of these were part of the Soviet Union until the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, with the loss of half its population and some of the most productive territories. None of these former Soviet territories have asked to rejoin the empire and many have joined NATO in an effort to keep the Russians out. All but Ukraine had joined NATO by 2021 and Ukraine's efforts to join was seen by Vladimir Putin as a threat to Russia.

Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, deaths from wars and large-scale civil disorder, which is often recorded as some kind of war, has led to a sharp drop in violence worldwide.

There's more at the link.  Conflict areas and war zones are listed in alphabetical order by country, so you can easily find those that interest you.  Useful and informative reading.



Mind your own business said...

"Most empires disappeared over the last two centuries but several have survived and are trying to bring back the good old days, for the emperor and his cronies, of power and glory."

Don't forget the young up-and-comer, the USA. Our neocons are trying hard to make us the least respected colonial power on the planet.

Francis Turner said...

Of course if the PRC does more than saber rattle over Taiwan that will change things drastically in the on-going wars front