War and Conflict in the Contemporary world-use the questions to guide you in writing up
1. Why do governments assume that "the more land, the better"?
There is a constant political struggle for land between two or more nations
around the world, where two different countries claiming to own a land area
even though another country controls (or "occupy") it. Whenever a region
asks for independence, usually the central country refuses.
A non-exhaustive list:
Serbia claims Kosovo is theirs;
Pakistan, India and China all 3 considers the Kashmir region to be
Both Argentina and the UK wants the Falkland Islands;
Spain refuses to even consider a possible Catalan or Basque
Both Greece and Turkey wants to control Cyprus;
Both Ukraine and Russia considers Crimea to be their;
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Both Georgia and Russia claim South Ossetia and Abkhazia; and so
It seems like pretty much all geopolitics and wars are based on the
assumption that "more land is better.” Is this assumption historically proven
and contemporary correct? What the benefits of “grabbing” more space (land
and water) and what the negatives could be?
2. Are there benefits to war?
Probably the most common defence of wars is that they are necessary
evils. However, wars are also defended as being in some way beneficial. How
does the war affect winners and victims? E.g., polls in the United States
through the 2003-2011 war on Iraq found that a majority in the U.S. believed
Iraqis were better off as the result of a war that severely damaged Iraq. A
majority of Iraqis, in contrast, believed they were worse off. This is a
disagreement over facts, not ideology. However, people often choose which
facts to become aware of or to accept.
The First World War destroyed empires, created numerous new nation-states,
encouraged independence movements in Europe’s colonies, forced the
United States to become a world power and led directly to Soviet communism
and the rise of Hitler. The Second World War led to a profound change in
political thinking about how states should conduct their relations. During the
Cold War, many advances in science and technology were made possible
because of the arms race. Could be such achievements qualified as benefits
3. In which case is separatism considered legitimate?
What historical background usually gives a nation/minority within another
country legal grounds for separatism in the eyes of the international
community? In international law, the only principle that can be used is the Self
Determination Right, which is recognised by the United Nations. Do you think
that the definition of "nation" is too loose, as some countries have been
authorised to separate according to that principle, while others have had more
difficulty? Could you call the separatism “a nation within a nation”? Similarly, a
few countries are recognised as such by some others, whereas others refuse
to recognise them. Some examples: Taiwan, Israel, Darfur, Palestine, and
others. However, of what kind is such recognition - political or legal?
4. Can a country take over another?
Could a country legally take control over another country? If one country is
falling economically and politically, what will happen if one nation takes control
and merges the two nations? Are there any widely adopted treaties or
agreements that prevent this kind of action? For example, is the Russian
annexation of Crimea legal? What kind of wars are justified by the UN
Based on what the countries, members of the United Nations Security
Council, vote in cases of authorisation of military actions - geopolitical
interests or values. Thus, Russia vetoed war against Syria but earlier did not
oppose military intervention in Libya.
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5. Why does Russia try to stop Ukraine from approaching the EU and
It is widely explained that while the Western capitals see the emergence of a
Europe ‘whole, free and at peace’, Moscow views the continent still
fragmented, still dominated by bloc mentality (given US influence in European
security), and burdened by the ongoing conflict. Where Western capitals see
the “open door” policy and the enlargement of organisations such as NATO
and the EU contributing to wider European stability, Moscow sees the
expansion of these organisations destabilising European security. Where
Western leaders have sought to emphasise partnership with Russia, including
attempting to develop strategic partnership and the creation of numerous
seats at the diplomatic table, Moscow sees itself increasingly isolated, the
mechanisms for interaction failing to provide Moscow with a voice. How do
you see the Russia- Ukraine war through these arguments?