Judging about “just wars”
The true essence of war as a quintessential social phenomenon has largely been denoted as a fight between groups of human societies whereby the groups entailed savage tribes in the primitive times and states in the civilized periods. Viewed through the lens of history, many instances demonstrate the assertiveness of nations and various leaders as they waged war, simultaneously questioning the agenda of their enemies. This tradition paved the way for the evolution of just war theory and it has long been incorporated by the scholars of international relations in the pursuit of understanding the dynamics of war and interstate disputes across the globe. This essay attempts to probe into the dynamics of five cases namely, Sino-Vietnamese War in 1979, Falkland War, attack on Libya from an international coalition in 2011, Russian occupation of Crimea in 2014, and the attack from United States of America and Russia on the ISIS’s positions in Syria.
According to the basic abstractions of many studies, war is the most violent form of association between the two states. Deeply anchored in human history and broader culture, war is primarily categorized as an institutional invention and is regarded as an organized activity. Unlike individual killing, war requires a multitude of factors to fulfill, for instance, the political support from the citizens is a vital requirement before waging war in addition to the timely training and mobilization of armed forces and production of weapons CITATION Kim94 \l 1033 (Kimball).
The events revolving around the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia and subsequent occupation has widely been recognized as the pre-cursor for driving the conflict which led to the Sino-Vietnamese war in 1979. Consequently, the ouster of the Pol Pot regime which was essentially pro-Beijing in nature proved to be the final nail in the coffin for China and it primarily condemned this action by Vietnam. Described as Vietnamese hegemony, backed up by Russian imperialism, the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia was strongly condemned by China. In spite of sharing Marxist ideologies, Vietnam and China have had a complex and conflicting relationship. This war was the last alternative China had several reasons for launching this attack. Pot Pol regime toppled by Vietnam was an unfavorable action and China wanted to punish Vietnam for it. Chiefly concerned about the increasing prevalence of socialism and Soviet influence in the region, China had no option but to wage war against Vietnam, garnering a blow to the Soviet prestige in the region CITATION Cha16 \l 1033 (Chang). Although this was the last alternative option available to the attacking nation, the Sino-Vietnamese War cannot be considered as a just war. In the case of the Falklands War, the prevailing disputes had a history of over two centuries and the war was fought between the British and the Argentines. There was a pursuit of the sovereignty of the Islands by both nations but it is a historical instance that official declaration was absent from either side of this war. The intention from both sides was righteous by virtue. Potential vindication of the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands and their right of self-determination was the intention of the British to instigate a military action. The foreign military intervention in Libya is a strict departure from the requirements of just war theory. The issue of intention derived from the just war theory implies that the long history of hostilities between Gaddafi and the West was a primary factor to launch this foreign intervention. The primary motivation behind this intervention did not ponder upon any humanitarian concerns CITATION Doy16 \l 1033 (Doyle). Provision of logistics and communications in complex missions, creating a safe environment for instigating negotiations with the sitting head of state are some of the alternatives that could be deployed instead of exceeding the United Nations Resolution Mandate CITATION Bar11 \l 1033 (Bartu). The use of force in the intervention was not a last resort nor did it seem harmonious with the true democratic needs and desires of the Libyan people. In spite of prevalent expectations, the intervention was executed by North Atlantic Treaty Organization with maximum damage, therefore other alternatives such as negotiations or peace talks with the sitting president of Libya at that time could have been explored. As far as the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 is regarded, it has been decreed as a severe violation of the rules and regulations of international law. Instead of invading Crimea, Russia could have negotiated but this did not happen. Finally, in the case of the United States and Russian interventions in Syria to destroy ISIL territories in Syria also is not the last option left for these two superpowers to address the issue at hand. The actions of both the governments overseas could be chiefly focused on hampering and disrupting the networks spread across various regions that are supporting ISIL. Allocation of increased resources to law enforcement agencies and intelligence departments, operational barriers and hurdles can be established for terrorist activities across the globe. Additionally, limited influence can be used in Syria by the Russian Federation and the United States for the promotion of a political change so that it is difficult for ISIL to take advantage of the grievances of Sunni Arabs CITATION Dav17 \l 1033 (Davis). Furthermore, military operations could have been restricted so that civilian casualties in the aftermath of this war could have been avoided.
As a result of enduring Vietnamese ignorant attitude for a long time, Chinese troops were deployed in Vietnam. The Chinese army in this case and the government are considered as legitimate authorities because China has always been overly concerned about the influence of the Soviet Union in the East-Asian and South-Asian region in addition to the sanctity of its borders. The Just War theory requires that war must be initiated by a sovereign and political authority that primarily allows distinctions of justice. In the case of the Falklands War, both nations acted in a just manner and did not coincide in their pursuit of being the legitimate authority. There was no formal declaration of war by either side in the Falklands War. In line with the preceding analyses, there is no need to inquire whether the Argentine Junta or the state authority was legitimate or not in this sense. Viewing through another lens, it might be noted here that some research scholars have argued that the wars and disputes that are waged and initiated with the consent and full knowledge of the citizens and army of the states involved are legitimate. The intervention of NATO in Libya during 2011 while being extremely controversial also failed to delineate its true objectives. The underpinnings of this intervention were under the framework of Responsibility to Protect, it is quite evident from the statistics and in-depth analyses that the priority for NATO was the regime change. The alteration of achieving the apparent objectives leads to interrogate the entirety of this foreign military intervention and simultaneously questions the legitimacy of NATO as well as one of the central requirements to validate the just war theory. There is a commonly believed assumption among a larger majority of Russians maintaining that Crimea has always been an integral and dynamic part of Russia. To tell the truth, most of the historical accounts point to the fact that the Crimean Peninsula has nothing to do with the Russian Federation and is autonomous in its sovereignty. Therefore, in this case, the legitimacy of Russia in annexing Crimea and waging war is highly questionable. Russian spokesmen were also unable to present credible evidence for the state's actions and chose to play a defense card but reflections and overviews over the Russian arguments regarding this matter have managed to establish that Russian annexation of Crimea does not have a constitutional basis which questions Russian authority in waging this war CITATION Gar16 \l 1033 (Gardner). There is no moral justification of the U.S. led intervention followed by Russia in Syria. The competent authorities in the Syrian war are questionable because Donald J. Trump and Putin have bypassed the opinion held by the significant majority of their parliaments, thus all the dynamics of these interventions can be called into question by the International Court of Justice CITATION Phi19 \l 1033 (Phillips).
Some of the historical causes which paved the way for the Sino-Vietnamese War include hegemonic aims by Vietnam, threats posed by Vietnam regarding Chinese borders, and the Soviet Union’s persistent attempts to expand its influence in Southeast Asia CITATION Mac16 \l 1033 (MacDonald). These causes cannot be categorized as wrongful acts or manifestations of armed aggression or armed violence. The Falklands War also did not redress a wrongful act. There was no instance in the history of British and Argentine that can be categorized as armed violence. Rather it was the case of a sovereign dispute over the Falkland Islands. The goal of NATO's military intervention led by the United States of America was to prevent a massacre and protect Libyan citizens from the then-dictator of state, Al- Gaddafi. After seven months of the initial intervention, the military mission expanded massively and there was a transition in its aims. From the protection of civilians, the foreign military intervention in Libya shifted its objective stance to a change in regime. Therefore, this war also did not start to redress a wrongful act. It was instigated by the Obama administration in 2011 so that military intervention can be proliferated into a dynamic campaign in the pursuit of regime change in Libya. The Crimean operation and eventual annexation was a timely response to NATO's threat of expansion along the western border of Russia. Deploying this logic, Putin annexed the peninsula in the pursuit of preventing the dangerous possibility of Ukraine joining NATO. The imperialist perspective declares this annexation as a Russian strategy to slowly recapture all those territories which were previously a part of the Soviet Union CITATION Tre16 \l 1033 (Treisman). Although these two interpretations of Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula are extremely hostile and power-seeking in the true essence, still these do not justify the instigation of this war. This annexation is also regarded as an impulsive decision by many research scholars of international decisions, therefore it can be concluded that this was not redressing a wrongful act CITATION Gra15 \l 1033 (Grant). The war crimes committed by insurgent groups and Islamic State fighters have led the Russian and American governments to intervene in the Syrian Civil War. Crime investigators stipulated that ISIL groups committed deadly attacks on American civilians and used them as human shields, which left no option for America but to demolish the ISIL territories in Syria. These interventions partly redress the wrongful attacks by Syria but the big picture portrays Syria as a victim in global politics.
The original goals of China in waging a limited war against Vietnam were both political and military including the jeopardy of Soviet Union's global reputation, strengthen Den Xiaoping's influence in China, and pursuit of aids from the western superpowers. Although from a military perspective, China could not meet its objectives, yet it attained all its political goals. Peace was never a goal for the instigation of this war, therefore its establishment cannot be determined adequately. China succeeded in accomplishing the major strategic goals but many innocent Vietnamese and Chinese lives were lost in the process. Diplomacy in the relations between the British and Argentine nations was not restored and peace was not maintained until the end of the 1980s after the end of the Falklands War. The propagation of 'the sovereignty umbrella', a formula that led Argentina to surrender at the end of this conflict established peace in the region and paved the way for further negotiations and talks about those matters who garnered mutual interest from both nations. Conventional wisdom about NATO's intervention in Libya during 2011 is wrong which entails that this intervention was peaceful. It was never peaceful but violent from the very start. The main objective of the intervention was not the protection of civilians, rather it was strategically designed to overthrow the dictator regime of Gaddafi. In this process, many Libyans were harmed and the risk to civilians was amplified manifold. Western powers and various sanctions still condemn the Russian annexation of Crimea and there is a general acceptance that there is no possibility that Russia will return the Peninsula to Ukraine in the next foreseeable future. Until then, the geopolitical tensions will perturb the peaceful fabric in the region. The Russian and American interventions in Syria have destroyed ISIL territories and chiefly destructed the civilian lives and prospects. The demilitarization of the Syrian war has remained the top-most agenda of many peace processes in the United Nations but the realization of 'peace' remains a distant goal. Military interventions from Russia and America have led this conflict to last longer than the Second World War.
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