War, Conflict and Development – Key Terms

War and Conflict, Definitions of Key Concepts

War – organized, armed, and often a ‘prolonged conflict’ that is carried on between states, nations, or other parties. It is intentional and widespread armed conflict between political communities

Civil War – a war where the forces in conflict belong to the same nation or political entity and are vying for control of or independence from that nation or political entity

Terrorism – “The use or threat of action designed to influence the government or an international governmental organisation or to intimidate the public, or a section of the public; made for the purposes of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause

Old Wars – e.g. WII – based around an alliance of Nation States involving the whole might of the nation in producing heavy scale military machinery (tanks/ fighter jets) and hundreds of thousands of troops.

New Wars – typical conflicts today which tend to be civil wars and are  much smaller scale than ‘old wars’ and involve small arms (guns), often fuelled by ethnic differences and funded by ‘shadow economies’

The global shadow economy – refers to the illegal trade in the trafficking or arms, drugs and diamonds.

War, Conflict and Development – Key Case Studies 

The Rwandan Genocide (1990s) Where Hutus massacred 800 000 Tutsis – a good example of ethnic tension resulting in mass murder

The Sierra-Leone and Liberian Civil Wars (late 1990s-2000s)– mainly explained through Paul Collier’s theory of the resource curse – very much fueled by the global shadow economy (‘blood diamonds)

The U.S. War on Iraq (2003) demonstrates how the West continue to use war to secure resources, just like in Colonial times according to Dependency Theory.

The Syrian Civil War (2010s) the latest civil war, mainly caused by political oppression, illustrates how civil wars can break out even in relatively developed countries

War, Conflict and Development – Key Theories

Paul Collier – 5 Main causes of civil war: primary product exporters, Diasporas, high male unemployment, ethnic conflict, dispersed populations (mountains/ desserts)

Paul Collier – Bottom Billion Theory – ethnic conflict, corruption, the resource curse – all linked with underdevelopment and conflict – e.g. Liberia/ Democratic Republic of Congo.

Noam Chomsky – The United States is the ‘world’s biggest terrorist’, based on its mostly illegal interventions in 50 countries since WWII – e.g. practically every Latin and South American country.

Naomi Klein – The Shock Doctrine – The United States uses war and its aftermath to advance neoliberal policies when people are in shock – e.g. Chile (1973) and Iraq (2003)

David Harvey – The war on Iraq was all about securing oil for the benefit of American consumers.

Modernisation Theory – there is less conflict in wealthy countries – people have more to lose, thus tend to sort out differences peacefully.

Dependency Theory – developed nations mainly drive war and conflict in conjunction with arms companies such as BAE systems.

Feminism – most wars are fueled by male aggression: governments, arms companies, and armies are predominantly male institutions.

Direct effects of war – include immediate effects such as higher death rates and the destruction of infrastructure.

Indirect effects of war – include the longer term effects such as displacement of people (refugees), and the destruction of the social fabric, and poverty.

Ending conflict as the primary development goal – conflict costs the global economy $13 trillion a year. It can send every other aspect of development (health/ education etc.) into reverse.

The Global Peace Index – measures the level of peacefulness in over 100 countries using over 20 indicators including number of battle deaths, number of terrorist incidents, arms expenditure and so on.

Related Posts

War, Conflict and Development – Test Yourself on Quizlet!

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