War and Terrorism

War

War is an organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict that is carried on between states, nations, or other parties.

Learning Objectives

Recall three possible outcomes of a civil war

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • War entails confrontation with weapons, military technology, or equipment used by armed forces who employ military tactics and operational art within the broad categories of military strategy and military logistics.
  • Warfare refers to the set of techniques used by a group to carry out war.
  • Nuclear warfare is warfare in which nuclear weapons are the primary method of coercing the capitulation of the other side, as opposed to the supporting role nuclear weaponry might take in a more conventional war.
  • Where evenly matched adversaries decide that the conflict has resulted in a stalemate, they may cease hostilities to avoid further loss of life and property.
  • Negotiations between parties involved at the end of a war often result in a treaty.
  • Some hostilities, such as insurgency or civil war, may persist for long periods of time with only a low level of military activity.
  • Negotiations between parties involved at the end of a war often result in a treaty.
  • Some hostilities, such as insurgency or civil war, may persist for long periods of time with only a low level of military activity.

Key Terms

  • insurgency: rebellion; revolt; the state of being insurgent
  • civil war: A war fought between factions of the inhabitants of a single country, or the citizens of a single republic.
  • treaty: A binding agreement under international law concluded by subjects of international law, namely states and international organizations.

War is an organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict that is carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional, and widespread armed conflict between political communities, and it is defined as a form of political violence.

War entails confrontation with weapons, military technology, or equipment used by armed forces who employ military tactics and operational art within the broad categories of military strategy and military logistics. War studies by military theorists have sought to identify the philosophy of war and to reduce it to a military science. Conventional warfare is an attempt to reduce an opponent’s military capability through open battle. Conventional war is declared between existing states in which nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons are not used, or they only see limited deployment in support of conventional military goals and maneuvers. Nuclear warfare is warfare in which nuclear weapons are the primary method of coercing the capitulation of the other side, as opposed to the supporting role nuclear weaponry might take in a more conventional war.

The political and economic circumstances of peace following a war are highly situational—post-war political and economic realities can not be forecasted. When evenly adversaries decide that a conflict has resulted in a stalemate, they may cease hostilities to avoid further loss of life and property. They may decide to restore the pre-war territorial boundaries, redraw boundaries at the line of military control, or negotiate to keep or exchange captured territory. Negotiations between parties involved at the end of a war often result in treaties, such as the Treaty of Versailles of 1919, which ended the First World War.

Some hostilities, such as insurgency or civil war, may persist for long periods of time with a low level of military activity. In some cases a treaty is never reached, but fighting may trail off and eventually stop after the political demands of the belligerent groups have been reconciled, a political settlement has been negotiated, the combatants are gradually killed or decide the conflict is futile, or the belligerents cease active military engagement but still threaten each other.

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Battle of Ravena (1512): The Battle of Ravenna, in which France defeated the Spaniards on Easter Sunday in 1512

Terrorism

Terrorism is an act of violence intended to create fear, which is then leveraged in order to achieve goals.

Learning Objectives

Criticize an instance in history in which the term ”terrorist” or ”terrorism” has been misused to describe a religious group, government, or revolutionary action, using the definition of terrorism in this text

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Terrorism has been practiced by a broad array of political organizations for furthering their objectives.
  • An abiding characteristic of terrorism is indiscriminate use of violence against noncombatants to gain publicity for an individual, group or cause.
  • The perpetrators of acts of terrorism can be individuals, groups or states.
  • Religious terrorism is terrorism performed by groups or individuals, the motivation of which is typically rooted in faith-based tenets.
  • The terms “terrorism” and “terrorist” (someone who engages in terrorism) carry strong negative connotations.

Key Terms

  • perpetrator: One who perpetrates; especially, one who commits an offense or crime.
  • terrorism: The deliberate commission of an act of violence to create an emotional response through the suffering of the victims in the furtherance of a political or social agenda.
  • noncombatant: A non-fighting member of the armed forces

Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. Although the term lacks a universal definition, common definitions of terrorism refer to violent acts intended to create fear (terror). These acts are perpetrated for a religious, political, or ideological goal, and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians).

Terrorism has been practiced by a broad array of political organizations for furthering their objectives. It has been practiced by right-wing and left-wing political parties, nationalistic groups, religious groups, revolutionaries, and ruling governments. An abiding characteristic is the indiscriminate use of violence against noncombatants to gain publicity for a group, cause or individual. Therefore, the power of terrorism comes from its ability to leverage human fear to help achieve these goals.

Terrorists

The terms “terrorism” and “terrorist” carry strong negative connotations. These terms are often used as political labels to condemn such violence as immoral, indiscriminate, or unjustified or to condemn an entire segment of a population. However, some groups, when involved in a liberation struggle, have been called terrorists by the Western governments or media. In some liberation struggles, these same persons can become the leaders or statesman of these liberated nations. Thus, the perpetrators of terrorism can widely vary; terrorists can be individuals, groups or states. According to some definitions, clandestine or semi-clandestine state actors may also carry out terrorist acts outside the framework of a state of war.

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A pro-ETA mural in Durango, Biscay: The ETA is considered a terrorist organization by most governments, but proclaims its own mission to be liberation.

Religious Terrorism

Religious terrorism is performed by groups or individuals, the motivation of which is typically rooted in faith-based tenets. Terrorist acts throughout the centuries have been performed on religious grounds with the hope to either spread or enforce a system of belief, viewpoint or opinion. Religious terrorism does not in itself necessarily define a specific religious standpoint or view, but instead usually defines an individual or group interpretation of that belief system ‘s teachings.

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Terrorist Bomb Attack: A view of damages to the U.S. Embassy in Beirut caused by a terrorist bomb attack, April 1983

Peace

Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict or war.

Learning Objectives

Explain the difference between principled pacifism and pragmatic pacifism, and what they share in common

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the establishment of equality, and a working political order that serves the true interests of all.
  • A peace movement is a social movement seeking to achieve ideals like the ending of a particular war.
  • Principled pacifism holds that at some point along the spectrum from war to interpersonal physical violence, such violence becomes morally wrong.
  • Pragmatic pacifism holds that the costs of war and inter-personal violence are so substantial that better ways of resolving disputes must be found.

Key Terms

  • pragmatic pacifism: Pragmatic pacifism holds that the costs of war and interpersonal violence are so substantial that better ways of resolving disputes must be found.
  • principled pacifism: Principled pacifism holds that at some point along the spectrum from war to interpersonal physical violence, such violence becomes morally wrong.
  • international relations: International relations (I.R.) is the study of relationships between countries, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and multinational corporations (MNCs).

Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict or war. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the establishment of equality, and a working political order that serves the true interests of all. In international relations, peacetime is not only the absence of war or conflict, but also the presence of cultural and economic understanding.

Peace Movements

A peace movement is a social movement seeking to achieve ideals like the ending of a particular war (or all wars), while also minimizing inter-human violence with the goal of achieving world peace. Means to achieve these ends usually include advocacy, non-violent resistance, diplomacy, boycotts, moral purchasing, supporting anti-war political candidates, demonstrations, lobbying to create legislation, and pacifism.

Pacifism

Pacifism is the opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes or gaining advantage. Pacifism covers a spectrum of views ranging from the belief that international disputes should be peacefully resolved. Other views of pacifism include:

  • calls for abolition of the institutions of the military and war
  • opposition to any organization of society through governmental force (anarchist or libertarian pacifism)
  • rejection of physical violence to obtain political, economic or social goals
  • opposition to violence under any circumstance, including defense of self and others

Pacifism may be based on moral principles or pragmatism. Principled pacifism holds that at some point along the spectrum from war to interpersonal physical violence, such violence becomes morally wrong. Pragmatic pacifism holds that the costs of war and inter-personal violence are so substantial that better ways of resolving disputes must be found. Pacifists in general reject theories of a “just war. ”

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Peace Sign: The peace sign, one of several symbols used to represent peace