Retro

The war has a retrograde feel says Charlie. I believe* it’s only the third conventional war between two countries since the Gulf war. They were far more common during the cold war era.

The other was the Ethiopia-Eritrea war**, and…Iraq. One hopes retro hasn’t become fashionable following a weakening of the international law. That would be very, very bad.

*Clashes between India and Pakistan and Ecuador and Peru didn’t involve declarations of war, although his war may still turn out to be as brief, we can hope, though maybe with a bigger death toll. The Armenia-Azerbaijan war went on after the Gulf war, but started as a conflict within the Soviet Union in the late 80s.

** So two out of three wars involves countries recently separated, which gives them a slightly retro civil war feel, which I suppose is a hopeful thought.

13 thoughts on “Retro

  1. I guess the African World War doesn’t count because it involved multiple belligerents on both sides?

  2. No, because it was a civil war with foreign meddling. I’m sure the foreign troops sometimes dirctly engaged each other, but only within Kongo.

    Or something. Whatever it was, it wasn’t a very conventional war.

  3. Actually I’m not convinced that conventional interstate wars were more common during the cold war era, unless you count “substitute” civil wars fueled by great powers’ interests. Of the old school wars, there were about two or three per decade. The pretty strong taboo against border changes – itself partly a result of the cold war – probably played a role there. Not that the non-conventional violence was any better for the people affected…

  4. Hm, really?

    1940s: India/Pakistan I, Arab-Israeli War.
    1950s: Korea, Suez.
    1960s: Congo, India/Pakistan II, Vietnam, the Six Day War, and that weird Football War between Honduras and El Salvador.
    1970s: India/Pakistan III, Yom Kippur, Cyprus, Ogaden, Afghanistan.
    1980s: Iran/Iraq, Falkland, Panama, Mauritania/Senegal.

    Probably left out some, but I don’t see much of a pattern.

  5. > I believe* it’s only the third conventional war between two countries since the Gulf war.

    You forgot 1999: War between US & allies and Serbia. If that was not conventional war, I do not know what it was.

    And you westerners can stop mentioning rules and law — law didn’t apply to Serbia. US decided to bomb Serbian infrastructure, bridges, TV towers across whole country unilaterally, without UN resolution — for 78 days, to get it to sign capitulation on their terms.

    It is exactly same thing Russia is doing now — bombing Georgia until it capitulates and accept peace on Russian terms.

    8 years ago, it was Serbia, today it is Georgia… Basically, whole international system of checks and balances is thrown out the window and we will yet see whole effects of it.

    When US recognized Kosovo independence, it violated UN SC resolution 1244, which says:

    “Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the other States of the region, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act and annex 2,”

    “Reaffirming the call in previous resolutions for substantial autonomy and meaningful self-administration for Kosovo,”

    “A political process towards the establishment of an interim political framework agreement providing for substantial self-government for Kosovo, taking full account of the Rambouillet accords and the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the other countries of the region,”

  6. The Kosovo war of 1999 was sort of a conventional war, but recognition of Kosovo’s independence has relatively little to do with it. You know, autonomy for Kosovo Albanians /and/ full civil rights within Serbia might have been an option. Strangely, the Serbian side was never prepared to put that on the table.

  7. > You know, autonomy for Kosovo Albanians /and/ full civil rights within Serbia might have been an option. Strangely, the Serbian side was never prepared to put that on the table.

    Serbia is still offering highest possible autonomy (short of independence).

    Problem is that Kosovo Albanians never accepted that they are part of Serbia. I remember clearly that, as far as I can remember (60’s), Albanians never willingly accepted Serbia as their state.

    I think that Slobodan was stupid when he got sucked up in believing that he can solve Kosovo question. In 1990, Kosovo Albanians withdraw completely from public life of Serbia. Some were (stupidly) laid off from jobs, but majority of them simply refused to take orders from Serbs and walked out on their jobs. I know that policemen were given option by their Albanian brethren: Either they leave Serbian police or their family will suffer. And Albanians are not joke about that — if they say they are going to kill your daughter, you can count that they will.

  8. What about Israels adventure in Lebanon the other summer?

    Or Ethiopias recent invasion of Somalia?

  9. What about Israels adventure in Lebanon the other summer?

    Didn’t involve the Lebanese Army.

    Or Ethiopias recent invasion of Somalia?

    Ethiopian support for one of the factions (the TFG) in the Somali civil war.

  10. Ethiopia’s invasion, was an intervention in a civil war, supporting the recognized government. Israel didn’t fight the Lebanese army, so not conventional, but arguably still example of int’l norms weakening.

    Bombing Serbia was against int’l law, but I wouldn’t call it a war.

    I find all three of these lamentable, I should say.

  11. You wouldn’t call the Kosovo War a war? That’s like talking of “unlawful combatants”…

  12. Bombing Serbia was against int’l law, but I wouldn’t call it a war.

    Well, it was war for me and my family. When foreign bombers fly every night over your head for 78 days, destroy your bridges, TV towers, television stations, buildings, hotels, passenger trains, power infrastructure, you call it a war.

    And for Russian bombing of military targets ~50km outside separatist regions, US doesn’t have right to call it ‘disproportionate’ when they destroyed all bridges over Danube in town of Novi Sad (where local government was headed by anti-Milosevic parties, BTW), 300km north from Kosovo.

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