UPDATE : 2017.9.15 금 01:43

[Vol. 73] Forgotten Wars

Even if We Forget, They Never Do 김준환 기자l승인2015.05.08

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War definitely is the worst form of conflict between groups with armed forces. Especially to the Korean people, war has a peculiar meaning. Among our society there are still groups of people who have had firsthand experience of war and to university students, our friends and family are getting the call of duty to serve in the army. But since we are living in the era where most of the nations agree that conflict of interest should be solved with words instead of swords, war does tend to feel like a relic of past. Mankind has witnessed two great wars in the past century and cold war has ended without dropping the nuclear bomb in Washington or Moscow. Basically, we feel safe now and it seems as if the next time weapons of war is in dire need would be during an alien invasion. However, mankind has never seized fire upon each other even as the new century began and war has not become and is not a long past history. Therefore, the process, background and outcome of wars that broke out in near past will be discussed in this article.

 

Closest mankind has got to WW3 in 21st century.

Many speculations and analysis have been made regarding Russo - Georgian war but the most apt one would be that it got us to the brink of a world war breaking out. On August 7th, 2008 Georgia, an ally of U.S. attacked the region of South Ossetia, a region strongly supported by Russia and a region that has claimed its own sovereignty and separation since the end of cold war. During the process of the assault, Georgian forces killed several Russian soldiers who were stationed in the region as a part of United Nations peacekeeping operation. As a result, on August 8th, 2008, Russia invaded Georgia claiming their right to protect its own citizens. On August 12th Georgia officially surrendered to Russia and on 13th, Russia seized fire accepting peace treaty proposed by France.

 

Looking at the process of the war, one might think that this war did not have much impact on the globe. However, when considering the following two things, this unfortunate event poses great impact. Firstly, when Georgia began its attack, no one speculated that Russia would take action. As many would recall, 2008 was the year of Beijing Olympic. Due to this, despite the tension, most of the world did not think that Russia would actually take direct action against Georgia when the whole world gathered to celebrate the event of peace. To everyone's surprise, it was the Russian president himself who notified the former U.S president George W. Bush that Russia is currently at war with Georgia at the opening ceremony of Olympic. Second, had U.S intervened directly, it would have been a military conflict between two super powers. Just like South Ossetia being supported by Russia, Georgian government was strongly supported by U.S. They provided Georgian government’s financial and military support. If U.S decided to protect their ally and took military action it would have meant that they were willing to go on a war against Russia, Which would have led to a third World War. However, American administration's decision was not to intervene and war ended in 5 days with Georgia's complete defeat.

 

War on terrorism.

War on terror signifies political and military actions U.S took after the 9.11 attack in 2001. Although, the term itself, announced by George W. Bush on September 20th 2001, is a vague concept, it triggered two major wars one of which took most strong nation in the world 14 years to conclude.

 

Afghan - Iraq war triggered by the tragic attack of 9.11 began with the support and consent of most nations in the world including Iran who did not have much history of agreeing with the U.S. At first, the war progressed without much anomalies, as ISAF(International Security Assistance Force) was form under the consent of UN Security Council and joint forces invaded with ease. However, mountainous terrain of Afghanistan posed great difficulty to invading forces and cell oriented characteristic of opposing forces made it hard for occupying forces to hold the ground they occupied. Thus, war was prolonged resulting in casualties of two wars being over 7,000 for U.S not including casualties of other supporting nations and its enemies.

 

The result of the war holds its significance in the fact that it devastated the economy of a super power, United States. Its impact gave China to rise as an economic giant and caused people to speculate that there is a possibility that China will surpass U.S in next two decades. Also, it holds its significance in the fact that despite its name, it ironically provoked more terrorism. Anti - Islamic atmosphere has been thickened worse than ever causing internal conflict in the nations with high Islamic population. Anti - West and its supporters’ movement has taken momentum in Middle East to the point it virtually became impossible to travel to most nations in the Middle East excluding few economically developed ones. Consequently, despite its righteous and fair cause, it did more damage than good for both U.S and whole world.

 

So far the article has dealt with the wars that broke out in 21st century. The events that have been mentioned above are not the historical events one sees in a textbook. Those are the events one sees in the morning newspaper and those are the events that are still too hot to go into the textbook. Some might think that those are the events that happen overseas and do not concern them. But we must keep in mind that Korea is the nation that experienced war on its soil less than a century ago. We should also bear in mind that we are living with neighbors of north who is considered to be one of the most unstable and dangerous in the world. Political activist A.J Muste said "There is no way to peace, Peace is the way." Peace, coincidentally, a state of war's absence is the state mankind must strive to achieve. However, we should also not forget that without knowledge and contemplation of war there can be no peace.    


김준환 기자  moragre00@blue.knue.ac.kr
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