WAR – MANOJ SOUNDARRAJAN

Author : Manoj Soundarrajan
Company : UST Global
Email : manojtdm@gmail.com

WAR

A war apparently seems a little word of these letter but its effects are always very harmful. Wars break out for various reasons. There are wars between countries or nations and within the nation. The latter is generally known as a civil war and can occur as a result of differences based on race, religion, socio-economic dissatisfaction among others. Whether wars are waged between countries (interstate) or inside the country between different sections of the communities, the effects are very damaging. The violence of war is life threatening which can never resolve any dispute. Both the parties practicing war ends in social and economic loss as it is said by john S.C Abbott that “War is the science of destruction” The one involved in war only end up in loss of lives socially and economically therefore the peaceful talks would be more beneficial to solve the disputes. Peaceful negotiation are safe to dissolve a conflict then to lead a war and end in cruelty as it is said by Chief Joseph that “Better to live in peace than to begin a war and lie dead” Therefore reconciliation is the appropriate way to resolve a burning issue. But, somehow, in spite of all pious intentions the war clouds still hover over the horizons in this part of the world or that and permanent peace seems just a dream worthy to be fulfilled but not fully fulfilled.

When there is a war and when it ends, one power is the victor and the other the vanquished. The victor revels in glory and the vanquished wreaths in pain, Even the victors have hundreds and thousands of homes destroyed; women rendered widows, children rendered orphans and the vanquished have still many more calamitous after effects to suffer. It is only some territories and lands that are won and lost and that alone are the gains that war achieves.

The other gain of war, if that could be called a gain at all, is that the victor gets regarded as a great power, feared and awed by others.

Alexander the Great, was a great conqueror and conquered countries after countries; the Romans spread their empire on large tracts of land; Tamurlaine got the renown of having ravaged countries after countries to bring under his sway; Mahmud Ghazni, attacked India seventeen times only to carry cart and camel loads of treasures and wealth; Ashok fought a bloody battle in Kalinga; Akbar was faced with the relentless encounters with Rana Pratap.

Napoleon and Bismarck came to be regarded as great soldiers; — all these are names in history that fought and fought only to vanquish foes and gain territories or loot the riches. But with what results? Wars cause havoc in human life; they destroy the finer sensibilities of human nature and arouse hatred, jealousies; crooked conspiracies and such other base instincts of human nature.

H.G. Wells has rightly pointed out ‘Hundreds and Thousands of men uniformly dressed, carrying diverse deadly weapons go to the theatre of war, killing those whom they do not know and who have done them no wrong.

The World War II brought about the horrors of devastation in the form of the dropping of the atom bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima turning the towns into filthy rubble and rendering men, women and children either dead or maimed for life. Only America could claim to have emerged into a great power. This was the gain of this war.

War wastes the resources of a country, those resources which could better have been applied for the good use of human welfare. It drains away all those means of energy which could have helped in establishing flourishing industries; it would devastate those lands which could have seen verdurous crops growing and giving to the general populace plenty of food.

The mind of men, during war, remains overshadowed with a sense of insecurity and danger and no constructive thinking could ever get a chance to flourish. Mankind sees the worst of human nature during a war-except some heroism and some exceptional valour on the part of some soldiers. The overall loss in the sphere of human nature is far greater than the overall gain.

But when a nation enjoys peace, there are gains all around. The wealth of the nation is saved to be put to good use in the welfare of the people; projects of general welfare get launched; art, architecture, literature all thrive only during peace.

Chandra Gupta Maurya was a great warrior and could face even the forces of the great conqueror, Alexander the Great, but could not have the great intellectual gems in his court as the Chandra Gupta Vikramaditya of the Gupta dynasty could have. This was only because the Gupta period saw a reign of peace and the mind of men found the suitable atmosphere to thrive and to think.

So long that Akbar kept fighting battles for a long period of his reign; nothing much could be achieved but when peace prevailed thereafter during his rule, he built the Agra Fort, the Fatehpur Sikri and he had in his court the great intellectuals and the great thinkers and that was the golden period of his reign. Could Taj Mahal have been built by Shah Jahan if he had remained engaged in warfare?

The Elizabethan Age became the golden age of ‘literature only when peace prevailed after the defeat of the Spanish Armada. The English established their sway beyond their territories and when all wars were over the Victorian Age saw peace prevail and science, industry, ”treasure, democracy — there was an all round development on all fronts in English history.

One of the few predictions that can be made about the war on terror with some confidence is that it will end — all wars eventually do. Such an observation might appear flip, but there is a serious point behind it: the factors that drive international politics are so numerous and so fluid that no political system or conflict can last forever. Thus, some wars end quickly (the Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896 famously lasted for 45 minutes), and others endure (the Hundred Years War lasted for 116 years). Some wars end relatively well (World War II laid the foundation for lasting peace and prosperity), and others lead to further catastrophe (World War I). But they all end, one way or another, and it behooves those living through them to imagine how their conclusions might be hastened and improved.

Einstein said, “I don’t know what kind of weapons will be used in the third world war, assuming there will be a third world war. But I can tell you what the fourth world war will be fought with- stone clubs.” This means that whatever weapons are used in the third world war will knock us back in time because they will be so powerful. That is also the reason he doesn’t know what they will be because they will be so far advanced compared to his time. This is very possible because of the advances some countries have made in their military strength. For example, the United States executed 1054 nuclear tests between July 16, 1945 and September 23,1992. They also executed two nuclear attacks in that period although the number of actual bombs tested in that time period is far greater. The nuclear tests were conducted on an intermittent basis in groups called “operations” or “test series.” Each was conducted in a distinct operation and totally separate from all other operations. The first nuclear test was done in Alamagordo, New Mexico in 1945, it was called Trinity and one bomb was tested. The biggest non-underground one was from 1962-1963 at the Nevada Test Site at the Nellis Air Force Range. It was called Storax, and 56 bombs were tested. In 1963 they started underground testing. Operation Nougat was the first underground test series. So with all of that testing it wouldn’t surprise me, if there was a third world war, that it would send us back in time or even totally demolished the world to the point that it is no more

Where the war on terror is concerned, some of the most instructive lessons can be drawn from the experience of the Cold War, thus named because, like the war on terror, it was not really a war at all. Although the current challenge is not identical to the Cold War, their similarities — as long-term, multidimensional struggles against insidious and violent ideologies — suggest that there is much to learn from this recent, and successful, experience. Just as the Cold War ended only when one side essentially gave up on a bankrupt ideology, the battle against Islamist terrorism will be won when the ideology that underpins it loses its appeal. The Cold War ended not with U.S. forces occupying the Kremlin but when the occupant of the Kremlin abandoned the fight; the people he governed had stopped believing in the ideology they were supposed to be fighting for.

The Cold War is also an excellent example of a war that ended at a time and in a way that most people living through it failed to foresee — and had even stopped trying to foresee. Whereas for the first decade or so the prospect of victory, defeat, or even nuclear war focused minds on how the Cold War might end, by the mid-1960s almost everyone, leaders and the public alike, had started to lose sight of an end as a possibility. Instead, they grudgingly began to focus on what became known as peaceful coexistence. The policy of détente, initiated in the 1960s and pursued throughout the 1970s, is sometimes retrospectively portrayed as a different strategy for bringing the Cold War to an end. But détente was in reality more a sign of resignation to the Cold War’s expected endurance than an alternative way of concluding it. The primary objective was to make the Cold War less dangerous, not to bring it to an end. Ultimately, détente served to soften the image of the West in Soviet eyes, to civilize Soviet leaders through diplomatic interaction, and to lead Moscow into a dialogue about human rights that would end up undermining its legitimacy, all of which did contribute to the end of the Cold War. But this was not the main goal of the strategy.

Détente’s critics were also caught by surprise by the end of the Cold War. President Ronald Reagan, it is true, denounced accommodation in the 1970s and 1980s and began to talk about defeating communism once and for all. But even Reagan’s vision for burying communism was only a “plan and hope for the long term,” as he told the British parliament in 1982. Reagan himself admitted that when he declared, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” in Berlin in June 1987, he “never dreamed that in less than three years the wall would come down.” Reagan and his supporters, moreover, saw the Soviet Union of the late 1970s and early 1980s not as a failing empire in its final stages but as a threatening superpower whose expansion had to be checked.

By the end of the 1980s, when signs of the Soviet Union’s internal rot and external softening were finally starting to become apparent, it was those who later claimed to have foreseen the end of the Cold War who most steadfastly refused to accept that it was happening before their eyes. Even as the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev began to undertake the reforms that would lead to the end of the confrontation with the United States, Americans and others had become so used to the Cold War that they had trouble recognizing what was happening. As the historian John Lewis Gaddis wrote in a 1987 Atlantic Monthly essay, the Cold War had become such a “way of life” for more than two generations “that it simply does not occur to us to think about how it might end or, more to the point, how we would like it to end.” Hard-liners such as the Reagan administration defense official Richard Perle were warning that Gorbachev had “imperial ambitions and an abiding attachment to military power,” while “realists” such as Brent Scowcroft, President George H. W. Bush’s national security adviser, were “suspicious of [Gorbachev’s] motives and skeptical about his prospects.” As late as April 1989, the Central Intelligence Agency, whose job it was to identify important geopolitical trends, was still predicting that “for the foreseeable future, the USSR will remain the West’s principal adversary,” a view that was shared by the American public at large. When asked by pollsters in November 1989 — just after the Berlin Wall fell — whether they thought the Cold War had ended, only 18 percent of respondents said that it had, while 73 percent said it had not. It was only when the vast majority of Americans had finally given up on ever seeing the end of the Cold War that it actually came to an end.

The attacks of September 11, 2001, instantly energized conservative think tanks, which mobilized to create a policy framework equal to the unfolding story. The neoconservative-influenced American Enterprise Institute (AEI) maintained a close relationship with the Bush administration throughout its tenure, and today accommodates former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, one of the core architects of thewar on terror framework. In addition to hundreds of specific policy commentaries supporting aspects of the war, including the military action in Iraq and the investments in robust domestic defense capabilities, AEI also authored a reinvigorated cultural narrative of an exceptional United States of America. Three days after the first attacks on Afghanistan, resident AEI scholar Michael Ledeen wrote stirringly that:

“We have rediscovered the roots of our national character, which are an unshakeable confidence in the rightness of our mission, deep religious conviction, and a unique ability to come together to prevail against frightening obstacles… Next time, we must dismiss those who tell us that all people are the same, all cultures are of equal worth, all values are relative, and all judgments are to be avoided.Part of the rightness of that mission, as it is expressed in many AEI documents, lies in the ability to restore the country’s lost national virility. The actual events and relations entailed in the 2001 attacks on the homeland are, in AEI’s telling, merely one of many plot turns in the larger tale of a rugged nation and its ability to project its power at will onto an awestruck world.

The victorious in war exploits the conquered people. The example is the occupation of Germany and Japan by the forces of the allied countries. If the axis powers had won the war, they would have exploited the Allies in the same, if not in a worse way.

Is it possible to do any better anticipating how, when, and why the war on terror might end? The war on terror will probably also last for a considerable amount of time. But assuming that it will not go on forever, what will the end of that war look like when it comes? And what does a realistic assessment of what victory in the war on terror might look like say about the way it should be fought?

India today is required to divert a very sizeable part of the nation’s budget in defending its frontiers. She had to spend 600 crores over the recent Kargil war, Pakistan stands completely depleted in its economy and the people there are suffering a miserable life. If the two countries had been at peace all these resources could well have been used and utilized for the people which could have brought a vibrant smile on the faces of so many. India won the Kargil war; the country’s honour was saved and the heroism of her soldiers proved but at what tremendous cost. The defense preparedness is costing India very dear; but there is no escape so long as war clouds hover over the horizons of the Himalayan border.

The effects of war are both physical and psychological. Human societies are deeply affected by wars as residential areas, public infrastructure, hospitals and the very basis of human existence are destroyed. Malaysia too experienced war when it was once occupied by the Japanese and people faced many hardships and challenges to meet their basis needs. The Japanese only surrendered when the unconventional weapons or better known as nuclear weapons were used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki which took thousands of lives and maimed as well crippled thousands of people exposed to radiation. Thankfully, most warring nations still use conventional weapons like grenades, rockets and otters which do not inflict that kind of damage as nuclear weapons.

Wars bring untold miseries as well as political and economic instability. People’s lives and daily existence come under threat. It would be difficult to find jobs or live our normal day-to-day existence. Populations are displaced and have to constantly move about for security. What is happening in Darfur, Sudan is a dire reflection of the tragedy wars bring. Some are scarred emotionally and physically for life.

War is made to settle a conflict, but if you look at the results a nation neither wins nor looses. If they ‘win’ they lose people and money; if they ‘lose’ they lose people, money, and the argument. There is no real way to stop war because it revolves around the government and it goes based usually on what they choose. They want power and war helps them get that power. Life can’t be perfect not even the world. Nothing can’t be full of ‘rainbows and unicorns’, and it is difficult to make peace, but we can start from somewhere. A man named Baudouin once said, “It takes twenty years or more of peace to make a man; it takes only twenty seconds of war to destroy him.”

Thus, humans must avoid wars at all cost. The only way we can protect our lives and ensure stability in our country is to practice tolerance and respect for each otter. Or else, we too would become extinct like the dinosaurs!

Gaza–Israel and Ukraine wars also took lot of lives. We should take necessary steps to stop the war on worldwide.

“STOP WAR.START PEACE”

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