CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
Wars of identities avoid big fights, but with their struggles they arouse fanaticism, broaden territorial spaces and promote violence among the poor to confront them with cosmopolitism, without any long-term solution, because the political aim of new wars in pre-global states is not peace, but a permanent conflict situation
Photo: Freddy Henríquez
Predict how war will be in the future is a risky and complex task, because the revolution in military matters and paradigmatic strategy changes make us consult polemology (Baquert, 2002). This discipline, which studies this social phenomenon scientifically and systematically, based on trends observed during the first years of the 21st century, may help us develop a close prospective analysis of this complex social fact.
Future wars will mainly be sophisticated (robotic), destructive, inhumane and with limitations; they will always go alongside societies and express as hypertechnological C4ISR (Libicki-Kugler-Gampert, 2000) or as identity wars, according to the level of development of the players involved, the responsible global political gravity center and the nature of the conflict.
Hypertechnological war is related to developed countries, with a Clausewitzian view of conflict and an international realistic conception of power, performed by the State as an institution that safeguards the State's unity against any threat. To this end, the State, within the national power, develops the war central player, i.e. the professional military, which attains levels stated by the C4ISR equation, thereby guaranteeing the location of the threat, its engagement and destruction and fulfilling the second reciprocal Clausewitz's action: impose our will on the enemy at any cost. This extreme of future war will impose a war that will have limitations but will be destructive and teach lessons, and will lead to peace, either imposed or negotiated.
The war of identities is associated to pre-global States (Barnett, 2004) with a view close to the so-called new wars (Kaldor, 1999). Groups with particular identities that rebel against an eroded State to exercise the monopoly of legitimate violence are responsible for this kind of war. These groups create transnational identities with ideological, social and economic goals that are immersed in conflicts and have the ability to perform armed operations such as hyper terrorism, subversion and ideological contra-revolutionary fights to seed fear, hatred, and terror and achieve their goals. Wars of identities avoid big fights, but with their struggles they arouse fanaticism, broaden territorial spaces and promote violence among the poor to confront them with cosmopolitism, without any long-term solution, because the political aim of new wars in pre-global states is not peace, but a permanent conflict situation.
Both extreme manifestations, as wars, are today a major concern of polemology, which must discover their nature, ends and causes, but, above all, multiply its knowledge, influence and disseminate the lessons learnt about "causes and players" of future wars.
Future wars will indisputably be caused by demands and pressures of highly industrialized societies on the new world map or resources (Klare, 2003) that mainly belong to pre-global nations that are not willing to give them up easily, in what is known as a new planetary offer equation that invokes a new conflict geography. Conflicts resulting from the desire of the cosmopolitan society to control these strategic and scarce resources of pre-global States are mainly found in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America and they are the "fundamental reason of future wars."
The cosmopolitan society will maneuver with its armed element vis-à-vis the new map or resources in order to advance its interests against crucial, agonic and irreversible antagonisms that make developed States evolve rapidly from geopolitics and geoeconomics to geostrategy, that is, war.
Another cause of the war of the future is the pre-global society itself, due to its political-ideological, economic and technological dislocation which opposes to globalization and reveals profound vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities will brew "threats" in their territories -from terrorism to fanatical revolutionary movements- that lead to fundamentalism and the segmentation of those societies, which, privileged in the new resource map thanks to their commodities, especially energy, bring about a new relationship in the planetary offer equation.
The war of the future, with its arsenal of new weapons, a dominance over the stratosphere and a sophisticated control of information technology and high-tech communications, gives rise to postmodern and premodern military players. The former, following the trend analysis, are based on hypertechnology and their spearhead is robotic war. Robots, while they do not replace military troops, will supplement them and will endure at a large scale to reduce casualties, diminish the cost of war, achieve higher combat effectiveness, and substantially decrease the warlike requirements of developed states. Robotics used in air, sea and land battles will be the trend of the postmodern operational army, and its application has been already observed with the frequent use of remote-controlled aircrafts and reconnaissance vehicles and the use of mine-sweeping robot-soldiers, which, without dismissing the possible use of remote-controlled atomic warheads, guarantee victory in wars.
Players of the war of the future are also the so-called "bands of premodern societies," which consist of dissident, revolutionary or ultra-nationalist groups capable of organizing themselves militarily to sow terror and panic with conventional warlike instrumental, acting as paramilitary forces willing to violently impose a clandestine war, shadow war or black war as a new archetype of war. These players are also capable of operating postmodern weapon systems with an immense damage capability, which sow incalculable terror among the society and even well-trained regular armies.
Identity war as a war of the future is present in some sub-regions of the world, including Latin America, where over the last decade a political-ideological platform contrary to democracy in countries that are against globalization and possess huge reserves of energy commodities has emerged.
Professor in Postgraduate courses at the Universidad Simón Bolívar
Translated by Alix Hernández
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