United Ijaw * Welcome to United Ijaw on the web. Our preference is national self determination, the independence of Ijawnation as a Sovereign State. A state that promotes sustainable economic and social development, democratic principles, liberty, free enterprise, equal rights and justice. This is our story, this is our struggle. **** On Kaiama Declaration We Stand **** United Nations Under Secretary-General, Dr. Antonio Maria Costa, in Abuja condemned the theft of Nigeria's assets by past corrupt leaders. He said that kleptomaniac leaders stole more than 400 billion dollars from the Nigerian treasury between 1960 and 1999. **** IJAWNATION THINK! THINK. **** Almost $170 billion of the country’s wealth disappeared and ended in the private accounts of individuals between 1999 and 2003 alone... Priye Torulagha ****Nigeria has failed Niger Delta – Nnamani **** Resource Control: Niger-Delta governors are traitors – Evah **** Only the fear of a volcanic social eruption from below can stop barbaric behaviour by holders of political power – Gani Fawehinmi ***** “ if the Confab and Nigerians are not willing to heed to Resource Control, they will take it by force” - Oronto Douglas We Dare To Be Different.
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The Congressional Black Caucus releases paper "Breaking the Oil Syndrome: Responsible Hydrocarbon Development in West Africa" on Tuesday, July 19, 2005. .....More >

Priye S. Torulagha

A Treatise on War: Achieving Military Victory in the Modern Era

Introduction: Problem Statement

War is as old as human civilization. At some level, it is regarded as an extension of politics. At another level, it is viewed as politics by other means. There is also the view that war is a failure of politics. In any case, war takes place when political intercourse fails to resolve a misunderstanding or a dispute among nation-states, people or communities. It is an instrument for the acquisition of power, for drastically changing the status quo, for survival, and for destruction. Sometimes, it is extremely very destructive and at other times, not so destructive. War is caused by many factors including (1) the desire for territory, (2) nationalism, (3) the desire for independence, (4) economics, (5) ideological differences, (6) psychological tendencies, (7) ethnic and religious differences, (8) domestic politics, (9) misperceptions, and (10) the structure of the international system (Duncan, Webster, & Switky, 2004, pp.346-353).

Basically, strategies and tactics of war have not changed that much, even though the power to defeat and the power to hurt have changed (Rourke & Boyer, 1996, p. 309). Strategies and tactics that were used by the ancient warriors and fighters, including the Egyptians, Babylonians, Israelites, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Mongolians, Chinese, Mayans, Incans, Zulus etc. are still of much use in the modern era. Quite often, new strategies and tactics are added to the existing ones in an incremental manner. As a result, military methods deployed by Alexander the Great, Cyrus the Great, Hannibal, Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, King Chaka Zulu etc. are still being studied by contemporary military authorities and passed unto officer cadets in military training institutions. Hence, Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Attila the Hun, Emperor Napoleon etc. are still considered to be some of the best military generals that have ever lived. It is, therefore, not surprising that the writings of the Chinese military genius, Sun Tzu, concerning The Art of War , still stands as the best theoretical endeavor on strategy and tactics on war. Likewise, the writings of Chairman Mao Tse Tung (Simonsen & Spindlove, 2000, p. 99) stand out as a classic discourse on the conduct of guerrilla warfare.

While strategies and tactics of war have not changed to any remarkable degree, the weapons of war and the concept of military victory have changed greatly. The weapons of war have undergone gargantuan transformations due to scientific and technological advancement. In the distant and not too distant past, warriors, fighters, and soldiers fought with swords, spears, bows and arrows, catapults, and later canons. They matched on foot, rode horses and wagons (chariots), and row boats, At the early part of the 21st century, warriors, fighters, and soldiers now fight with automatic rifles, machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, grenades, smart bombs, jet-fighters, bombers, spy-planes, long-range artillery batteries, missiles, laser-beams, raider-guided, engine-propelled destroyers, frigates, carriers, submarines, and biochemical weapons. In the past, enemies had to confront each other face-to-face during combat, but in today's world, enemies do not have to see each other before firing missiles hundreds of miles away at each other. In addition, some of the most advanced nation-states (U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea etc) have nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons have the capacity to destroy the entire world many times over.

The other facet of war that has changed tremendously is the notion of military victory. Military victory is an ability of a force or a nation-state to overwhelm another force or nation-state through military confrontation, in such a manner as to defeat and impose its will on the defeated force. For instance, ancient Egypt became a power by systematically defeating and imposing its will on other political entities. In the process, it became a very dominant military and political power in the region for centuries. All the empires that have ever existed did so on the basis of overwhelmingly defeating their opponents in military confrontations and compelling the defeated entities to become their political, military, and economic subjects and appendages.

In the past, it appeared that the notion of military victory or defeat was very clear and decisive. Military victory was generally characterized by a decisive victory and or a decisive defeat. A typical war characterized by a total victory was the total defeat of the Canaanites by the Israelites, thereby, resulting in the total annihilation of the Canaanites. In fact, up to the end of the 2nd World War, it seemed that a substantial number of the wars were characterized by either total victories or total defeats. However, this does not imply that there were no indecisive results following military confrontations. For example, the long-drawn out Peloponnesian War of 431 B.C., between the Athenian empire and the Spartan League dragged on for more than eight years ( Wallbank, Taylor, & Bailey 1976, pp. 105-106) . Likewise, the Christians and the Muslims fought series of Crusades which ended indecisively, hence, resulting in a "truce that left the Muslims controlling the Holy Lands, with Christians free to visit their shrines" (Simonsen & Spindlove, 2000, P.67). It can also be noted that battles between the British and the Zulus were characterized by successes and failures on both sides until the British finally won and imposed British control of the South African region. The same could be said of the battles between the British and the Boers. Likewise, in some cases, military victories were achieved at a very substantial cost, hence, the coinage "Pyrrhic Victory." Despite the exceptions, it can be stated that a total military victory was much more pronounced in the past than today. For example, European political and economic ascendancy in the world today can be attributed to the total military victories achieved by them during the colonial period (1492 - 1960s)... Starting from the Spanish conquest of the Americas, after Christopher Columbus had reached the new world, subsequent European powers, including Portugal, Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Denmark etc. followed by conquering various parts of the world.

Having conquered most of Asia, all of Africa, the Americas, and the Middle East, they imposed their will through colonization. It is evidently clear that the Christianized countries in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and the Americas were colonized by Judeo-Christian Europeans. Likewise, it is evident that all the Islamized countries in the world today were overwhelmingly conquered and colonized by Islamic forces during the periods of Islamic expansion or imperialism. Most of the Islamized countries were later conquered by the European powers. Hence, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Jordan, Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Iraq, Oman, Bahrain, Northern Nigeria, etc. are states that have undergone multiple conquests by superior military powers.

Total military victories were quite possible and easily achievable in the past due to the concentration of the technology of war in fewer nations, the ability to produce arms, and the ability to reinforce positions. In other words, Western total defeat and colonization of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East were possible due to their maximization of power in all its dimensions. On the other hand, most indigenous entities in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East were still using antiquated weapons that were no match for the modernized arms possessed by the Europeans. It is clear that the Africans, Native Americans, Asians etc. relied on bows and arrows, spears, machetes, catapult and other less efficient arms to confront the Europeans. On the other hand, the Europeans used guns, boat-mounted canons of high velocity, swords, spears. Etc. Thus, their combinations of arms and personnel were far more superior in quality compared those of the indigenous people. The Europeans were able to produce, resupply, and reinforce their forces much better and faster than the indigenous forces. Inevitably, in almost every confrontation, the Europeans won outright. Only in few cases, were they restrained from achieving total victory. The Europeans augmented their military efforts with diplomatic trickery to hoodwink, divide, and conquer, even much larger forces, like in Mexico, Peru, Zululand, China, Nigeria etc. They also had the strategic intentions of dominating and colonizing while the indigenous people did not, apart from fighting to protect their territories and traditional ways.

Industrialization and modernization in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries increased the lopsided advantage in favor of the powers that possessed technology. For example, the 2nd World War World came partially as a result of German successful technological modernization and rearmament program in the 1930s. Having lost the First World War in 1918, the Germans covertly rearmed, utilizing updated scientific and technological knowledge to successfully modernize their weaponry. On the other hand, the victorious European powers in the First World War were not motivated to rearm and modernize their armed forces, after their victory over Germany. They felt secured, having defeated and imposed their will on Germany and other defeated powers. The exception was Japan. It continued to rearm and modernize its armaments immediately after the First World War. It was motivated to do so due to a desire to control the pacific region of the world. It knew immediately after defeating Russia in 1904-05 that it had to become a great power if it needed to control and impose its will on the Asian and pacific regions.

Having successfully modernized and rearmed, Germany, under Adolf Hitler, felt very confident of defeating any military power that attempted to impede its strategic goal of controlling Europe. Like the indigenous people of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East in the fifteen and later centuries, the victorious powers in the First World War, particularly Britain and France, were no match for Germany when it unleashed its blitzkrieg tactics, using ground and air forces simultaneously to overwhelmed Polish, Norwegian, Danish, Czechoslovakian, Dutch, Belgian, British, and French forces during the early stages of the 2nd. World Ward. Germany was technologically so superior that without its military misadventure into the Soviet Union and the involvement of United States, it would have won the Second World War outright. Due to the technological advancement of German weaponry, the Allied Forces (US, Russia, Britain etc.) had to scramble to catch up technologically with Germany. The same could be said of Japan. No country in the Asian/Pacific region was able to militarily contain or impede Japanese military successes. Consequently, it was able to impose its will throughout the region, including China, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines etc. Again, the United States had to intervene, especially after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, in order to stop Japan from totally controlling the Pacific region of the world. Toward the end of the 2nd. World war, even the US was afraid of directly confronting Japan in the Japanese heartland. As a result, it dropped atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima to abruptly end the 2nd World War.

It appears that the idea of a total military victory began to dissipate or wane after the 2nd. World War. After the war to end all wars, it became increasingly difficult to achieve a total military victory in any major military confrontation. The concept of victory came to be characterized more by indecisive outcomes and pyrrhic victories. The first major test case of a war not ending in a clear and decisive manner was the Korean War which began in 1950 and ended in 1955. Despite the involvement of the two largest armies in the world ( United States and China), the war ended in a quagmire, hence, fifty years after the Korean War, the war has not really ended. U.S. forces are still stationed in South Korea to keep the peace.

Purpose of this article

The Purpose of this article is to (1) demonstrate that the notion of a total military victory is becoming increasingly unattainable, (2) show that it is increasingly futile to determine when a country has won or lost a war since victory is in the eye of the beholder, (3) show that nation-states are losing the ability to exercise ultimate sovereignty over their territories due to the equalization of the production of armaments and the democratization of the use of arms (4) prove that these developments came as a result of the Cold War, and (5) demonstrate that national political leaders need to rely more on communication rather than on the threat of the use of force to enforce compliance if they do not want to tear their countries apart.

Theoretical Predications

1. The idea of a total military victory is no longer very clear in the modern era due to the growth of military technology, the global spread of military weaponry, and the militarization of a large section of the world population.. As a result, no country or state can be sure of winning a war decisively in the modern era.

2. There is no such thing as a superior intelligence gathering capability, despite technological advantage. The most elemental ingredient of intelligence gathering is the gathering of critical information. Anyone can lie, manipulate, misinform, and disinform, regardless of the level of technological sophistication.

3 .States are gradually losing the ability to exercise sovereignty over their territories and natural resources due to the ease with which any dissatisfied group can militantly oppose state's rights to do so.

4. It is increasingly pyrrhic to win a war militarily due to the cost of maintaining and sustaining the occupation after victory.

5. Sovereign states and conventional forces are being disadvantaged by the increasing growth and use of unconventional tactics by irregular forces.

6 .Military victory is becoming very difficult to achieve as the technological gap between the industrialized and the developing world dwindles.

7 .Due to an increasing technological capability on the part of many countries, there is no more regional monopoly on the production of weapons of war. Consequently, whenever a new weapon of war comes into the limelight, there is a scramble by other states to catch up with the technology. This drives up the arms race and increase the level of insecurity.

8. Biochemical weaponry is equalizing the balance of military threat in the world.

9. The universalization of military strategies and tactics during the Cold War has made it increasingly impossible for any nation-state to claim supremacy in the application of military strategies and tactics of war.
10. The Cold War contributed immensely to the growth of ideologically driven non-governmental and non-territorial forces that are much more difficult to defeat by nation-states and conventional forces.

11. Some unconventional forces are developing both conventional and unconventional military capabilities and becoming a greater threat to national forces

12. Military conflict in tribalized, ethnicized, and communalized societies tends to be much more complicated than in non-communalized societies. As a result, achieving military victory in such societies can be very tasking.

13. Preemptive strike, as a defensive strategy in today's world, is like stirring the hornets nest or opening a can of worms with very unpredictable consequences. The reason being that many states have developed the capability to strike back in many subtle ways and still deny ever being responsible.

Reasons for the Change in the concept of Military Victory

The Cold War (1945-1990) is greatly responsible for the dramatic change in the characterization of military victory. The Cold War came about because war-time allies - the US and the Soviet Union, felt apart due to ideological reasons. The Soviet Union represented Communism and the United States represented Capitalism. The Soviet Union intended to spread Communism and the United States doggedly opposed the spreading of Communism. This led to the division of the world into two ideological spheres - the East and the West. Basically, the Soviet Union and its allies represented the Eastern sphere and the United States and its allies represented the Western spheres and both balanced each other.

Since the two could not agree ideologically, the conflict between the two came to be called a Cold War. However, they could not fight each other directly since both possessed nuclear weapons, so, they fought the war using proxies and fifth columnists. The Soviet Union, in an effort to internationalize Communism, supported anti-colonial and anti-western struggles by arming, training, and supporting liberation movements that threatened Western interests. On the other hand, the United States thwarted the spread of Communism by instituting a Containment Policy. Under the Containment Policy, the US supported any Western interest that was threatened by Communist or revolutionary forces. The two superpowers recruited, trained, financed, armed, and encouraged both conventional and unconventional forces to fight in an effort to contain each other. Therefore, the Korean, Algerian, Vietnamese, Hungarian, Czechoslovakian, Cambodian, Angolan, Mozambican, Colombian, Nicaraguan, El Salvadoran, Argentine, Chilean, Palestinian, Ethiopian, Indonesian, Peruvian, Afghan etc. conflicts were Cold War conflicts because they were engineered, sponsored and managed by the two superpowers and their allies.

In order to fight these ideologically motivated wars, the two superpowers also spread the technology of war by manufacturing and selling arms. During the 40 to 45-year period of the Cold War, millions of people were trained in some kind of combat activity. The unforeseen and indirect effect of the massive militarization, especially, of the developing world, led to a gradual equalization of military capability. In other words, in every country today, there are thousands, if not millions, who have military experience and can conveniently use arms to fight. Likewise, arms are plentiful and can easily be supplied by arms dealers who became very proficient at supplying contraband weaponry during the Cold War. Many countries today are manufacturing arms and selling them for foreign exchange purposes.

In practical terms, it can be hypothesized that there is no more military superpower in the world, even though the United States and Russia are technically regarded as military superpowers. This means that no country can claim a monopoly of military power, regardless of its technological advancement and military capability. Likewise, it is also increasingly very difficult for nation-states to freely exercise sovereignty over their territories. A group within any nation-state can rise up in arms and challenge the national forces to a duel in which the national forces might find it exceedingly difficult to win.

The following factors are greatly accountable for the changes that have taken place concerning war since the beginning of the Cold War.

1. Total Military Victory: The concept of a total military victory began to dissipate during the Cold War. The two superpowers armed, sold, trained, and spread armaments, thereby making it very difficult for any nation to win war very easily without military and political complications. The following developments: (a) spread of arms, (b) the attempt to control the internal situation through covert means, (c) the desire to possess advance military weaponry, (d) the desire for quick military victories, and (e) pyrrhic victories, are some of the reasons why a total military victory is almost impossible in modern warfare.

a. Spread of Arms: A total military victory is no longer possible, in conventional terms, because the control of military weaponry and the ability to fight both conventionally and unconventionally is no longer the prerogative of military superpowers and sovereign nation-states. Many racial, ethnic, religious, and political groups now have the ability to manufacture, supply, and buy arms in the world market to pursue their political goals and objectives.

As indicated above, the two superpowers and their allies, during the Cold War, trained, equipped, sponsored, and financed both conventional and unconventional forces in various parts of the world in an effort to enhance their strategic goals and objectives. Goldstein (2004, p. 29) noted:

" the rest of the world became contested terrain where each bloc tried to gain allies or influence, often by sponsoring opposing sides in regional and civil wars"

Consequently, a considerable number of people in the world are well trained in the art of modern combat. Likewise, during the Cold War, the two superpowers and their allies encouraged the proliferation of armaments through the sell of arms to countries and clandestine groups. Rourke & Boyer (1996, p.298) noted:

"The arms that flowed in the world came largely from the economically developed countries. Of all arms exported during the last half of the 1980s, the Soviet Union was the largest supplier, accounting for 36.8 percent of transfers, and the United States was a close second with 32.6 of the transfers"

The two authors ( Ibid.) further noted that:
"Of the total $490.1 billion in world arms exports during the 1980s, 77.5 percent went to LDCs. Of these countries during the decade, Iraq was by far the largest arms importer (52.0 billion), followed by Saudi Arabia (37.4 billion), India (23.6 billion), Syria (21.3 billion), Iran (16.6 billion), Vietnam (16.3 billion),and Afghanistan ($12.8 billion)."

In the process, they saturated the world with arms. For example, the Soviet Union and its allies sold arms to the National Liberation Front in Algeria, the North Vietnamese Forces, the Fidel Castro government in Cuba, India, North Korea, China, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somali, Ethiopia, the African National Congress in South Africa, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the El Salvador National Liberation Front, etc. In turn, the United States sold and sponsored military forces in South Vietnam, El Salvador, Argentina, Chile, Zaire, Columbia, Iran under the Shah, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Indonesia, Iraq, Taiwan, Philippines, Pakistan etc and the Contras in Nicaragua, the Taliban, the Al Qaeda, the Northern Alliance, and multitudes of anticommunist and rightist forces in the world. Today, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Israel, North Korea, China, Syria, Iran, and Chile are capable of producing and selling arms, just as the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Holland, Norway etc.

b. The attempt to Control the Internal Situation through Covert Means: Quite often, states attempt to solve internal political problems by manipulating, threatening, bribing, cultivating clandestine fighting forces, death squads, security forces, and spies. In the process, they help to train a vast number of their populations in military and security tactics that often backfire against them. Quite often, a disgruntled element or elements among the covertly trained fighters would rebel and launch attacks against the state to the consternation of the political leaders who made the decision to create such covert forces. For example, in ancient times, the Roman Empire exploited the Goths who were fleeing their homelands as the Huns threatened them. Rome recruited and made them to fight to protect the empire from invading forces and yet refused to grant them political and economic rights in the fourth century. The Goths rebelled and launched attacks against the empire (Wallbank, Taylor & Bailey, p. 217). In recent times, the British trained many Kenyans to fight in the 2nd. World War. In returning to Kenya at the end of the war, some of the veterans formed the Mau Mau movement and fought against British control of Kenya (Simonsen & Spindlove, 2000, p. 205). The Katanga Rebels, for example, were sponsored by Western economic interests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to destabilize the government of Patrice Lumumba. The rebels later launched series of attacks against the government of President Mobutu Sese Seko and those economic interests that had originally sponsored them. Nigeria, during various military regimes, relied to a great extent on special security forces and spies to control and manipulate the population. Tired of the intimidation and threats generated by these kinds of state tactics, some of the former soldiers began to help institute ethnic militias to fight back. Today, almost every ethnic group has a militia capable of challenging the established military forces (Singer, 2001, March 14). Now, Nigerian leaders are puzzled by the sudden growth of ethnic militias, forgetful of the fact that they planted the seeds and nourished their germination.

The most recent case of rebellion involved elements of the Philippine army. In July of 2003, some troops rebelled and called for the resignation of the president. During the rebellion, the troops alleged that some of the so-called "terrorists" incidents which took place in the country and were attributed to have been committed by Islamic militants were actually perpetrated by the Philippine government (Roberts, 2003, July 27). The rebellion was resolved through political negotiations between the government and the rebellious troops.

c. Possession of Advance Military Weaponry: Even the possession of an advanced military technology does not necessarily guarantee a total military victory in the modern era. The reason being that the more a country relies on advanced technological weaponry, the more it spends in maintaining, supporting, and fighting any war. Advanced weapon systems require an extensive network of support personnel. This means that a country with advanced weapons systems cannot fight a war without involving a large number of its military and support personnel. This automatically adds to the cost of fighting a war. For example, the First Persian Gulf War (1991) cost $61 billion, even though the actual fighting lasted for a very short duration. The 2nd Persian Gulf War (Iraqi War of 2003) is going to cost more than $100 billion even though the actual fighting lasted for about three or four months. In 1991, the US only spent $7 billion because other countries contributed financially. In the Iraqi war (2nd Persian Gulf), since it was a unilateral action, the US is bearing most of the cost and many countries are not too eager to participate financially towards the reconstruction effort (Byrd, 2003, September 29).

Worried by the continuing instability and the increasing financial cost of trying to stabilize the situation in Iraq, the US now wants the United Nations and other countries to support the stabilization and reconstruction effort. It is hurriedly training new Iraqi police and armed forces and hoping to leave the country by June 2004. If coalition forces, led by the world's most technologically advanced military power, are unable to contain the situation now, it is very doubtful as to the capability of a hurriedly trained Iraqi forces to be able to control the situation later. It is quite possible for the country to degenerate into a kind of Afghanistan, Somalia or Algeria where ethnic, religious, and political groups battle it out for control of the country. Already, the Shiites, Kurds, and the Sunnis are strategizing and preparing for an all out interethnic struggle for the control of Iraq, after the US leaves. Two suicide bombings on February 1st, 2004, killed prominent members of the Kurdish political and military establishment in Northern Iraq.

d. Quick Military Victories: Due to the cost of maintaining and operating advanced weapon systems, nations with such weapons tend to look for quick military victories in war situations because they cannot afford to fight a prolonged war. By looking for quick military victories, they often enable their less powerful opponents to intentionally adopt delay tactics in order to frustrate the process. The United State got frustrated when the Vietnam War dragged on for so long. The Vietnamese knew that the US could not fight a prolonged war because of the financial cost and possible political fall out from home. The Soviet Union experienced frustration in Afghanistan because the war dragged on for almost eleven years, thereby draining the Soviet economy and creating doubt in the minds of the military establishment. Just as in Vietnam, the Soviets had to withdraw from Afghanistan.

On the other hand, it appears that less technologically advanced countries and societies tend to have a greater capacity to fight a prolonged war. The Afghans, Angolans, Mozambicans, Lebanese, Cambodians, Vietnamese, Liberians, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Algerians, Sri Lankans, Pakistanis, Indians etc. have been able to fight incessantly for a long time. One of the reasons why less developed countries and societies have a greater capacity to do so is due to the fact that their economies and the military are not as tightly interconnected as in the advanced countries. As a result, they are not as energy-dependent, computer-oriented, and industrialized. People in these countries are able to live without electricity, walk bare-foot if necessary, and not dependent on machines as those in the industrially advanced countries. Obviously, in war situations, they can endure tremendous suffering and continue the war. Since the 1960s, the African continent has been subjected to very bloody civil wars, some of them lasting for more than twenty years. The African people are able to survive and rebuilt because they are not dependent on high-tech to solve their problems. A country with massive high-tech weaponry can easily collapse on the weight of the debt that would be incurred for fighting a war for more than twenty years.

e. The Easy or Good Life Syndrome: It can also be said that the more technologically and economically advanced a country or a society is, the softer the citizens become as a result of living the "easy or good life." On the other hand, the less technologically and economically advanced a country or a society is, the more rugged the citizens are. In war, the rugged and the desperate are more likely to fight ferociously than those who live the easy or good life. History has many examples, hence, the great empires have always been annihilated by the desperate and the rugged 'Barbarians." For example, the Israelis were more rugged and willing to take on much larger Arab forces because they desperately needed a state of their own in the 1940s. Now that Israel has been established and the citizens are now enjoying some of the "easy or good life", the Israeli political and military establishments are beginning to make mistakes in their military calculations. On the other hand, as the Palestinians become very desperate to achieve statehood, they are becoming much more daring in their military tactics, so much so that an increasing number of young women are joining the suicide squads. The Afghan people have always been very rugged. Most African ethnic groups are militarily very rugged due to the warrior traditions.

f. Pyrrhic Victories: Quick military victories tend to end in pyrrhic victories, in the long run. The reason being that in an attempt to quickly crush the opponent, not enough time is devoted to analyzing the intentions and tactics of the opponent. For example, South African forces used to attack the Angolan, African National Congress, and the Southwest African Peoples Organization forces with all their technological might in an effort to crush them quickly and achieve total victory. In doing so, they failed to realize that the ANC, the MPLA, and SWAPO were in the struggle for the long run. The three groups planned their strategies and tactics to carry them through decades of war. Due to the failure of the South African forces to study the tactics of the aforementioned forces, their soldiers later became frustrated as each successive military operation did not end in total defeat for the opponents. The three forces were able to always come back from the brink of defeat and counter the offensives.

The US, it appears, fought the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda with a desire for quick military victory. Hence, the war proceeded very fast, resulting in the defeat of the two. However, many Taliban and Al Qaeda elements escaped and were not caught. Since victory was achieved very quickly, many gaps were left. Now, the escaped elements of the two forces are reinforcing and reentering the country to continue the war. Consequently, it is not proper to say that the Afghan war has ended. Since the official declaration of an end to the war, the Afghan government of President Ahmid Karzai has not been able to extend the reach of the government beyond Kabul. The war lords that changed sides to make the Northern Alliance victory possible now seem to be changing sides again.

Iraq represents the clearest evidence of the weakness of a war strategy based on quick victory. The US and Britain quickly overwhelmed the Iraqi conventional forces by overrunning the country during the 2nd Persian Gulf War. However, in doing so, they allowed trained Iraqi soldiers to disappear into the unknown, without capturing them. Thus, there are at least half a million Iraqi former soldiers who have now mingled with the civilian population. Some of them have probably given up the military life, some have become guerrilla fighters. Others are probably waiting for the US to leave before they begin to inflict military and political damage to any hurriedly trained Iraqi military force that the US might put in place, after it leaves. Due to the blitzkrieg manner in which the US overran the country, the US military did not have enough time to study, analyze, and understand the tactics that the Iraqis were using. It appeared that when confronted by a much superior American military force, the Iraqis tactically dispersed and hide their weapons. Today, those hidden weapons are now handy for the guerrilla forces that are now targeting coalition forces.

It should be recalled that during the 2nd World War, Germany gained quick military victories against Soviet forces after launching a war on the eastern front. However, by quickly overrunning Soviet positions, Germany did not have enough time to rearrange its strategy and tactics. This resulted in logistical gaps and created many reinforcement and supply problems. It also did not allow German forces to conduct an effective study of Soviet military capability. Evidently, when the Soviet Union counterattacked, German solders were surprised and shocked. The Soviets mounted series of counter-offensives that overwhelmed the Germans. Eventually, the Soviets matched into Berlin, after decimating German forces along the way.

Thus, the achievement of quick military victories due to technological superiority does not necessarily lead to a very successful defeat of the opponent.

2. Intelligence Capability: Due to the Cold War, no country today can boast of having a superior intelligence gathering capability, regardless of its technological know-how. It should be recalled that during the Cold War, the two superpowers cultivated, sponsored, trained, and equipped the intelligence services of their allies in the art of intelligence gathering, counter-intelligence, and special intelligence operations. For example, when Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi got back into power in 1963, "The CIA provided organizational and training assistance for an intelligence organization for the shah" (Simonsen & Spindlove, 2000. p. 181). Likewise, "During the period of the cold war, Moscow's attempts to destabilize the Western democracies involved the use of terror tactics against not only nations but also symbolic personages (Ibid.). As a result, the superpowers no longer have an edge in intelligence tactics, regardless of how much they spend to upgrade their agencies. Consequently, just as the British can use intelligence trickery, the Iraqis, Libyans, Israelis, Iranians, Cubans, North Koreans, South Koreans, Nigerians, Chileans, Pakistanis, Indians, Syrians etc. can do likewise. Just as the Russians can plant false information, the Chechnyan rebels too can do likewise. Just as the United States was able to manipulate intelligence against Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Iraq too was able to do so against the US. Unconventional military forces like the Palestinian militant groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, the Irish Republican Army, the ETA, Hezbollah, etc. are very adept in carrying out intelligence operations as any nation-state.

3. Exercise of Authority over Mineral and Natural Resources: States are losing the ability to monopolize the control and exercise of authority over mineral resources in their territories. Increasingly, in many mineral and natural resources-rich territories, disappointed, disadvantaged, and frustrated groups are adopting proactive militant tactics to oppose states capacity to exercise ultimate authority over the exploration and marketing of the resources. The militants have been able to disrupt states' ability to use profits from such resources to build up their forces by attacking and pillaging the resources to build up their own military capabilities. One of the most successful group to have used the resources of the territory to its military advantage was the Union of Total Independence for Angola (UNITA) which waged a bloody war against the MPLA government of Angola for more than fifteen years, after the two had successfully forced the Portuguese to give up its colonial control of the country. The Columbian FARCE and ELN (National Liberation Army) too have been at it for up for decades. Sierra Leone was almost torn apart by guerrilla forces that were able to physically controlled diamond fields and used the diamonds to increase their military capabilities. The harshness of the Sierra Leone's Civil War led to a global effort to ban 'Blood Diamonds' (Physicians for Human Rights, February, 2001, February 14). The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic are constantly in conflict because of minerals. Dissatisfied political and military elements and their supporters in these two countries often seize mineral fields and use those minerals to resist government authority (Somerville, 2002, October 31). The Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) has been very successful in challenging the Sudanese government and forcing it to negotiate political rearrangement of the polity. Due to corruption and insensitivity toward the oil-producing region of Nigeria, an increasing number of ethnic youth groups are militarizing and challenging the authority of the federal government to monopolize profits from oil exploration. The youth groups are increasingly getting bolder in confronting federal troops and shooting it out with them.

In some cases, militant groups cultivate relationships with narcotic farmers and thereby reap financial benefits from protection fees as well as directly getting involved in cultivating and selling the narcotics. Popularly known as Narco-terrorism, militant groups in the Golden Triangle (Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia etc), the Shinning Path in Peru, the FARCE, ELN and right wing groups in Columbia, various groups including the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and elements of Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, Hezbollah in the Bekka Valley etc. have variously been accused of trading and dealing in heroin, cocaine, and other illegal drugs to increase their financial wherewithal. By earning money through protection fees and narcotics trade, a number of movements are able to sufficiently finance their operations without relying on outside assistance.

4. Military Occupation: As a result of the easy availability of arms, the ability to generate income through controlling natural and mineral resources and narcotics, it is now a no win situation for any country to attempt to occupy another country or territory militarily. In the colonial days and up to the end of the 2nd World War, it was quite manageable to militarily occupy another country since total victory was possible then. Today, a military occupier would be exposed to so many hazards of war due to the possibility of resistance There are many contemporary examples to show the futility of occupying another country.

a. The French attempt to treat Algeria as a French foreign territory failed woefully because the Algerian resistance refused to capitulate. The same could be said of the Vietnamese resistance against the French and the Americans and the Angolan and Mozambican resistance against Portugal. When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, it helped to produce one of the most dedicated fighting groups in the Middle East. Hezbollah waged war, using every means, including suicide bombing and rocket attacks against Israel. Later, Israel had to withdraw from Lebanon because the occupation was costing too much and draining the Israeli military. The United States has now realized that a military occupation of Iraq would cost too much in terms of money, military morale and international political relations. It has already spent over $70 billion and there is no hope of stability in Iraq in the nearest future. Britain is reported to have almost exhausted its defense budget in Iraq, spending about $34 billion.

4. Conventional vs. Unconventional Warfare: States are increasingly at a military disadvantage as they rely mostly on conventional forces to fight against unconventional forces. States generally rely on conventional forces due to the need to protect and hold territory. It is not a secret that regular military forces find it very difficult to fight guerrilla warfare. The reason being that they are generally trained to fight in formations approved by the military chain of command. They are also obligated to obey the laws of war, especially, the rules concerning non-combatant immunity and the treatment of prisoners of war. On the other hand, unconventional forces are not encumbered by such legalities. They are free to use assorted tactics to achieve their goals.

Perhaps, the greatest impediment to the conventional military system is the financial cost. It costs more to maintain a conventional force than a non-conventional force. For example, a conventional force requires military barracks, jet-fighters, tanks, bombers, artillery pieces, uniforms, a fleet of vehicles to supply and reinforce the forces, boots, a large number of active and support personnel, massive food etc. An unconventional force does need most of the stated equipments and devices. A conventional force always tries to hold and protect a territory when engaged in a combat while an unconventional force does not need to hold a territory while fighting. It costs so much, in terms of personnel, equipment, food, housing, and money to hold a territory while fighting a war.

Generally, the most powerful countries have the greatest number of conventional forces. On the other hand, the less powerful countries tend to depend more on unconventional forces and tactics. Worst, suppressed, exploited, frustrated, and very angry groups rely even more on unconventional tactics. The most powerful forces always believe in using their overwhelming military power to subdue their less powerful opponents. On the other hand, the less powerful opponents always try to minimize the awesome might of the most powerful forces by using hide and seek tactics to frustrate and neutralize the big guns. This is why total military victory is very difficult to achieve today. There are many examples in the world.

a. Britain began to wage war to put an end to the Irish Republican Army, going back to the beginning of the twentieth century. Each time it assumed that it had won the war, the IRA would reemerge to continue the struggle. Tired of the back and forth experience, both sides decided to negotiate an end to the Irish conflict politically. Of course, the Irish problem still remains unresolved but there is more political communication among the parties.

b. Vietnam, being less powerful than France and the United States, used a combination of conventional and unconventional tactics to counterbalance the military might of the two.

c. The FARCE (The Armed Revolutionary Forces of Columbia) and the ELN (National Liberation Army) in Columbia have been very successful fighting the national armed forces of Columbia to a draw on many occasions. As a result, they are able to survive various attempts to annihilate them. Even US support for the Columbian government has not made a difference in the military balance of power in the country. Therefore, Columbia is a country with four well armed military forces: the government forces, the FARCE, the ELN, and the right wing forces. The country suffers from perpetual military indigestion.

d. The Shining Path in Peru comes and goes like the water of the ocean. When Peruvian forces press too hard, it appears to wither away only to come back and surprise the state. Even the capture of its most recognizable leader, Abimael Guzman, a Chinese trained revolutionary, in September 1992, has not put an end to the movement.

e. Israel is considered to be the most able fighting force in the Middle East. It crushed regular Arab forces in lightening strikes and counterattacks in 1948, 1967, and 1973 against formidable Jordanian, Syrian and Egyptian forces. Yet, Israeli forces have been unable to put a final blow to the survival of the unconventional Arab forces (the PLO, Al Fatah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hezbollah). These unconventional forces tend to melt down tactically and reappear on the scene with a bang. Israel is being drained politically, economically, and militarily by the presence of these forces that are so difficult to destroy with a finality. Suicide bombing (homicide bombing) has become their tactical trade mark. Chairman Yasser Arafat represents the face of the unconventional Arab warrior. It appears that each time Israel launches a major conventional attack to dismantle the guerrilla forces, it often ends up creating a more dangerous militant hybrid of the factions.

f. Russia is considered to be the second greatest military power on earth, after the United States. Of course, both can easily annihilate each other through nuclear attacks. Despite this ability, the Russians have not been able to nailed the Chechnyans rebels down and end the rebellion. The rebels have been able to withstand Russia's might by using effective guerilla tactics. Even scourged-earth military tactics by Russian forces to wipe them out have not been successful. The Russian military establishment is in a state of serious doubtfulness about the use of the military to solve the Chechnyan problem. Many Chechnyan rebels were former Soviet soldiers and know Russian military tactics very well. Some of them also fought in Afghanistan.

g. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda came to power through waging a successful guerrilla war against President Milton Obote and Idi Amin elements. Since he ascended the presidential throne in the 1980s, Ugandan forces have been fighting unsuccessfully to destroy the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and other armed groups. Evidently, Uganda is in a perpetual state of war with many guerrilla factions vying for power (Federation of American Scientists, Military Analysis Network). Burundi also suffers from military indigestion since it is in a perpetual state of war because government forces have not been able to defeat the Hutu guerilla forces that occasionally destabilize the country (Ibid).

h. Former President Charles Taylor was able to prevail through the bloody Liberian civil wars. However, his military successes were limited by the emergence of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and later Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL). These forces almost threatened to overrun the entire country in the late 2003s before African governments seriously negotiated a ceasefire and forced the departure of Mr. Taylor. (Doyle, 2003, June 27). Had Mr. Taylor not leave, the LURD and MODEL forces would have captured the entire country but their victory too would have been short-lived because Mr. Taylor and his supporters would have rearmed and continue the struggle, possibly extending the Liberian War again into Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast. Such is the nature of modern warfare.

i. When the generals tactically prevented Moslem political leaders from winning and running the government in early 1992 by suspending presidential elections in Algeria, little did they know that they were setting in motion an uncontrollable military catastrophe. Since that fateful military coup to stop the Islamic political machine, Algeria has been traumatized as the deprived Moslems formed the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) to fight back. Algeria is in a state of no war no peace with both sides still trying to overwhelm each other militarily. The struggle between the government and the FIS has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Algerians. The conflict has generated other militant Islamic groups such as the Armed Islamic Group (now disbanded), and the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) (BBC News Africa, 2003, February 26, pp. 1-4).

5. Scientific and Technological Capability: There is no doubt that the Industrial Revolution immeasurable aided the ascendancy of European military, economic, and political power in the world. During the colonial period and up to the late 1970s, the West and the Soviet Union had a monopoly of technological power. This is no longer the case as the technological genie has been set out. Initially, assisted by the Cold War superpowers, many countries today have developed self-sustaining technological capability. The list of countries with such capabilities continues to grow by the day: China, North Korea, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Cuba, Czech Republic, Iraq, Iran, Israel, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Libya, Mexico, Egypt, Syria, etc. Thus, the gap between the developed and the developing world, in terms of technological capability, is gradually diminishing, particularly in the area of arms production.

6. Arms Manufacturing: As a result of the increasing technological capability of many developing countries, arms production is no longer limited to the advanced or industrialized countries. Many developing countries are now producing and selling arms. The big military powers cannot effectively control the arms manufacturing business anymore. The implication being that arms are available everywhere and can be bought anywhere. In particular, automatic rifles, machine guns, medium range rockets, missiles, anti aircraft guns, shoulder-held rockets etc. can be bought in many parts of the world.

7. Biochemical Weapons: While the nuclear club is still limited to a few members due to the complexity of the technology and the huge financial investment needed to build one, biochemical weapons cost far less and easier to produce. Consequently, many countries, including developed, newly industrializing, and developing, have stockpiles of biochemical weapons. Even guerrilla movements are reported to have a great interest in acquiring these weapons. The implication being that no country can be taken lightly anymore, just because it is either small or poor. This further adds to the difficulty of achieving total military victory in a military confrontation between two states. Iraq experienced the difficulty of winning a war against Iran when it attacked the country in the 1980s. Despite using both conventional and biochemical weapons, Iran refused to capitulate and continued the war. The US had to step in to assist Iraq to stave off an Iranian victory. Britain also experienced some difficulty before defeating Argentina in the Falkland (Malvina) War. It was widely reported that British victory was aided by extensive American support. In other words, without American assistance, the British would have found it exceedingly difficult to beat Argentina, especially, considering the fact that Britain had to cover a distance of over 5,000 nautical miles in order to reinforce its forces.

8. Military Strategies and Tactics: No state today can boast of possessing superior military strategies and tactics. The reason being that during the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union trained millions of people in military strategies and tactics as they fought the Cold War. Likewise, armed forces from various countries received extensive military training through military assistance programs from the developed countries. Resultantly, it was not uncommon for Nigerian, Somali, Indian. Pakistani, Argentine, Tanzanian, Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi, Ghanaian, etc. soldiers to receive training in the US, the Soviet Union, Britain, France, North Korea, China, Cuba etc. In some cases, forces from the developing countries actually received a greater exposure to multiple military strategies and tactics than those of the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, and France since they were sent all over the world for military training. The Somali fighters used their military exposure to the American and Soviet tactics to advantage during the UN efforts to apprehend Gen. Mohammed Aided.

One could even say that the PLO, Hezbollah, IRA, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Chechnyan guerrillas, ETA, etc, are beneficiaries of the extensive tactical exposure received during various phases of training in many parts of the world.

9. Non-governmental and Non-territorial Forces: The idea of a total military victory is being confounded by the emergence and growth of non-governmental and non-territorial professionally armed militant organizations. The Al Qaeda is the most sophisticated of the new military phenomenon. Before and during the Cold War, military forces were either owned by the state or operated for the purpose of achieving territorial goals. For example, the IRA, PLO, HAMAS, ETA, FARCE, IRA, LURDS, Shining Path, LRA, LURD, SPLA, the Kurdish Democratic party of Iran, the Armenian secret Army, Kurdistan Workers Party etc. are territorially based organizations since their objectives are intended to achieve political goals that are connected intricately with their homelands.

On the other hand, the Socialists, Leftists/Revolutionaries who opposed the fascist system during the Spanish civil war in the 1930s could be identified as having started the modern version of the non-territorial militant movement. Fighters came from different parts of the world to join the opposition against Gen. Francisco Franco. They were driven by an ideology. These ideologically motivated fighters were later followed by the Japanese Red Army, the Red Brigade, the German Army Faction (Meinhoff Gang) etc. However, the later forces were technically connected to their states of origin: Japan, Italy, and Germany, even though they were able to carry out operations in other parts of the world. The Al Qaeda could be said to be the most successful modern military outfit that is not tied to any particular territory. As a result, it is like a social cancer because it can manifest itself in so many different ways and in different places at the same time. It is the most internationalized non-governmental military enterprise that is capable of inflicting destruction in any part of the world at any time.

10: Conventionalization of Unconventional Forces: Decisive military victories and defeats are also being thwarted by the increasing conventionalization of many irregular forces. Organizations like the FARCE in Columbia and Hezbollah in Lebanon etc. have grown to the extent of developing both conventional and unconventional capabilities. This means that they can launch conventional as well as guerrilla attacks simultaneously without totally risking the survivability of the entire organization. They do so by upgrading their organizational structure, armaments and personnel. Some of these forces are also working very hard to acquire biochemical and dirty nuclear bomb capabilities. The Taliban started as a guerrilla force, later became a conventional military when they took over power in Afghanistan and are now a guerrilla force again, after having been driven out of power by the United States. Some elements of the Kurdish resistance (particularly the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) in Northern Iraq have developed some conventional capability, in the sense that they have been serving as the Kurdish Army in Northern Iraq.

11. Military Conflicts in Tribalized and Communalized Societies: It is exceedingly difficult to achieve military victory in highly tribalized and communalized societies. The reason being that in such societies, the issues are very often complicated and greatly interwoven. Likewise, people in such societies fight total wars in the sense that the slightest provocation tends to arouse total communal reaction. This is why conflicts in Africa and the Middle East tend to go on endlessly. It also accounts for the complicated political and military situations in the Balkan region of Europe. Post-Saddam's Iraq is becoming very complicated to deal with like Somali, Algeria, Yugoslavia, Liberia, etc... as various groups tussle for power.

12. Preemptive Military Attack: Preemptive military attack against an opponent in today's world is a very risky proposition due to the easy availability of arms and the ability on the part of the preemptive target to respond using both conventional and unconventional methods. Perhaps, in the last thirty years, only Israel has succeeded in launching a very successful preemptive attack when it destroyed Iraqi nuclear facilities. It also carried out a daring rescue operation in Uganda to rescue Israeli citizens. A failed preemptive action can easily turn into a military disaster.

The Need to Change the Notion of Military Victory

It is obvious that the concept of military victory has become very complicated. It is quite possible to win a war militarily and loss the war psychologically and politically. The US forces won the battles but lost the war in Vietnam. France inflicted so much destruction and death in Algeria and yet, lost the war. Both Israel and Egypt claimed to have won the Yom Kippur war of 1973; one physically and the other psychologically. Israel physically defeated the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Islamic forces in Lebanon in 1982. Yet, the Hezbollah persisted until Israel had to withdraw from South Lebanon. Sri Lanka tried very hard to destroy the Tamal guerrillas and could not do so for almost twenty years. The U.S. easily overran Taliban and Al Qaeda positions in Afghanistan, yet, the war has not ended. The United States and Britain are embroiled in a politico-military situation in Iraq that could go on for sometime as the guerrilla forces continue to destabilize the nation. Sudan, Uganda, Burundi, Colombia, India/Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc, are embroiled in stalemated conflicts because the government forces are unable to defeat the guerrilla forces and vice versa.

As the nature of military victory changes, some of the strategic and tactical advises given by the great Chinese military genius, Sun Tzu, might need some readjustment. For example, his statement:

"In practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact, to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them…

Therefore, the skillful leader subdues the enemy's troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field" (Chapter 3, trans. by Giles, 1910). might not be very practical today since the implements of war are readily available, thereby making it exceedingly difficult to capture a territory without inflicting much destruction. It is also very difficult to apply this tactics today since guerrilla warfare can wreck havoc on conventional strategy and tactics.

Summary and Conclusion

1. There is no doubt that the Cold War helped tremendously to change many aspects of warfare in the modern era. It helped to spread wars and weapons of war, enhanced the technological ability of many nations to produce arms, exposed millions of people to military strategies and tactics through training, and provided combat experiences. It helped to create a balance of military capability throughout the regions of the world. As a result, no nation can conveniently claim to be a monopolistic military power today.

2. Increasingly, modern warfare is characterized by indecisive outcomes rather than by outright victories. Military victory is becoming an infrequent experience in war. A supposedly defeated force, in a conventional sense, can easily reemerge to continue the war by guerrilla means. In the modern era, defeated forces can come back very quickly to continue the war due to the easy availability of guns, the ability to raise funds through various means, and the extensive military skills that have been spread around. Countries like Uganda. Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Colombia, Peru, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Britain (Northern Ireland), Spain (Basque separatist), Israel (Israeli/Palestinian conflict), Algeria, Indonesia, Philippines, Russia (Chechnya), Burundi, Rwanda, Iraq after Saddam Hussein, etc. are engaged in wars that could go on for long durations due to the complexity of the political, economic, religious, and military issues.

3. Political and military leaders need to become aware of the changing trend in modern warfare and avoid trapping themselves in military engagements that could cause innumerable political and economic damages to their states. Michael Hill (2003, August 21) noticed the change in the nature of modern warfare when he wrote:

"Taylor may have gone, but left behind are armed gangs of young toughs - some are rebels, some are government troops - who have ruled the place with rape, pillage and murder for the 14 years since Taylor unleashed the rebellion that put him in charge."

They should also realize that it is increasingly difficult to determine when a war has been won. For example, the US declared victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, yet, the wars continue. Israel militarily won the Yom Kippur war, yet, Egypt insisted that it won it. Saddam Hussein refused to concede defeat in the First Persian Gulf War, hence, behaved in such a way as to lead to the 2nd Persian Gulf War., before being driven out of power. Yet, Iraq is still at war.

4. Consequently, it is strategically crucial for leaders to move away from the idea that warfare can be used to solve political problems. Leaders need to put less emphasis on the use of the military and security forces and concentrate more on political negotiations to resolve internal and international problems. So far, in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the deployment of the military in situations that require political solutions have backfired on many occasions. In other cases, the military adventures resulted in protracted conflicts.


The following five conflict resolution models seem very attractive in resolving potential military conflicts in the modern era. They are (1) the 2nd World War Model, (2) the Nigerian Model, (3) the South African Model, (4) The Czechoslovakian Model, and (5) the unfolding Sudanese Model.

1. The 2nd. World War Model: At the end of the 2nd World War, instead of taking punitive measures against Germany and Japan, the United States actually helped them to overcome the hardships of the 2nd World War by launching the Marshall Plan. The plan enabled the Europeans and the Japanese to reconstruct their shattered economic infrastructures (Goldstein, 2004, p. 35). By doing so, the US made great friends and helped to stave of a potential Third World War. Unfortunately, the US failed to apply this model in Iraq after driving away Saddam Hussein. In a show of strength, the US decided to disband the defeated Iraqi forces and create a new one. In so doing, it has created an environment in which more than half a million trained combatants roam free and sow trouble for the coalition forces.

2. The Nigerian Model: Even though the civil war was very bloody, Nigerians did not go for revengeful killings at the end of the war. To avoid revengeful attacks and counterattacks, Nigerian and Biafran leaders devised a political formula that resulted in the "No Victor no vanquish' end to the bloody civil. The strategy worked so effectively that one week after the civil war, it was difficult to tell whether Nigerians had fought a very bloody war. The Hausas, Yorubas, and members of other ethnic groups poured into Igboland to continue their prewar businesses and a large number of the Igbos who used to live in various parts of Nigeria went back to their former places of residence. Nigerians went about their businesses as if nothing had happened. Nigeria immediately launched the Reconciliation, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction (RRR) program to try to ameliorate the pains of the civil war.

The "no victor and no vanquish" and the three Rs originated from the traditional African cultural system which encourages forgiveness, dialogue, compromise, and consensus. Due to the ingenuity of the effort, Nigeria avoided the protracted Angolan, Somali, Liberian, Burundian, Ugandan, Rwandan, Congolese etc. situations after the civil war.

Unfortunately, Nigerian leaders today and in the recent past, have ignored the Nigerian Civil War model and used military and security forces to teach trouble-makers a lesson. It is even sad that President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was a major participant in the institutionalization of the Nigerian model, seems to ignore the model while trying to resolve political, religious, and ethnic problems in the country. This is leading to the political polarization and destabilization of the country. Under his current administration, there is a proclivity toward using the military to solve political problems. In the Warri crisis, for example, many prominent Nigerians have warned about the danger of trying to resolve the problem with military means. For example, A Delta state political leader, Chief Great Ogboru advised 'The solution to the problem is not militarization of the city…government must employ dialogue" (Akinola, 2003, August 21). Another leader, Chief S.Y. Mamamu, commented about the unnecessary waste of money on military security in the Niger Delta by saying:

"the huge money committed to security of oil producing states at the expense of development in the Niger Delta is wasteful. The money can be used judiciously to build industries and bridges in the region. All these would bring in more development that would ensure that more youths get engaged in profitable ventures rather than conflict" (Okhomina, 2004, January 7).

3. The South African Model: The South Africans surprised the world. Many people expected a protracted racial war involving blacks and whites. Many also thought that the blacks would go for revengeful retaliation. Instead of a bloody racial war, the South Africans decided to forgive each other. Instead of a punitive and retributive criminal trial of those who perpetrated the antihuman apartheid system, they instituted the Truth Commission, spurred by Bishop Desmond Tutu. The fact that there was no concerted effort to legally penalize anyone for crimes committed during the apartheid era, enabled the races to reconcile and saved South Africa from a potential bloody civil war. The Truth Commission enabled the participants to explain their roles and experiences during the tumultuous period. Former President Nelson Mandela decided to sheath the sword and opted for a peaceful coexistence among the races ( Hill, 2003, August 21).

4. The Czechoslovakian Model: This model is derived from the Czechoslovakian political effort to end the state (Republic of Czechoslovakia) peacefully without fighting a civil war between the two major ethnic groups. The Czechs and Slovakians agreed to a peace formula in which the two major ethnic groups decided to part ways without fighting a bloody civil war. As a result, the former Czechoslovakia is now divided into two sovereign nation-states: the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

There is no doubt that many states, especially the former colonies, in the world need this formula in order to reduce interethnic, inter-religious, and inter-political conflicts. In particular, the African Union should look for ways of encouraging this model in many parts of the continent where irredentists and separatists conflicts are rife. Likewise, Spain, Indonesia, Philippines, Iraq, DRC, etc. should look favorably at this model to solve their political problems.

5. The Sudanese Model: After trying every means possible to annihilate each other and not succeeding for about twenty years, the two parties in the Sudanese civil War (the government and Southern rebels) have tentatively decided to adopt a more peaceful formula to end the conflict. The two sides have cautiously agreed to share the oil wealth and end the conflict ( BBC News World Africa 2004, January 9). While the plan is still at a very basic stage since it has not been implemented, it is going to be an attractive model for ending conflicts. Nigeria, Angola, DRC, Indonesia, Ecuador, Iraq, etc. should examine this model with a view of adopting it in the future to settle their political and economic crises.

As can be seen, nations, states, and leaders that have tried to use punitive military and legal systems to punish those considered as trouble-makers have actually contributed to the further polarization of their societies. The Angolans, Eritreans, Ethiopians, Congolese, Liberians, Sierra Leonians, Columbians, Peruvians, Nepalese, Sri Lankans, Indians, Pakistanis, Afghans etc. wanted to win decisive military victories. Instead of victory, they prolonged the agony in their countries. Hill (2003, August 21) noted quite rightly:

"Wars started for whatever reason - good or bad - often leave a country with the message that violence is a suitable solution to problems. Once the social fabric is ripped apart by that idea, it is very difficult to stitch it back together. The globe is full of examples. Liberia and Iraq might be the latest."

It appears that many political and military leaders are recognizing the need to apply non-military means to resolve political conflicts. It is interesting to note that African leaders combined the Nigerian and the South African models in an effort to resolve the Liberian conflict. The MPLA and the former UNITA have integrated their forces to create a united Angolan government. The Sudanese government and the Sudan's Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) have agreed to resolve their conflict by sharing the wealth of the nation. Israel and the Hezbollah have negotiated to exchange prisoners.

The aforementioned five models are based on the belief that forgiveness is a very powerful human tool to bring people together. In the modern era, any leader who wishes to use military force to settle political problems might be courting a very serious trouble because military victory is no longer what it used to be. The UN should encourage the application of these models, instead of the punitive legal model that is being universalized.

The modern era demands from leaders a high level of intellectual creativity and problem solving skills, not war as a solution to political problems.


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