Conflict 2019

Looking at the model of conflict developed by Hershleifer and others (see the section “Conflict theory” in Understanding exploitation) , we see that conflict is modeled as a rational activity where each side can produce goods for consumption or for conflict, and the costs and benefits of each strategy are considered by each side and the best alternative adopted. Thus conflict here is rational, though certainly overall output of consumption goods is reduced. Nonetheless it appears that this is not the model for much of real life conflict. It appears that there are two (or more) groups that engage in conflict, while there is (usually a much larger) group that suffers from the conflict. The two groups can be elites of two countries, or rebels and the government, yet there are many that are caught up in the struggle, and their suffering seems to dwarf any gain of the contending sides.

The Infinity War. We say we’re a peaceful nation. Why do our nation’s leaders always keep us at war? Samuel Moyn and Stephen Wertheim Washington Post December 12, 2019

What did the United States get for $2 trillion in Afghanistan? Sarah Almukhtar and Rod Nordland New York Times December 9, 2019

The secret history of the war in Afghanistan Craig Whitlock Washington Post December 9, 2019 A six-part series.
Part 1 At war with the truth–U.S. officials constantly said they were making progress in Afghanistan. They were not, confidential documents show, and they knew it.
Part 2 Stranded without a strategy. Bush and Obama had polar-opposite plans to win the war. Both were destined to fail.
Part 3 Built to fail. Despite vows the U.S. wouldn’t get mired in “nation-building,” it has wasted billions doing just that.
Part 4 Consumed by corruption The U.S. flooded the country with money — then turned a blind eye to the graft it fueled.
Part 5 Unguarded nation. Afghan security forces, despite years of training, were dogged by incompetence and corruption.
Part 6 Overwhelmed by opium. The U.S. war on drugs in Afghanistan has imploded at nearly every turn.

Massacred at home, in misery abroad, 730,000 Rohingya are mired in hopelessness Hannah Beech New York Times August 22, 2019

The two-year Rohingya crisis in three timelapse satellite GIFs Irwin Loy The New Humanitarian August 22, 2019

What ‘victory’ looks like: A journey through shattered Syria Vivian Yee New York Times August 20, 2019
On an eight-day visit, New York Times journalists given rare access to Syria found ruin, grief and generosity. What was missing after eight years of civil war? Young men and a middle class.

Number of people fleeing conflict Is highest since World War II, U.N. says Nick Cumming-Bruce New York Times June 19, 2019

The exceptionally American historical amnesia behind Pompeo’s claim of ‘40 years of unprovoked Iranian aggression’ Brett Wilkins Common Dreams June 20, 2019
” From a CIA coup and supporting the Shah’s brutality to enabling chemical attacks, shooting down a civilian airliner and training terrorists,‘aggression’ between the US and Iran is overwhelmingly one-sided.”

The UN has failed civilians Tharanga Yakupitiyage Inter Press Service May 24, 2019
“According to the UN, more than 22,800 civilians were killed or injured in 2018 alone across just six countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen. All five permanent Security Council members are parties to many of these conflicts, and are thus responsible for the failure to protect civilians.”

The US is spending $1.25 trillion annually on war William D. Hartung and Mandy Smithberger Truthout May 7, 2019

Do we need a global convention of common principles for building peace? Thalif Deen Inter Press Service May 17, 2019
Susan Wilding of CIVICUS, the global alliance of civil society organizations, said that what is missing is a clear focus on human rights. “How can we expect to prevent conflict if we do not first focus on the prevention of human rights abuses…If we do not start to see the link between human rights, civic space and the humanitarian, development and peace agenda, we will surely fail in our endeavors to reach any of the goals.”

Niger, part 1: At the centre of a brewing militant storm Giacomo Zandonini and Francesco Bellina The New Humanitarian March 28, 2019

Preaching world peace by day, peddling lethal weapons by night Thalif Deen Inter Press Service March 11, 2019

Trump administration steps up air war in Somalia Eric Schmitt and Charlie Savage New York Times March 10, 2019

What happened to 4 starving Yemeni children since The Washington Post visited their village in December Sudarsan Raghavan and Ali Al Mujahed Washington Post February 27, 2019

Photographing the Yazidis in Iraq as they struggle to rebuild their lives Photographs by Emilienne Malfatto Text by Sara Aridi New York Times January 22, 2019

The problem with memorializing our war dead without honest accounting of history C.J. Chivers New York Times February 22, 2019

Coup attempt in Gabon is thwarted, government says Dionne Searcey New York Times January 7, 2019

Body Count: Casualty figures for the war on terror after 10 years (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan) Physicians for Social Responsibility March 2015 (101 page PDF file)

For further discussion, see Understanding exploitation, especially the sections “Conflict theory” and “Power and exploitation.”

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