Posts Tagged ‘war’

How Afghanistan was broken: The disaster of the Soviet intervention

October 4, 2012

From International Area Studies Review

As the US-led, NATO-organized and UN-mandated operation in Afghanistan draws to an uncertain end there is no point in looking back at the protracted disaster of the Soviet intervention to try and draw parallels with the wars. No retrospective analysis can establish with any certainty whether the war with the USSR had a ‘military solution’ or not, but it is quite clear that the USSR in its autumnal decade had neither the Stalinist determination nor the Leninist ingenuity to find one. The Soviet military machine was not over-burdened by the peripheral war and could have absorbed the defeat, but the consequences of the Mujahedin victory for Afghanistan were truly devastating.

This article seeks to combine historical and strategic analysis in examining that war as an evolving contradiction between nonsensical political aims and insufficient military means, and focusing on the shortcomings in projecting power that caused the escalation of rebellion and the subsequent defeat of the most powerful, but fast crumbling, military organization in the world. The aim is not to compile a list of mistakes, incompatibilities and limitations but rather to examine how their interplay condemned the intervention to disaster and the Afghan state to failure.


Climate change link to war remains tenuous

February 15, 2012

Special Issue: Climate change and conflict

From Journal of Peace Research      

Does climate change sow the seeds of war? Until recently, most answers to this political question have been based on speculation. This landmark issue investigates a host of potential causes for conflict. Many other factors have a far greater influence than climate change on peace and stability, most of the studies conclude. On balance, the authors only find limited support for an influence of climate change on armed conflict. But this does not eliminate the possibility that when climate issues are framed as a security problem, this may influence actor perception and contribute to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In the largest collection of peer-reviewed writings on the topic to date, the authors employ systematic climate data and climate projections. Most of the articles deal with civil war, a few with international war, and several studies go beyond state-based conflict to look at possible implications for communal conflict and other kinds of violence.


Witnessing the UK Wootton Bassett repatriations through media images: Implications for victimology

September 7, 2011

Witnessing Wootton Bassett: An exploration in cultural victimology

From Crime Media Culture

Wootton Bassett is a small town in England. It is situated close to the Royal Air Force Lyneham base where service personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are repatriated. Media reporting and similar visual witnessing of repatriations has become a frequent occurrence since the first spontaneous saluting of what was then a small procession by Royal British Legion members in 2007. Since that time UK military deaths from the war in Afghanistan have reached over 350, As the number of people present at the repatriations has steadily increased, it would seem that this is an impulse expressing a collective grief. This paper explores the ‘public performance’ and ‘witnessing’ of these events. It identifies three themes within the photographs of the processions: the compression of private and public grief; gothicism and the emergence of ‘dark tourism’; and displays of resistance. In conclusion the article explores the implications of this analysis for victimology.


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