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The World at War
January 1, 2011 5:35 PM   Subscribe

Strategy Page offers a brief overview of the state of the planet, concentrating on who is fighting whom, and why. One interesting thing about it is that the most violent and destructive current wars aren't getting a lot of press coverage in the West. Another interesting thing is that the majority of current violent conflicts are driven by ethnic or religious differences, or by a struggle for control over local sources of wealth (i.e. oil or cocaine or opium).

I was surprised to learn that there was a large insurgency in northern Burma, which has been financing its operations by making methamphetamine. I wonder who they sell it to?
posted by Chocolate Pickle (44 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ugh. on the front page:
The War on Terror has morphed into the War Against Islamic Radicalism. This religious radicalism has always been around, for Islam was born as an aggressive movement, that used violence and terror to expand. Past periods of conquest are regarded fondly by Moslems.
That plus pop-ups? Not for me.
posted by Mngo at 5:39 PM on January 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


... driven by ethnic or religious differences, or by a struggle for control over local sources of wealth (i.e. oil or cocaine or opium).

Well, that pretty much covers all the bases, doesn't it?
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:53 PM on January 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


I wonder who they sell it to
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:57 PM on January 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've been reading Strategy Page for years, mostly for the pictures. They do have some interesting reports and analysis, but they're savagely biased and xenophobic.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:59 PM on January 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, that pretty much covers all the bases, doesn't it?

It leaves out "class struggle".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:03 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It leaves out "class struggle".

Has that, historically, been comparable to the other two reasons in terms of large scale conflicts? I'd say not.
posted by Justinian at 6:14 PM on January 1, 2011


I was surprised to learn that there was a large insurgency in northern Burma, which has been financing its operations by making methamphetamine. I wonder who they sell it to?

Wikipedia to the rescue!
posted by StrikeTheViol at 6:18 PM on January 1, 2011


I loved the Quick and Dirty Guides as a kid, the bias is obvious but they covered a lot of conflict that our corporate media never even bothered to tell the U.S. market about.

Dunnigan has always been pretty straight forward in his writing, and obviously has an establishment (read entrenched power) "realpolitik" western slant.

Thanks for pointing out this page!
posted by Max Power at 6:21 PM on January 1, 2011


I read Strategy Page too, they collect a lot of useful information if you don't mind sifting through all the racism.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 6:26 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


the majority of current violent conflicts are driven by ethnic or religious differences, or by a struggle for control over local sources of wealth

Ethnic, religious and class differences matter only in terms of control over scarce resources, ie who exactly controls it, "us" or "them". Where there is enough of something for everyone, only a few (who tend to be excessively fearful) will bother to dispute control of it.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:45 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Justinian Has that, historically, been comparable to the other two reasons in terms of large scale conflicts? I'd say not.
Do the various Communist revolutions, especially Russian and Chinese, count as large scale conflicts?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:46 PM on January 1, 2011


Is there a map somewhere? Maybe an infographic / timeline?
posted by rebent at 6:53 PM on January 1, 2011


I don't even know where to begin with their page on France...

French law is fundamentally different. If accused, you are guilty until proven innocent...

Part of this is the usual French arrogance, blindly believing that whatever methods they have developed must be the most efficient, and that any other approach is obviously second best and defective...

However, despite their smugness, the French are alarmed at the growing threat from among their own Arab and Moslem immigrant population. But this is a problem that has been growing for decades, and France has not been able to come up with a solution. Unlike the United States, France does not encourage assimilation as much...
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 6:59 PM on January 1, 2011


It leaves out "class struggle".

I think we're missing the root cause.

A farcical aquatic ceremony... rather than a mandate from the masses... is sometimes the basis for class struggle. (and the the violence inherent in the system)
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 7:00 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I haven't read any of this, but I'm reading their spelling "Moslem" as halfway to "Mahommedan" and it immediately suggests they can't be bothered to use the accepted-among journalists, Muslims, basically everyone- spelling. Which further suggests they're ignorant or biased. Ignorance seems unlikely in this case, so I'm going to call them biased based just on that.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:10 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Another interesting thing is that the majority of current violent conflicts are driven by ethnic or religious differences, or by a struggle for control over local sources of wealth (i.e. oil or cocaine or opium).

That's what people fight over, isn't it?
posted by cogneuro at 7:15 PM on January 1, 2011


I'm reading their spelling "Moslem" as halfway to "Mahommedan"

Moslem was the dominant spelling until about 1940, when Muslim took over.

So I'm guessing they're just really old.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:18 PM on January 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


I wonder who they sell it to?

They sell it all over Southeast Asia, with about 30 million daily users. The price and accessibility provide a great edge over the stiff penalties and somewhat limited availability of the other hard drugs of choice.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:27 PM on January 1, 2011


Moslem was the dominant spelling until about 1940, when Muslim took over.
I'm going to have to use that Google Labs widget all the time now. Thanks!

Another interesting thing is that the majority of current violent conflicts are driven by ethnic or religious differences, or by a struggle for control over local sources of wealth (i.e. oil or cocaine or opium).
Based on my memory of Polisci 101, violent conflicts might be across ethnic or religious (or tribal) divisions, but they aren't driven by them. There's theories that say certain ethnic or religious differences are "activated" depending on circumstances. There's nothing fundamentally incompatible with (arbitrary examples here) Jews and Muslims living side-by-side, or Hutus and Tutsis. It's when there's something real to fight over (land, influence, money, all three) that a "divide" appears. The division can change, too. Intertribal warfare can change to religious warfare, that sort of thing.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:29 PM on January 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


As wikipedia would put it:

{{npov}}
{{Citation needed}}
posted by zachlipton at 7:47 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


"class struggle"

Wars among the Greek city states were often based around class warfare. Oligarchic cities (and factions within cities) tended to form alliances against democratic cities/factions and vice versa.

During the French revolution the class war was not confined to France. France was attacked on all sides by nations who were horrified that the revolution might spark democratic uprisings in their own countries.

Agreed, not as important a cause of war as religion, but a significant one.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:19 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


but they're savagely biased and xenophobic.

just like people in a... war!
posted by ovvl at 8:24 PM on January 1, 2011


The racism is turned up to 11 on the "Jokes" (note the quite intentional inclusion of quotation marks) page. I thought briefly about posting an example or two here, but I thought it would be a good idea to enter 2011 with some semblance of decency.

I doubt there's any deep intel on this site that I couldn't get reading a decent international newspaper. Plus I'd be spared the stereotypical, racist editorializing.
posted by vverse23 at 8:28 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


not as important a cause of war as religion

Subject to interpretation, religion might be more of a pretext than a cause. I think warfare evolves more from social and economic pressures (well, usually greed for resources), and that the state religions come into play after the fact, running ahead of the crowds and waving flags.
posted by ovvl at 8:37 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


religion might be more of a pretext than a cause

Faction identifier, even. Language and race have historically served as common cause for factions over religion, and religion has united speakers of different languages and members of different races. Political ideology works too. It all depends on what the diplomats and rulers can negotiate, and the stakes of the war.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:53 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is shockingly racist and offensive. Whatever worth the other information may be, there are plenty of places to get it without the vilification. I don't think we should be linking to something like this.
posted by smoke at 9:39 PM on January 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


The linked website is a joke, if not, it is a bad joke.
posted by clavdivs at 10:16 PM on January 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: More of a pretext than a cause.
posted by yiftach at 10:25 PM on January 1, 2011


I don't know anyone who works in policy or security who has ever seen this website. It is so partisan it is virtually worthless.
posted by quarsan at 10:43 PM on January 1, 2011


Similar content, but without the offensiveness and bias? Anyone have a suggestion? I like the concept.
posted by salvia at 11:05 PM on January 1, 2011


FYI MeTa
posted by Burhanistan at 11:16 PM on January 1, 2011


Same with its neighbor, the CAR (Central African Republic), which suffers from the same plague of multiculturalism induced rebellions.

Ooooohhhhhh, so THAT'S the problem...
posted by awfurby at 11:17 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you want real insight, you need The War Nerd.
posted by winjer at 11:50 PM on January 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Can you really call this racism? Isn't it more about one religion hating another? Could we call this religionism?
posted by telstar at 12:42 AM on January 2, 2011


salvia, perhaps a starting point:

Next Year's Wars

Planet War

posted by MonkeyToes at 5:09 AM on January 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Planet War

Great link. Sad link. I do want to point out this pic, which is the French doing something correctly that the US Army often screws up badly. The soldier -- obviously a leader, but actual markings of rank are deliberatly hard to see nowadays -- is talking to a local. Note that he's refused anything that's a threatful assertion of authority. He isn't wearing sunglasses or mirrorshades. He's taken off his forage cap. He is armed -- he's a soldier -- but his weapon is clearly in a safe position. He's seated, almost identically to the person he's talking to, and he looks like he's listening.

His entire body posture says "I consider myself the same as you." The only error here is his comrade/aide/whatnot, who's standing close by with a weapon that, while not in hand, is clearly in a ready position. However, he's obviously not on guard -- he looks like he's reading something. Everything about the French here says "We're not interested in killing you."

The US Army's normal way of talking to the locals was to have three people, the guy talking in front, two behind. All would be armed, the two behind often had weapons in hand. All were wearing sunglasses and helmets. The US Army guys were saying 'We can kill you at an instant. Let's talk"

The Marines *hate* this, because they ended up taking over an Army sector where the locals hated US servicemen. The Marines have a very good idea on how to work with the locals. I'm not sure why or how the USMC clued into this, given that their traditional role is to be elite naval borne initial combat infantry (get in and get a toehold, which gives room for the Army to disembark.) Both services are combat services first and foremost, and yet, the USMC has developed COIN skills much more than the US Army. Go figure.

But part of it is the little things. Cops wear mirrorshades for a reason. This solider is not wearing mirrorshades, and funny enough, it is for the *same* reason. Hat on, eyes covered, weapon at hand sends a clear message -- and the cop wants to send that message, and this soldier doesn't.
posted by eriko at 7:29 AM on January 2, 2011 [18 favorites]


Moslem was the dominant spelling until about 1940, when Muslim took over.

So I'm guessing they're just really old.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:18 PM on January 1


'sides... We all know it's *really* Musselman.
posted by symbioid at 7:54 AM on January 2, 2011


John Adams smotes you sir with a fluffy wig and Port wine from gay parree.
posted by clavdivs at 9:30 AM on January 2, 2011


Yeah, the idea behind this is terrific and I'd love to see more informational sites like it (The War Nerd and Planet War look pretty interesting), but the bias and narrow-minded hatred projected on almost every subject make this useless as a valid conflict analysis page.
posted by billypilgrim at 9:32 AM on January 2, 2011


I'd like to say something more constructive, but I can't: The linked page is utter, utter bollocks.
posted by BinaryApe at 10:42 AM on January 2, 2011


A bit um, biased regarding islam, but probably fair comment on ussr and the role of jounalism/news in driving war as a way of grabbing attention. Omits entirely the west's role in funding and imposing tyrannical regimes (Egypt? tunisia?) on muslim peoples.
Doesn't note that 'maoists' in India are being tackled so the government can expropriate the despised tribal people's lands for sale to corporations, cf Tata Steel purchases and others. And no, i can't remember any supporting details:( Sometimes i forget my parents' names... i just remember the substance of what i read:(
posted by maiamaia at 2:58 PM on January 2, 2011


Apparently "Moslem" can sounds offensive to Muslims, and only rightwing muslim haters seem to use it.
posted by delmoi at 10:21 PM on January 2, 2011


If I could bottle and sell the frenzy that the far right whipped themselves into over any modification of the transliteration of foreign words and names I'd be a rich man.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:21 AM on January 3, 2011


In my experience, when someone I know meets someone, and ends their description of a them with something to the effect of "...aside from the racism, I mean." I generally advise them not to pursue them any further. Just saying.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 2:49 AM on January 3, 2011


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