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   · Member Since: Before 2003                                             An account of the Angolan civil war from the authors own first hand
                                                                           experiences as seen from the perspective of corruption within the United
                                                                           Nations system that was supposed to provide assistance.
    Add this page to                                                   Why is War Thought? Why is War Fought?
    your Bookmarks List                                               This section, does not really belong here or anywhere else in this story but
                                                                      the author feels himself confronted with an issue important enough to justify
                                                                      in some way or another without, if it can be helped, going into unnecessarily
   Leon Kukkuk, click here to update
                                                                      long and complex explanations. To understand how to run development
   your web pages on                                                    projects in or after a war, one has to understand what wars are all about.                                     Internet E
                                                                      Yet it is not a line of argument that reduces neatly down to a few basic
                                        principles, but by dealing with only the most basic of issues we may come up with something
                                        reasonable. For anybody really interested in the nature of modern warfare the writing of Mary Kaldor is                                      Most likely
   Featured Book                        highly recommended and much of what follows is based on her ideas.                                                                                You a
   Natural Breathing:                   There is a tendency to look at modern wars through the lens of our experiences during the Second
   Teachings & Exercises                Word War. This was a war fought between various countries with armies numbering in the millions of                                                The w
   for Health & Self-T by               men and with entire societies and economies subordinated to the war effort. The legitimacy of the                                                 There
   Dennis Lewis                         governments during this war was not questioned. If there were any questions it had less to do with
                                        legitimacy as such but rather how this legitimacy was used. For seven years all the efforts of the most
               This three-                                                                                                                                                           What you c
               CD audio                 powerful countries in the world, with the exception perhaps of the USA to some extent, were directed
                                        purely towards the war effort. There was no connection between conflict and development. Conflict
               program by
                                        took precedence.                                                                                                                                 Diagnos
               Lewis, author            “Inter-state war is sometimes described as Clausewitzean war. The wars of classical modernity had a
               of the highly            kind of extremist logic that is well analysed by Clausewitz. As war became more extreme and terrible,                                            More in
   acclaimed book The Tao               so the social contract was extended, reaching its logical end point during the Cold War period.
   of Natural Breathing, is             Essentially, during this period, there were unprecedented gains in economic and social rights. But the
   produced by Sounds                   risks were also dramatically extended. The price of these gains, during this period, was readiness to
   True, the premier                    risk a nuclear war.”
                                        Modern wars are different.
   producer of audios ..                The end of superpower patronage to client movements worldwide created a power vacuum whose
             Gold Member BookAds        inevitable results included the spread of violence and the emergence of disparate groups, ostensibly
                                        fighting in the name of ideology, religion or ethnicity, but now seeking their finance through local taxes,
                                        plunder and pillage.
                                        Modern wars are, almost without exception, fought in the name of identity, with the parties claiming
                                        power on the basis of labels. Political identity is defined in terms of exclusive labels which may be
                                        ethnic, linguistic, or religious and the wars themselves give meaning to the labels. Labels offer a new
                                        sense of security in a context where the political and economic certainties of previous decades have
                                        been undermined or have disappeared. They are mobilised for political purposes; they provide a new
                                        populist form of communitarian ideology, a way to maintain or capture power, that uses the language
                                        and forms of an earlier period. Clearly, these new ideologies do not spring from a vacuum but make
                                        use of pre-existing historical cleavages and the legacies of past wars. It is the case that the appeal to
                                        tradition and the nostalgia for some mythical or semi-mythical history gains strength in the social
                                        upheavals associated with the opening up to global pressures. But it is the deliberate manipulation of
                                        these sentiments, often assisted by Diaspora funding and speeded up through the electronic media,
                                        that is the immediate cause of conflict.
                                        These wars are also globalised in another sense. Unlike inter-state wars, which were highly regulated
                                        and which has provided a model for statist forms of planning, these wars could be almost be described
                                        as the model for the contemporary informal economy, in which privatised violence and unregulated
                                        social relations feed on ach other. In these wars, physical destruction and unemployment is very high,
                                        the formal economy deteriorates and tax revenues plummet. The various parties finance themselves
                                        through loot and plunder and various forms of illegal trading; thus they are closely linked with and help
                                        to generate organised crime networks (Afghanistan and Columbia are prime examples). They also
                                        depend on support from neighbouring states, Diaspora groups, and humanitarian assistance.
                                        An important characteristic of modern wars is complexity. This complexity is an important new
                                        dimension because in the vast majority of cases there are several and varied factions involved, as well
                                        as a number of external parties that may provide consultation, funding, technical support, direct
                                        military involvement and assistance. Third parties may escalate conflict by supporting contending
                                        parties, or de-escalate a fight through attempts at a peaceful or co-operative resolution. Any
                                        intervention changes the dimensions of the conflict and possible pay-offs for all the parties. Outside
                                        parties have their own interests and this affects their conduct in the conflict. If the outside party is
                                        sufficiently powerful, it may even impose its own terms on the contending parties.
                                        Modern wars are no longer discrete in time and space. The various actors, states, remnants of states,
                                        para-military groups, liberation movements, etc. depend on continued violence for both political and
                                        economic reasons.
                                        Social structures are likely to be created which, given the values of those involved and the inability of
                                        the society to produce either more of the material or positional goods in dispute, lead to frequent,

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                     repetitive and often intense conflicts across permanent cleavages within the social structure, as parties
                     pursue goal incompatibilities that paradoxically arise from the same social structure or set of values.
                     Cease-fires and agreements are truces, breathing spaces, which do not address the underlying
                     causes or mend social relations. The, often transnational, networks of politicians, security forces, legal
                     and illegal trading groups, constitute a new distorted social formation, which has a tendency to spread
                     through refugees and displaced persons, identity based networks often crossing continents, as well as
                     criminal links.
                     At the root of much of today’s continuing unrest are the inequitable sharing of resources, both within
                     national boundaries and globally, and the absence of inclusive and responsive political structures that
                     has to a very large extent to do with the fact that national governments have become more outward
                     looking – towards the IMF and the World Bank, as well as to political and strategic pressure from
                     superpowers – rather than focussing predominantly on their own populations.
                     Modern wars can thus be described as an extreme manifestation of the erosion of the autonomy of the
                     nation-state under the impact of globalisation. In contrast to the two world wars, in which states were
                     able to mobilise resources and extend administrative capacities, these wars could be described as
                     implosions of the state. Democracy at a national level is weakened by the erosion of the autonomy of
                     the state and the undermining of the state’s capacity to respond to democratic demands. It is the
                     collapse not just of democracy but also of the consensus on which state rule is based under the
                     impact of globalisation.”
                     This is however a gross simplification of the root causes of war. Many other conditions have to be met
                     for the abovementioned inequalities to explode into full-blown conflict. Still avoiding complexity, above
                     all, one may say that modern wars are considered to be fought for two reasons: Greed or Grievance.
                     At it most basic the following minimum conditions are required for any conflict:
                     It must have a leader. The role that individual leaders play in the escalation of violence is undeniable.
                     It must have money to pay for the war.
                     The movement must be sufficiently large to generate the sort of casualties to qualify as a war.
                     It must have a (perceived) publicly acceptable reason for the war to present to the international
                     community, whatever the real reason may be.
                     There must occur a moment of passage where individual interests becomes collective decisions and
                     ultimately action.
                     There must be sufficient opportunity aside from economic and grievance opportunity. In other words
                     the issues must become politicised and the only avenue to express them must be collective politicised
                     There must be appropriate and sufficient geographical space in which to fight the war.
                     Many conflicts, as has been seen in Angola, Sudan, Somalia and the Balkans do not result in a more
                     representative and accountable government but only in more and more conflict. Even where a peace
                     agreement brings an end to violence, authorities remain confronted by unstable societies, a tendency
                     for recrimination, and reconstruction demands that overwhelm their most energetic efforts.
                     The conflicts are called “wars” because of their political character although they could also be
                     described as massive violations of human rights (repression against civilians) and organised crime
                     (violence for private gain). They are about access to state power. They are violent struggles to gain
                     access to or control of the state. As the state becomes privatised, in other words, as it shifts from
                     being the main organisation for the regulation of society towards an instrument for the extraction of
                     resources by the ruler and privileged networks, so access to state power becomes a matter of
                     inclusion or exclusion, even, in the latter case, of survival.
                     Violence is itself a form of political mobilisation. It is mainly directed against civilians and not at another
                     army. The aim is to capture territory through political control rather than through military success. And
                     political control is maintained through terror, through expulsion or elimination of those who challenge
                     political control, especially those with a different label. Population displacement, massacres,
                     widespread atrocities are not just side effects of war; they are a deliberate strategy for political control.
                     The tactic is to sow the fear and hate on which exclusive identity claims rest.” Conflicts see the denial
                     of the elementary human rights of civilian populations and the use of food and humanitarian
                     assistance as political weapons. In fact, the superpowers and associated donor governments
                     acquiesced in and sometimes underwrote such policies.
                     Development in conflict thus requires historical perspective and, along with it, not only realism and
                     modesty on the part of its proponents, but also a certain vision.
                     It follows from the argument about the character of modern wars that efforts aimed at conflict
                     prevention or management should focus on a reversal of the uncivilising process, on the
                     reconstruction of relations based on agreed rules and public authority. The foundation of any peace
                     strategy has to be the restoration of legitimate authority. It has to counterpoise the strategy of fear and
                     hate with a strategy of hearts and minds. This kind of restoration of legitimate authority cannot mean a
                     reversion to statist politics; it must imply multi-layered authority: global, regional, national and local.
                     Most importantly, such an approach has to start by building a new form of cosmopolitan politics to
                     counter the politics of exclusion. At a local level, cosmopolitan politics can include both political
                     movements and parties that are secular and non-nationalist or religious, as well as moderate identity
                     based parties that respect and cherish different identities. Cosmopolitan or democratic politics is
                     usually associated with civil society; in particular NGOs and independent media, but it also may have
                     political representation in parliaments or even governments.
                     The legitimacy of political institutions is intimately linked to the physical protection of citizens. Modern
                     wars can be viewed as protection-failures. How and whether this protection is provided will shape the
                     future of political institutions.
                     Social formations that depend on violence are always vulnerable, fragile and close to exhaustion. It is
                     very difficult to sustain forms of political mobilisation that depend solely or predominantly on violence.
                     Sustainable power depends on legitimacy, not on violence. Herein lies the possibility for a
                     cosmopolitan, in other words, a non-exclusive, alternative.
                     What is needed is a transnational alliance that includes both local actors and those engaged in a
                     variety of international activities committed to a cosmopolitan approach.
                     In nearly all conflict zones, it is possible to identify individuals, groups or even local communities that
                     try to act in inclusive democratic ways. Precisely because these are wars which are not total in
                     character and in which participation is low, in which the distinction between war and peace is eroding,
                     there are often what might be called zones of civility that struggle to escape the polarisation imposed
                     by the logic of war and provide space for cosmopolitan politics. Examples include Tuzla in Bosnia
                     Herzegovina, Northwest Somaliland as well as many other places. Pro-democracy groups are not,
                     contrary to popular perception, confined to non-violent resistance. Self-defence groups or reformist
                     forces like the RPF in Rwanda or even elements in the KLA may be counted among these
                     cosmopolitan or democratic political groupings.
                     Strengthening cosmopolitan politics is much more important than trying to reconcile opposing
                     exclusivist groups, even though conflict resolution efforts at a societal level may be important in
                     changing political perspectives. Negotiations among warring parties help to legitimise those who
                     support exclusive approaches to politics and may result in impossible compromises involving various
                     types of partition and power sharing that entrench identity politics. There may be a case for

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                     negotiations to stabilise the violence and create space for alternative cosmopolitan groupings but how
                     this is done and with what aim should be understood as part of a common cosmopolitan strategy.
                     Secondly, a cosmopolitan approach requires respect for cosmopolitan law. This is international law
                     that applies to individuals and not to states.
                     Thirdly, a cosmopolitan approach requires global justice that respects economic and social rights even
                     in conflict zones. Indeed, if cosmopolitan politics is to counter the populist appeal of exclusive identity
                     politics, it has to be able to address every day concerns.
                     In the modern wars, it is possible to find cosmopolitans who risk their lives to save others. Can their
                     experience offer a moral basis for future forms of cosmopolitan governance?
                     The global context is crucial to understanding this new political economy of war: globalised arms
                     markets, transnational ethnicities and internationalised Western-global interventions are all integral to
                     new wars.
                     It is about the breakdown of legitimacy, and a new cosmopolitan politics is needed to reconstruct this
                     legitimacy in the war zones. Cosmopolitanism is a set of principles and a positive political vision, tied
                     to the rule of law. Cosmopolitans are to be found within the local communities at the heart of the
                     violence - particularly in “islands of civility” where identity politics has not taken full hold - as well as
                     within the International community. Cosmopolitanism does not mean negotiating truces between
                     warring ethno-nationalists but building up pluralist democratic politics.
                     Kaldor re-focuses the categories through which we think about the international or Western role in war
                     zones. It is not a question of intervention or non-intervention, humanitarian or otherwise: in the
                     globalised new wars, thinking based on “inside” and “outside” has less meaning. It should be, she
                     argues, a question of cosmopolitan law-enforcement rather than peacekeeping or peace-enforcement,
                     and of reconstruction - understood in terms of political legitimacy as much as economic rebuilding -
                     rather than humanitarian assistance, necessary as that may be, it should be confined to phases of real
                     emergency and phased out as soon as possible afterwards.
                     Kaldor offers us an understanding of some of the most troubling of all contemporary phenomena - the
                     deeply destructive, genocidal forms of violence which accompanied not only the break-ups of
                     Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union but also the fragmentation of many states, especially in Africa, since
                     the end of the Cold War.
                     In the developments of the Cold War period - nuclear weapons, the permanent state of war without
                     actual fighting (except by proxy), the alliances with their pooling of state monopolies of violence, the
                     development of transnational civil society - there was an “erosion of the distinctions between public
                     and private, military and civil, internal and external” as well as of war and peace.
                     “This transition from war to peace is a complex process marked by the need to stabilize the economy;
                     de-militarise the country; reintegrate dislocated populations; protect the most vulnerable war victims;
                     ensure human rights and justice for all; restore human and social capital; manage scarce natural
                     resources to mitigate the environmental impact of war; and rehabilitate the productive assets and
                     basic infrastructure. All of these processes depend upon the presence of a willing and capable
                     government, a supportive and active civil society, and cooperative and receptive regional and
                     international communities.”
                     Conflicts demonstrate strongly how important is the need for attention to historical inequities and
                     human rights abuses. Conceptually speaking, effective development can help avoid conflicts, provide
                     a sense of participation in fragile political economies, and reinforce negotiated arrangements to end
                     Unfortunately, development activities often lack the requisite urgency or priority needed to prevent
                     conflict but, properly presented and managed, it can contribute towards ending conflict. It may be
                     vulnerable to the social upheaval, which accompanies conflicts. Once conflict recedes, development
                     may prove hard to restart and is often overmatched by the need. Relief, reconstruction, and
                     development are no longer “steady state” phenomena, discrete points on a fixed continuum measured
                     by emergency food commodities, infra-structural inputs, and per capita GNP. Techniques and
                     institutions for doing so effectively will take some time to catch up.
                     “Donor fatigue,” whether it is the result of a perceived lack of progress in development or recurrent
                     humanitarian emergencies is now well known. One of the major tragedies of the early post Cold War
                     era has been that superpowers, donor governments, and multilateral institutions, clearly implicated in
                     the creation of massive need, have largely turned their backs on the consequences of the wars that
                     they had so enthusiastically supported. Their slowness to address the simple issue of land mines, for
                     example, clearly indicates an unwillingness to meet the far larger and more expensive cost of
                     economic and social reconstruction.
                     If connections between conflict and development are illuminated by recent experience, discussion
                     should also benefit from a positive evolution in the understanding of the fundamental concepts
                     The notion that relief is a state of “deferred” or “interrupted” development, situated on the near end of
                     the much discussed relief to development continuum need to be challenged. The earlier view of
                     development as an economic process that cannot take place unless peace prevails in a nation is now
                     passé. Moreover, development has sometimes shown itself to be a cause of conflict rather than simply
                     a casualty. Positive developments notwithstanding, the international development assistance
                     enterprise remains largely becalmed, caught in a lose-lose situation. On the one hand, governments
                     are redirecting development resources to the more attention getting emergencies, even though
                     recurrent crises may themselves be the harbingers of failed development.
                     “In effect, then, the “new wars” and “complex political emergencies” of the immediate post-cold-war
                     period had the important effect of demonstrating that, where stability and security were urgent
                     objectives of relief/development, the prevailing intellectual framework for development is significantly
                     inadequate. Development theorists and policy makers therefore face the quite urgent challenge of re-
                     considering the relationship between state and society, and devising policy initiatives to engage their
                     mutual imbrications. And within the mainstream, they had to do so without disturbing the non-
                     negotiable development framework of the international capitalist economy.”
                     What is particularly strange about this insistence on democratic capitalism is the way that it
                     concentrates on the procedural aspects of it; on elections, on representative institutions, on the
                     participation in governance issues of all sorts of things such as churches, something called civil
                     society and grassroots movements. The underlying values, on which democracy is supposed to be
                     based, are frequently ignored. The irony is that if one can promote these values, then the system
                     through which it is applied becomes almost irrelevant.
                     “These divergent dynamics of disempowerment and (re)empowerment are particularly complicated in
                     cases where patterns of global integration themselves provide the forces that break down states. “in
                     many developing countries, unequal patterns of development, in terms of investment as well as
                     access to its opportunities, have been a major source of societal cleavage. The process of
                     globalisation integrates markets and values, thus facilitating growth, yet it is also a source of
                     increasing exclusion and marginalization, widening the gap between rich and poor within and among
                     societies, and exacerbating the conditions that can give rise to violent conflict. This argument comes
                     close to suggesting that the structure of global markets promotes civil wars! Indeed, a 2000 World
                     Bank report on the Economic Causes of Civil Conflict argued that the greatest predictor of civil war is

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                     economic structure: countries that earn around a quarter of their annual GDP from export of
                     unprocessed commodities face a far higher likelihood of civil war than countries with more diversified
                     economies. The report suggested in fact that the main grievances articulated by rebel organizations-
                     “inequality, political repression, and ethnic and religious divisions”-provide no explanatory power in
                     predicting rebellion when they are measured objectively. By contrast, economic characteristics-
                     “dependence on primary commodity exports, low average incomes, slow growth, and large Diasporas”
                     - are all significant and powerful predictors of civil war. Consequently, the report suggested, conflict
                     prevention can best be achieved through a range of political and economic management initiatives.

                     Civil war is far less likely to be ended by a negotiated agreement than wars between countries. During
                     the 1980´s conflict resolution studies were focused on how to mediate civil wars under the illusion that
                     all you needed to do was get an agreement and the war would end. By a huge magnitude, more
                     people died after the peace accords in Angola and Rwanda than during the civil wars that preceded
                     them. Negotiating a second peace agreement after one has failed is often more costly in time, money
                     and lives. The brutally depressing fact is that for most of the parties in most of these conflicts, war is a
                     safer bet than peace. War is often safer because it has a familiar pattern; it imposes order, stifles
                     dissent, generates profits, provides employment, security and a sense of belonging and provides a
                     pathway to personal advance.”
                     Peace, on the other hand, is a leap into the unknown. It involves bargaining concessions, contingent
                     exchanges of promises that can come undone. Most of all peace involves loss of political control and
                     cohesion. It tends to dissolve the glue that cements wartime coalitions together.
                     To be effective as peacemakers and keepers, the international governments and private organizations
                     involved must be more skilful and consistent in the signals they send. Too often, the peace
                     agreements are vague, which makes implementation more difficult. Bureaucratic turf wars among the
                     peacemaking organizations also don’t help. The United States, for example, has eight different
                     agencies involved in peacekeeping missions.
                     “Sometimes factors that facilitated the agreement are problems for implementation,” says Margaret
                     Anstee , who had been the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to the Angolan peace
                     implementation. The 1991 Angolan agreement was brokered by the United States, Russia and
                     Portugal without any UN involvement, but the United Nations was designated to enforce it.
                     “The brokers negotiated “winner-take-all” elections, like those held for congressional districts in the
                     United States. Both major factions assumed they would win the September 1992 elections, and when
                     one, UNITA, lost with 40 percent of the vote, it went back to war. “You might say the operation was
                     successful but the patient died,” Anstee says, because the Western brokers did not take into account
                     that in many Third World countries “control of the government is the prize - there isn’t anything else.”
                     When Angola’s UNITA rebels went back to war, the UN Security Council took a year to apply
                     sanctions, which were not effective initially. An estimated 300 000 Angolans died in the year following
                     the election. A second brokered peace soon got in trouble as well, and the Security Council had to
                     issue new sanctions against UNITA.
                     “From the beginning, we need to think about an integrated operation of peace-building,” says Anstee.
                     “That means involvement in reconstruction and restoring the possibility of economic and social
                     development, establishing democratic institutions and providing training for a neutral police force.”
                     “we use the term governance to denote the command mechanism of a social system and its actions
                     that endeavour to provide security, prosperity, coherence, order and continuity to the system...taken
                     broadly, the concept of governance should not be restricted to the national and international systems
                     but should be used in relation to regional, provincial and local governments as well as other social
                     systems such as education and the military, to private enterprises and even to the microcosm of the

                     One would expect those responsible for a conflict to be at the very minimum ambivalent about efforts
                     to respond to the consequent humanitarian emergencies. After all, if entire populations are the enemy,
                     protecting them is contrary to the ostensible objectives of the perpetrator of their suffering. Moreover,
                     since meeting the needs and defending the rights of victims requires relations between international
                     actors and insurgent groups, state parties to civil conflict understandably fear that such ties legitimise
                     their non-state adversaries. Whenever international assistance is given within the context of a conflict,
                     whether negative and violent or positive conflict, in other words for a just cause, it becomes a
                     contributing factor to that conflict and thus part of the conflict itself. Although aid agencies often seek
                     to be neutral or non-partisan, the impact of their assistance is never neutral and can play an important
                     role in abating or aggravating a conflict. It can, if properly implemented reduce tensions and increase
                     people’s capacities to disengage from fighting and find alternative options to resolve a conflict. Any
                     assistance almost always does some of both, worsening a conflict in some ways and supporting a
                     resolution in others.

                                                            Professional Reviews

                     If you hate the UN, this book is for you
                     If you believe, as I, that the United Nations is a bloated, corrupt, inept, inefficient, and arrogant
                     organization then this book is for you. The author spent several years in Huambo, Angola working on a
                     development project under the auspices of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). UNDP
                     could not account for money spent, who it went to or for what purpose. Meanwhile, the author and his
                     staff struggled without salaries, supplies, and guidance while still making a meaningful contribution.
                     Plus, Huambo was in the middle of a civil war. I'd give the book 5 stars, but Kukkuk really delves into
                     the contracts, booklets, and correspondence as he struggles to save his project. It can get to be too
                     much, but then again, he suffered through the time period. The book has an excellent account about
                     the Angolan civil war, but the main focus of the text is the author's unbelievable struggle with UNDP.
                     For a program designed to help the less fortunate, UNDP in Angola, at least, does nothing but worry
                     about glossy reports, avoiding responsibility, and waiting for pay day and the chance to go on holiday
                     paid for by the UN. A stunning indictment of the arrogance and condescending attitude shown not only
                     to the people they are suppose to serve, but the host government as well.

                      Review it! - What do you think of Letters to Gabriella: Angola's Last War for Peace, What the
                      UN Did and Why?

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