New wars, new armament, new arms markets
North Waziristan, June 2012. 17 people die from a drone strike in the Pakistani border area. War as we used to know it is changing dramatically. More and more frequently, the United States use remote-controlled fighting drones and Special Forces in countries they are not at war with. The automation of the undeclared war increasingly replaces the deployment of own soldiers and thus decreases the amount of victims in their own ranks. The targeted killing from the remote desk is by far less expensive. The blurring of the lines between war and peace, the military and the civil, can also be seen in the fact that fighting drones are often not controlled by the military but, for instance in the United States, by the CIA.
These changes have also reached Europe: The German defense minister wants to purchase fighting drones and justifies this with the protection of German soldiers. While Europeans pride themselves on reducing their military budgets and replacing traditional power politics by civilian, diplomatic multilateralism, they have massively expanded their arms exports. Not only does the Old World deliver weapons into all corners of the world, it also exports security technologies and services that can be used by civilians and the military alike. Germany, again, is no exception. “Strengthening instead of interference” is a new maxim of Germany security policy. It is based on the assumption that armament from afar brings stability and influence.
New lucrative arms markets are opening up. In the conflict-laden regions of the Middle East and in Asia, power policy opposites and rivalries are on the increase. In many states, the military still sets out the direction.
The new developments create challenges for foreign- and security policy but also for peace research. We critically address them and show alternatives. The euro- and financial crisis has so far slowed down the growth of many European armies; the military commitment in Afghanistan is reduced—time for a profound reflection upon peace policy. But where is the journey going to? Which role can and should European states play in future UN peace operations? Can Europe, the ‘force for peace’ and Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 2012, live up to its expectations?
The Peace Report, supported by the Deutsche Stiftung Friedensforschung (DSF), is published on behalf of four German peace research institutes by Marc von Boemcken, Ines-Jacqueline Werkner, Margret Johannsen and Bruno Schoch.
LIT Verlag Münster
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