Thursday, November 22, 2007

How Has War Changed?

.:Multitude Has The Answer:.

While the word “war” connotes a very specific image of many different countries fighting over territory by using military force, “Multitude” by Hardt and Negri conjures a very different picture: we instead see these wars, or these state of wars, as it were, as a constant “general global state of war” that happens all over the world, not as a matter of conflict between two or more sovereign powers, but more along the lines of a civil war within only one sovereign territory, as Hardt and Negri put it.

If one were to refer to the discussion of “Empire”, it was made clear that globalization is slowly turning the entire world into one superstructure instead of a conglomeration of different structures, i.e. countries. This in turn would mean that any conflict within the world is a conflict within the workings of said superstructure, thus resulting in what could only be called “civil war”. This is especially clear when we realize that only rarely do we now have wars in order to expand territory, albeit the most high-profile war we are currently involved in, USA's “war on terror”, is, for all intents and purposes, a sliding back into the old kind of war.

Outside of this sliding back, the wars of today are radically different in purpose, and are mostly for policing purposes, instead of for expansion of territory. For an erring country to fall in line with the standard, a powerful country would declare war on it not to conquer the country, but to make it conform to a particular standard or intention, as we have clearly seen in the way the threat of war dissuades countries like North Korea and Cuba from fully exerting their will. No longer can we assume a “unilateral” or a “multilateral” approach, because any attempt by a country like the United States to muscle another country into falling in line has to intrinsically be in accordance with the desires of the rest of the superstructure. America, as Hardt and Negri put it, “cannot go it alone”. This is why the nature of war in this day and age has changed from one of a battle of political wills to an attempt at hegemony and conformity, albeit not in the strictest or most obvious sense. War has become a tool of perpetuating this so-called Empire of which countries like the United States are merely a part of, and not the be-all and end-all of.

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