All War is Bad Politics

All War is Bad Politics
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The Chinese military has rejected as “extremely irresponsible” Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat’s remarks that India is ready for a “two-and-a-half front war”, asking him to “stop clamouring for war”. Rawat had said that India is prepared for security threats posed by China, Pakistan as well as by internal threats. Rawat’s remarks are indeed intemperate and even irresponsible and they belie a certain disconnect from reality. The reasons pertain to the very nature of war in the twenty first century and the fact that these remarks , if hypothetically speaking, there is follow up on these, throws a spanner into regional as well as global stability. In the twenty first century there are structural impediments to way. Nuclear weapons and economic interdependence on account of globalization render war a mug’s game. This assessment holds despite United States’ misadventure in Iraq in the initial years of this century. The country and the world are discovering the pitfalls and dangers of war. Moreover, war, in the great theorist and philosopher of war, Carl Von Clausewitz, is an adjunct to diplomacy. That is, it is a means to an end; nor an end in itself as Rawat’s remarks seem to imply. Some analysts and scholars of war and international politics have gone as far as stating that “ all war is bad politics”. Second, in the final analysis, peace or relative peace might be the end goal of war. If the condition of relative peace can be arrived at other means – economics and economic interdependence and diplomacy- why go to war? From an international relations perspective or from the dominant international relations paradigm, stability is to be sought in the international system. This allows, among other things, states to focus on prosaic but important endeavors like economic growth and development. This takes into another important but related domain. Wars usually drain nations. If India does go to war or in Rawat’s formulation a “two and a half front war”, it fritters away economic development. Moreover, China is a regional power that has great power aspirations; it is not a pushover. Waging war against China is then not as easy at sounds. All in all, then Rawat’s remarks are not only squeamish and badly thought out but these flounder on the rocks of reality. A sense of proportion that is badly missing in Rawat’s remarks validate the age old dictum that “wars should not be fought by generals”.

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