WAR! – An Explanation

Armed conflict is taking place in several parts of the world today. However, the conflict having a more pressing impact on our way of life, here in sweet Saint Lucia, is the one between Russia and Ukraine.

More than one commentator have explained, through the pages of this medium, how impactful this latest war in eastern Europe will be on Caribbean economies, Saint Lucia included. Our focus today is not to regurgitate what’s already been said about the latest armed conflict, but to open our readers minds to what exactly is a way and the damage to countries and people such a war can inflict.

What is war?

War is a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state.

Wikipedia describes war as an intense armed conflict between states, governments, societies, or paramilitary groups such as mercenaries, insurgents, and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, aggression, destruction, and mortality, using regular or irregular military forces.

In other words, war is not something that is good, hence the reason why war is never promoted as a way to settle one country’s grievance/s with another.

Some of the threatening physical consequences of war are death, injury, sexual violence, malnutrition, illness, disability and homelessness, while post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety, are some of the emotional effects.

War destroys communities and families and often disrupts the development of the social and economic fabric of nations. The effects of war include long-term physical and psychological harm to children and adults, as well as reduction in material and human capital.

It is said that during a war, women and children are often the most vulnerable and prone to being hit the hardest. Throughout history, we see examples of terrible abuses against women and children, from the 1.1 million children killed during the Holocaust to the many women and children raped or killed during the Rwandan Genocide and other wars.

Simply put, war is evil. And to quote Google, “It is the greatest catastrophe that can befall human beings. It brings death and destruction, merciless slaughter and butchery, disease and starvation, poverty and ruin in its wake.”

Clearly there are disadvantages to war, but what about the other side of the war coin. Are there benefits, advantages of war? Surprising there are and these can be seen all around us today.

One writer listed peace, love and money as advantages of war, while another posited that war can lead to larger societies, greater pacification and greater wealth. Other benefits of war are getting rid of problematic governments, the correction of injustices, advances in technology and medicine, and a reduction of unemployment.

War has two faces, which could easily be discerned as we view the coverage of the many wars currently ongoing in 2022. The conflict between Ukraine and Russia is not the only war taking place in the world today. Several countries are currently at war due to terrorist insurgency. Plenty of them are on the African continent.

But is war always wrong? Can’t a war be just?

Again, we go to google to shed some light on these questions and explain to us that a war is only just if it is fought for a reason that is justified, and that carries sufficient moral weight. The country that wishes to use military force must demonstrate that there is a just cause to do so. The main just cause is to put right a wrong.

The wars that are presently taking place are on the other side of the world and may seem not to affect us at all. We are living in what is known as the western hemisphere, a rather peaceful region of the world, one which has not seen the devastating effects of war for generations.

However, this does not mean that our region is safe from the wars ongoing on the other side of the world. With the affluent countries of the world imposing stiff economic sanctions that are beginning to bite deeply into large economies like Russia, the squeeze will soon be felt in our far-flung tropical paradise of the Caribbean.

How can the average Saint Lucian, not the wealthy ones who could easily afford the high price in food and other commodities caused by the present wars, insulate himself or herself from the economic fallout that will surely hit Saint Lucia sooner or later, as a result of the present wars of this world, particularly the one between Ukraine and Russia? Discuss in the comment section below.

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