Why Interstate War is Increasing in the World?


Interstate wars are the greatest threats to world peace and security. In human history, wars between countries took millions of lives, displaced billions of people, and caused trillions of dollars in destruction. Fortunately, the world enjoyed a gradual decline in the number of interstate wars since the end of WWII. Even, the world saw ‘zero interstate war’ from 2005 to 2007. However, we can see a gradual increase in the interstate war from 2015 onward, and the most recent example is the Ukraine war. Although interstate war is not going to surpass the ongoing intrastate war in number, there are huge possibilities that these intrastate wars become internationalized due to growing competition and geopolitical interests of regional and global powers. Besides these, there are other factors like shifting geostrategic posture, growing polarization, and territorial disputes which are driving states to fight against each other. In this context, countries need to go beyond their national interests to see the true consequences of these wars. Moreover, international organizations need to be more proactive in their monitoring role and facilitating dialogues at different levels.

Rising Number of Interstate Wars in the World

Since the end of the Second World War, interstate violence has decreased the most. It is the civil or interstate conflict that has increased significantly since 1946. However, we are seeing a gradual increase in the number of interstate wars in recent times. Moreover, internal conflicts are becoming international, as regional and international powers support different parties with troops and equipment. These confrontations might escalate into more direct, major power conflicts in the future. Most interestingly, with the changing nature of conflict, countries battle for influence by using sanctions (US sanctions on Iran and North Korea), trade wars (US-China trade war), electoral interference (Russian interference in the US election), and diplomatic boycott (Arab countries cut ties with Qatar in 2017 over the accusations of funding terrorism) which are less violent than conventional war, but still cause serious damage to people and their governments.

– Muhammad Estiak Hussain is a Research Intern at the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA).

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