The concept of military adventurism has been heavily linked with the United States of America in the early years of the 21st century. The concept revolves around the abuse of military power for personal national gain, and was a typical feature of 19th century colonial regimes. Indeed, the build up of colonial projects by European powers played a large part in starting World War One.
In the 21st century, the United States has been accused of military adventurism with reference to its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Certainly, in the case of the former, tenuous intelligence was used to justify an attack on Iraq. The original aims of the conflict in Afghanistan have become more opaque and harder to pin down as time has gone on.
This situation has seen the USA face accusations that their foreign policy seems dominated by military adventures of a kind which were supposed to have ended with World War Two. Afghanistan has been the site of other armed adventures too, with the British failing to exert martial control over the country in the 19th century. The Soviet Union also launched a campaign in the 1970s and 80s which would end in failure.
America is not the only country to have flexed muscles in pursuit of perhaps questionable aims in recent years though. North Korea, the most insular and repressed country in the world, has a history of ‘sabre rattling’ and trying to intimidate its neighbors militarily with aggressive behavior and carefully planned and staged acts. In the spring of 2012, this took the form of a rocket launch.
The North Korean justification for this act was that it was a celebration of the birthday of their leader, though this did not sound convincing to much of the rest of the world. Rather, it looked more like a test of long-range weapons capacity, something which might well intimidate its southern neighbor South Korea. The tow countries are divided by a boundary which is one of the most heavily militarized in the world.
India and Pakistan are two other Asian countries whose ongoing animosity continues to throw up examples of bellicose posturing. The Partition process which separated the two countries in the wake of the ending of British rule in the 1940s has led to a sensitive situation along the border between the two countries, as well as a nuclear arms race. There have also been accusations from either side that their neighbor has intervened in internal conflicts.
The idea of this kind of bellicose behavior is therefore fairly prevalent, even in a world which professes to be at peace. It could also be claimed that Russian interventions in places such as Georgia and Chechnya could fall into this bracket. Wherever there is conflict, the great powers look to shape events in their favor.
The idea of military adventurism is not, sadly, a recent innovation, nor is it confined to elements in the United States. Flexing the muscles of the armed forces has been a part of diplomacy and international relations for years. Until the concept is better managed, we must endure living in an unstable world.
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