What wars were the first pushing points to shift in the use of violence within International Relations?
Mary Kaldor accepts the criticism that new wars are not new, being overshadowed by the East-West conflict of the Cold War. She also concedes that many of the typical characteristics of new wars can also be found in earlier wars, such as the civil war in the Congo. Kaldor claims that the ‘new war’ theory is about the changing character of organized violence and then, in turn, developing a new method for understanding and explaining this change.
Furthermore, while conceding to the fact that civil wars during the Cold War can fit the new war model, there are also much more new elements to these new wars mainly being: globalization and technology. Globalisation has led to a transformation of the state, with one changing role being linked to organized violence. Globalisation can weaken the power certain states have, meaning that they no longer have a monopoly on violence, one of the defining characteristics of a ‘new war’ compared to the pre-modern period of warfare. Moreover, with some critics claiming that identity politics is merely a continuation of ideology, Kaldor offers a different perspective. She claims that identity politics is about the right to power in the name of a certain group instead of gaining the power to carry out a specific ideological programme; with new wars deciding about access to resources instead of state behavior. Finally, the new war theory is more about a shift in the model of warfare becoming different to the Clauswitzean model of warfare, instead of directly relating to a particular feature of more contemporary wars. Therefore, it can be argued that there has indeed been a shift in the way violence is used within International Relations.