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New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era Paperback – February 1, 1999


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“More than any other book, Mary Kaldor’s brilliantly sustained enquiry into ‘new wars’ helps us grasp the complex terrain of political violence since the end of the Cold War.”—Richard Falk, Princeton University


“A timely and important book. Putting the so-called ‘revolution in military affairs’ firmly to one side, Mary Kaldor has provided us with a window into the future of war.” —Martin van Kreveld,Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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Since 1989 and the breakup of the Soviet Union, both the threat of nuclear war and the threat of large-scale, interstate conventional war have receded. Yet, during the 1990s millions have died in wars in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia, and millions more have become refugees from war-torn regions.
In this pathbreaking book, the author argues that, in the context of globalization, what we think of as war—war between states in which the aim is to inflict maximum violence—is becoming an anachronism. In its place is a new type of organized violence, which she calls “new wars,” a mixture of war, organized crime, and massive violations of human rights. The actors are both global and local, public and private. These wars are fought for particular political goals using tactics of terror and destabilization that are theoretically outlawed by the rules of modern warfare; an informal criminalized economy is built into the functioning of these new wars.
The author asserts that political leaders and international institutions have been unable to deal with the spread of these wars mainly because they have not come to terms with their logic; wars are treated either as old wars or as anarchy. Her analysis offers a basis for a cosmopolitan political response to these wars in which the monopoly of legitimate organized violence is reconstructed on a transnational basis, and international peacekeeping is reconceptualized as cosmopolitan law enforcement. The author shows how this approach has profound implications for the reconstruction of civil society, political institutions, and economic and social relations.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (February 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804737223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804737227
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,780,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Charles J. Paver on May 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
Well, what can I say? It's an academic work (read--puts you to sleep), very narrow, that tries to advance the field of current military affairs.

Some chapters, actually, are interesting--especially the first one, where Kaldor describes in good detail her distinctions between old and new wars.

Very briefly, Mary Kaldor (lecturer at the LSE) argues that America--the last nation-state, cannot understand the new era of globalization in conjunction with identity politics (read--ethnic hatred, linguistic identities, or religious) and militarization. And America, and Americans, accd. to Kaldor, still live in the Rumsfeld Cold War mentality, where the world is divided into blocs between democratic and authoritarian-communist regimes, and that the only way to prevail over "evil" is to advance military technology evermore. She says that this is fictitious, at best, and at worse, extremely dangerous.

Old wars are between states, involving a clear distinction between combatants and civilians alike, and are organized vertically, with clear goals and objectives. New wars, on the other hand, begin as civil wars within states, and spill over into adjoining neighbor states, creating a mass diaspora and refugee crisis. In addition, there are mass rapes, civilians are the primary targets (rather than soldiers), genocide is typically the aim, and funding is very different--instead of coming from a vibrant economy, it comes from extortion through insidious taxes on illicit drugs, alcohol, arms weaponry, etc. In short, Kaldor contends that the new wars are those that occurred after the fall of the Berlin Wall (such as those in Eastern Europe, Rwanda, Congo, Sudan, Bosnia, and Iraq 2003). And what has empowered these "super-angry men" (ala Friedman) is globalization. How?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Humberto.Fernandes on February 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an outstanding source of information on modern conflicts inwhich derives globalization, cyberterrorism, and all kinds of tools humankind created for their own use and purpose. Those who study or just feel keen about international affairs in the twenty first century shall simply adore this reading. Mary Kaldor simply blows our minds off!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ricky Recon on April 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book as part of a graduate seminar in International Security. If you have any familiarity with the huge literature on 4th Generation Warfare or any of the excellent books on Insurgency/COIN then you will be greatly disappointed with Kandor's book for its sloppy thinking and shallow understanding of history. There are both conceptual and empirical problems with this work. Conceptually, she never gets around to defining basic terms. What particular elements distinguish new wars from old wars? Do old wars still take place in 2010? Kandor, an IR scholar in academia makes her argument based on her limited in country experience in the Balkans. For her this is the new war. Empirically there are lots of problems that stem from Kandor's ignorance of basic military technology. Small arms have changed significantly she claims (in weight, usability, and accuracy )since WWII and thus this explains why there are more child soldiers on battlefields. Actually, assault rifle design has changed little since WWII and the most prevalent rifles seen in the hands of child soldiers (FAL and AK) are also based on WWII design.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Masaki Tanaka on December 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
Based on the field research on the conflicts in the Former Yugoslavia, especially those in Bosnia, Mary Kaldor offered a multifaced socio-economic analysis of organized violence in the Post-Westpharian System. She not only claimed the transformation of inter-state wars into civil wars, LICs and so on but also complex and privatized nature of 'New Wars,': the role of Military-Industrial Complex as well as underground economy, identity politics and the role of unofficial organizations such as NGO and Mafia.
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2 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Stig Valter Tov� on April 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
New and old wars has fundamentally changed the way we understand a war conflict. The point is realpolitik in stat and globale context.
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