Reasons for war? Religion, Militarism, wealth or control?
The first thing that would come up to anyone’s mind when you mention war is death, horror, destruction, pain and suffering. War is something that no
one in his or her right mind would wish to happen. Those who go to war must face the possibility of death or mutilation and even those who don’t
fight face the loss of their loved ones. So then why is it that to this day humanity has to resolve to armed violence in order to solve disputes? What
could the reasons for war be? “The causes of war are as various as the causes of disputes between married couples” but the main causes for war
seem to be such things as social nature, nationalism, imperialism, militarism and of course, let’s not forget human nature.
The reasons for war usually differ from those generally accepted by the public. It is known that some countries have a long tradition of neutrality,
others of militarism and hostility. Militarism in the society, and the very existence of armed forces, in some way, seems to make it ok to use war as
a means of solving conflicts.
A religious war is a war justified by religious differences. It can be the legitimate forces of one state that has an established religion against
those of another state with either a quite different religion or a different sect within the same religion, or, at the level below a state, it can be
a faction motivated by religion attempting to spread its faith by violence either within the state or elsewhere. The European Wars of Religion, the
Crusades, and the Reconquista are frequently cited historical examples.
While there are undoubtedly wars fought primarily on religious grounds, wars frequently have multiple and complex causes. Saint Augustine is credited
as being the first to detail a “Just War” theory within Christianity, whereby war is justifiable on religious grounds. Saint Thomas Aquinas
elaborated on these criteria and his writings were used by the Roman Catholic Church to regulate the actions of European countries. In modern times
religious designations are frequently used as shorthand for cultural and historical differences between combatants, giving the impression that the
conflict is primarily about religious differences. For example, The Troubles in Northern Ireland are frequently seen as a conflict between Catholic
and Protestant. However, the more fundamental cause is the attachment of Northern Ireland to either the Republic of Ireland or the United Kingdom. As
the native Irish were mostly Catholic, and the later English-sponsored immigrants mainly Protestant, the terms become shorthand for the two cultures.
It cannot be denied, however, that religion does play a part in the conflict, since churches are used as organizing points for demonstrations, and
Protestants are far more likely to oppose union with the Catholic-dominated Republic. Many wars that are not Religious wars, often still include
elements of religion such as priests blessing battleships. Also differences in religion can further inflame a war being fought for other reasons.
Historically temples have been military targets that are destroyed to weaken the morale of the opponent, even when the war itself is not being waged
over religious ideals.
The view upon religions versus another is very debatable. For example, in the USA, and in other places around Europe, many people would agree that
terrorism is part of an ongoing war of religion. However, who is fighting who is the main topic that is so hard to define. Is it Christianity vs.
Muslims? Or is it the The West vs. Middle East? Or visa-versa? Many people have different views, definitions and opinions upon this subject.
Militarism is defined as:
the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to
defend or promote national interests.
It can be more simply defined as a policy of glorifying military power and keeping a standing army always prepared for war. It has also been defined
as "aggressiveness that involves the threat of using military force", the "glorification of the ideas of a professional military class" and the
"predominance of the armed forces in the administration or policy of the state
Militarism has been a significant element of the imperialist or expansionist ideologies of several nations throughout history. Prominent examples
include the Ancient Assyrian Empire, the Greek city state of Sparta, the Roman Empire, the Aztec nation, the Kingdom of Prussia, the British Empire,
the Empire of Japan, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (which would later become part of the Soviet Union), the Italian Colonial Empire
during the reign of Benito Mussolini, and Nazi Germany (arguably the most infamous model of a military dictatorship). After World War II, militarism
appeared in many of the post-colonial nations of Asia (i.e. North Korea, Myanmar and Thailand) and Africa (i.e. Liberia, Nigeria and Uganda).
Militarist regimes also emerged in Latin America; some, such as the right-wing administration of Augusto Pinochet in Chile, gained power in coups
through U.S. support, while others, such as the leftist Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, were elected.
AMERICA’s elder statesman of finance, Alan Greenspan, has shaken the White House by declaring that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil.
In his long-awaited memoir, to be published tomorrow, Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely
admired, will also deliver a stinging critique of President George W Bush’s economic policies.
However, it is his view on the motive for the 2003 Iraq invasion that is likely to provoke the most controversy. “I am saddened that it is
politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,” he says.
Christopher Columbus's voyages to the New World offered a preview of the vast wealth and resources to be found in the Americas, and Hernan Cortes's
victory over the Aztecs had proven that great riches were there for the taking. It is not surprising that other Spanish explorers flocked to the
area--some to advance the cause of their country, most to gain their own personal fortunes.
In 832, a Viking fleet of about 120 invaded kingdoms on Ireland’s northern and eastern coasts. Some believe that the increased number of invaders
coincided with Scandinavian leaders' desires to control the profitable raids on the western shores of Ireland. During the mid-830s, raids began to
push deeper into Ireland, as opposed to just touching the coasts. Navigable waterways made this deeper penetration possible. After 840, the Vikings
had several bases in strategic locations dispersed throughout Ireland.
In 838, a small Viking fleet entered the River Liffey in eastern Ireland. The Vikings set up a base, which the Irish called a longphort. This
longphort eventually became Dublin. After this interaction, the Irish experienced Viking forces for about 40 years. The Vikings also established
longphorts in Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and Wexford. The Vikings could sail through on the main river and branch off into different areas of the
What are your views on war? What reason do you pick?
I mostly lean towards religion only because what’s happening presently with al-Qaida and Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland violence.