General Question

Kenyan's avatar

Is there such a thing as good war or bad peace?

Asked by Kenyan (295points) May 31st, 2009 from iPhone
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

21 Answers

augustlan's avatar

I don’t think war is ever good, but it can be just. A bad peace would be one that is held in place by fear of reprisal or punishment.

oratio's avatar

Well, there is the Just War theory, which can be used to intellectually justify invading other countries alongside Preemptive War theory, both being a minefield ethically.

I would personally not call any war good. With history behind us Chamberlain made some mistakes, but his actions are quite understandable. If war can be avoided one must try, but a war is inevitable when you are attacked.

Bad peace could mean bad peace agreements, which is what the Versailles treaty was.

It could also mean that people live in bad conditions, and see war as the solution. War is never a good solution to bad conditions, but when the conditions become worse than a war, war seems like the only way.

westy81585's avatar

In the words of Bart Simpson… There are no good wars, except the Civil War, World War 2, and the Star Wars trilogy.

Fred931's avatar

There are goodwill and bad pieces of the pie.

wildflower's avatar

How about the ‘Cold War’? As far as ‘wars’ go, it was good by comparison….....as far as ‘peace-time’ (no actual fighting) goes, it was pretty scary….

Jeruba's avatar

I can’t imagine a better answer than the one given by augustlan.

oratio's avatar

@wildflower The cold war as we call it, was quite bloody and full of war and genocide. Why we don’t see it that way is because the war between the US and the USSR was mostly fought by proxy. The vietnam war was part of all that.

Jack79's avatar

I think in theory there could actually. But none of the wars I can think of were “good wars”. For example, a revolution against an evil dictator or some foreign occupying force, could be a good war, in the sense that the harm done by it could be less than the long-term good (you Americans could think of the War of Independence as such an example, though even that does not really count).

Similarly, a “bad peace” would be a situation whereby a population (nation, country, minority) lives unhappily and is exploited by the other side. Cases where there is some sort of inbalance, which will simply lead to further wars. Which is one of the intrinsic problems with Middle East peace deals.

wildflower's avatar

@oratio : The Vietnam war took place in the same era as the cold war, yes, but I’ve never considered it part of it – it was an all out war – same goes for the Afghanistan situation…....my perception of cold war era was the super-power race, ‘star wars’, the iron curtain, the berlin wall, cuban missile crisis…..all the ‘peace through superior fire power’ s***. The things that went on without direct clashes of armed forces (unless you consider protestors/anarchists armed with rocks and home-made smoke bombs clashing with police in riot gear, clashes of armed forces)

augustlan's avatar

Yeah. What ^^ she said.

oratio's avatar

@wildflower
@augustlan
Yet, both the Korean and the Vietnam wars were distinct parts of it. I am sure the soldiers were told they were fighting for S. Korea and for S. Vietnam in order to save them, but what Washington was fighting was the Russians and the Chinese, in other words Communism.

The Domino Theory was a real threat back then. The numerous wars and conflicts of Africa and South-America were proxy wars too. Nothing happened without backing from either the US and USSR, which is why the US saw it justified for creating and supporting atrocious regimes like that of Pinochet of Chile and the regime of the Iranian shah, just as the USSR did supporting Idi Amin for example. Both countries abandoned their principles in order to fight the other.

I am sure you considered the Vietnam war and the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan as individual just conflicts with nothing in common. But communist socialism was in the west’s impression spreading like a disease in the world and USSR for one reason wanted to reach the Indian Ocean in the name of liberating the people. The US didn’t go in to help the vietnamese any more than helping the Iraqis today.

This is what the cold war was. There was also the arms race, and the bitter words back and forth.

The peace you talk about, ..super-power race, ‘star wars’, the iron curtain, the berlin wall, cuban missile crisis, is the absence of direct military conflict between the US and USSR. That’s the main reason why it was called the Cold War. Fighting each others influence, but no direct military confrontation.

If you want to put the Vietnam war and the Korean war in the Just War section, go right ahead. During the time period it was perceived as such. The world was Bipolar, and divided between the two. Not considering the Vietnam war as a part of a bigger picture, is a chosen perception of it.

wildflower's avatar

@oratio
I never said those wars/conflicts weren’t linked to the same conflict that fueled the cold war – I am saying they weren’t very ‘cold’! In those particular instances, it was all out war (not just war – since there’s no such thing), whereas the ‘cold’ part of the ongoing conflict was ”..the arms race, and the bitter words back and forth.”

And I’m surprised you’re so sure about what I consider what…

oratio's avatar

@wildflower I don’t think I say I’m stating what you think anywhere, I can only go by what I read out of your comments. If we have the same attitude to the matter, as it seems by your last comment, there is nothing much to argue about.

wildflower's avatar

you did say “I’m sure you consider the Vietnam war the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan as individual just conflicts with nothing in common.”

oratio's avatar

@wildflower You are right. I got it from this:
The Vietnam war took place in the same era as the cold war, yes, but I’ve never considered it part of it – it was an all out war – same goes for the Afghanistan situation

It seems you separate the cold war from these conflicts. They fought each other on all battlefields. In media, politics, economy and by proxy.

It doesn’t really matter if you want to put the Vietnam war aside from the cold war because american soldiers were part of it. Absolutely, It was an all-out war with N. Vietnam, but a part of the cold war against USSR and communism. Other proxy wars were also all-out wars, just that American troops were not involved. They were equally a part of the cold war. It seems that your definition of what is an all-out war or not is if there are American troops involved.

It doesn’t really matter. It’s an argument about definitions. You have the right to define things as you see fit. You are not wrong to do that.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

is there such a thing as good and bad?

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, a good war would have been stopping the genocide in Rwanda. An example of a bad peace is 1918 while 1945 can be considered a success. Still, war in general must always be a last resort.

oratio's avatar

@mattbrowne I am not sure former E. Germany would agree about that, but you make a point there that might be unintentional; that a good or bad peace is a matter of aspect.

wildflower's avatar

@oratio war is war, regardless if which natinalities are involved. I know it’s a matter if definitions here, but I do wonder why you think US involvement would sway my opinion or view on this matter….if I’ve suggested that, I didn’t mean to, I merely meant to suggest there’s a difference between political tension, arms races – and armed confrontations, even if the ideologies behind them are the same in both situations

oratio's avatar

@wildflower Yes. You are right. And it was an assumption from my part. I got that impression.

mattbrowne's avatar

@oratio – Agreed. My last comment shows the ‘Wessi’ perspective, not the ‘Ossi’ one. My mistake. This is why they sometimes call us ‘Besserwessis’ ...

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