Is There a War Worth Initiating? - Argumentative Essay

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George Washington University
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Argumentative essay
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The prospect of global conflict and World War III appears unthinkable to today's elite given the dangers of eroding present post-war gains on social justice, rising nationalism, and harmony. It appears irrational for any of the great powers to initiate the global conflict that would reverse the peaceful experiences witnessed in the last few decades in human history. Save for the Arab Spring and Syria civil war, fewer lives are lost from human violence than unhealthy living and traffic accidents. Compared to early agricultural societies where approximately fifteen percent of human deaths arose from conflicts, today only about one percent of deaths are associated with human violence. However, the international climate shows rapid deterioration as warmongering takes center stage of state talks and governments allocations to military expenditure balloon. The situation leaves laypeople in the fear of the Syrian civil war and the Korean Peninsula orienting the world to global conflict. Nevertheless, today’s climate differs from 1914 when elites believed successful wars would deliver economic success and garner political power. Successful wars are endangered species in the United States wasting trillions during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Although non-state actors and dictators are flourishing through war, regional and global powers have little to gain from waging successful wars.

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Engaging in direct military confrontations confer heavy economic burdens and crippling political liabilities. Israel and Iran attained improved geopolitical positions by avoiding waging wars that destroyed Syria, Libya, and Iraq (Pinker, 2012). Successful conflicts are difficult to guarantee as demonstrated by the little gain by Iran in its lengthy conflict against Iraq. Even in Russia’s success to conquer Crimea, the process was possible given little resistance by the Ukrainian army and support of invaders by the Crimean population. Such circumstances are difficult to reproduce globally given the absence of enemies willing to wage resistance. Indeed, attempts to reproduce Crimean success by Russia in Eastern Ukraine only earned Moscow Soviet-era factories within Donetsk that would hardly equate to the costs it incurred through international sanctions (Ahmed, 2016). The outcome shows the most rational strategy is keeping the peace, thereby making it difficult for any major power to wage global conflicts.

Changing economic nature makes war not worth initiating. Traditionally, the defeat of enemies allowed the victors to cash by looting the cities, selling civilians in slave markets, and occupying gold mines. Today, only small profits would arise from such actions with technical and institutional knowledge being the primary economic assets one can never conquer by waging war. Terrorist groups including ISIS could flourish by looting conquered cities and oil wells such as the $500 million seizure in Iraqi banks in 2014 and $500 in oil revenues in 2015 (Warrick, 2016). However, it is unlikely for great powers including China, Russia, and the US to wage war seeking a partial billion. It is irrational for China to allocate trillions of dollars in the war against the United States. First, how would the Chinese government repay such spending? How would it strike balance with lost trade opportunities? Even when Facebook, Google, and other Silicon Valley-based corporations are estimated at hundreds of billions, a victorious People's Liberation Army would not seize the technical knowledge by force.

Conducting a successful war for any great powers could theoretically bring profits with international trade partners likely to withdraw supply in the affected trade routes. Practically, it is difficult for any country to replicate the United States’ success in rearranging global trade in its favor after defeating Hitler. Such triumphs would only occur in utopia in the present-day military technology makes such victors extremely challenging to repeat. Profits enough to convince a country to make war worthwhile to start would convince the loser to deploy weapons of mass destruction. Besides, the advanced military abilities make starting a world war collective suicide explaining why superpowers have avoided direct confrontation. Certainly, attacking countries with second-rate nuclear power would bring extremely unattractive outcomes.

The presence of cyber warfare complicates the scenario for any country given the likelihood of mass damage. Countries have revitalized their military capability making the recent US victory against the Iraqis difficult to repeat. Staging attacks in countries possessing cyber warfare capabilities will likely retaliate through malware and logic bombs targeting the core facilities such as the Dallas air traffic and Michigan electric grid. The awareness of such abilities makes starting a global war a catastrophic process unbearable for any superpower. Present-day differs from the great age when warfare involved a low-damage affair that bore huge profits. It is unlikely for any country to repeat William the Conqueror during the Hastings Battle in 1066 by gaining entire England in a days fight (Hamilton, 2014 Morris, 2013). Nuclear power and cyber warfare capabilities, by contrast, would cause high damage and low profits. Any of the superpowers could deploy such tools to cause mass destruction, but not build profitable empires.

Despite the direct destruction caused by war, it has significant widespread effects on the economy. Society depends on the markets which determine efficient resource allocation, to realize the advantages of trade and provide the consumers diverse choices that they tend to enjoy in different production systems. However, an occurrence of war destroys the industrial capital. It destroys the peace and security within which entrepreneurs should utilize in the generation of long-term projects (Cordesman, 2016). War destabilizes the pricing system through broad government misappropriations, rationing, or trade control systems. Additionally, war demolishes the business networks of trust and assurance. Commerce revolves around providing value for value. Efficient markets focus on creating substantial effects on society through value creation. However, war involves the destruction of the property or the valuables that individuals utilize in making an effective market environment. War hinders the economy from the utilization of raw materials to translate them into finished products. Instead, war destroys the finished or manufactured products such that the consumers in the entire market do not access or benefit from the products (Cockburn, 2015). Moreover, war is recognized as a major contribution to the closure of stock exchanges, capital markets to drastically affect the stock prices.

Progressive Syrian wars have resulted in significant destruction in the financial and commodity markets in the entire world. The stock markets have increasingly experienced losses as the commodities and the bond markets continue fluctuating. As a result, the emerging stock markets have significantly dropped. Despite being a small oil producer country the Syrian war has generated negative diverse responses in both the commodity and the financial markets. Precisely, uncertainty regarding the production and supply of oil from Syria raises the possibility of a spillover to the overall Middle East region and the world in general (Cockburn, 2015). Fears regarding oil disruptions shift the market trends negatively which affects the stock’s cash flows which raise their riskiness. Currently, the negative stock cash flows have caused diversion of investments from stock markets to other ventures hence establishing an excess stock supply which drastically reduces the prices. Investors seek profitable markets to place their funds or keep them in banks for maximum security. Persistence in the Syrian war has negatively affected the global market, hence providing sufficient evidence that war causes the death of markets (Cockburn, 2015). Consequently, war is not a viable option thus should not be advocated no matter the circumstance.

The recent cost of the Syrian War shows conflict as moral catastrophes with great powers restricting their intervention to repel military aggression. The perspective differs from a century ago view when elites considered war as a legitimate instrument that allowed states to enforce their business. It explains the cease-fire among the superpowers unlike in Julius Caesar’s time when leaders would readily launch military attacks. The outcome would break both the victor and the loser. The twenty-first-century climate shows waging wars initiates destructions that run deeper than infrastructural damage. Besides the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in the Syrian conflict and the US military aggression in Iraq (Bob, 2017). The outbreak of the Syrian conflict in 2011 shows the cost of war with nearly half a million lives lost by 2017. Besides the infrastructural damage, the seven-year conflict tore the social and economic fabric in the country. While the casualties rates are devastating, the destruction in the Syrian War leaves weakened institutional and societal systems it would need to function appropriately.

The humanitarian crisis caused by wars makes it unreasonable to start one. From the Somali and Syrian crisis, the war caused internal displacement and the largest refugee crisis in existence since the second world World War Two. In Syria, 13.5 million people have been cut off from their basic human needs which have lowered their standard of living (Ghanem, 2017). Efforts to rescue the situation have been futile leaving the humanitarian agencies unable to reach the affected people. How Syria would have developed economically in the absence of the war is different from its current circumstance. The continuity of this war will cause prolonged economic deterioration and in this case, the rate slowing down the recovery of such impact will be hard. The rate of unemployment levels also decreased with an average of 538,000 jobs being destroyed per annum during the first four years of the war (Daily Sabah, 2017). The departure of the capable population as refugees and inadequate access to quality education erodes the critical skills and human capital necessary in rebuilding the economy.

Repairing the destruction still growing as the Syrian war persists is enough sign to avoid launching war. Since the conflict began in March 2011, the World Bank estimates the cumulative losses in the country hitting $226 billion in 2017 (Daily Sabah, 2017). In addition, the country has lost twenty-seven percent of its medical and educational facilities. Furthermore, the conflict rendered millions of Syrians jobless with a quarter of the working-age population detached from education and training platforms. The destruction brought by the Syrian conflict reveals the long-term consequences that any country would experience beyond infrastructure damages. Staging such wars would plunge any country into a collective loss that erodes the human capital (The World Bank, 2017). The loss associated with the breakdown of the socio-economic system could have a greater impact beyond the physical infrastructure destruction. Such is evident in the high number of Syrians fleeing the war-tone areas, thereby creating an immigrant crisis in Europe. Stepping back military action would save other countries from the Syrian mess. The lessons learned in the Syrian crisis show war should be the last decision any country should desire to start.


In conclusion, the existence of the growing humanitarian crisis in the Syrian War shows staging wars should be the last alternative among the global elites. With the isolated case of Russia’s triumph over Crimea, countries should avoid war activities at all...

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