96

The answer is right in the Wikipedia page you cited (emphasis added): War reparations are compensation payments made after a war by the vanquished to the victors. The United States has not been vanquished in a war, so it has not been in a situation where it would make a payment to a victor of a war. Being “vanquished” implies not merely “losing” a war, ...


86

The point of publicizing the action is to make it act as a deterrent for others. The modern version of gunboat diplomacy: The results indicate that the most effective gunboat diplomacy involves a definitive, deterrent display of force undertaken by an assailant who has engaged in war in the victim's region and who is militarily prepared and politically ...


85

From the USA point of view there are two types of arguments. The first ones are those that state that the fewer nuclear capable countries there are, the better1: Fewer nuclear warheads at risk of being captured/sold to rogue actors. Non-nuclear countries are less of a worry if they become unstable. Every foreign country, no matter how friendly, is at the ...


81

Chemical weapons, like certain other kinds of weapons are banned not because of people killed by them, but because of what they do to the survivors. A summary from NPR: http://www.npr.org/2013/05/01/180348908/why-chemical-weapons-have-been-a-red-line-since-world-war-i It's a little counterintuitive that international law prefers weapons that kill cleanly ...


77

We will never surrender! has a pretty famous history. The obvious advantage of such a policy is that it makes invasion less likely. Let's assume that Russia invades Sweden. A natural step would be to kill politicians until they find one that is willing to say that people should not resist and should instead return to their homes. So plans that Russia ...


75

Outside a small fringe group, there is a broad consensus in Germany that starting WW2 was wrong. That is not incompatible with the idolization of German soldiers who fought in the war, though. For a long time (I would say roughly after the war until the 80s), many Germans blamed the political leadership (i.e. Hitler and the other Nazi leaders) essentially ...


71

TL;DR: The Taliban has lasted for so long because it has a durable organizational structure and safe haven in Pakistan. Undercutting the Taliban is more complicated than rooting out its network of poppy cultivation. Yes, the sudden removal of its drug funds would likely hurt the group, but the organizational structures, recruitment networks, and other ...


68

Because there's no oil in NK. And there's the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty, which would make a war with NK a (nuclear?) war with China.


66

In 1914 the defensive technology (trenches, machine guns) was more effective than the offensive (infantry charge). It lead to quagmire and stalemate. Clearly, the effective defence did not prevent war. The concern of Russia is that if there is an effective defence against a nuclear counter-strike, then the cost of launching a pre-emptive strike is much ...


64

The logic behind nuclear peace is mutually assured destruction: Anyone who uses nuclear weapons will also be destroyed by the counter-strike. As long as there are multiple nuclear powers who all have the capability to destroy each other with a nuclear second strike after one of them performed a nuclear first strike, none of them will dare. But if one actor ...


62

The US public opinion is highly sensitive to casualties among US troops. They are much less concerned about casualties to contractors, especially if they are not US citizens. At times the US government has more money than available troops. At times deploying contractors is easier under domestic US law. Legal oversight is mostly designed with the official ...


62

Since you emphasize the word now in your question, I'll try to answer with an emphasis on the current escalation. For the more general question asking why there is a conflict at all, I'll simply refer to the Wikipedia article because it's such a complex issue that I cannot explain well. So the questions I'll try to address are as follows: I want to know ...


60

The Taliban are not just a drug-running organization, not even predominantly a drug-running organization. The US-led coalition invaded Afghanistan because the Afghan government at the time sheltered terrorists. For all the cost of the longest war, it never did spend enough effort to really reconstruct Afghanistan. Instead it went to Iraq, and elsewhere. The ...


58

TL;DR: Yes, there is an objective term.No, there is no way to force people to use the term objectively in political contexts and they don't tend to. The term "terrorism" isn't subjective. Quoting Wikipedia: Since 1994, the United Nations General Assembly has repeatedly condemned terrorist acts using the following political description of ...


58

First, who is #2 is highly subjective, if you discount nuclear arsenals. Second, this question is like asking Compared to a Ferrari a Mustang outruns tons of Priuses, Civics and SUVs. And it costs a lot less. Does that mean a Mustang is anywhere close to a Ferrari in speed? The US is, by virtue of its spending, #1, no question. It deliberately has ...


56

But where exactly is the line North Korea must cross? Line setting is generally acknowledged as a bad idea. For example, Barack Obama set a red line in Syria about chemical weapons. Then they used chemical weapons. And Obama looked like an idiot when he did not respond with military force. Lines are bad for two reasons. One, they force action if the ...


54

The general philosophy of post-WWII international order is that the inhabitants of a territory are entitled to self-determination. While there are still many political and historical obstacles to the general application of this principle, it is clear that any kind of military conquest contradicts this principle: it is simply not morally acceptable anymore to ...


52

Friend of my enemy is not always my enemy It's possible that Russia had people on that site, as they have been supporting Assad's regime airforce and air defence systems. Having Russian casualties from a surprise strike is not currently beneficial for USA. Giving an advance warning means that any such people (if they are there) will be evacuated or, if not, ...


52

Your question is slightly at odds with reality. First off, with the important exception of the US government, nobody sensible is quibbling over the mounting amount of evidence that Agent Orange had short and long lasting side effects. As you've noted already, the US government is not accepting any guilt or responsibility. So the real question is whether ...


50

The reason is the same for any country, not just the US. And it is rarely money. It can be roughly grouped like this: public opinion damage control: the population of a country cares about the death of their military personnel. This is especially true for the military conflict with no clear goal for a population (whom are we saving in the conflict in X?). ...


50

The agreement to pay war reparations is usually part of a peace treaty. It is usually a demand the superior party makes from the inferior party in exchange for peace. In any wars where the United States "lost" in the past 100 years, the United States simply gave up on occupying the other parties' territory and withdrew their troops. The "winning" side was ...


48

TLDR: It would be grossly unfair to think that the NATO and US military did not try their very best to win this. Many soldiers paid a very high price and are now justifiably very distressed. Pretty certain however is that the US and NATO governments were careless and overconfident when they engaged in yet another hard-to-win guerilla war. For 20 years, ...


47

Russia was warned because there is a Russian military presence at the base. Airbus Defence & Space satellite imagery shows that there were four [Russian] Ka-52 Alligator and three Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopters deployed to Al-Shayrat Air Base, 30 km southeast of Homs city, on 31 March. Al-Shayrat has previously been used as a forward base for Russian ...


47

Yes Pacta sunt servanda, agreements must be kept. The Treaty of San Francisco is 70 years old which is young compared to many older treaties. Agreements have a few "outs," neither of which are valid in Japan's case: Duress: Agreements signed under duress can sometimes be nullified. Japan could perhaps be said to be under duress from the United States. As ...


46

Except China nobody has currently pledged this, and even the Chinese pledge is not considered credible (by some Western experts, at least): Most states with nuclear weapons maintain policies that would permit their first use in a conflict. Pledges to only use these weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack—or a no-first-use (NFU) policy—are rare. Where ...


44

As is noted in a comment on that question, the pamphlet is an updated version of "If the war comes", a similar pamphlet that was released from 1943 to 1991. With the end of the cold war it was for the time deemed outdated. So the real question here is why they decided to update and release it again. MSB (The department of societal protection and ...


43

Two main problems with chemical (and biological) weapons is that their effects are usually considered unnecessarily cruel, and controlling their spread is not always possible. When exposed to a chemical weapon, only some victims die right away (depending on the weapon, this group may be very small), others have to endure days or weeks of pain. While a bomb ...


43

WMD were only part of a complex reasoning that led to the Gulf Wars. The West had no serious problems with Iraqi WMD as long as they were aimed at Iran. But then Saddam Hussein miscalculated and went after Kuwait, and suddenly Iraq was a "rogue nation." The enduring hostility from the unfinished 1991 Gulf War led to the 2003 regime change. (...


43

The "anti-war" rubric is mainly a conservative conflation of a lot of different Centrist, Leftist, and (non-authoritarian) Rightist positions. I mean, it is often blithely applied to wide ranging movements like: Pacifism, which opposes mass violence for moral and/or religious reasons Anti-draft movements, which oppose forcing young people to risk ...


41

Ever heard of the term, "price of occupation"? Yugoslavia had a policy that no one, not even Marshal and president for life Josip Broz Tito, could declare surrender in the event of an invasion. It was also decided that a total war would be waged on the occupation forces, with everyone in a country contributing as best they could. Even if the government ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible