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.


67

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 ...


65

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

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 ...


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, ...


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 ...


34

Seems this latest cycle between militant rocket launches from Gaza to Israel and Israeli retaliations on Gaza started on April 23 and has been on-off ever since. Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired dozens of rockets into Israel on Saturday drawing retaliatory air strikes, the Israeli military said, after nightly Ramadan clashes between ...


32

The question does not ask about what Hamas's goals are, but rather why they reject arbitration (or other non-violent strategies) as a means of achieving them. That is what this answer will primarily address. Original rejection of arbitration To understand their reasoning, we should go back to Hamas's original Covenant (quotes from the translation, original ...


30

Why is Gaza under attack now (May 2021)? Israel is attacking Hamas targets in Gaza because Hamas fired rockets at Israel on 10th of May 2021. Hamas fired rockets at Israel on 10th of May 2021 because Israel refused an ultimatum by Hamas to remove police forces from the Al Aqsa compound. Israel refused an ultimatum by Hamas to remove police forces from the ...


27

The use of force by the military (to include properly organized insurgents) is measured by military necessity, distinction, and proportionality. An attack is illegal if there is no military benefit to be gained, civilians are targeted directly, or civilian casualties are disproportionate to the military benefit. That means not every attack which kills ...


21

A scathing take, answering the question, or at least going to the origins of the protracted military action, can be found in this 20-year retrospective piece (and rant), entitled "Was There A Plan In Afghanistan?" by John Dolan, better known as War Nerd. Note that it was published well before last week's events. No endorsement of the site linked ...


20

There's nothing in the treaty that prevents Turkey from doing what it's doing. First and foremost, NATO is a defense alliance that's aimed at attacks against its member states. While the Kurds in Syria are an ad-hoc ally of some NATO members, Turkey views them as enemies. Allies of NATO members are not protected by NATO, so there is no article 5 obligation ...


19

In much simpler terms (eschewing more complex reasoning about 2nd strikes etc. specific to nuclear weapons): being able to hit your enemy without them being able to hit you back is a good recipe for winning a war. It's why the US (and in fact anyone else who can) pursues technological superiority, including in defensive tech, be it tank armor, CIWS, stealth ...


18

From another angle, doing this also means that if another country attacks them, they can only retaliate with nuclear weapons - there is no chance that they "react proportionally" in a conventional war, and therefore attacking them might be too costly. But that goes both ways, would the defending country resort to a nuclear strike in response to a ...


17

No (modern) international agreement condones wars of aggression. What article 5 of the NATO treaty and article 42 (7) of the TEU establish is an obligation to assist the country being attacked (with many nuances and caveats) and certainly not any obligation to help a country attack another one (even by remaining neutral). There is therefore no conflict of ...


17

Obama got elected. Long story short, you'll notice that the anti-war Left got really quiet right around the time that Obama got elected. With a Democrat in power, it was no longer in the interests of the Democratic Party to fund or organize rallies protesting the President, and as a result, the anti-war protests rapidly died away. Unfortunately, I don't have ...


17

I think this is another issue that could do with a Special Providence analysis. According to Mead there are 4 competing schools of US Foreign Policy, basically divided via what their international goals are (trade, security, ideals, or US independence), which ultimately means they have different standards for when they want things ignored, when they want ...


16

From Hamas’ perspective, Israelis drove Palestinians out of the Palestinians’ ancestral land through war and terrorism, and continue to oppress, abuse, expropriate, and kill Palestinians to this day. They reject the Jewish religious argument that God gave that land to the Jews, and see no justification for the state of Israel; they only see the imposition of ...


13

You may not remember it, but the Iraq war was new horrors each month for years, and the government was in favor of keeping it going. It was very protestable and very newsworthy. Whereas today there's no war and everyone in power is against war. There's not much to protest or cover. At first in the Iraq war, buildings with civilians got bombed. Later road-...


13

That is not the generally accepted meaning of a proxy war, where one country uses surrogate forces to fight another. For example, North Vietnam was a proxy for Soviet-bloc aggression against US interests. While Afghanistan saw the US back the Mujahideen to serve as proxies to hurt the USSR. If Turkey was a close German ally (it is not) and if the Kurds were ...


13

The best answer out there, which at the same time is also the answer to the question "What went wrong?", is the "Afghanistan Papers", published by the Washington Post in 2019. If you follow the link, you will find an exhaustive source of information about what the USA & Co tried to do and how they failed spectacularly at it. A very ...


12

There's quite a lot of verbiage about POTUS war powers, but it's otherwise unclear exactly how Congress stops a war, even if is the one that has to declare it. If it was considered urgent enough that Matt's defunding solution would be too slow, Congress could impeach the President, though that would be stretching the definition of high crimes and ...


12

TL;DR: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Afghanistan Every few decades since 1500 B.C. some great military nation tries to take over Afghanistan and loses. India, Mongolia, China, Middle East, Britain (3 times), Russia and now the US. The trick for when the aliens invade is get them to start with Afghanistan. This might be a flippant answer but they ...


11

Historically, the German Green party has been closely tied to disarmament and anti-war groups. Yet in 1999, as a member of a coalition government, they supported a German participation in the Kosovo peace enforcement action (i.e. war). The internal debate was highly controversial. Some argued that they had vowed "never again war" and "never ...


11

Even if the impression is sometimes to the contrary, the US does not go around invading other countries on a whim. The US has a lengthy history of trying to influence Iranian affairs. This spectacularly backfired in 1979 and contributed to the Islamic revolution. (It would be hubris to say it caused the revolution.) So the US decided to provide limited ...


10

Most answers here lay down the timeline of events, but don't really answer the crux of the question: why now? Indeed, the situation "on the ground" is not entirely new. Evictions, protests, political uncertainty, hung government - that all was happening with some regularity for a long time before. What's new? First, we should acknowledge that there ...


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