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The Impact of War and Conflict on Public Services Essay

All of war and conflict impacts heavily on public services. This is especially true for the armed services as they are usually on the frontlines when it comes to trying to resolve conflict and bring peace. War is normally defined as a state of open, often prolonged, armed conflict between two or more groups, usually nations, states or other parties. Wars are usually begun through the clash of interests between the different groups such as territory or resources. Before a war can officially begin the groups involved usually have a formal declaration of war to make the citizens aware that there is a war. Although all wars are conflicts, not all conflicts are wars. Conflicts don’t always have the involvement of armed hostiles, battles or even the involvement of the military. Conflicts can range from anything as little as an argument between politicians, all the up to an official war. Many people believe since World War 2 there have been less conflicts; however there has simply been less conflicts between nations and more within nations. One of the biggest reasons for this is that 90% of countries are made up of different ethnic groups and cultural groups. Some people do not like different types of people in their country which leads to conflict.

The spectrum of war and conflict is a scale which can help show at what level of intensity is each conflict or war around the world. The scale ranges from low intensity conflict such as sabotage and terrorism, up to high level intensity including unconventional warfare and strategic nuclear war. Most conflicts and wars are in-between the two ends of the spectrum, not full-blown nuclear war, but not just a little show of force. An example of a high intensity conflict is the Falklands War. This war took place between two nations, Argentina and the UK. This war was over the ownership of the Falkland Islands. The UK had owned these islands since 1833 but in 1982 the Argentineans invaded as they believed the islands were part of their territory. Another reason they invaded was that the Argentines political situation wasn’t good and they wanted a way to unite the people of Argentina. The UK sent military forces to the islands on April the 5th which resulted in armed battles. After just over 2 months the Argentineans surrendered the islands to the UK. An example of a low intensity conflict is the Northern Ireland conflict, also known as The Troubles.

The Troubles was between the Catholics (Republicans) who wanted to be independent from the UK and the Protestant who wanted to stay in the UK. It lasted from the late 1960s till 1998 when the Good Friday Agreement was signed. The causes of the conflict were political differences between the British government and the Irish Republicans and religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants. By the end of the conflict over 3,500 people had died including over 1,800 civilians. Around the world there are many places that conflict or war may occur. You can usually tell if conflict is going to take place if one of these factors is present: competition for territory; gross human rights violations; military seizure of power from a civilian government; economic distress; demographic pressures such as an increase in population combined with limited access to food and water; and finally and a government with an oppressive and unaccountable regime. Conflicts and wars are always fought over something, usually one of the following: politics; religion; land and resources; ethnic conflict; ideology; historical rivalry; and nationalism.

Probably the biggest cause of conflict and war is politics. This can be international and also internal. International politics causes war and conflict through things like disputes over borders and territory. An example of this is the continuing conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. A multitude of countries also exist in larger political groups such as NATO. So if a country invades or threatens one of these countries it can be seen as an attack on the other countries in the group. Wars and conflicts can also be caused by internal politics. Perhaps the biggest cause in internal politics is the struggle for power between different groups of society. Conflict can also stem from places wanting to be independent from there governing body. If people feel so passionately about their country and culture and different cultural groups come to their country then these people who feel so passionately feel as though these people of different cultures are polluting their culture which can lead to conflict.

This is called nationalism. Probably the second biggest cause of conflict and war behind politics is religion. If two set of people believe in different things it can cause disputes. If these disputes evolve into conflicts then it can lead to further mistrust between the different religions and can unstable the government. An ideology is a body of beliefs of how things should be that people believe in greatly. If another group or person has contrasting ideas then it can lead to disagreements. These mere disagreements can then lead to conflict between the groups with contrasting ideas. Some resources are so valuable and are becoming so rare that countries will fight over them. Examples of these resources include gas, oil and even water. Since these resources are pretty much immobile and can’t be moved it means that countries have to take complete control of the area in which these resources are located. If this area is in another country then it can lead to more conflict. Also if one country believes an area belongs to them and another believes it belongs to them then conflict can occur.

If one conflict between two countries is never resolved then it can leave bad feelings between the countries. This can sometimes mean that these countries never quite resolve their conflict. It is normally a repeating cycle of conflict. Another cause of war is ethnic differences. If one ethnicity is discriminated against and not allowed the same privileges as other ethnicities then it can lead to tension between the ethnicities and the government and this can eventually lead to conflict. In very serious cases if the dominant ethnic group doesn’t want another ethnic group in their country then they can end up attempting to ‘exterminate’ them. An example of this is Rwanda. The British public services don’t always have the same role when it comes to conflicts meaning the effects on the people in the services changes. When the public services engage in direct military combat the results should be expected. People will die and get injured when engaging in direct military combat.

Also the services have to replace all dead or injured personnel and damaged equipment. Peacekeeping is another role that the public services have to take on in cases of conflict. When peacekeeping there’s always the chance that it could escalate into direct military combat. Even though peacekeepers are only deployed during ceasefires they are still in major danger. The public services must have the personnel and equipment to deploy. During a civil war or serious civil unrest then the services will have to evacuate UK nationals to ensure their safety. Even though this doesn’t sound dangerous the services evacuating them can still be in danger. The services have to deploy personnel and equipment. Proving war crimes can be very difficult and take a very long time. This means that service personnel have to very devoted to proving innocence or guilt. Service personnel may also be accused of war crimes themselves which could lead to the tarnish of the public service organisation in question.

Another role the public services must do is disaster relief and refugees. When aiding refugees and people who have been in disasters, the service personnel could encounter health problems due to the conditions of the place. Aiding these people can also have huge financial costs for the public services. During conflicts our military and emergency services must train people from other nations. This can be dangerous for the service personnel as they are in different countries most of the time. The training of individuals can bring great satisfaction to the service personnel training these people. The public services have to allow personnel to leave the country so they are not at hand in the UK.


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