Conflict is an inherent trait of human nature, and conflicts between different states are highly probable and anticipated. All states pursue their interests and goals, and in the majority of cases, modern world states rarely commit to military solutions of disputed problems. However, such disputes remain extremely prevalent, whether they involve the army or diplomatic means. This essay will examine the state and interaction in the international system to answer the question of whether conflicts between states can be avoided.
The international system is the collective of all states that interact with each other. It also includes the activity of non-governmental organizations that is present on the international level. Non-governmental international organizations tend to attempt to alleviate problems that may arise during disputes between states. These organizations also inform the international community of events in other countries such as human rights violations, genocide, and war crimes.
Conflicts may arise between individuals, groups of people, nations, states, nations, and religious confessions. Clashes of interests have different causes, but in international interactions, they are often of political or economic nature. Disputes within states may also cause an international reaction if the outcome of this conflict violates one of the opposing sides’ basic human rights and does not abide by the rules of international law.
Conflicts of economic nature arise from a severe lack of resources and infinite demand for them. An excellent example of such a conflict is the ongoing dispute between Turkey and Greece. Turkey wishes to expand its influence in the Mediterranean Sea by taking control of the underwater gas fields that Greece considers its territory (Kiratli, 2019). This dispute has immediately caused the international community to react and attempt to resolve the issue using diplomacy.
Conflicts of political nature have both inner and outer causes. Political instability within a state can cause a reaction from neighboring states that support a political party, an ethnic or religious minority. The ongoing political instability of Belarus is a good example. The European Union supports the opposition because they adhere to their liberal-democratic views, while Russia supports the autocratic regime that has been in power since 1994 (Bedford & Vinatier, 2018). Both sides pursue their own goals attempting to get a likely ally in the center of Europe. The genocide of Rohingya in Myanmar is another example of an inner conflict that caused international persecution. In 2017, Myanmar military forces began exterminating the local Muslim minority leading to political and economic isolation of the state, while neighboring countries provided shelter for the refugees (MacManus & Green, 2017). Any conflict that occurs within the state leads to an immediate reaction from the international community.
There are two main types of reactions to conflicts: military intervention and diplomacy. Military intervention and violation of another state’s sovereignty can lead to a substantial loss of resources and people’s lives; hence, it is generally the last resort option. It also causes severe damage to the infrastructure and environment of the states involved. Cooperation and diplomacy is the optimal way of resolving conflicts that are inevitable.
Conflict is the natural outcome of any interaction between opposing sides with contrasting or even slightly different views. Be it individuals, states, nations, or religious confessions, disputes will remain prevalent because the views of the abovementioned groups are rarely identical. Conflicts may arise between two states or within a state and cause the reaction of neighboring countries. However, conflicts are not necessarily destructive in nature; they can always be constructive, leading to cooperation, compromise, and even an alliance. Contemporary international interactions are focused on diplomatic means of resolving disputes and the help of non-governmental organisations leaving military solutions as a last resort option.
Bedford, S., & Vinatier, L. (2018). Resisting the irresistible: “Failed opposition” in Azerbaijan and Belarus revisited. Government and Opposition, 1–29.
Kiratli, O. S. (2019). On the question of generosity: Who supports foreign aid to whom?—Lessons from Turkey and Greece. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 32(1), 176–188.
MacManus, T., & Green, P. (2017) Countdown to annihilation: Genocide in Myanmar. International State Crime Initiative.