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Basic Information

The continuation of diplomacy by other means, war is generally defined as a state of armed conflict between sovereign powers, although the term is frequently blurred by the inclusion of less clear cut forms of conflict which drift from the expected form in one way or another. The most obvious would be warfare between state and non-state powers, and conflict between two or more non-state powers is even more problematic - some libertarian thinkers even espouse the concept of private war in which a state of war can exist between individuals.

Normally war is regarded as culturally completely distinct from peacetime and a state in which many of the taboos that govern human behaviour are lifted - entry into and exit from a state of war have traditionally been occasions for ceremony, allowing the fighters to set aside their peacetime lives and become a fighter for the duration. There is some suggestion that the modern, developed world's bizarre attempts to make their wars look the same as their peace has started to cause severe psychological problems for their fighting men by removing these clear transitions.

List of Historical Wars

See Also: List of Wars involving the United States

Types of War

  • Conventional Warfare - Declared open war between nations. No nuclear, biological or chemical weapons are used. The primary goal is to diminish the military capacity of the enemy.
  • Unconventional Warfare - Clandestine or psychological warfare, aimed at reducing the enemies will to fight or their ability to support their war-effort, instead of their military strength. May include Espionage, False Flag Operations, an Arms Race, Propaganda, Intimidation, Blockades, Terrorism, or the military bombing of civilian targets such as entire cities.
  • Grey Warfare - similar to unconventional warfare except that operations are almost exclusively covert and deniable: grey wars are generally fought by and between intelligence agencies and similar organisations. AKA. an assassin's war.
  • Nuclear Warfare - Using Nuclear Weapons as the primary weapon. Short and costly. May lead to The End Of The World As We Know It. See also Mutual Assured Destruction (unless extremely one-sided) and Weapons of Mass Destruction.
  • Civil War - Where all sides of the conflict are of the same nationality, fighting for independence or for control of the government. See also Revolution.
  • Asymmetric warfare - The opposing sides have extremely different technological or military capabilities. Generally the more primitive army will have to resort to Guerrilla warfare or other unconventional tactics to win.
  • Chemical warfare - The use of Poison Gas or other Chemical Weapons. See Weapons of Mass Destruction.
  • Biological warfare - The use of biological agents in warfare to attack an opponent's troops, population or economy. See Weapons of Mass Destruction.
  • Ecological warfare - The deliberate degradation of the environment in which an opponent lives (or of territory that he is conquering) with a view to create a long term reduction in its habitability.
  • Proxy warfare - where all or most of the participants are materially supported by larger patrons who do not wish to fight each other directly, but are staking reputation on the outcome and seek to lose or gain alongside their proxies.
  • Colonial Warfare - A limited conflict fought by a developed power against an undeveloped one with the aim of subjugation - or between two developed powers in an extranational territory with the understanding that there will be no escalation; frequently fought over control of the territory in question.
  • Cyber warfare - An emergent style of conflict in which the opposing sides attempt to damage each other economically by attacking their opponents information technology infrastructure.
  • Memetic warfare - A hypothetical style of conflict involving the use of mass manipulation techniques to control the thoughts and motivations of a target population. See basilisk image and propaganda.

Warfare Environments:

Conventional warfare

Unconventional warfare

See Also



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