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2022: The Year In War

January 5, 2023
Via Wikimedia Commons.

As a new year commences it’s high time for a retrospective look at how warfare unraveled in the past 12 months. The current record is an ugly one. Readers are no doubt aware Europe is now in the grip of its largest conflict since 1939 and new ones are simmering at the edges of the EU. A decade since the last feeble stretch of American global supremacy the world is now suffering from the ill-effects caused by “Great Power Competition” as imagined by Washington, DC’s foreign policy blob. The United States prefers to envision a generational struggle against four pacing threats–China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea–but this just ignores the unresolved conflicts that have dragged on since the mid-20th century.

As sobering as 2022 turned out there are very encouraging signs amid the troubles. Serious diplomacy as conducted by affected neighbors made some progress and even worked to suspend wars in Ethiopia and Yemen. There are less than successful examples, however, such as in the Caucasus where Azerbaijan is trying to enlarge its territory and the aimless struggle for the Western Sahara. Hope springs in South America as new conflicts no longer erupt and a thaw in the bitter relationship between Washington, DC and Caracas portends good things. But Central America is a different story as criminal violence is on the uptick again and destabilizes whole countries.

But other worrisome trends keep running: authoritarian systems are becoming entrenched to a frightening degree. If Afghanistan is a reflection of bankrupt Western-led nation building the carnage in Myanmar that began in 2021 reflects Western cynicism. Rather than protect the aspirations of Myanmar’s pro-democracy rebellion they are left to their own devices as China and Russia help shore up Naypyidaw’s ruling junta. Across the Indian Ocean there’s an uninterrupted belt of Central African states that have slid back into dictatorships.

Below are the countries struggling with internal and external conflict in the past year. Each will be given short descriptions over the weekend.

Afghanistan

Armenia-Azerbaijan

Central African Republic

D.R. Congo

Ethiopia

India

Iran

Iraq

Israel

Lebanon

Libya

Mali

Mexico

Myanmar

Pakistan

Russia

Rwanda

Saudi Arabia

Somalia

Sudan

Syria

Tajikistan

Türkiye

Uganda

Ukraine

Yemen

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