Mélange du Mercredi: Humanitarian Perspectives on the Changing Face of War

Welcome to Mélange du Mercredi (Wednesday Mix). Each week, we highlight one of the latest and greatest in reading, film and other scholarly resources, focusing on a variety of issues pertaining to international humanitarian law. This week we are taking a look at the new e-briefing e-briefing based on the editorial written by Vincent Bernard, editor-in-chief of the International Review of the Red Cross for the issue on “Evolution of Warfare.” 

As always, if you have suggestions, or would like to submit a post on something you feel our readers will also enjoy, we're happy to include them. Just email Editor Niki Clark


From Humanitarian Perspectives on the Changing Face of War:

Armed conflict has been defined as “the logical outcome of an attempt of one group to protect or increase its political, social and economic welfare at the expense of another group.” If this is true, one can conclude that humanity is far from finished with it.

Limiting the effects of violence means understanding and anticipating the evolution of warfare. However, war has always been a “chameleon” – it is ever-changing, adapting to new circumstances and camouflaging itself in international relations, national security and political rhetoric. Today, once again, war has transformed and escapes easy delineation. Our language seems to be incapable of conveying the reality we are faced with, and we see this in several ways.

First, while some are increasingly seeking to replace their soldiers with machines ‒ unmanned aerial vehicle (drones) or automated weapon systems – that can strike beyond borders, others are making their own people into human bombs let loose amidst crowds of civilians. The contrasting figures of the drone pilot and the suicide bomber undoubtedly represent the two ends of the spectrum of contemporary violence.

To read the full e-briefing, go here