It shouldn’t be news to anybody that wars are going on, but I feel like American news has just been so overwhelmed with covering Trump that people don’t really get to hear much about the various medium scale wars and conflicts happening the world over.
While the Syrian Civil War is certainly horrible enough to take over most foreign news coverage in the American media, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a bevy of other wars and skirmishes going on around the world that don’t deserve a bit of recognition. Here are four that could be the main news story in a year or two.
This is probably the most notorious of the conflicts on this list. While it hasn’t been in the news much since it started, those plucky pro-Russia separatists just won’t quit and stop killing people. The UN suspects up to 10,000 people have died since the conflict started in 2014, and widespread sanctions and condemnation against Russia have not been able to deter Putin and his lust for “living space.”
As you may have heard, the recent EU defense deal may be bad news for Putin’s dreams of expansion, but it won’t be enough to stop him from taking eastern Ukraine. Putin’s done a good job of distancing himself just enough so that the “separatists” can claim their right to self-determination while he funnels in money and Kalashnikovs.
The reason Ukraine is at the top here is that it has the greatest chance of erupting into a full on war. Many powerful countries have a keen interest in Ukraine, and if Putin and the EU and/or the US get into a staring contest over this, there could be some legit superpower-on-superpower conflict just like the old days.
Armenia and Azerbaijan
The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict has been happening in Azerbaijan for quite some time. An area, also known as the Nagorno-Kaarabakh Republic, is technically part of Azerbaijan’s territory according to the UN, but is currently under the control of Armenian separatists. Tensions between the Armenian government and the Azerbaijani government have been escalating significantly, with Armenian troops being accused of violating ceasefire rules.
It’s not every day that two nations go to war in the year 2017, even if they’re small. This conflict dates back to at least the 70s, but is rooted in a far longer history of ethnic tensions in the region, which suggests a peaceful resolution is not entirely likely. Since this is right on Russia’s doorstep, you have to wonder if they’ll have something to say about it, depending on what their interests are in the area. They currently seem to be double-dealing a bit in the conflict, advocating peace while also funneling weapons to the Armenians. This doesn’t have quite the potential to get involvement on a global scale, but it has lasted a long ass time and has the legs to drag out for a long time.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The DRC is no stranger to internal conflict, and it looks like things are going from bad back to worse down there. In the last year alone over a million people have been displaced as the result of the violent power struggles in the DRC.
The Congo is huge, so from a numbers perspective any protracted civil war down there is bound to produce some startling numbers. But worse, the situation isn’t going to get better anytime soon, especially since the Securities and Exchange Commission recently stopped enforcing a rule that required companies to disclose when they were using conflict minerals. Increased demand for conflict minerals means that they’re more valuable, so it’s fair to assume that the friendly neighborhood warlords will be willing to give up even more for control of those resources.
Southeast Asia has become synonymous in the minds of many Americans as the home of guerrilla warfare. Burma/Myanmar seems keen on defending this title, as it has been engaged in a continual on-and-off civil war since 1948! Violence has been on a bit of a downswing as the country has undergone significant political reforms in the past few years, but old habits die hard and the people of Burma have been fighting each other since the British left nearly 70 years ago.
While the other conflicts on this list are here for their potential longevity (and thus their relevance) the Burmese Civil War is here just because more people need to know about it. It’s truly fascinating, and a credit to the political leaders over there for trying to liberalize things a bit, but I can’t help but think of Burma as one of those empires in Civilization that spawns next to a million barbarians and can’t get anywhere cause they’re spending all their time on the barbarians. At any rate, that Wikipedia page is one hell of a read.