Something to be Proud of: Why Nations Go for Aggression?

Monastery of Khor Virap and Mount Ararat, Armenia

Every nation is proud of something that they have accomplished. Together with pride, it brings a feeling of superiority. In human history, this mostly refers to territorial gains and cultural or socio-economic supremacy over others. Thus, conflict starts when healthy competition becomes extremely unhealthy. War is a result of unhealthy competition. The losing side feels insecure and prepares to recover “justice” by provoking another war. This becomes a repeating cycle.

Aggression results in aggression and never brings peace. All wars are fought for justice, dignity and honor, and all of them are lost because none of these wars bring those desirable results. Wars are fought to recover, but they destroy and humiliate.

The question of why wars happen brings us to the ideas as to whether state leaders or nations provoke conflicts. It may be claimed that the war declared by state leaders is a result of the will of the people or the moods in society, but how can we evaluate them, and do we need to do it at all? For example, country A recently lost the war to its neighboring country B. Country A for decades through state policy inseminates hatred towards the nation of country B. Then, through mass media and public schools continuously humiliates the nation of country B and threatens with military invasion and expansion. Thus, through state propaganda, country A’s leader prepares its people for invasion and territorial expansion to recover “justice” and “dignity.” If the nation is full of hatred and ready to attack and kill the “enemy” for decades, why would they be against the war? The country, with its policy, already formulated people’s will and moods in society. On the other hand nation of country, B cannot stay still and wait until country A attacks. Thus action results in counteractions and brings aggression and war closer to both countries.

Just like any nation or individual, nations and leaders of country A and country B have dignity, honor, and pride and are ready to fight for it. This is very natural and human. If you continuously claim that your neighbor took away your dignity, then one day, the war to bring it back will become inevitable. However, suppose state policy and propaganda are more about peace and diplomatic solution than recovering “dignity” and “justice” through brutal force. In that case, the cycle of wars and aggression will gradually stop, and national pride, dignity, and honor recovered for all conflicting sides.

A sincere action towards a peaceful diplomatic solution will result in sincere counteraction, and there will be no need for bloodshed.

It is natural and human to stand by and fight for your honor and protect your identity. That’s why there cannot be a social survey during which the citizen is asked whether he/she is fine with being continuously humiliated by the neighboring nation or not? There cannot be a referendum where the citizen is asked whether he/she agrees to start a war to stop the hatred and restore his/her nation’s or country’s dignity and pride? Again, because the answer is obvious. If these democratic means are not helpful, then the question arises as to whether this is a game for good or bad formulations of the issue and who should formulate it? Since humans gathered in groups, created nations, and countries, then it should be formulated by the country leaders. Yes, it is a formulation issue because humans are not comfortable killing each other, and anything that makes humans behave unjustly aggressive is a result of manipulations.

If we agree that it is not nations but rather their leaders that provoke wars, then leaders’ political gains and personal ambitions have a significant role in starting wars. It is easier to justify the country’s bad socio-economic situation by referencing the influence of the outer enemy than accepting your faults. It is easier to argue that you are spending the money to buy weapons and strengthen the army to fight the enemy than to accept your failure to guarantee financial stability.

Wars follow humankind for already thousands of years, and we still cannot find answers to some core questions and, for example, agree that we are no longer going to kill each other. National pride, honor, and dignity are the three main things that made up a nation and a national identity but are also the ones that are easily manipulated. Whenever these three are under continuous and targeted attack, wars escalate.

At some point in history, we agreed to reject cannibalism and stopped eating each other; now it is the time to agree not to kill each other.

In the long term, nations should seek peace, but in the short term, all conflicting sides should compromise to maximize the level of satisfaction among their people, reject the atmosphere of mutual hatred and minimize the probability of new wars.

Targeted attacks on human dignity, collective dignity of nations is unacceptable and results in conflicts.

Concentrating on Armenia, I share my though about books, movies, literature, history, and culture. My research touches political issues as well.