#1 Water Wars
Gregory Dunn’s article, “Water Wars” reports that water shortage resulting from natural and human factors may not necessarily result in conflicts. In fact, he holds the notion that water crisis may end up serving as the foundation for a new-found peace between communities. He particularly points to the crucial role that technology and international organizations have played and can play in addressing the water crisis. A case in point where an international organization has played a crucial role in averting a potential water conflict is represented by the Indus Waters Treaty. The separation of India and Pakistan made Indus River a potential source of conflict between the two countries. However, the intervention of the World Bank saw the establishment of a Treaty to guide the sharing of the Indus River’s resources between the two countries thus averting a possible conflict between them.
There is no doubt about the significance of this Treaty in preventing a conflict between India and Pakistan. As a natural resource on which the majority of the populations of the two countries depend, tension would surely emerge with regard to the control of the river. Therefore, the treaty helped to eliminate one potential cause of conflict between the two rival nations. It would be pathetic to see the two countries go to war not really because of water scarcity, but over the control of a source that has sufficient water to serve their needs. While water is a vital resource, it does not have any real monetary value. For this reason, it would be imprudent for nations to commit a lot of valuable resources in fightingfor this resource. Such efforts can instead be directed toward finding a win-win situation for both countries with regard to water access. World Bank’s intervention helped the two nations to do just that. Besides bringing the potential rivals on a round table, the World Bank provided the necessary financial support to facilitate the sharing of the resources of the Indus River. In so doing, the potential conflict was turned into an improved situation for the two countries particularly because of the World Bank support. Overall, the Indus Waters Treaty helped to eliminate one potential source of conflict between India and Pakistan thus pushing a permanent peace deal even closer while benefiting both countries both socially and economically.
#2 Shatter Zones
Shatter zones can be described as countries’ borderlands where most conflicts tend to occur due to little government control in those areas. Although shatter zones are often ignored, it is in these regions where the most significant interaction between states can take place. Their vulnerability to conflicts and the potential to promote state interaction account for their significance.
Two examples of shatter zones in Eurasia include the Korean Peninsula and the Fertile Crescent. The potential threat in this region mainly originates from the porous border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen rather than within Saudi Arabia itself. As an unstable country, where the rule of law is not properly enforced, Yemen poses a real threat to the Korean Peninsula than the Saudi Kingdom. Besides, the Northern Korean regime is not in a good position in terms of governance as well as its position in international relations. This can easily sparkinstability in the Korean Peninsula. The Fertile Crescent is the shatter zone in Eurasia. This is because Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq’s borders do not reflect the real state of affairs as far as natural geography is concerned. This increases the potential for conflicts in the border areas, which is a threat to the Fertile Crescent. For example, there is no natural aspect between Iraq’s border with the Fertile Crescent with regard to the natural border or the ethnicity and religion of the communities in these areas.Therefore, any instability would quickly spread across the border.
The potential conflict within the two shatter zones described above confirms Kaplan’s view that “geography is the prelude to the very track of human events” (484). The fact that the Korean Peninsula and the Fertile Crescent border unstable neighbors means that they face a threat of conflict or even intrusion, both of which are human events. In other words, the state of affairs in the two regions points to a set of negative human events that could interfere with their stability and prosperity.
Dunn, Gregory. Water wars: A surprisingly rare source of conflict. Harvard International Review, Fall(2013).
Kaplan, Robert D. The revenge of geography.FPRI, 2015.