War Cycle in the European Context

It is important to read first the Methodology for the presentation of the “War Cycle” in order to understand how the results are presented and what they mean

The War Cycle applied to the European Conflicts

European wars deviation

Data used

Since the beginning of the 20th century there were first many wars involving European countries, then gradually, after the Second World War, fewer and fewer wars.

For the first part of the 20th century, it is thus the major wars that appear. This can lead to interpretations according to the authors. For the second part of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, it is much simpler: there are few wars and no ambiguity about the wars and when they started.

Thus appear in these European wars

  • wars between European countries or within one of these countries
  • Wars between European and non-European countries. Only wars that have involved all Europeans or that have not been contested are retained at this level.

If Europeans see an interest in it to the point of getting involved, it would be interesting to complete or redo this graph. Possibly redo several graphs (for example one on European soil and another on European wars conducted outside Europe).  The selected wars will inevitably provoke discussions. A contradictory debate will thus provoke the evolution of this current presentation.

It should be the role of the European bodies or the OSCE to manage this kind of data and to be able to propose such forecasts, but I have not found to date any European body that does this kind of very synthetic analysis and makes it accessible to the public. If I’m misinformed, help me by showing me existing and usable work to have in one page a reality of the past and a usable forecast trend (which this unique graph does both).

Short and medium term forecasts

Europe has the particularity of no longer having, since the Second World War, recurring conflicts such as the former Franco-German conflict which was the driving force behind European wars for almost 3/4 of a century.

It is not a recurring conflict that makes wars likely in Europe, but the relational complexity internal to Europe that makes wars break out during periods of war amplification.

What is new since 1990 is that all of Europe’s internal wars are in the former space of the “Eastern countries” representing the former Soviet and socialist bloc, including Yugoslavia.

One could consider that the new recurrence of European conflicts is that of Russia and Europe, the last wars having this Russian component.

That’s how we got:

  • the wars of the disintegration of Yugoslavia
  • the war in Georgia
  • the Chechen wars
  • 1999 – the war in Kosovo (involving the countries emerging from the disintegration of Yugoslavia)
  • 2008 – new war in Georgia (Russian component)
  • 2014 – war in Ukraine (Russian component)

Since 2008, all the European wars have been on the same relational pattern towards Russia. Either a Russian-speaking population or a local community relies on Russia to fuel the war and lead to a de facto secession, when it is not outright encouraged by Russia.

From a geopolitical point of view, the retreat to the East following the collapse of the blocks and the disintegration of the USSR poses a problem for Russia. Russia and Europe have not found a point of balance that reassures everyone. Russia is worried about NATO’s advance towards the East, including potentially towards Ukraine, and Europe is worried about Russia’s awakening.

The new NATO line that is taking shape is too close to the vital centers of Russia (St. Petersburg and Moscow) not to arouse (historically justified) fears. Russia’s regional interventions are too frequent not to arouse (historically justified) fears for several countries bordering Russia. These fears, on both sides, fuel reciprocal tensions.

Will there still be a separatist problem in Europe, supported by Russia? ?

The answer is definitely YES as long as fears on both sides are not lifted, which would require a new regional geopolitical balance involving European countries, Russia and probably also NATO and the OSCE. It is difficult to envisage significant developments in the short term in the context of chaotic European governance.

The conflict in Georgia has not moved an inch in 7 years. It could be the same in Ukraine, whatever the good-faith protests.

In order to make a reliable prediction of the risks of war, it would be necessary to identify all the underlying conflicts in the former socialist countries and then to apply a more refined analysis of when these conflicts are likely to degenerate into war, taking into account both the “Returns of the Past” and the “War Cycle”.

Over the last 30 years, each war amplification zone has given rise to at least one European war: it has been systematic and used since the 2000s to predict periods of war in Europe.

Without geopolitical evolution, we can already imagine tensions and wars around 2024, similar to those we experienced in 2008 and 2014, probably on a larger scale.

updated on January 15, 2017 – confirmed on April 29, 2019 (French to English translation on October 21, 2020)