Changing Nature of War (Ejaz Haider’s lecture at QAU)

Sophisticated weapons and modern warfare might endanger humanity like never before, said columnist and Sustainable Development Policy Institute Senior Adviser Ejaz Haider on Wednesday.

To Watch the lecture click here:

He was speaking as a guest lecturer at Quaid-i-Azam University.

Titled “Changing Nature of War”, the lecture focused
on the impact of technological innovations, ideologies and changes in battlefield tactics.

“We are entering an era that is likely to be far more dangerous than anything man has seen so far,” he said. “The concept of distance and stealth to win a fight has acquired a new and dangerous meaning.”

Haider said wars are a puzzling phenomenon, because despite the suffering they cause, they still reoccur. Political scientists and war theorists have tried to present rational explanations behind wars, but the mystery still remains.

He said new weapons are sometimes developed as a spinoff of technological evolution, and sometimes as a conscious pursuit to overcome the advantage of potential adversaries.

“To understand the context of war and to pursue peace, we must realise that human beings fight because they desire self-recognition,” he explained.

On one hand, wars are being fought at the sub-strategic level, forcing armies to fight in an environment for which they are generally not trained and equipped. On the other hand, the possibilities of cyber war and “genetically-targeted” biological weapons are becoming real, he explained.

The use of such weapons is still a futuristic idea, but the enabling expertise and technologies already exist, he added.

He also talked about the significance of new actors in cyber warfare.

He said the keyboard will be the new weapon of our age, where individuals and groups, not just states, will have the potential of causing mass destruction by hacking into national security systems.

[This year Dean Distinguished Lecture at the Quaid-e-Azam Univesity was delivered by Mr Ejaz Haider, Senior Advisor Policy Outreach, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, who is also a senior journalist. Mr Haider spoke on The Changing Nature of War, beginning with the puzzle of why man, societies and states fight despite the fact that war entails suffering.

Ejaz Haider has been a newspaperman since 1991, starting his career at The Frontier Post, Lahore. During his career he has held several editorial positions and was the News Editor of The Friday Times and Executive Editor of Daily Times. Haider has also done television and hosted a talk-show on Dawn News and later on Samaa TV. He was a Ford Scholar at the Programme in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security (ACDIS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1997) and a visiting fellow at the Foreign Policy Studies Programme at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C (2002-03). He also worked as National Affairs Editor, The Newsweek Pakistan, and in that capacity interviewed Turkey President, His Excellency, Abdullah Gul in March 2010 for Newsweek International.

Haider has written extensively for publications at home and abroad including The Friday Times, Daily Times, Express Tribune, Pakistan Today, Times of India, India Abroad, The Indian Express, Daily Star (Beirut), The Washington Post, Jane Sentinel (Crisis Assessment for Pakistan) and The Hindu, among others. Haider is a regular commentator on national and foreign TV channels. He has done extensive policy work during fellowships in the United States and lectured at various universities, think tanks and civil and military institutions including Command and Staff College, Quetta, National Defence University, National Institute of Public Administration and formerly Administrative Staff College. He was also a guest speaker at the Turkish Military Centre of Excellence in November 2011, conducting a course on WMD and Terrorism.

Haider areas of interest include defence and foreign policies, nuclear strategy, theories and concepts of war, international relations, statecraft, literature, and satire. He also writes a weekly column for Express Tribune.]


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