In a recent article released by the World Economic Forum, the risk assessment put “interstate conflict with regional consequences” at the top of the list of the number one global risks in terms of likelihood. This specific threat has been out of the forefront for many years, and based on a poll of over 900 experts, 2015 “stands out as a year when geopolitical risks return to the fore”. We have not needed to worry much about the probability and risk of major conflict between states, unfortunately, the means of producing such an attack has drastically expanded.
Fellow geopolitical threats such as; state collapse or crisis, failure of national governance, terrorist attacks and weapons of mass destruction dominated the World Economic Forums risk assessment with their ever increasing likelihood. The risk of interstate conflict was followed by extreme weather events, failure of national governance systems, state collapse or crisis and high structural unemployment or underemployment.
We have seen an influx in intrastate conflict in the recent years, and in order to understand interstate conflict we must first take a look at intrastate conflict. Focusing on the realist argument, we can see that states are inherently self-interested where survival is the principle goal of every state. Realist theory looks at states as rationalist actors acting in such a way to maximize their likelihood of continuing to exist. Intrastate conflict has a tendency of influencing interstate conflict, for example the conflicts in Afghanistan or the Democratic Republic of Congo have implemented themselves into their neighboring states, affecting the regions political and economic stability. Seeing threats like these pop up in various places around the world; Ukraine, China, African states, we can clearly see that many of these intrastate conflicts have begun to bubble up and further affect the areas surrounding them. Which can slowly lead us into an era of heated conflicts between states. Therefore, world leaders should focus a majority of energy on creating a norm of cooperation between states rather than engaging in conflict.