February 11, 2023

The New Old Wars

Leading political thinkers discuss the Russo-Ukrainian war in the global context. Is this a return to the classical regular war between states, or a new kind?


about the event

The war started (or escalated) by Russia in Ukraine in 2022 was rarely predicted, and remains unusual in its course. In this sense, it presents both the political and theoretical challenges. Prima facie, this massive and hi-tech massacre does not correspond to the trend of the post-Cold War (or arguably even earlier), where wars were mostly asymmetrical, “hybrid”, involving partisan/guerilla tactics on both sides. Does this mean that we need to make a “boring” conclusion, for instance of the return to the historical normal after an anomaly (it being notable that the conflict happens in the post-USSR, the place where the “post-Cold War” had originated), or of the irreducibility of war to the anxious human nature? Or is there nevertheless anything historically new in the Russia-Ukraine war, something that could hopefully lead us to overcome such wars and transform the dysfunctional political order that generates them? Is there a way to break the national/civilizational framework and to “transform the imperialist war into the civil one”? Is the war (like once WWI) simply a madness of militarized elites, the consequence of the failure to institutionalize the post-Cold War in 1991, or the belated outburst of a real social and ideological conflict? Who is this war really between? Or is it an outburst of internal unease? What are the reasons for the radicalization and emotionalization of politics that were an important factor leading to this war?

These and other questions will be at the center of this small online conference, composed of the US, Italian, Spanish, Ukrainian, and Russian political thinkers who had much thought and commented on the philosophy of war.


10.00 Raul Sanchez Cedillo, This War does not End in Ukraine.

10.30 Michael Hardt  (Duke), War among Nations.

11.00 Arseny Kumankov (Princeton University), Russian Invasion of Ukraine. Not a Bit of the Old Ultraviolence.

11.30 Artemy Magun, What is the Dominant Contradiction.

12.00 Svitlana Matvienko (Simon Fraser University), Energy Terrorism during the Russia-Ukraine War.

12.30 Mezzadra, Sandro (University of Bologna), The Ukraine war in a global world: between hegemonic transition and multipolarity.

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