International incidents have been part of international relations since the eighteenth century. Through these episodes, nations have engaged in armed conflict. In other cases, international incidents cause long-term animosity, embargo and other forms of restrictions among nations which in turn harm national economies and people’s freedoms. From the few initial events, the rate of international accidents seems to increase over the years and nations become more protective of their citizens and borders.
International incidents are small incidents, at first glance, with small pockets of actions that lead to unintentional disagreements between two or more sovereign countries. Normally, these incidents stem from unexpected actions by security forces, government officials, citizens or even animals. In rare cases, incidences occur as a result of football provocations by terrorists, espionage agents and other official and unofficial actors. It is important to note that conflicts that are the result of a series of intensifying battles between nations are not international incidents. However, some international incidents normally reveal some deep unstable relationships among nations as such nations could interpret the incidents as an act of provocation, however unintentional.
Resolution of international incidences
The first great attempt to resolve international incidences and prevent them from accelerating in the wars was the founding of the League of Nations (LoG) following the lessons learned from the incidents that accelerated the First World War. Since the GG failed to prevent the Second World War, nations broke up and formed the UN which continues to provide alternative diplomatic resolution mechanisms that prevent such incidences from turning into wars. The UN, however, has not had full success since some incidences have led to armed conflicts. Institutions like the International Court of Justice also offer legal platforms for states to resolve their differences rather than engage in war. As nations continue to embrace regional bodies, such bodies have organs that mediate between states to prevent conflicts. These organs can intervene in the event that the conflicting actors are its members, or even when one conflicting actor is a member and the other is not. States party to the accident may also pursue bilateral diplomacy in an attempt to solve their problems.
Examples of international incidences caused by minor actions
In 1925, Greece and Bulgaria engaged in a war that caused the death of 50 simply because a Greek soldier lost control of his dog and the dog crossed the border with Bulgaria. The soldier, seized by panic, ran after the dog and the Bulgarian soldiers killed him. What followed was “The stray dog war”. In West Wales, the Hindu community kept some “holy cows” in their temple. One of the cows, Shambo, contracted tuberculosis in 2007 and became seriously ill. The Welsh authorities ordered that the cow be killed to prevent the spread of the disease, a decision that angered the Hindu community that formed a human protective shield around the cow.
In 2017, China arrested three UCLA basketball players and held them for even days causing an international incident. The three, one of a famous basketball family, were traveling in China and were arrested for shoplifting. According to Chinese laws, they faced a sentence of up to ten years in prison. China released players after President Trump intervened through the Chinese president. Finally, Ronald Reagan once caused an accident when he joked, while testing a hot microphone, that “we start bombing the Soviet Union in five minutes”.
Effects of international incidences
In addition to the risk of war, international incidence can negatively affect relations between countries. These relationships include movement, communication, trade and diplomacy, among others. International incidences can lead to displacements, expulsions or damages to citizens living in other countries that are part of the dispute. Countries that have suffered such episodes require time before normal operations resume and when they resume, there is usually a deep-rooted and unspoken animosity and suspicion that lasts longer