International law says clearly:

Article 1

The Contracting Powers recognize that hostilities between themselves must not commence without previous and explicit warning, in the form either of a reasoned declaration of war or of an ultimatum with conditional declaration of war.

Article 2

The existence of a state of war must be notified to the neutral Powers without delay, and shall not take effect in regard to them until after the receipt of a notification, which may, however, be given by telegraph. Neutral Powers, nevertheless, cannot rely on the absence of notification if it is clearly established that they were in fact aware of the existence of a state of war.

So much theory contained in the Third Hague Convention relative to the Opening of Hostilities from 1907. And what is the practice? Whether reality adheres to the paper phantasmagoria? In the era of so called hybrid wars fueled i.e. by “little green men” movement on the Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, placing such questions becomes justified. The concept of war is already being changed before eyes of global public opinion. We, the global public opinion, should not delude ourselves that declaration of war will take place in a way that was codified and stored in a document dating back more than 100 years. Virtually all world socio-economic matrix evolved from that time, this – in turn – changed war’s means of expression.

One consequence of this state of affairs is increasing occurrence of phenomenon commonly known as “Invisible Chemical Wars,” concept coined by Swedish chemist Svante Oden who used it on occasion of the first appearance of acid rain in Scandinavia. It had source in the United Kingdom and, for a number of years, was polluting the pristine areas of that region of Europe. Scandinavians were geographical biggest victims of the British “economic success” in the form of high-sulfur production. Roughly speaking, one state influenced chemical composition of citizens of the other.

Below is an example of an Invisible Chemical War scheme:

oden pic

Scandinavian countries have responded as best they could at that time, and it was the year 1997. In spite of the reaction of the authorities in London, mechanistic movement slashed administration national emission sulfur compounds, reducing the pH level of the local rivers and lakes to an acceptable fauna and flora state. Stockholm decided to use the tools of prevention, realizing that formally UK is not associated with the 30% reduction target included in Helsinki Protocol on the Reduction of Sulphur Emissions from 1985. Such a bizarre situation was justified under litter of international law. At the same time UK was a signature member of The Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution since 1982 which listed 22 substances, of course, among them there were no sulfur compounds.

Many experts may not agree with Oden and his assertion that the described issue had the nature of war, because it is not characterized by clear, declared desire to hurt one State by another. However, this phenomenon, although invisible, has a huge impact on interstate relations, just like war, which gave rise to the need for education of foreign diplomacy in the field of cross-country emissions.

Three facts need to be taken into account. First: CAS Registry number of known chemical compounds swelled to 93 million organic and inorganic substances and 65 million sequences – still pending. Second: Stratospheric winds, according to different sources can travel 300 km/h, and could serve as kinetic carrier for new extremely durable combination of chemical compounds, which more or less consciously could be used as a new means of war. Third: lion’s share of it lies below visible for human eye limit of 25. micron, hence, this type of war can last for years unnoticed – which is a particular threat.

Moreover, using Oden’s optics, so called pollution havens are becoming specific war centers as US CENTCOM today. Recipe is very simple: capital doctrine of profits maximization + reduced environmental requirements. Small centers feed large centers. It is quite the same model that works in nature: the system of leaves and an extensive network of roots (small centers) feed trunk (upper center). The most friendly and popular harbors for pollutants are all over the world, i.e. China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and also some countries of Africa and South and Central America. This newly created quasi-colonial system in international trade of network can cause Oden’s Wars.

Such are the consequences of the lack of a comprehensive doctrine in the field of global commons. Largely, water and air on the Earth  are the anarchist’s spaces today.

Source of  photo: Jayel Aheram (Flickr)

Source of map: S. Barrett, Environment and Statecraft, Oxford 2006, p. 8.