In the post-Cold War era, developed countries have hesitated to clearly label any nation as an enemy for the sake of peacekeeping efforts. Yet, even in modern times, there are strong tensions between several countries. Religious values, cultural differences, political affiliations, and conflicting economic goals all play a role in how countries view each other.
However, there are still clear conflicts that can be identified in the world, including some that continue to progress with no end in view.
The conflict that developed between Palestine and Israel after World War II has shown little improvement decades later. The United States attempted to encourage previous attempts at peace between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
This effort failed after the Palestinian Authority’s ruling party, the Fatah, united with Hamas. In 2014, a military conflict broke out between the Israeli military and Hamas, culminating with major retaliation by Israel in Gaza. 2,251 Palestinians and 73 Israelis were killed before Egypt brokered a cease-fire.
Unfortunately, attempts at peace have not lasted long in this conflict. Most recently, several days of violence broke out between the Israeli military and Palestinian militant groups in May of 2021. This was the result of a court ruling in favor of evicting the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah. The subsequent unrest spread to East Jerusalem and ended with both sides using non-lethal and lethal methods of force. At the end of the 11-day period, 250 Palestinians were killed and 2,000 were wounded. Additionally, at least 13 Israelis were killed before Egypt was able to broker another peace deal on May 21, 2021.
Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been building since the Ukrainian Revolution of 2014. Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and its support of separatist groups fighting in Ukraine, led to the deaths of more than 13,000 people by early 2020.
Throughout 2021 and early 2022, Russia intensified the situation by building its military presence along the border of Ukraine. On February 24, 2022, Russian President of Vladimir Putin declared a special military operation to “demilitarise and denazify” Ukraine. Shortly after, Ukraine came under heavy fire from missiles and airstrikes.
Most members of the United Nations General Assembly panned the invasion immediately. The United States of America, Germany, and several other countries imposed severe sanctions on Russia and took steps to financially isolate the nation. Additionally, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has received financial support and weapon supplies to help arm civilians.
Ukraine has continued to put up a strong defense, but many areas outside of Kyiv have succumbed to the onslaught of Russian attacks. As the war continues, it has been hard for foreign analysts and media to verify the number of casualties. At this stage of the conflict, current estimates show nearly 64,151 Russian soldiers have been killed and at least 107,663 have been wounded. The Ukrainian losses are estimated to be between 51,032 and 72,589 total soldiers and civilians killed and another 56,803 wounded.
Over the last several decades, the ideological and political divide between China and the United States has become increasingly clear. Further, U.S. policy is becoming highly focused on competition with China.
Tensions between the United States and China were accelerated during the presidency of Donald J. Trump due to the sanctions and trade tariffs that the administration implemented against China. China expressed hope for renewed relations after the election of President Biden; however, the Biden administration did not roll back the sanctions and tariffs. Instead, the U.S. has mobilized other countries to alter their dealings with China.
China has rejected the United State’s rhetoric about democracy and human rights, considering it a commentary on the legitimacy of their government. The aggression with which the country has recently threatened Taiwan also presents a new challenge to the strength of the U.S. As the tension continues to grow between these two nations, the world is forced to battle with supply chain disruptions and the effects of less trade with China.
|Armenia||Azerbaijan||The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is an ethnic and territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, inhabited mostly by ethnic Armenians, and seven surrounding districts, inhabited mostly by Azerbaijanis until their expulsion during the 1990s during a period of Armenian occupation. The Nagorno-Karabakh region is entirely claimed by and partially de facto controlled by the breakaway Republic of Artsakh, but is recognized internationally as part of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan controls the remainder of the Nagorno-Karabakh region (from which the Armenian population was expelled during the 2020s) as well as the seven surrounding districts.|
|China||United States||See United States|
|India||Pakistan||Since the Partition of British India in 1947 and subsequent creation of the dominions of India and Pakistan, the two countries have been involved in a number of wars, conflicts, and military standoffs. A long-running dispute over Kashmir and cross-border terrorism have been the predominant cause of conflict between the two states, with the exception of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, which occurred as a direct result of hostilities stemming from the Bangladesh Liberation War in erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).|
|Israel||Palestine||The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is one of the world's most enduring conflicts, beginning in the mid-20th century. Various attempts have been made to resolve the conflict as part of the Israeli–Palestinian peace process, alongside other efforts to resolve the broader Arab–Israeli conflict. Public declarations of claims to a Jewish homeland in Palestine, including the First Zionist Congress of 1897 and the Balfour Declaration of 1917, created early tensions in the region. Following World War I, the Mandate for Palestine included a binding obligation for the "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people". Tensions grew into open sectarian conflict between Jews and Arabs. The 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was never implemented and provoked the 1947–1949 Palestine War. The current Israeli-Palestinian status quo began following Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories in the 1967 Six-Day War.|
|North Korea||South Korea||The Korean conflict is an ongoing conflict based on the division of Korea between North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) and South Korea (Republic of Korea), both of which claim to be the sole legitimate government of all of Korea. During the Cold War, North Korea was backed by the Soviet Union, China, and other allies, while South Korea was backed by the United States, United Kingdom, and other Western allies.|
|Russia||Ukraine||Tensions between Russia and Ukraine (for former members of the USSR) trace back to at least February 2014, when Russia (and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine) annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. This "Ukraine Crisis" was roundly criticized by the international community, but an uneasy statemate emerged. That balance was upturned in February 2022, when Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, turning the simmering conflict into the Russo-Ukrainian War.|
|South Korea||North Korea||See North Korea|
|Taiwan||China||Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), is an island separated from China by the Taiwan Strait. It has been governed independently of mainland China since 1949, when the Chinese communist party won the country's civil war and founded the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on the Chinese mainland. The freshly deposed former government retreated to Taiwan and a decades-long stand-off began. The PRC views Taiwan as a renegade province and vows to eventually reunify Taiwan with the mainland. The democratically elected government of Taiwan and its twenty-three million people prefer to view Taiwan as either the rightful government of China or a separate country entirely. Cross-strait tensions have escalated since the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016. Tsai has refused to accept a formula that her predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou, endorsed to allow for increased cross-strait ties. Meanwhile, the Beijing-based PRC government has taken increasingly aggressive actions, including flying fighter jets near the island. Some analysts fear a Chinese attack on Taiwan has the potential to draw the United States into a war with China.|
|United States||China||Differences in opinion over Taiwan’s status continue to stoke the flames of the long-simmering tensions between China and the United States, two superpowers which are often one another's greatest competition, especially in political and economic areas. Both countries are highly influential on the world political stage, both are huge players in the global economy, and both view the other's government as philosophically threatening and untrustworthy. Both governments often seek to undermine the other's power and influence, both overtly and through more covert means.|
Many countries have great animosity toward other countries, but some of the most famous countries that hate each other are Palestine and Israel, Ukraine and Russia, and The United States and China.