Substantial changes of international security ecology
The frequency and intensity of the use of force by various countries is an important indicator of the international strategic situation. During the 10-plus years after the end of the Cold War, the US was the only major country that was constantly at war with several middle-sized or small countries in succession. In 2008, Russia began to fight back against Georgia with armed forces, and other regional powers resorted to force too after 2014. In 2020, the armed forces users have expanded from world or regional powers to many middle-sized or small countries, implying substantial changes in the international security ecology.
Conflicts over the territorial dispute
The first is the India-Pakistan conflict. As a regional power, India, however, has triggered several crises because it harbors unrealistic illusions about border territory. In February 2019, the Indian Air Force attacked Pakistan across the Kashmir Line of Actual Control. In 2020, India continued to fortify its actual control in the border area and triggered small-scale skirmishes multiple times, such as in November and December when both sides suffered casualties in the tens during their constant military conflicts in Kashmir.
The second is the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. From September 27 to November 9, Azerbaijan and Armenia broke into military conflicts in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, leaving more than 4,000 dead, 8,000 injured, and 10,000 homeless. Turkey and Russia paid close attention to the conflicts there. While Istanbul vowed support for Azerbaijan, Moscow actively mediated and sent peacekeepers after the truce agreement was signed, further enhancing its influence in regional affairs.
Ceaseless domestic battles and proxy warfare
The first is the 10-year-long conflict in Syria. The country's situation has turned for the better since Russia sent troops there, but battles continued from time to time this year with the involvement of the US, Russia, Turkey, and Iran. On the evening of December 6, 2020, a Syrian military armored personnel carrier was bombed by Turkish troops.
The second is the military conflict in Libya. In April 2019, the Libyan National Army , an armed force mainly controlling the eastern part of the country, launched attacks to occupy the capital Tripoli and came to a standoff with government forces until the first ceasefire agreement was signed in October 2020.
The third is the Donbas conflict, which has lasted more than six years in East Europe with conflicts and casualties still counting. In March 2020, Ukraine's rotation troops in Donbas were attacked, and 200 soldiers died. On April 2, the Ukraine Joint Operations Headquarters revealed that about 50 Russian soldiers died in Donbas in March.
The fourth is the conflict in Ethiopia. On November 4, Ethiopia's armed force Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF ) launched a surprise attack on the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) in the State of Tigray, only to be annihilated by ENDF later. The conflict lasted till the end of November, driving hundreds of thousands of people away from home.
Assassination occasionally happened in past international struggles, but it became an important approach in 2020. On January 3, the US assassinated Iranian major general Soleimani with a combination of approaches, including human intelligence, UAV monitoring, and assaults, opening the gate of assassinating strategic targets. From July to September, attacks and fires for unknown reasons broke out in multiple places within Iran. On November 27, its chief nuclear scientist Fakhrizadeh was attacked and killed near Tehran. These events have pushed assassination to the strategic forefront and turned it into a blatant means of clearing out targets, which set a very bad example.