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Political Science
POLI 244
Jason Scott Ferrell

LECTURE NOTES ON WAR 11/9/2012 11:45:00 AM `What are the empirical conditions that define war? What do we mean by war?  One definition: direct aggression by state actors  Emotional responses: positive, negative, intellectual Has not always been regarded as a “bad thing”  Athens; display of superiority (race, culture, civilization) o Idealized warriors, associated good things with the concept  Romans as well o Moral language: “virtue” o Latin term for virture => vir => man => courage, steadfastness… war o Empire = empiro => violence  Very different from our conception  19 thcentury Romantics o Talk of the nature of struggle as artistic inspiration o Social Darwinism, we should pursue struggle o Nitsze: World of power o Valorizes idea of conflict  Nazis o Way of establishing your self and culture  Advances civilization, self, culture, technology o The Iliad could not have been written today, we don’t have the values for it War is not conceptually self evident: “war on drugs”, “war on terror”… who is the victor? What would victory be? CLAUSEWITZ employs the historical method (Schelling and Fueron are more rational)  War has 2 dimensions: o Normative (moral) dimension  good/bad o Empirical (factual) dimension  what leads to war  But it is difficult to pull apart these two dimensions CORRELATES OF WAR PROJECT  Collect data for scientific study of war  Is this possible?  Info begins in 1816. Advent of modern state system as we know it today. This is when people begin keeping data like this.  Must provide verifiable variables of was conditions o When is war likely to occur?  Works with idea that war is an activity that takes place beween State-State actors (not actually true: non-state actors can go to war; al-queda, civil war…)  Tries to unpack what they see as a pattern o Conflict between states   Crisis   War o But how do we draw the line and distinguish between crises and war?  Magnitude  Severity  Intensity  Eg. Cold war: with the exception of a few instances, it is contained  FINDINGS: o Rate of occurrence in 19 thand 20 thcentirues is basically the same o Extra-systemic (system level) war is greater in 19 thcentury (colonialism, etc. imperialism still exists, leads to conflict) o Victors have less fatalities than losers o Cannot determine # of fatalities required to make a country stop fighting o Wars in Europe carry higher fatalities o Inter-governmental organizations (EU, UN) do not effect/have no bearing on whether war happens or not o Nations stop participating in IGOs right before war and start again after o Alliances have a negative effect on occurrences in 19 th century but positive in 20 thcentury  Alliances make war more likely  Allies honor commitments  What conclusions can we draw? o Distinction between contention and rivalry  Cooperation + competitive behaviour, when they lock in, can lead to war. If a dispute occurs over longer time  contributes to more war o Discrepancy between capability and diplomatic ties  More Capability + less diplomacy = more liklihood of war o More populous a nation, the more war-prone, at least in Europe o Geography: 2 nations close together have a geater liklihood of war o EMPIRICALLY GROUNDED DEFINITION: War is a form of sustained conflict including organized armed forces, resulting in a minimum of 1000 battle-related fatalities within a 12 month periond  Why is this a plausible definition?  Generated by facts we can observe  Defines war as an activity between states  Harder to unify/discredit other definitions CLAUSEWITZ’S argument becomes the foundation for a rational device model. It’s very historical, empirical, but not very scientific. Defines war as a positive activity, a form of behaviour.  Actors have ENDS to pursue War can be understood as a normative action, political activity  moral engagement.  Act of violence to compel opponent to comply to our will o Shows how to address + limit o Provides critique of strictly logical/non-purposive accounts War is an attempt to disarm/destroy opponent?  If you approach war in this way, opponent will respond in kind and the situation will become worse. Clausewitz rejects this: it doesn’t take in to account prior history of actors, looks at war as an isolated set of actions, which is problematic and there is no one solution to violence (disarm) and action can be completed (destroy). BUT reality is not like this.  Not an isolated act: actors usually have a shared history To fully understand, must understand REASONS War doesn’t have a single solution  Not a simple thing, must look at underlying disputes, why are states fighting?  War and victory are never perfect or complete. Defeat is never permanent.  War reflects contingent circumstances and you must invest yourself o Must understand what other wants o Adversary’s character o Appropriate means and when to confront them o Nature of the situation, reasons for hostility. Political  War is a continuation of policy by other means o Its just another diplomatic tool, to be employed by statesmen o We can never be completely without the possibility of war o Clausewitz can be thought of as a realist o Simply studying correlates of war is not enoufh to make us understand war. Must understand purposes and psychological dimensions. Not just their goals, but also levels of hostility and tension that actors are involved in. War depends upon subjective states.  Meant to indicate how we can break out of the cycle of war For Clausewitz, war is purposive. Rational actor model Attempt to talk about war as a rational action.  Invites consideration of strategies that accompany war  Sorts of strategic calculations? o Importance of offensive/defensive postures, be aware of what neighbors/opponents are doing. o Situations of uncertainty and incomplete information are conducive to peace. You’re hesitant to act under uncertainty  Although normally we say inaction is bad o *We must be sensitive to contingencies: situations which can arise form surprise, escalates reaction  have to be prepared for surprises, don’t respond to quickly: diplomacy! o Actors have preferences, can be measured in material circumstances BARGAINING THEORY OF WAR: FUERON (ch. 3)  Inspired by rational choice theory and economic theories.  Clarify how system of relations affects decision-making. How do actors interact given the structure of their relations?  Relation to prisoner’s dilemma? o How can this lead to war? o Related to REALISM  Result of work by Jeffrey Blainey, economist o War is a form of negotiation. Wants to explain causes + role of war in negotiation.  Costly and inefficient way of resolving disputes since it destroys resources that could be distributed among states in a peaceful manner.  So there has to be a negotiation point that falls short of war. Settlement that is mutually preferential to war (since war is a suboptimal outcome) o So what IS optimal?  War stems from disagreement about relative power of states, don’t agree about distribution of power in the system  Fighting over distribution of power and are aware of it. So can project what outcome of war wil be. So why not just negotiate it out?  War = bargaining  Military prowess is a resource in bargaining.  Expected outcome = resource as well  Ultimate determinant is relative power of states. Do states agree/disagree on it?  War is a means of clarifying this relative status; dispute resolution.  Wars are costly. Costs vary by actor. Role to play in a decision to fight or not.  If war is costly/inefficient, hen why go to war anyway? o Conditions that prevent states from coming to a rationalized and peaceful settlement?  Lack of communication  Private information and incentive to misrepresent private information  Commitment problems  Indivisible issues  War is likely when 1 to 3 are present  Bargaining space shrinks. Implies that if none of these cond
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