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Total Wars

Political Science
Course Code
John Haines

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International Relations: Week 7 t October 26th, 2010
Security, Wars, and Conflict
Total Wars t an entire country dedicated to war, society itself, the economy, are driven to the fighting of
- Global, touching the entire planet
o World wars engulfed the entire planet, touched remote part of planet even with regards
to colonial possession in Africa
- /}o}PÇWÁv]ZvµÇZP}(Æu[
o WWI such a shattering event, Europe never recovered from it
o WWI and WWII led to the holocaust, nothing would be the same after that
o End of WWII was dropping of nuclear weapons, world not the same afterwards
Function of Armed Forces
- Four functions: defence, deterrence, compellance, swaggering
o 1. Defence t deployment of military power to achieve two basic objectives: to ward off
any potential act, to minimise any damage to }v[ self if the attack takes place
A state may direct their forces against those of an actual or potential attacker
x Not against their own population
x Can use the forces when the attack occurs or may be attempted to
strike first if convinced that an attack from the enemy is imminent in a
pre-emptive way
x Pre-emption: moving first instead of waiting for the enemy to attack
o Better to strike first than to be struck
o About perception of imminent attack
Must be convinced that war will break out in a matter
of days, weeks at most
x Prevention addresses only a lower probability of being under attack
o E.g. Israel striking nuclear capability of Iraq, no sign of imminent
attack from Iraq against Israel, was a preventive move
x Motto: the best defence is good offense
o Deterrence: the deployment of military power so as to be able to prevent an adversary
from doing something that one does not want him to do
The threat of retaliation, to prevent something from happening, threat of
adversary that it both has the capacity and willingness to punish

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x Using force peacefully, if the threat is to be carried out then deterrence
o E.g. Cold War, deterrence failed with Fidel Castro, wanted
Soviet Union to use nuclear weapons in order to save Cuba
deterrence posture
In defence, armed forces only targeting armed forces of adversary, in
deterrence targeting civilization and infrastructure also, far more encompassing
x E.g. North Korea has deterrence posture via the South
o Can destroy Seoul in an instant
o 3. Compellance
The actual use of force directed to stop an adversary from doing something that
they are currently doing
The idea of influencing your adversary through the actual use of force
Key aspect: use force not in order to destroy your enemy, use force as a signal
that he has to change his behaviour
x E.g. When U.S. started bombing North Vietnam in 1965, was about
sending a signal to North Vietnam that it has to stop its commitment
towards South Vietnam
x E.g. Conflict in Kosovo and use of NATO forces to stop Milosevic to stop
ethnic cleansing of Kosovo
o In 1999, after losing Bosnia, Milosevic tried to control Kosovo
and implement policy of ethnic cleansing
NATO tried to develop a compellance strategy
Use of armed forces against Serbia was not aimed at
destroying the capabilities, infrastructure of Serbia itself
Was to send a signal to Milosevic that current behaviour
was unacceptable, aim to bring Milosevic to negotiation
NATO had limited targets in Serbia, not crucial to Serbia
x Clinton convinced that after one week of
bombing selective targets, Milosevic would
come to negotiation table
x This failed utterly, NATO started running out of
targets, needed to decide how to expand the
war, slow escalation of targets in Serbia, started
to bomb capabilities and infrastructure
o At that moment, Milosevic understood
o Use of force lasted 75 days

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o NATO itself was weakened by these
measures as some component
countries were against
o Compellence has chance of failure if
opponent considers that stakes are
high, Milosevic regarded Kosovo as
cornerstone of what Serbia should be
o Use of compellance failed utterly in
case of Kosovo
o 4. Swaggering
Displaying your forces to send message to rest of the world about your actual or
potential capabilities
National days parade when missile tanks are displayed as a matter of national
pride to show the world that you have the required capabilities
Aim is to signal to others that you must be taken seriously
During Cold War regular display in Moscow about missiles developed by missiles
x To send signal to Washington that Moscow had to be taken seriously
x Khrushchev extremely sensitive to status of Soviet Union
Aimed at enhancing a reputation, an image on the world scene
- The utility of force today has changed radically because it is about war amongst the people for
the people (e.g. Afghanistan), about peacekeeping and statebuilding operations
o Force is only one component of a broader strategy involving assistant program, training
of police force, state building
- Functions of armed forces are extremely ambiguous, role of perception is crucial in these
Role of Military Strategy:
- A grand strategy is about the broad political purposes of a state
- A military strategy is about strategy for the armed forces, more narrow and more focused on
the use of force itself
- Basic distinction between offensive and defensive strategies
o K((v]ÀW]}vZ]}}ÇÇ}µÀÇ[uÇv]vÀ]
territory than it is to defend its own
o Influences greatly strategy among states, offensive strategy has upperhand, likelihood
of conflict increases, relationship may turn unstable
o Incentive to strike first when conquest is seen as attractive because it[s easy, war itself
will be perceived as frequent and short, multiplies the security dilemma
o If offensive has the upperhand, temptation to strike first is widespread
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