Lecture 6.docx

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31 Mar 2012
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Lecture 6
For paper, read the reading about Bush Doctrine
The Prisoner•fs Dilemma summary:
It•fs a hypothetical game often used to illustrate rationality and how it can lead us astray
by considering two prisoners that are guilty for possession of arms. Both of them defect
on the other and they both get in jail. The individual decision is rational, the collective
outcome is not. PD is used as an explanation for the difficulty to sustain cooperation
under anarchy
The Chicken Game:
The Nash Equilibrium is when one or the other turns and doesn•ft crash. This is an
analogy for the confrontation between states
Critique:
-Are people really rational?
-Game Theory tends to portray a binary picture of decision making - over simplistic
-We never really now in IR which game we play
-It is difficult to determine the preferences of the actors - Game Theory has limitations.
War is Hell
War is a permanent factor of human existence. War •gis merely the continuation of
politics by other means•h Von Clausewitz. Foreign policies of states refer to the goals and
the means by which states pride to achieve their goals in the intl context and the
preferred strategy or policy is almost always not war. It•fs almost always trying to
convince other actors to change their behaviours by means other than armed conflict
(diplomacy, negotiations, sanctions). Both diplomacy and sanctions have implicit the
permanent threat of war, so much so that Hans Morgenthal argued that states in the intl
system are always either recovering from, preparing for or involved in armed conflict in
the form of war. War is a rather problematic thing, it is difficult for states to understand
and or predict the outcome of it. In many cases they are planning for war with the hopes
of never engaging in it, prepare for war to be in peace. Planning for war only lasts until
the first shot is fired, and this refers to the fog of war. War is unpredictable. Many states
have entered war with plans and optimism only to find that their plans did not work out;
their superiority melted. Every war is different. The URSS was planning WWII as WWI.
When Hitler attacked the Soviet lines, he attacked them very differently. The Nazi
Regime attacked from the front, as in WWI, but concentrated their forces in one only
spot, and they overwhelmed the Soviet battle liens and broke through them. The natural
response of the URSS was pulling back and doing logistics again. This resulted in chaos
because they were never capable to regain superiority.
Wars have changed over time and rather drastically in terms of technology and reasons
to engage in war. The wars of the 19th Century were mostly for territory, and this is not
relevant anymore. In the 20th Century wars were fought over ideologies, but this
century saw the emergence of total wars. Prior to this, wars involved the organized
militaries of different states and had little to no impact on civilians. Industrialization
increasingly changed that; the severity and casualties increased. On WWI most of them
expected it to be like the Franco-Prussian war, every side wanted to be victorious, but it
resulted in a seemingly endless conflict with little to no gains in territory. By WWII it
was no longer sufficient to kill soldiers who could be replaced, but it was trendy to kill
civilians. The line between soldiers and civilians became less and less relevant, 90% of
german cities laid in rubble by the end of the war. One of the advances for this war was
air power and the use of bombs. They killed civilians to make them tired of war and cut
the people support, but this theory never really worked.
Most armed conflicts between 1990 and 2000 were in Africa (birth of nations) and the
Middle East (Israel and Palestine; Kurdish), but there were also conflicts in Europe
(Yugoslavia and Nagorno-Kabarakh). Civil wars are 5x deadlier than interstate.
How do we measure war?
An interstate war needs at least 1K deaths between at least two states. Only 2.4% of
Militarized Interstate Disputes end in wars. Uppsala Conflict Database. The War of
Jenkin•fs Ear was a pretext for war, but not a war itself. It was a conflict between S and B
over particular trade with the Western Hemisphere. The Soccer War between El
Salvador and Honduras. It started after a soccer game, but it wasn•ft really over soccer,
but over the interest of El Salvador for more land. In El Salvador there was much more
labour than the market could carry and they went to Honduras for jobs, and the soccer
game just ignited the whole thing.
IR Theory and War
The first question is what conditions modify the probability of war? It tries to look at
war as a recurring phenomena that can be studied scientifically. Until recently, it
focused on interstate war: 1) Realist thinking (state centric), 2) History (WWI, WWII),
3) Nuclear Weapons.
The explanations for the ever present threat of war comes down to three images:
1) Human nature (bio, psych, sociological). Humans are either by their very nature
evil and violent and competitive, leading to rather pessimistic assumptions to the
ability to eliminate war in IR, or human nature has been corrupted and that humans
have become evil selfish prone to violence and so on. This leads to two interpretations
of the image: optimistic and pessimistic. The O tend to go and argue for human
improvement and its potential. They argue that humans are not prone to violence or
evil but have become so due to a series of episodes throughout their history; humans
survived through years because they avoid their predators because of their ingenuity