Causes of War.docx

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Political Science

Causes of War- lecture 8 I. Introduction o War- sustained intergroup violence in which state military forces participate on at least one side (civil war-one side; interstate war-two or more sides) o 10 general wars (30 years War, Napoleonic wars, WWI, WWII, etc.) o Big wars between great powers have declined but wars in general have not (Cold War, Iraq war) o Interstate wars declined, civil wars increased Causes of war theory- why conflict turns to war, not so much the cause of the conflict o Issues of conflict 1) Interests (material) 2) Ideas This classification is useful but misleading, why? 1) Not mutually exclusive 2) Material interest is socially constructed II. What is the fighting about A. Conflicts of interests 1. Territorial disputes (historically had much significance) o Often used as force o Post colonial world: very strong norm of the sanctity of borders Partly why something like Iraq, Kuwait invasion was uncommon Holds much significance-1992 Pakistan nationalist marched into India but the police shot down their own people because the influence on the relationship between the two states would be too dire o Territorial disputes hard to resolve o Also an emotional element, matter of pride 2. Control over governments- not only to take territory but to install a friendlier government ex) During the Cold War, US support of Contras 3. Economic conflict- historically, economic conflict led to war, but now hardly lead to war because war would disrupt economy, trade even more, creates larger economic disruption; probably even more economic conflicts but deal in diff. ways; drug trafficking is a form of economic conflict that leads to military action B. Conflicts of ideas 1. Ethnic conflict o often had material interests at stakes but deeply rooted identity issues; sometimes might begin with territory or natural resources but evolve for ethnic issues o Sometimes want to secede, some secede and join a neighboring country, some don’t have a state o Ex) Ethnic cleansing and war come together civil wars that result and external powers intervene to stop things like ethnic cleansing 2. Religious conflict o Intractable- absolute beliefs are fundamentally difficult to compromise o Sometimes lead to conflicts w/i state b/c it challenges secular political order o Can be transnational (ex. Islamic fundamentalism) 3. Ideological conflict o One way the Cold War can be classified as- communism vs. democracy o Realists argue ideology isn’t important; yes, ideology isn’t all determining BUT some evidence shows that ideological elements can matter 1) Causes of War- lecture 8 Revolutions can create sudden change that could be destabilizing and alter the balance of power 2) Mobilize national population III. Causes of War Our ability to explain why war occurs is limited b/c war is very complicated and there is no one cause BUT we use the levels of analysis and theories to break them down and get better traction on understanding them. A. Individual level- we can seek for explanation of war at individual levelcaused by human nature, personalities of particular leaders, limits on rationality B. Domestic level- Are some states more prone to war than others? If so, why? Different theories have different answers 1. Marxist theory- “Yes, capitaltht states are more prone to wars than socialist ones” o John Hobson (early 20 C): “There is an inherent problem in capitalistic countries because they have a small wealthy minority and large, more impoverished minority”End up with a situation where these economies produce more than they can consume o When there is a crisis of overproduction, capitalists invest oversees for overproduction to be absorbedresult is imperialism & imperialist wars where states fight each other for greater territory o One domestic explanation is “Yes, to deal with prices of over production” 2. Democratic peace theory- Liberals- “Democracies are less likely to go to war than authoritarian states because the people –not the rulers –have to pay the price, be held accountable; in authoritarian states, rulers can go to war without much personal risk”  initial democratic peace theory o Further, democratic states have created a separate peace where they almost never fight each other; closest thing to a “law” in international politics; democratic states hardly even skirmish with one another; only 1/8 a possibility for democratic state pairs to even threaten to use force against each other o Todaythno established democracy has fought a war with one another in the 20 C the more democratic a state is, more likely to have peaceful relations with other democratic states o X mean democracies have no conflicts resolve through other means o X mean democracies are peaceful because people don’t want to be held accountable still fight other non-democratic states; something about the relationship between democracies o Beside the cost of publics, democracies are quicker to reciprocate each other’s behaviors, to go through other cores of conflict-resolution, to accept third party ratification? and adjudication o Pairs of democratic states are less likely to go to war with each other than non-democracy& democracy/ non-democracy & non-democracy 3. Domestic insecurity o Propensity to go to war increases when there are conflicts within the state/ society (based on the concept that domestic unity tends to increase when there is external crisis) maybe some leaders provoke/aggressive toward external tensions to increase domestic popularity (may be some truth but X predictable) 4. Nationalism –is it a catalyst to wars? Sometimes o Nationalism alone won’t lead to war but when you have nationalism that involves intense commitment to the power and prosperity of state, when that Causes of War- lecture 8 commitment is strengthened by national myths that emphasize the moral, physical, and political strength of that statesometimes that will lead to war o But still X predictable because there are states with high levels of nationalism and don’t go to war lots of debates on what types of nationalism leads to war C. Systemic level- systemic theorists, especially neorealist, see war very differently, one observation is that war sometimes happens even when no actor wants it, because there is nothing there to prevent it Ex) In a self help system, even defensive postures may threaten others and with a response in time, a security dilemma is created. By contrast, wars don’t always arise when some do want it; there could be belligerence but won’t necessarily lead to war because balance of power will prevent it. 1. Balance of power and polarity- balance of power can go both waysmay prevent/ deter but also be the immediate cause war (if that belligerent state doesn’t heed the warning they may actually take some international action and other actors may need to do something to keep that state in check) o Different theorists have different insights about different balances/ types of polarity o The central proposition of the balance of power theory is that if a state threatens to dominate, other states will balance it o More specific insights about stability 1) Historically, most have argued that multipolar system is most stable (relatively equal distribution among the great powers is the most conducive to peace) o Proximate parity between powers in a multipolar system means that no single state has the ability to force its will on others o If there is an aggressor, there are lots of ways it can be stopped & different coalitions of states can form to stop that aggressor Multipolar system can work both ways 1) an aggressor can look and think I’m never going to be stronger than them or 2)for whatever reason misjudge that and think they can be stronger, lots of other alliances can form to stop them o Conversely, with concentrations of power, those will be conducive to war because they reduce the number of blocking coalitions, less combinations that can happen to make things right o Relative equality among great powers increases uncertainty about the outcome of war or even alliances that can form which produces
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