Causes of War.docx

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University of California - Berkeley
Political Science

Defining War: sustained intergroup violence in which state military enforces participate on at least one side Ex. Civil war is on one side, interstate war is on more than one side - single act of violence does not mean war “war is the continuation of politics by other means” - partly because of the numbers – many great powers and deaths - ex: 30 years war ,napoletic war, 2 world wars - overtime, great power wars have declined, general wars have not declined - during the Cold War (1945-1990) – 140 wars and 25 million deaths - Asia & Korea; Iran and Iraq war = highest deaths - Interstate wars have declined over time, but civil wars have increased partly because we have more states after decolonization Causes of War Theories - not about why actors want to go to war, but moreso what types of conflicts can lead to war: - 1) conflict over material interests o territorial: historically, many wars have been fought over territory. If there is ever a territorial dispute, it is often solved by war. States are not willing to give off their territory easily. Historically: colonial times land was constantly won, lost, divided, traded, fallenout from bigger powers; very strong norm about the sanctity of moving borders  strength of norm: 1992 – Pakistani nationals tried to cross border into India to make a point; Paki police fired on their own people to stop them from crossing the border; that would have completely ruined relationship between both states and therefore it was worth dying for  while there are fewer territorial disputes these days, the ones we have are VERY difficult to solve; EMOTIONAL value to territory: takes years to settle tiny plot of land o control over governments: install a government that is friendlier to their interests; cold war: u.s. and soviet union largely did this for covert groups or something o sometimes fight over economic conflicts: used to be more common that economic disputes would lead to war – economic transactions are so pervasive but they do not usually lead to war because that disrupts trade and creates larger economic disruption  not that there are no longer economic disputes, just that they deal with them in different ways  drug trafficking: can lead to military conflict in the elicit global economy than in the legal global economy - 2) conflict over ideas o ethnic conflict: often have material interest at stake, but are often very rapped up with more deeply rooted identity issues – sometimes want to sucede and join with a neighboring state, sometimes have no ethnic home and all other states are resistant of the idea of giving up a piece of their territory to help provide for other random peeps  when end up with some type of a civil war that ends up in ethnic cleansing  when outside powers chose to intervene militarily to stop ethnic cleansing o religious conflicts often combined with territorial disputes or ethnic conflicts  particularly intractable – hard to compromise about  fundamental set of beliefs – lead to conflicts in states because they challenge secular order  can be transational; ex: the main form of fundamentalism is Islamic fundamentalism which does not represent a particular state but rather many different states o ideological conflics o can have little in common with other ideology as long as are not opposite of other ideology o evidence that ideological outlooks can matter and so can ideological revolutions o 1) revolutions create a sudden change that can decrease form of power o 2) ideologies can mobilize national populations o ex: u.s. or Vietnam was definitely more about power, but it still would have played out differently domestically if the ideologies were not as they were o ex: onflict between communist states and liberal democracies disclaimer: (1) this is not mutually exclusive: they all overlap (2) as constructivists remind us, even things that we view as material interests are socially constructed Causes of war, theory, level of analysis 1) our ability to explain why wars occur are limited: wars are complicated – approach is to break it down by levels of analysis different arguments (1) war is caused by human nature (2) by particular nations (3) limits on rationalities - we can seek explanations for wars at the individual analysis (1) are some types of states more prone to war than others, why? * Marxist: yes – because capital states are more prone to war than social ones – John Hopsin offered clear explanation from Marxist standpoint as to why that would be true: there is an inherent problem in capitalist countries; many have a small wealthy minority and a large more impoverished majority – end up in a situation where those economies end up with more than they can consume – crisis of overproduction – looks at international implications of domestic stratification n – capitalists invest overseas to absorb overproduction – result is imperialism – result is imperialist wars in which imperialists fight eachother for greater and greater territory * liberals: democracies are less likely to go to war than authoritarian states because the people, not the rulers have to pay the price of war and therefore will be more hesitant – leaders can go to war without much risk – further research found that democratic states have in fact created a separate piece that they almost never fight eachother: get along with eachother quite well – democratic states have been almost 1/8 as likely to even threaten to use war against eachother – no established democracy has fought a war against a democratic democracy in the 20 th century – more likely they are to have peaceful relations with other democracy (doesn’t mean democracies don’t have conflicts with eachother; actually have a lot of economic conflicts) they just chose to solve it not with force – democracies do fight, but they just don’t fight eachother – relationships between democracies is really what matter – argument is that they are quicker to go through conflict resolution and go through third party arbitration and adjudications – answer found in things inherent to democracies * propensity to go to war are increased if there is conflict within a state – maybe some leaders actually provoke external tension or are too aggressive about it * nationalism: is nationalism a catalyst to war? Sometimes. May be more likely to lead to war when it involves an intense commitment to the power and prosperity of a state – emphasis the moral and political strength of the s
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