World Politics: Chapter 4

4 Pages

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 244
Jason Scott Ferrell

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WP Chapter 4 National Versus Particularistic interests: The country shares general interests like security and economic well being but sometimes there are particular interests among leaders that can shape reasons for war such as oil or religion (wars between Pakistan and India/Catholic and Protestant Countries). Americans have a general interest in maintaining stability in the middle east so oil prices stay low and as a result there economy can remain strong. U.S foreign policy in the middle east is also driven by large oil companies, they use their influence over policy makers. Therefore we can see hoe U.S foreign policy in the middle east is also banking on narrow corporate interests. Sometimes the benefits of war are enjoyed by a different set of actors from those who pay the costs. Interactions, Institutions and Influence: In a state there is almost an endless amount of differing interests groups. The group with the most importance is usually dependent on that states domestic institution. In some states a very small number of people make all the decisions, perhaps even a single person who does not have to consider the interests of everyone except for themselves. In other countries like the USA, decision makers have to be very sensitive in order to receive continued support from various groups. The institution itself forces the decision maker to take certain interests into account. Institutions are organized into: A) The Actor or decision maker (make threats or decide to wage war) B) Bureaucracy: The collection of organizations including the military (decisions on the use of coercion or force), the diplomatic corps and the intelligence of agencies that carry out most tasks of governance within the state Interest Groups: Groups of individuals within common interests that organize to influence policy in a matter that benefits their members. (Corporations, lobbying groups) C) Members of the public: If there are elections they are important if not they can be repressed by military force in a dictatorship or authoritarian regime. Sometimes states fight war (Argentina seizing the Falkland) in order to increase their likeability and support among the people. The unpopular Argentinean government knew of the Argentinean resentment for the British who held those islands. The leaders of states are not only looking to satisfy the demands of the population, some have interests of their own which may tie into strong alliance with their ideological beliefs. Leaders are also politicians who benefit from holding office and wait very much to stay in office to benefit their fiends or shape policy interests in their desire. Leaders must be responsive to those who control their political fate whether they be voters or interest groups. Margaret Thatcher wanted to seize the Falklands back from the Argentineans in order to increase her support, which was at 29% before her reelection campaign in 1982. The idea that leaders can further their own political interests by fighting a war flows from the rally-round-the-flag effect or rally effect for short, the rally effect refers to the tendency for people to become more supportive of their country’s government in response to dramatic international events such as the crises of war. International conflict can cause an upwelling of patriotism (America after the 9/11 attacks), and political opponents at a time of crises may stop bashing the other candidate fr a while, it creates diversions from other domestic political problems and helps the government have more of a monopoly on decision making. Diversionary Incentive: The incentive that state leaders have to start international crises in order to rally public support at home. It may alter the calculation in the increasingly expensive costs of war and the often opinion that war is not worth fighting if other methods are available for solving disputes. At the end of the day it is all a gamble. Studies have recently shown that there is often a negative correlation between diversionary incentive and the given leaders political security. Let us also be reminded that wars arise because of interactions between two actors and is not the choice of a single actor. The condition only becomes more likely if the leaders of both states gain political benefits from the war as was in the case with the Falklands war. Political Costs of War: Sometimes the result doesn’t work well for everybody like the Tsar who lost the war he waged on the Japanese in 1904 or the Argentinean military Junta who many members were stripped of their posts after the British took back the Falklands. Also when battle deaths start to rise support for the leader starts to decrease immediately. The war in Iraq brought down Bush and the war in Vietnam brought down Johnson. Imperialism: According to British economist J.A Hobson, Imperialism especially prevalent in the late 1800ís did not benefit society as a whole but it did a small number of interest groups and especially financially. These groups were rich people who usually had investments overseas. Another large group was the military; basically governments were pursuing interests that would bring society down to benefit a few people Military Industrial Complex: An alliance between military leaders and the industries that benefit from international conflicts such as arms manufacturers. They cause bargaining failures among state leaders Bureaucracy Politics and the Military: Wars are often planned by bureaucracies and implemented by the states military. War interests are also shaped by bureaucracies, who care about obtaining resources; seek bigger budgets (which they get in times of war) and opportunities for personal promotion as
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