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SOC102H1 (285)

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University of Toronto St. George
Lorne Tepperman

Chapter 10 : war and Terrorism - This chapter is about war and terrorism, conflict and combat, soldiers and civilians. At no point in recorded history has there been a complete absence of conflict between human groups. It seems as though when societies form, wars inevitably occur. Thus, warfare and violent conflict appear to be a human universal, at least to some degree. Canada is an especially un-warlike nation. Compared with the US military, the Canadian Forces are few, little funded, and equipped with old aircraft, ships, vehicles, and weapons most Canadians seem to lack the desire for war, it follows that the above assumption—the claim that the wish to wage war is a human universal—is fundamentally unreasonable. Canadians go to war only when they are pushed into it, usually by loyalty to a close ally like Britain, as occurred during both world wars The role of the state- In Canada, the military has rarely played an important role in state decision-making. A society like Canada’s, in which power is shared among competing political, bureaucratic, and economic elites, is likely to have difficulty mobilizing the will and the assets to wage war.We can see, then, that decentralized leadership is likely to be less warlike than centralized or, especially, dictatorial leadership. This political organization helps to explain why Canada engages in war less often than, say, the US, with its highly developed military -Ideology A systemof beliefs that explains how society is, or should be; any system of ideas underlying and informing political action. In a Marxist sense, ideological ideas justify and legitimate subordination of one group to another. - Canada has been distinctive: there is no state religion and no official dedication to preserving religion or religiosity. Canada’s formal commitment to multiculturalism makes a strong, unified religious or ideological belief almost impossible, although some observers today see the federal Conservative government as leaning dangerously towards a narrow Christian ideology World system theory A conception of the modern social world that views it as comprising one interlinked entity with an international division of labour unregulated by any one political structure. Developed by Immanuel Wallerstein this theory seeks to explain the uneven pace of development in the world by looking at the unequal relations between different countries. Imperialism The exercise of political and economic control by one state over the territory of another, often by military means. Developing countries are often the focus of imperialistic and exploitive activities that stifle their own development and concentrate their resources and labour forthe profits of advanced capitalist countries. - In this world system, industrial core states like the US and the UK—and, increasingly, China and India—take much of the raw materials and cheap labour they need from less developed peripheral states. Because they are financially and politically dominant, core states have the power to extract an economic surplus from the periphery. Investors from the core states effectively control the economies of peripheral states. As a result, profits made in the periphery drain out of the local economy and flow back to the core. Core states frequently are accused of engaging in imperialism, the exercise of political and economic control by one state over the territory of another Globoalization: Economic globalization as it exists today is a form of world social organization with six defining features. To understand the current state of global politics and war, we must recognize the following characteristics: 1. There is global economic interdependence. This means that most societies trade goods and services with one another. All people are buyers and sellers in a single world market. 2. A driving force for change is scientific and technological innovation. New methods for producing goods and services are continuously being developed. 3. The key actors in a global economy are ‘built’ or corporate entities, especially multinational corporations (like General Motors, ibm, Toyota, and Exxon). Individuals, small local firms, and even nationwide businesses lose in the competition for international markets. 4. Cultures and polities are polycentric—that is, they are found in and influenced by activities in many nations. More cultures today are dispersed, with centres of activity throughout the world. 5. A changing ‘world culture’ homogenizes human ambitions, narrowing the variety of aspirations and lifestyles. More people everywhere act like Americans; meanwhile, Europeans think and act more like the French, English, and Germans—the dominant actors in the European Union. Homogenization results from large numbers of people of different cultures being influenced by the world’s most dominant cultures. 6. Most relevant to this discussion, economic globalization forces nation-states to change. With less influence over the culture and economy, governments have less influence over the people they rule. With these changes come political stresses and upheavals and the formation of new social movements and ideologies. War is an institution of collective violence—organized group violence used to promote an agenda or to resist another violent group. Unlike interpersonal violence, which is episodic, unorganized, and impulsive, modern warfare relies on impersonal killing and advanced technology. Definition of terroroism characterizes terrorism as any act by an individual or by a group that is intended to undermine the lawful authority of a government or state. The roots of terrorism can be found in the religious, ethnic nationalist, political, economic, and social differences that prevent people from living together in peace. There is no evidence to suggest a single motive behind the use of terrorism, but the most accepted theory is that participants feel that, all things considered, violence is the best course of action. A rational cost-benefit analysis—not reckless impulse—leads them to this conclusion, often because of various frustrating or limiting social, political, and economic conditions. - Many of the suicide bombers in the Middle East have come from both oppressed and impoverished circumstances, and one factor in accepting suicide is the promise of large cash ‘compensations’ to their families by states, wealthy sympathizers, and various organizations - State-sponsored terrorism is the state-sanctioned use of terrorist groups to achieve foreign policy objectives. In the eyes of the current US government, there are four countries on the ‘terrorism list’: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria - Revolutions are important events for individual countries and for the politics of the world as a whole. Although they are events of immense political and moral contradiction and occasions for celebrating the heroic and the idealistic, revolutions rarely achieve their original goals. Whatever their goals and ideals, revolutions usually substitute one form of restrictive power for another. They rarely replace despotism with a secure democracy, and often they replace one form of despotism with another. Nevertheless, revolutions—even if they do not achieve their intended goals—affect other countries and the world as a whol
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