1. In your opinion which of the two major school of thought in international relations (realism and liberalism) best explain the structure of world politics and why nation go to war?
According to Randall (2003) realism has been enshrined to all the states and intrinsically conceptualized to derive and advocate for what it is not. Notably, all states are primarily, driven and motivated by the desire for political power and internal security as opposed to the demand for ethics both locally and internationally. However, the debate of the true liberalism existence probability is far from over due to the heightening positioning and repositioning of the regional state's and international forces to enhance their existence and co-existence.
Therefore, states like Switzerland are fast being caught up and likely to join the wagon of the extended fraternity of the regional economic and political umbrella of the EU. This is a major ‘forceful’ surrender for many nations and states. Whereas most scholars associate death of realism to the collapse of the Soviet Union after the 'win' by US, it is clear that the concept only entered into another phase and was remade.
The revolution in the soviet and the conclusion of the cold war was not brought by democracy or interdependence but ended as the bipolar structure of politics by then (Peter & Juanita, 2007). Therefore, the transformation in the international politics could not alone break the norm which had been acquired for centuries, but added to the administrations a stronger emphasis but with possible blanketing to avert the connotations of the previous blood shed.
Consideration and demands for sovereignty is a major recipe for war. Sovereignty niches not only intoned major cause of war during the World War I & II, but presently continue to devour many states. German invasion to France in 17th century was purely out of the demand for expansion of its territorial power while the later conflicts were mainly based on resources control. Notably the nature of man upon whom structures are laid is greatly selfish and driven by desire for domination. Sovereignty gives states a basement for establishing counter forces which acts as the main recipe for war.
Doyle (1997) presses that inclination to realism is a derivative of self autonomy where states demand to control their own procedures and preferences that define their association and interaction with others. Liberal analysts have often indicated the backhand of large economies manipulation and control of other states under the ideals of ‘democracy and interdependence’ which they claim to be part.
Whereas they have vast nuclear mass destruction resources and other dangerous weapons which they mobilize at will, the large economies will never agree to let other states get such powers with ease. This is a direct negation of liberalism by countries like US, Britain and Japan.
Doyle (1997) continues to say that external dictatorship by the larger states is a model of internal hegemony as more starving is experienced from the continued sucking and oppression by the larger economies. The invasion of Iraq under the platform of democratization was not justified and has often pointed to other motives. To add top that, breaking up has also been indicated to be a sense of defiance from the outlaid agreements and is bound to enhance internal strive and conflicts which may later spread to regional desires.
Cocooning and shelling under the democratic ideals of which they are not part is explicated by government’s internal resistance and abuse of the same democratic ideals. The term liberalism and democracy have slowly lost meaning and wrongly used “interchangeably” with realism. Countries that are perceived to be democratic have internal conflicts and high rates of the civil unrest and discontent which leaves out the overall people choice (Michael, 1997).
Classical liberals consider national interest as the main subject for stability and later survival in the fast changing and unpredictable world. All countries globally have security details for internal and external consideration that is always ready to go to war. Since Historic times, liberal theory has prevailed internationally in that human generation is generally based on hate and distrust. Both developed and developing countries are struggling to enrich their army's might that can be able to counter any attack.
Analysts are projecting of a serious war depending on the current repositioning at the international arena. Some of the main questions put forward by Clifford & Clifford (2008) include why would international community use a lot of resources to establish weapons of mass destruction? What are the possible repercussions of the war in the Middle East on a long term basis? He however, denotes that it is the recurrence of the suppressed realist ideals that states will always act to protect themselves not just from the present danger, but even the future ones.
2. Discuss the merits and demerits of Stephen Walt’s 1985 theory of alliance formation and balance?
Stephen Walt proposed this theory in 1985 which indicated that states alliance behavior is determined by the immediate or long term threat that it is subjected to by other states. Analysts have indicated that it is a modification of the earlier popular balance of power theory in neorealist consideration. The theory continues to say that the weaker states usually tend to link with their threats to guarantee themselves security. This was particularly noted during the World War I & II. The theory however has emergent merits and demerits that denote the overall ability of states to survive and later coexist.
Whereas bad wagoning has numerous historical examples especially after the cold war in Europe, the alliances formation have been credited for their ability to reduce the desire to for war. Notably many countries have been able to evade attacks and therefore prevent war from occurrence by cooperating with other economies. To address the fast rising threats from the Germans and Japanese, cooperation between US, Britain and Russia was formed to ensure that the common enemy was defeated (Miriam, 2003). To add to that, it was through alliances with the weaker states that the Soviet Union was totally weakened and finally defeated.
Therefore, it becomes much easier to defeat the common enemy and enhance the overall security. Clifford & Clifford (2008) notes that this cooperation has the ability to bring even the old enemies together and therefore reduce the previous hatred. Alliance between US and Russia in the Fight against the Germans was previously considered to be least probable from the prior massive fight between the two. To add to that, Britain had been a long time colonizer of US where long time blood had to be shed for US independence.
This cooperation has great capacity to enhance international cooperation between states on a short and/ or long term basis. During the war against the Germans and Japanese, the alliance between the US and Britain was the main platform to their later stronger ties that has seen them remain as some of the largest economies globally. Through this cooperation, strengthening of economic ties was realized especially between US and Britain. However, analysts have stated that old scars have the ability to sideline rebellion and possible breakout after the common enemy is defeated.
To add to that, this theory indicates the ability to protect smaller economies which are in most of the cases innocent but suffer most from the conflicts. Arguably, young economies never contemplate of war, but their resources are the main targets by the larger economies as they would offer least resistance. This was the fate of smaller economies like Philippines and most of the British and German colonies in late 19th and 20th century.
However, these alliances have remained the main cause of international war and aggression. Doyle (1997) argues that alliances that are formed out war and considerations of external threats have their main agenda being preparation of counter strategies. Therefore, in a illiberal model, it becomes hard to separate power from the threat being perceived.
Alliances borne of this format during the World War II perpetuated their aggression with minimal ethical consideration for their prey. After Germany alliance with Italy and Japan, their main objective to pursue their immediate enemies was boosted. However, this was aimed at indicating their balance of superiority with the US and other perceived large economies by then. To add to that, it becomes easy to make suppress smaller economies under the common front.
According to the theory, states form alliances depending with the perceived aggressiveness which they posses in relation to their neighbors and geographical considerations. Therefore, it became eminent that all the states in a given region have higher possibility of coercion to join the group and strengthen its ideals for external aggression. Most of them who do not establish close ties with them are considered to be part of the enemies and risk attacks. Though economic cooperation have trade demands at the forefront, security demands makes even non interested members to be under intense pressure to join them.
Since the onset of the World War I, it was impossible to perpetuate development due to this bad wagoning and power balancing globally. Most of the empires focused towards the future threats that shifted to escalation of conflicts in the World War II. Some analysts have indicated that the current cooperation between states is an indication of the possible threats that face the world (Clifford & Clifford, 2008).
This has made countries like Afghanistan and most of the third world countries under threat to form alliances with US and Britain for protection against their enemies. Others like Israel have maintained the alliance with US for long and massive support from their hostile neighbors. Recently, US aided to quell aggression of Russia into Georgia.
1. “Democracies do not go to war against each other “do you agree with this statement? Support your answer with appropriate cases that affirm or refuse the hypothesis?
This statement is true in that the democratic ideals put forward immediate strategies and considerations that give alternative designs for solving conflicts. Though Emanuel Kant foresaw this connotation in late 18th century, it was the later philosophers who build on it to reflect on its developments in the 19th and 20th century where the ideals were more explicit.
Notably, later theorists like Rudolph Rummel and Dean Babst agreed with the earlier ideals of Kant that democratic states are those that upholds the will of the majority and periodically changes the system depending with the people's desire (John, 2008). Therefore, by intrinsic consideration of democratic harmony, there is direct desire to enhance the will of the people.
Since the end of the cold war and the World War I, most of the countries in Europe were pushing to join the European Community in order to further their people's interest in development. During the World War I, “blood thirsty” countries like Germany, Japan, Italy, and Russia had no direct considerations of a democratic system. Though later democratic researchers criticized the democratic peace theory claiming that the term democracy could be interpreted depending on the prevailing situation, it was agreed that democracy is directly correlated to peace internally and externally (Beck & Simon, 1998).
As indicated earlier, it is clear that democratic states are inclined towards people's choices and preferences in terms of culture, religion and economic consideration. As a lasting criticism, this statement has received an international criticism claiming that most of the states that went to war were far much ahead of the younger nations in the late eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century. Due to democratic stability, interdependence becomes inevitable between close neighbors and distant friendly countries.
Following the long established democracy in US, it was easy to establish link with most of the international countries that boosted its overall capacity to grow and assume the presently known status as a super power. As other economies realized the great importance of democracy from their blood tainted backs of World War II tatters which they considered as a minor shenanigan, US was the main example to follow and trade with from the sustained peace.
Since the establishment of Switzerland in the 13th century, the country adopted strong democratic ideals that prevented it from getting to war with the neighbors and even the enemies. In particular, the country was used as a buffer zone between the warring states from both sides. Notably, the League of Nations found a safe haven for locating its first office in Switzerland due to their extensive open democracy (Mark, 2007). To add to that, most of the later international organizations have established their main offices in the country for emphasis on security and guarantee of non war annotated interruptions. The country was not involved during the World War I & II.
As indicated by the former president of the United States Bill Clinton, it is only through democracy that countries are able not to focus on aggression but on the major demands for global peace. Recently, non democratic or semi democratic states have been at war even during late 20th century and the 21st century. In Sierra Leone, Liberia and Democratic Republic of Congo, their woes are internally derived out of non democracy and extended to their neighbors. Other countries like Thailand and Tamil Tigers have constantly fought due to denial of the people's rights.
Therefore, it is clear that majority of the internationally non democratic states have internal disharmony and patches of suppression (Richard, 2000). Due to lack of internal democracy in Somali land, the results of piracy as an international conflict are evident and externally projected.
However, it has been argued that at times the democratic theory has been abused and thus misused as a major factor to justify war against non democratic states. Analysts have occasionally reiterated that the war in Iraq was unnecessary as it could have been focused to elimination of President Saddam Hussein as opposed to the massive destruction and harm the civilians. In 1917, Woodrow Wilson asked the congress to declare war against imperial Germany after sinking American ship.
He said that “a steadfast concert for peace can never be maintained except by a partnership of democratic nations” (Davenport & David, 2004). He added that world must be made safe for democracy to prevail.
3. Using recent case of your choice as illustration, discuss the major flaws in Paul Collier’s thesis of predation as a cause civil war?
Paul Collier's thesis as a cause of war has often been criticized for its shallowness and one sidedness that fail to interlink holistic and dynamic nature of states and communities before and during the progress of war.
The thesis remains strongly enshrined on the idea that the rebels are intrinsically motivated by the attachable resources as opposed to the genuine grievances and holistic consideration of the resilient factors that go side by side with such demand (Collier & Hoeffler, 2000). Though, it has strong correlation with some of the cases that are highly inclined to greed as opposed to the genuine demands, it posses major flaws and has often been challenged by later sociologists.
With connotations of rebellion being frail and failing to step out and ensure the correct comparative derivation of the thesis, analysts have continued to point that Paul's consideration and great publicity was possibly out of his position in World Bank as opposed to its content. As opposed to other integrative perspectives like those of Robert Kaplan and Magnus Enmzensburger who proposed more holistic views and integrated analysis of war, rebellion, state, economic demands, external influence and the availability of resources, Paul Collier's thesis leans greatly to economic perspectives to support his proposition (Gail, 2005).
One major flaw is that the thesis emphasized on the vertical inequalities as a major determinant of civil war in the society. Analysts have differed with this view in that it is the horizontal inequalities and more so those between identities group that advance war as opposed to individuals. In Africa and particularly Republic of Congo, the persistent war is between groups that perceive either external take over or sabotage to their overall entitlement of the rich land.
Though it has been reported of possible sideline for various groups, the rebels fight against the peace keepers’ main mission is to avoid control by the opponent. Richard (2002) argues that state discrimination against a minority groups do not necessarily result to war. Most of the smaller groups often incline to get security and lately compensation as opposed to war. Indeed, most of the resources in African countries are described to be state owned and not community based.
As indicated earlier, this thesis does not give differentiation of rebellion since it employed a totally economic approach to it. Taking a non-economic deviation therefore, analysts argue that the thesis needed to enshrine for the potential question of insurgencies and regimes which further cuts onto the rebellion connotation. According to Kalyvas (2006), legal predators like governments that dictate the orientation of vertical resources ownership even when it is clear that they will end up in individuals coffer do not incite civil war. However, the presence and predation of a rebel group is much likely to plunger the society from peace to civil war with the cost being much higher.
During the 1994 Rwanda conflicts that resulted to one of the largest genocide globally, it was the rebel groups that considered control of the resources which culminated to the mayhem. In his defense for the thesis, Collier argues that the above argument is not scientifically sound by claiming that government's “predation” should not be quantified as it carried the legal imposition. However, this argument is one legged in that rebellion is the cause of and no particular formation of predation is worse than war (Charles, 2005). Therefore, criminality especially in rebels is borne of induction with the potential co-responsibilities of the immediate regimes, a notion well sidelined by the thesis.
Kalyvas (2006) argues that the thesis maintains a strong paucity of risk considerations, reasoning of conditions and the development of war at the onset by the rebel group. Notably, the connotations of predation to get the resources held by other groups or communities have been indicated to invoke strong consideration of the background capacity to attack, counter attack, and harness the resources.
This notion was overlooked by the emphasis of greed. Recent surveys shows that most of the rebels have direct and strong capacity to analyze and asses the overall objectivity that would make them go to war. In Sierra Leone, the fight to control the diamond rich regions took long to plan and execute as opposed to greed rushes indicated by the thesis. Therefore, the greed motivator was correct but wrongly argued for since it cannot solely bear any fruits due to counter defense and resources ownership ties resistance.
Mancini (2005) indicates that latter sociologists have added their weight against the thesis by pointing out that it failed to consider the interweaving of greed and the social demands especially where the resources guardians were likely to respond to the attacks. Notably, most of the communities in Africa have strong identities upon which they would not like to see suffer at under the hands of attackers.
As a result, the thesis fails to account for emotional de-motivators like the society norms and sense of justice that would enhance better chances of the community survival. Though considered debatable, the most important mover for resources quest was to enhance the community's ability to prosper. In Sierra Leone over 60% of the Civil Defense Forces (CDF) and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) soldiers said that improving the situation in Sierra Leone was very essential (Kalyvas, 2006). This was out of the later considerations of their background identity and possible harm superimposed on the need for development.
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