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War, Terrorism, and the Balance of Power. Ch. 14. The Problem in Sociological Perspective. Arms race Cold war Why is war common? An instinct to fight The sociological answer: societies channel aggression Sociologists and anthropologists do not look within people.

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The problem in sociological perspective
The Problem in Sociological Perspective

  • Arms race

  • Cold war

  • Why is war common?

    • An instinct to fight

  • The sociological answer: societies channel aggression

    • Sociologists and anthropologists do not look withinpeople.

    • Conflicts always arise among people living nearby.

    • What is significant are the norms that groups establish to deal with those conflicts.


  • War is not universal

    • Although hostilities, aggression, and even murder characterize all human groups, war does not

    • War is just one option, but not all societies offer this option


Why do some groups choose war
Why Do Some Groups Choose War?

  • War

    • An organized form of aggression that involves armed conflict between politically distinct groups and is often part of national policy

  • Three essential conditions of war

    • Cultural tradition for war

    • An antagonistic situation in which states confront incompatible objectives

    • Nations move from thinking about war to actually engaging in it.


  • Seven “sparks” that set off war

    • Get revenge

    • Dictate one’s will

    • Protect or enhance prestige

    • Unite rival groups

    • Protect or exalt the nation’s leaders

    • Satisfy the national aspirations of ethnic groups

    • Convert others to different religious and ideological beliefs


The scope of the problem
The Scope of the Problem

  • War in the history of the West

    • U.S. is one of the most aggressive nations in the world

  • Our growing capacity to kill

    • Recognize how industrialization has increased our capacity to kill

  • The slaughter continues

  • War is a common element in history


Symbolic interactionism
Symbolic Interactionism

  • Perceptions and the arms race

    • United States and Soviet Union spent enormous amounts of money developing weaponry.

    • Without valid data each had to guess what the other intended.

      • Guessing game led to an arms race

    • Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMS) buildup

  • U.S. officials perceived Soviet plans a certain way

    • Entire nuclear arms race based on symbolic interpretations of what each nation thought the other would do ―symbols are so powerful that they can take on a life of their own

  • Perceptions and the “first strike”

    • Like to think that we always act on facts alone

    • Really act on our perceptions of “facts,” or how we think things “are”

    • Scary to think that our lives—and those of the world—depend on correct interpretation of one another’s signals


Functionalism
Functionalism

  • The functions of war

    • Extension of territory

    • Social integration

    • Social change

      • War stimulates developments in surgical techniques

      • Long-distance surgery

    • Economic gain

    • Other functions

      • Ideological

      • Vengeance or punishment

      • Military security

      • Increase credibility


  • Multiple functions

    • No war serves a single function

    • Functions can change

  • Functions for the victors

  • Functions for the losers

    • War is highly dysfunctional for losers

    • Losers can also benefit from war

      • Japan

  • Functions for individuals

    • Soldiers and leaders

  • Dysfunctions of war

    • Defeat is war’s most well-known dysfunction

    • Destruction of cities

    • Death of troops and citizens

    • Fatherless or motherless children

    • Decline in education

    • Bitterness that can span generations

    • Victor can grow dependent on the exploitation of subjugated peoples


Conflict theory
Conflict Theory

  • Three reasons that nations go to war

    • Resources

      • Conflict theorists claim that central force in human history is struggle for control over society’s resources

      • Bourgeoisie

        • Uses resources to keep itself in power and exploit less powerful

      • Proletariat

        • The poor, the workers

    • Expansion of markets

    • A military machine


The military machine today
The Military Machine Today

  • Conflict theorists stress today’s military machine has increased the threat of war.

  • The military machine, the power elite, and the globalization of capitalism

    • Military has become a permanent institution.

    • Power elite—top leaders of the military, business, and politics

    • Today’s business leaders support a powerful military.

      • World of global capitalism

  • Protect worldwide investments


  • National Security or Homeland Security

    • Protection of the nation

      • Major goals of homeland security

    • U.S. Military machine is used to advance capitalism around the globe

    • “War is no longer an interruption of peace; in our time, peace itself has become an uneasy interlude between wars.”


Research findings
Research Findings

  • What reduces war?

    • Type of religion does not reduce warfare

    • Type of government does not reduce warfare

    • Prosperity does not reduce warfare

    • Shared religion does not reduce warfare between nations

    • Common language does not reduce warfare

    • Education does not reduce warfare

    • Being “neighbors” does not reduce warfare

    • Nobel Peace Prize is typically awarded to a citizen living in a war-torn nation


The costs of war
The Costs of War

  • Takes huge toll on humanity

  • Material costs: money

  • Lost alternative purchases

    • For price of one aircraft carrier, could build 12,000 high schools

    • For price of one naval weapons plant, could build twenty-six 160-bed hospitals

    • For price of one jet bomber, could provide school lunches for 1 million children a year

    • For price of one new prototype bomber, could pay the annual salaries of 250,000 teachers

    • What choice is there?


  • Human costs: dehumanization

    • Characteristics of dehumanization

      • Increased emotional distance from others

      • An emphasis on following procedures

      • Diminished personal responsibility

    • Consciences become so numbed that people can dissociate killing—even torture—from their “normal self”

  • Dehumanization in prolonged conflicts

    • Long wars come to be viewed as a struggle between good and evil

    • War exalts treachery, brutality, and killing

    • Dehumanization by the Nazis and Japanese

    • Dehumanization by the U.S. Military

      • Collateral damage: refers to the unintentional murder of civilians during combat operations

    • When dehumanization fails

      • If a soldier was unable to disassociate his military behavior from his personal identity, he would live a guilt-ridden existence.


  • Human costs: deaths

    • War’s greatest cost: lives lost

    • Total war

      • Instituted by Napoleon

      • “No-holds-barred” warfare

  • Human costs: combat fatigue and PTSD

    • Combat stress reaction or shell shock

      • Term used to describe the emotional and physical reaction a soldier faces immediately after combat

    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

      • Describes the long-term emotional distress a soldier experiences after combat


The military industrial complex
The Military-Industrial Complex

  • The military as an economic force

    • Those that specialize in armaments have become a powerful force in the U.S. Economy.

    • The military–industrial complex

      • Military and defense industries have become a threat to Congress.

      • Pentagon capitalism: interlocking relationship between Pentagon armaments and U.S. businesses


  • The growing capacity to inflict death

    • Profit and employment make it easy to forget that military industries represent loss of human life.

    • The explosive energy of nuclear weapons is measured in megatons.

      • One megatonequals 1 million tons of TNT

  • A glimmer of hope

    • Disarmament

      • Act of reducing arms/weapons

  • A growing danger

    • Availability of nuclear weapons in the hands of a single individual or a small group

    • Nuclear proliferation increases likelihood of nuclear weapons use


The possibility of accidental war
The Possibility of Accidental War

  • Computer failure

    • Threat of nuclear attack comes not only from dictators and terrorists

    • Possibility missiles will be unleashed accidentally

  • Human error

    • Obliteration of humanity

    • October 28, 1962

  • Nuclear accidents

    • Unintended detonation of a nuclear weapon could signal the end of human civilization.

  • Nuclear sabotage

    • U.S. Government has assured us and the world that a missile cannot be launched without proper authorization.

  • The significance of symbolic interaction

    • To gain an understanding of an event’s meaning, all symbols must be interpreted.


Biological and chemical warfare
Biological and Chemical Warfare

  • Irony of warfare is that killing with bullets or bombs is considered normal, while killing with gas is deemed abnormal.

  • Use of biological and chemical agents

    • Agent orange

  • The production of these agents

    • Binary chemical weapons

      • Shells or bombs in which two benign chemicals are kept in separate chambers

      • When weapon detonated, the chemicals mix, releasing a lethal agent


  • The treaty with a huge flaw

    • United States, Russia, and other nations have signed a chemical weapons convention.

    • The flaw? Biological weapons are not covered by this treaty

  • Continued research and production

    • Although major nations have begun to scale back on development of biological weapons, the possibility that terrorists will get some of these weapons still remains.


Terrorism
Terrorism

  • 20 years ago, terrorism was only a theoretical topic.

  • Political terrorism

    • Involves the use of threats of war—intimidation, coercion, and violence—to achieve political objectives


  • Revolutionary terrorism

    • First type: enemies of the state use terrorism in an attempt to overthrow the government

  • Causes of revolutionary terrorism

    • Existence of a segregated, ethnic, cultural, or religious minority

    • Perceptions of being deprived or oppressed

    • Higher-than-average unemployment or inflation

    • External encouragement

    • A historical “them”

    • Frustrated elites who provide leadership and justify ideological violence


  • Goals of revolutionary terrorism

    • Publicize the group and its grievances

    • Demonstrate the government’s vulnerability

    • Force political and social change

    • Political theater

      • Terrorists often want to make public their “cause”

  • The Oklahoma City bombing

  • September 11

  • A sense of morality

    • Using neutralization techniques, terrorists appeal to a higher morality in justifying their actions.

    • Japanese subways―sarin


  • Repressive terrorism

    • Waged by a government against its own citizens

    • The Khmer Rouge

    • Russia

  • State-sponsored terrorism

    • A government finances, trains, and arms terrorists

  • Criminal terrorism

    • Criminals use terrorism to attain their objectives

    • Often affiliated with political terrorism

    • Narcoterrorism

      • Criminal terrorism that revolves around drugs


  • Nuclear and biological terrorism

    • Nuclear terrorism

      • 212 tons of plutonium currently missing from U.S. nuclear facilities

      • Safeguards remain inadequate

      • Because damage from nuclear attack would be unimaginably destructive, nuclear terrorists could hold major governments, including the U.S., captive

    • Biological terrorism

      • Greater threat

      • Components for anthrax, smallpox, and plague cheaper to obtain than nuclear weapons


Social policy
Social Policy

  • Political terrorism

    • The overarching principle in social policy:

      • “Don’t give in to their demands, for this encourages further terrorism.”

      • Giving in to terrorists’ demands only escalates terrorism


  • Ten basic policies

    • Promise anything during negotiations

    • Make no distinction between terrorists and their state sponsors

    • Use economic and political sanctions

    • Treat terrorists as war criminals

    • Discourage media coverage

    • Establish international extradition and prosecution agreements

    • Develop an international organization to combat terrorism

    • Offer large rewards

    • Cut the funding of terrorist organizations

    • Infiltrate terrorist organizations

  • Application of social policies

    • Consistently viewing others as potential terrorists is controversial

    • Targeted killings

      • Responsible or suspected terrorists placed on “hit list” and marked for assassination


Nuclear warfare and the elusive path to peace
Nuclear Warfare and the Elusive Path to Peace

  • Mutual deterrence

    • Using threats and the fear of mutual destruction to prevent the other from striking first

    • Mutual assured destruction (MAD)

      • Resulting balance of power

      • A strange path to peace: a MAD one


  • The Balance of power

    • G-8: Association of the world’s eight most powerful nations

    • Sometimes called the New World Order

    • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)

  • Three potential policies

    • Disarmament

      • Bilateral disarmament

      • Unilateral disarmament

    • Developing interlocking networks of mutual interest

      • Global economy

    • International law

      • International criminal court


  • Survival as a mutual benefit

    • Desire for self-preservation that will prevent the nuclear annihilation of humanity

  • Best social policies would remove weapons of mass destruction.

  • Foresee no such policy eliminating these weapons, whether nuclear, biological, or chemical


The future of the problem
The Future of the Problem

  • Arms sales and war

  • Political terrorism

    • Revolutionary terrorism

    • Repressive terrorism

    • State-sponsored terrorism

      • Russia


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