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International Politics POSC 120 Intro to Politics and Political Analysis Braunwarth War Sustained, organized violence between states Causes: Human (micro) factors: Human nature, psychology, misperceptions State or System (macro) factors: National goals, Imbalance of power Key Question:

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international politics

International Politics

POSC 120Intro to Politics and Political Analysis


  • Sustained, organized violence between states
  • Causes:

Human (micro) factors:

  • Human nature, psychology, misperceptions

State or System (macro) factors:

  • National goals, Imbalance of power
key question
Key Question:
  • What creative breakthroughs can help us achieve a more peaceful world order?
  • Ethical and Empirical Factors of Modern War:
  • The mortal threat of nuclear war
  • The consequences of conventional wars
  • The burden of arms expenditures
  • Dangers of the sovereign nation-state
  • The war on terrorism
the mortal threat of nuclear war
The Mortal Threat of Nuclear War
  • The threat of all-out nuclear war has subsided.
  • Yet the United States and the Russian Republic still deploy roughly thirteen thousand strategic nuclear weapons between them, and we are plagued by nuclear proliferation.
  • India and Pakistan
  • Iran
the consequences of conventional wars
The Consequences of Conventional Wars
  • Human Costs: 87.5 million killed in 20th c.
  • The Burden of Arms Expenditures
  • World military expenditures in excess of $1,035,000,000,000 per year.
  • Total cost of the war in Iraq
  • Channels financial resources away from basic human needs: jobs, food, clothing, housing, education, and medical care.
dangers of the sovereign nation state
Dangers of the Sovereign Nation-State
  • The nation-state system requires countries to protect their national interests by relying on their own arms.
  • Power is necessary to pursue one’s national interest
  • No supranational authority or global law to adjudicate conflict peacefully.
  • Essentially a system of anarchy
  • National rivalries and nationalism have played major roles in triggering war.
the war on terrorism
The War on Terrorism

Unprecedented characteristics:

  • It is not a war between states.
  • The transnational nature of the adversary makes the scope of the war less than clear.
  • Because the September 11 attacks were on American soil and a domestic catastrophe, waging the war involves a major new domestic security component.
potential sources of future conflict
Potential Sources of Future Conflict
  • Resentment over the “McWorld” capitalist culture (Barber)
  • or a “clash of civilizations” in which religion is a potent political force (Huntington)
  • or a competition for resources such as oil or water
  • or blowback from U.S. imperialism and militarism (Chalmers Johnson)
  • or a combination of them all
stoessinger s model
Stoessinger’s Model
  • No nation that began a war in the 20th century emerged a winner
  • Emphasis on the role of leaders
  • Biggest precipitating factor is misperception
  • Expectations of brief, decisive conflict
  • Distorted views of adversary’s character
  • Belief that you are about to be attacked increases likelihood of war
  • Misperception of adversary’s power
iraq as an example
Iraq as an example
  • Was it a quick, decisive conflict?
  • What was Bush’s view of Hussein?
  • Was there a belief that Iraq was going to attack the U.S.?
  • What was Bush’s perception of Hussein’s power?
alternative approaches to a more peaceful war
Alternative Approaches to a More Peaceful War
  • A new balance of power
  • The United Nations’ third-party activities
  • Collective security
  • Global economic integration
  • Nonviolent civilian defense
  • We’ll examine in turn
a new balance of power
A New Balance of Power
  • Will the U.S. remain the sole hegemon or will there be a new multi-polar order?
  • Perhaps the United States and other regional units such as the European Union, Japan and other Southeast Asian countries, China, etc.
the united nations third party activities
The United Nations’ Third-Party Activities
  • More effective use of good offices, conciliation, investigation, mediation, arbitration, observation, truce supervision, and most important, peacekeeping?
  • Is this likely? Is the U.S. likely to agree?
collective security
Collective Security
  • Strengthening the U.N. Collective Security provisions under Chapter VII of the charter, whereby states to respond to an aggressor with overwhelming force
  • (Wilson, Bush Sr.)
global economic integration
Global Economic Integration
  • By making states increasingly interdependent on each other, the costs of going to war also increase. Therefore the probability of war decreases.
  • Is this likely?
nonviolent civilian defense
Nonviolent Civilian Defense
  • According to Gene Sharp, nonviolence must be seriously considered as a means of gaining a more peaceful world.
  • Is it practical idea? Realistic?
  • If these alternatives to dealing with war are inadequate, unrealistic, or undesirable, can you think of others?
  • Or are we doomed to the seemingly never-ending cycle of violence that has plagued our history?