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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
  • 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.
  • 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