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Lecture 7: War and the Use of Violence
Terms in this set (33)
What is war?
Mass organized violence
What are some basic facts about war?
• Humans are capable of mass organized violence
• Disputes among states are common
• No global police to prevent war
• War is very costly (lives, money, infrastructure, environment)
• The use of force has changed
What are new forms of force?
unconventional battlefields, new technology, % of civilian deaths
What are the 8 uses of military power and violent force by states?
4. Humanitarian Intervention
7. Repression & Counter-insurgency
8. Peacekeeping, peace enforcement.
What is defense?
To resist an attack and/or reduce its consequences, by:
• persuading others that they cannot win (and therefore should not attack)
• Minimizing the damage if they do attack
• Making a pre-emptive attack in the face of an imminent attack (if you have good reason to believe that you're being attacked, then you can attack first)
What is offense?
To conquer another state's territory or change its regime.
If succesful: more wealth/power for the conqueror, spreading one's preferred ideas or form of government
What is deterrence?
To prevent another state from acting by threatening to harm its population or infrastructure.
If successful: no change in other's behaviour (successfully prevented the behaviour)
Targets: civilian and/or military
What does deterrence/compellence depend on?
1. Capability (can you actually act out the threat?)
2. Willingness (would you act out the threat?)
3. Beliefs (does the other belief you would act?)
What is compellence?
To cause another state to act in a particular way by threatening to harm its population or infrastructure.
If succesful: a change in other's behavior.
Targets: military and/or civilian
What is the difference between compellence and deterrence?
Compellence: state needs to act the way you want them to
Deterrence: state must be stopped from whatever they want to do
What is swagger?
To enhance the state's prestige by showing its technological capability
Target: domestic public opinion & leaders of other states
Result if successful: respect, status
What is Repression & Counter-insurgency?
To silence domestic opposition or stop an armed rebellion.
Target: rebels, protesters, opposition parties, media, NGOs
If successful: no resistance to the state
What are armies of states most used for?
Repression of your own population
What is peacekeeping, peace enforcement?
To enforce UN resolutions & International law.
If successful: cease-fire, avoidance of new conflict, compliance with UN resolutions and international law
What is humanitarian intervention?
To stop or prevent mass killing or other atrocities.
With, or without (UN) authorization
If successful: respect for human rights
What is terrorism, according to Kydd & Walter?
The use of violence against civilians by non-state actors to attain political goals
What is the essence of terrorism?
Communication. You want to spread information through your actions. You could contest the state of having the only legitimized monopoly on force.
What are the 5 strategies of terrorism?
1. Attrition: to wear out the opponents to make them do something you want them to do
2. Intimidation/deterrence: prevent the opponent from doing something
3. Provocation: trying to trick the opponent in overreacting; it will make the opponent less popular
What are two common explanations of war?
• Human nature: humans are naturally aggressive (greedy, sinful)
• Anarchy: there's no world government, so we have war
What are the 5 explanations of war between states?
1. Alliance entrapment
2. Regime type & ideology
4. Power transition
5. Bargaining failure
What is Alliance entrapment?
• States make alliances commitments to advance their interests, ensure their security. To maintain this credibility, states protect their allies, even when very costly.
Alliance commitments may drag states into an unwanted war (=entrapped)
What is Regime type & Ideology?
Particular types of state and ideology make war more likely.
Example of Lenin's theory of imperialist war: Capitalist states need new markets, new sources of labor and raw materials → competitive expansion → war.
What is a diversionary theory of war?
Politicians use war (real or threat of) to distract public from problems that they have caused, failed to fix or don't want to address. Hyper-nationalism & us-vs-them politics.
Domestic problems → leader fears public anger → leader invents foreign threat and/or provokes militarized dispute to divert public anger → war that nobody wanted.
What are examples of diversionary wars?
• Argentine invasion of Falklands/Malvina's islands
• Yugoslavia wars in 1990s
What is power transition?
Hegemony isn't forever: powerful states rise and fall.
Rising & declining states act (decide on war & peace) to maximize their power over time.
Expectations: the more severe a hegemon's decline will be without strong action, the more it will risk major war.
The more rising a state is suffering from status quo, the more likely it is to challenge the hegemon
What are power transition and paths to war?
1. Preventative war: declining state provokes war with challenger to stop its rise 'before its too late' (UK & Russia war on Germany, 1914)
2. Anti-hegemonic war: rising state is frustated by status quo, so provokes war with hegemon (Germany war on UK, 1914)
The more risk of major war in periods of power transition (hegemonic rise & decline)
What is bargaining failure?
Fearon, war is very costly so some bargain must exist that both sides would prefer (over war). So, if bargaining failed: war.
Why does bargaining fail according to Fearon?
1. Indivisible goods
2. Commitment problems
3. Incomplete information
4. First-strike advantage
What is indivisible goods?
• Bargaining model assumes that all issues can be divided into pieces and distributed, but some issues are not divisible: religion, regime type, control of government etc.
• Side payments can solve some indivisibility problems. War is rational for an actor if it values an indivisible good more than any possible side-payment
What is the commitment problem?
War is rational if other's promise cannot be trusted and avoiding war brings more risks.
• Commitment problems arise when states cannot credibly promise not to use force
• Promises are most credible when fulfilling them is in the self-interest of those who make the promise
• Commitment problems are likely when there's a strong self-interes in violating the promise, such as when:
- bargaining over issues that effect actor's future power
- it is advantageous to strike first
What are two examples of the credible commitment problem?
1. Ukraine crisis
2. Israel-Palestine conflict
What is incomplete information?
States are often uncertain about each other's willingness to fight, the costs of fighting, the probability of victory
"Maybe we could win this war..."
'Bluffing' as a bargaining tactic: governments often face strong incentives to hide or misrepresent information.
If Other appears threatening: are they bluffing or preparing to attack?
If Other doesn't appear threatening: are they hiding something?
States act in ways that would be "irrational" if they had complete information.
What is the first-strike advantage?
States will attack, rather than bargain, if continued bargaining makes them more vulnerable to attack.
Certain conditions create first-strike advantages:
- Technology: offensive weapons are dominant
- Geography: lack of 'defensive depth' or appeal of easy territorial gains
- Timing: other state is slow to prepare
First-strike advantage appeal of pre-emptive war
Example: 1941 Japanese attack on US, 1967 Israeli attack on Egypt & Syria
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