ž War (and especially interstate war) has traditionally been

3/08/17 1 In today’s lecture we shall consider the subject of war: 1. Why is it an issue of importance in security studies? 2. Why is it an issue of much broader importance? 3. How should we define and consider the character of war? ž War (and especially interstate war) has traditionally been the most central issue of the field of International Relations, and then of the sub-field of Security Studies; ž Academics have focused attention on war because: › It is devastating, and; › Its occurrence appears to be linked to human choices. ž The two features noted above make war a natural subject of academic investigation; ž It has thus been the most written-about subject in Security Studies, and it has received lots of research investment, e.g.: › The Correlates of War Project (since 1973): http://www.correlatesofwar.org/ › The Conflict and Peace Databank (1948-1978): http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ICPSR/ studies/7767 3/08/17 2 ž This academic interest is matched (and spurred on) by political prioritization of war; ž It is not unusual for those in government to, in appropriate circumstances, note that national security is the first responsibility of political leaders, and to identify war as the most serious – if not the most likely – security threat; ž Furthermore, this vision is linked to military spending. Countries continue to pour money into their militaries. ž See, for example, the positions and funding decisions advanced in Australia’s most recent Defence White Paper (2016) – http://www.defence.gov.au/WhitePaper/Docs/2016- Defence-White-Paper.pdf ž War is more than merely a security issue, though it is often difficult for us to appreciate this; ž We can begin to conceive this importance if we think of war’s relations to: › Politics; › History, and; › Society. ž The relationship between war and politics is complex, but intense; ž Charles Tilly’s (1975) famous quote: “war made the state and the state made war”; ž His point was that the character of the modern nation-state – the country – is a product of war. Countries evolved politically in amidst the threat and presence of war; ž Structures of authority, territoriality, and bureaucracy have all been shaped heavily by experiences of war. ž The history of world politics has been shaped by war; ž “History is written by the victors” but also institutions are constructed by the victors; ž We still live in a post-war world: › Post-imperial wars – e.g. Middle East politics; › Post-WWII – e.g. global institutions (UN, NATO, etc) and power distribution (US unipolarity). ž Both histories – tales of where and who we are – and institutions – the structures in which we make decisions – have been shaped heavily by wars. 3/08/17 3 ž Tarak Barkawi and Shane Brighton (2011) argue that: “While destructive, war is a generative force like no other…There is little in social life that is not touched by war, as its presence in the spheres of gender, economy, and technology indicates.” ž The key point made here is that war generates even as it destroys – it generates ideas, values, relations, and forms, many of which shape broad ideas about who we are and why we are here. ž One of the most famous descriptions of war is that it is “Politics, pursued by other means” (Clausewitz 1976). ž Clausewitz’s point is that war is a means of deciding things (and so is a form of politics) but it involves the threat and use of force instead of other political means; ž Clausewitz noted that war is shaped by policy – it is engaged in by countries for a purpose; ž But, he also argued that it is shaped by other forces: passion and chance. ž Clausewitz’s writings have long been debated, but the complexity of his ideas is clear: › War is shaped by conscious choices (of policymakers and military leaders). But, it is also shaped by; › Uncertainty and chance, and; › The passions of those engaged. ž What is important about this last point is that the extremity of war – its extremeness as a social practice – tends to push wars beyond cool points of policy. ž A key point made by Clausewitz is that warfare is intense, and that this intensity leads to excess; ž Another way of appreciating the reasons for this intensity is to realize that wars are highly competitive events, and those who lose often face very severe consequences; ž In other words, those engaged in wars have strong incentives to win – which can lead them to do extreme things while at war; ž In addition, given the potential for wars to occur in the future, states face an ongoing incentive to prepare to succeed in war, even while at peace. 3/08/17 4 ž This ongoing competition gives war an evolutionary character; ž What do I mean by this? War evolves, or changes, over time, and that change is evolutionary in the sense that: › New ideas emerge (about organisation, methods, or technology); › Ideas that are successful are copied and spread throughout the system; › Success promotes and shapes further competition – others respond to those ideas and successes. ž If war involves organized violence, what is the character of the organizations that engage in war? ž These organizations have changed over time – they have evolved; ž One of the stories throughout this unit is that of the rise of certain types of organization that proved to be effective in the context of war. South Sudan – 2014 Japanese – 1905 15 ž Another story we shall see in this unit is that of the evolution of the methods of warfare – that is, of the ideas regarding how wars are fought; ž In particular, we shall see the rise of ideas about “total war” – war fought with all of the means available to a group, and against all of the parts of an adversary; ž We shall also see the emergence of ideas that challenge this method of warfare. 3/08/17 5 ž War also changes as people develop new and “better” tools with which to fight; ž We shall encounter (but not dwell on) the changing technologies of war, observing the ongoing competition to see targets, to hit targets, and to destroy targets (or, conversely, to hide targets, to maneuver targets, and to harden targets). ž Crucially, these three stories are interrelated: › Different organizations are suited to different methods, and capable of greater or lesser investment in technological change; › Different methods hold implications for the nature of the organizations who use them (and who are affected by them); › Technological change produces social change (to organizations) and it makes some methods possible and others redundant. ž Thus, our history – beginning next week – has to seek to capture these interrelationships, and the complex effects they produce.

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