"These eight hypotheses represent the universe of major hypothese on arms and war.
If you can think of more, you've found something news." - Tutor, MIT.
1. First Move Advantage
The greater the advantage of the side mobilizing a strike first, the greater risk of war - Schelling: Arms and Influence. When that is the case,
your opponent might move first in order to deny you FMA. How does a military behave when it perceives a first move advantage?
It does one of three things:
Strikes first in order to acquire the perceived gains, aka "opportunistic war". and most military analysts do not get beyond that perception.
Fears that the other side fears them so much that it strikes first; aka "The reciprocal fear of surprise attack" - Schelling. Reciprocal
fear is the most common form of FMA and it usually takes the motive of "pre-emptive strike", but it is the least realistic i.e. the fears
are rarely well-founded.
Lulls the enemy into a false sense of security by hiding its strengths e.g. China vs USA 1950, Egypt vs Israel 1973. It also happens
that states conceal their grievances and misperceptions, leaving a potential opponent unable to correct those misperceptions e.g.
Britain and France regarding U.S. intentions in 1956, Prussia regarding ot her powers 1740, Japan regarding U.S. will in 1941.
First move advantage is very rare in reality but it is perceived frequently. In an age of instant communication and relatively high-tech
signals i ntelligence it is hard to keep a military move secret, which makes peace more likely. But as the capability for moving munitions
around more swiftly increases, the likelihood of peace decreases.
... of opportunity and ...of vulnerability. The greater the fluctuations in the relative power between states, the greater the risk of war -
Schelling. Also, shifts in alignments among states can cause shifts in their relative power, and if a state is feeling vulnerable and sensing
that an invasion is inevitable, it might move first to gain first move advantage - USA 1950s. There is a dilemma regarding windows, and it goes
something like this: if a state is weak, there is no need to negotiate with it, besides, when it becomes strong it will break the agreement.
On the other hand, if a state is strong it might be perceived by other states to be negotiating only for fear of losing its strength.
Otto von Bismarck (1862-1890) said that preventive war is usuallly to "commit suicide from fear of death".
3. False Optimism
The main causes of false optimism are "self-glorifying nationalistic myths" and "narcissistic personality disorder", and there are three types
of false optimism:
Optimism about relative power e.g. Hitler vs USSR 1941, Arabs vs Israel 1967, Saddam Hussein 1990-1991.
Optimism about relative will e.g. Japan vs USA 1941, Confederacy 1861, USA vs Vietnam 1965, Saddam Hussein 1990 and 2003 "the Americans
have no stomach for casualties".
Optimism about relative access to allies e.g. Germany 1914 and 1939, North Korea 1950.
4. Cumulative Resources
"The more that control of one resource enables the control of another, the greater the risk of war" - Schelling. Resources can be converted
through industry, into military power. Side-effect is motivation to control "own backyard" e.g. U.S. support for military coups in Latin America.
5. Cheap War
"War is least common when its costs are greatest" - Schelling.
6. Easy Conquest
"The easier conquest becomes, the greater the risks of war" - Schelling. Leads to states trying to secure themselves while other, usually
stronger states, regard those efforts as potentially offensive. One state, feeling vulnerable, attempts to expand its borders, prompting
a response from another state. And because small gains on the side of the enemy can snowball, every gain must be fiercely opposed.
Small states make alliances with other small states and, from then on, become involved every time one member of the alliance is attacked.
War has always been more common when there is a perception of insecurity among states. When borders are not defensible the vulnerable state goes
on the offensive. The new aggressive U.S. stance around the world is not because the U.S. feels vulnerable to being conquered, it is due to fear
that even a small part of the U.S. could be physically destroyed. Much U.S. war in the future will stem from its attempt to keep weapons of
mass destruction out of the hands of "crazed non-state actors".
7. Arms Racing
States infer malign intentions of military build-ups, and so begin counter-building. "If they are buying arms, then it must be because they
intend to use them - ON US! Therefore arms racing is closely connected with false optimism arising from national jingoism and experiencing
one's state as a "significant player" on "the world stage" and so on.
"If states can already g et along well enough to discuss disarmament, then what's the point of disarmament?" - Schelling.
Sometimes misperceptions prevent war. That is, sometimes a state is more insecure than it realizes, which means it does not go to war when it
otherwise would have, if it knew the truth. However, more often than not, states go to war because they either exaggerate the hostility
of others or they underestimate their own hostility.
Book: Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations - Jervis 1968, 1976.
Attribution Error: States tend to attribute their own aggression to the situation while attributing the aggression of other states
to their "innate disposition". So, while their own nasty conduct can be excused, the nasty conduct of others, they regard as unprovoked
Relational Disposition: States tend to attribute the good behavior of others as resulting from their own successful efforts to keep
others in check. At the same time, they attribute the bad behavior of others to the typical hostile disposition of others. With the result
that States exaggerate the role of others in causing war while underestimating the role of their own hostility.
Belief Perseverance: States are slow to absorb new information that clashes with the existing beliefs and perceptions of their elites.
Character of Information: States tend to exaggerate the effectiveness of information coming from here, there or wherever, leaving
one another unaware of their own and others' misperceptions.
Wood from the Trees: States infer too much from isolated and unique events while misapplying domestic understanding of situations to
Perceptions of Effectiveness: States tend to exaggerate the centralized, disciplined and coordinated character of others' behavior -
like everything bad that happens is deliberate and with some specific intent or other.
Humans, in general, tend to organize themselves into cohesive and mutually hostile groups. They exaggerate similarities they share with the
In-group while exaggerating differences with disfavoured groups. These tendencies are most marked in rleation to national identity, religious
identity and loyalties to colleges, sports and so on.
Militaries are often the source of misperception, not only among the general public, but also among the elite of states.
"Militaries live by war so they cause war" - Schumpeter, Cobden, Tocqueville. Militaries infuse civilian society making it primed for war, but they
do it not to protect the society but to serve their own organizational interests. Examples: Germany before 1914 and Japan 1930s and 1940s - Snyder:
Myths of Empire. Also, Pakistan and North Korea today, and perhaps China someday. Not to metion the levels of alert to "terrorist threats" in the
U.S. organizations, all of them, want size, wealth, conservation of essence, autonomy and minimal uncertainty.
So why does the military become involved in manipulating the perceptions of the population? First, Militaries demand a lot from society - funding,
draftee's time, and so they must justify these demands. Second, peace groups, religious organizations and other domestic opponents of war continually
raise qualms about war, which the military must counter. Military Officers have just one employer - the military establishment, and so they are
deeply committed to the welfare of the establishment. Some reasons why the military is relatively effective in persuading the public about one
thing or another is that they possess a monopoly of sorts on information and prestige. Interestingly, the U.S. military has been remarkably more
"dovish" than its civilian policymakers.
Businesses, universities, sports teams, and of course, states infuse their members with self-glorifying, self-whitewashing myths.
Three kinds of myths:
Self-glorifying myths: especially about the past; "we are brilliant, ingenious, chosen by god. Without us the world would not have come this far".
So, while the Soviet government claimed that the Soviets i nvented the lightbulb, the airplane, and the railroad, the Hindus claim that
civilization started with the Hindus.
Self-whitewashing myths: "It's not our fault, it was never our fault" - e.g. Germany in 1920s - "we didn't start world war one, Britain did!";
Soviet Union 1960s - "we aren't responsible for the Cuban Missile Crisis - it is a "Caribbean Crisis"; Croatian denial of Croat mass murders during
world war two; Arab and Israeli mutual myths of total innocence; America's efforts to do good around the world - bring democracy and so on.
Maligning myths: "our neighbours are culturally inferior, aggressive and dangerous". Arab-Israeli. Religious-opposing religious. There are
three critieria that elite must meet for the population to believe that war is justified; the first is that they have largely historical grievances;
second, that large claims and reparations are due; and third, that the other side views them with contempt.
When taken to an extreme, the myths can produce a victim-complex in the population that will excuse a release from the duty to obey normal ethics,
and when that happens the greatest crimes are committed in the name of self-defense e.g. Germany 1939-1945, Serbs in 1990s, U.S. in Vietnam, China today.
The main reason why myths are so common is that they bolster the power of a section of elites to seize and maintain power. The reason why they are
so effective is that we are hardwired for in-group | out-group thinking.
Scholarship on the subject of religion and war is thin, mainly because scholars prefer to avoid the thorny question of "whose religion is the most
violent?". It ha become more of a no-go area for scholars since 9/11. While religious difference was a common cause of war before the 20th Century, it faded.
Now it's back! We understand the relationship between religion and war only vaguely. So, while we do not doubt that religion plays a role in
war-making, we are not sure what exactly or how exactly it does it. Here are some theories:
Scriptural inerrancy - holy tex ts are the literal word of god and to compromise them would be to compromise god - a no-no. Besides, it is hard
to gloss over the literal word of god with more humanistic meaning, and that difficulty does not diminish with time. E.g. parts of the Koran; the
Religions that are born out of conflict often include direct xenophobic attacks on particular others and specifically call for violence against
those others. It is rare for religions born out of conflict to have a counter-pacifistic response, such as Mennonite Christianity.
Belief in the end of time - "the end of the world is coming and salvation is near, let's hurry it along...!"
Belief in the afterlife.
Divide and conquer - religious elites that are vulnerable to losing their positions often seek to legitimize themselves by demonizing others.
Cold, Hard Cash! Especially with highly institutionalized religions.
Lack of centralist religious authority, often due to accusations of corruption - both real and imagined, leaves a religion vulnerable to
extreme, no-nonsense interpretation by opportunists residing on the margins.
Excessive religious tolerance in the wider society where no religion can be challenged "unfairly" e.g. blasphemy laws in Ireland.
Lack of democracy in a society means that there is less chance to speak of and hear many sides of an argument e.g. the flourishing Wahhabism
in Saudi Arabia might not have flourished so much in an atmosphere of social democracy.
Evangelising - causes conflict among the new devotees and their original religious communities, which perceive evangelism as a form of
aggression e.g. U.S. evangelism in Africa.
Victim Narratives - Islamist thinking since 1900 has a strong victim narrative, and such thinking is growing among U.S. Christian and Jewish
conservative religious believers who claim that they are being oppressed by an anti-religious secular American society - despite the flourishing
of religion in the U.S.
Threatened religions become aggressive - Ph.D. thesis by Dr. Heather Gregg (MIT).
Status reversal - a religion that once dominated but then fell to inferiority becomes aggressive. Loss of status is always a powerful general
spur towards violence.
Exclusivity - religious faith, such as the Christian religion, who see their path as the only path to god are more aggressive towards others
who they view with contempt. Both Hindu and Buddhism are less exclusivist - Hinduism because it is polytheist, Buddhism because its followers do not
worship god, Judaism because it accepts that non-Jews can be righteous if they follow the seven Noahide laws, which forbid murder, theft,
blasphemy and other misdeeds. Mainstream Islam is less exclusivist because it accepts that Jews and Christians that behave righteously "shall be
rewarded by their Lord; they have nothing to fear or to regret". Exclusivity among religous believers makes them more likely to act aggressively
because they assume they are acting with god's moral authority, to fulfill god's will.
How to address religious hatred. Some proposals:
Start a "religious hate watch" - an NGO that would name and shame those who use religious authority - god's authority to sow hatred and stir
Create a truth and reconcilliation commission - that would record wrongs committed by the religion in the past, offer an expression of contrition,
and create institutions, religious rituals, that sustain the memory of wrong done by the flock.
Abolish religion - popularized by "new atheists" such as Dawkins.
Evaluation of state elites is often scarce and inferior because the elites "wish to stifle criticism, leading societies to punish those who evaluate
dominant policies and ideas." - Janis, Wildavsky. Dissenters make policy formulation and implementation difficult so they are purged - in advance,
and that injures policy formation. But what motivates press and scholarly non-evaluation? Well, first of all, the press regards it as its role to report,
not to evaluate. The press also fears alienating official sources on which it depends for information and it want to please its audience, so it
tells them what they want to hear, even if it ain't quite true. Scholars fear the wrath of those they are evaluating, and they too believe that
their role is not to evaluate. They often think that they do not "owe" the society evaluation, and so they limit their questioning of elites to
irrelevant questions that help their careers. What happens when a society does not evaluate the "follymakers"? Well, fist, the policies/follies
are not evaluated until way after their implementation; and second, rather than evaluate the policy in hindsight, the gatekeepers of a democracy,
for example - reporters and scholars prefer to encourage the nation to fawn over the very individuals who led them to ruin e.g. Napoleon in France,
General Eric von Ludendorff in Germany, the German Schlieffen plan of 1914 not evaluated until 1956.
Solutions to non-self evaluation:
Pass whistle-blower protection laws.
Give tenure to policy evaluators and whistle-blowers, but while that has already been done, many university scholars waste it, at best, or
misuse it to further their own careers.
"states tend to leave grand strategy and basic foreign policy vague or fail to frame it at all". The results:
Less learning meaning less capacity to adjust e.g. U.S. policy in Asia following the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s.
Less storage of knowledge e.g. by 1965 the U.S. forgot what it had learned about Vietnam in 1954.
Explaining is more difficult e.g. Britain failed to explain its policy to Germany before 1939, hence Hitler miscalculated.
"Control cults" often cause misperception. Control cults are groups that worship a person or entity of some sort; and that separates their followers
from the outside world while inculcating them with propaganda - usually of a paranoid or chauvinistic nature. Control cult leaders are often
coercive, even terroristic, toward their members in enforcing isolation, stifling dissent and free thought. The Republican Party in the U.S., according
to Noam Chomsky, is fast resembling a control cult - expressing a strong sense of victimization by the media and "liberals", while regarding itself
as superior and saving the world from evil - other people. Also included are hits that the cult leaders are in touch with the divine e.g. both
George Bush II and Tony Blair made such claims openly, just before the second invasion of Iraq,
When are threats of punishment "sticks" the best way to gain another state's compliance, and when are rewards and appeasement, "carrots"
more useful? Sticks can provoke a hostile response while carrots can lead the target to sense weakness.
The "Spiral Model"
Typically, states adopt war-causing policies in the false expectation that these policies will elicit compliance. But angered or frightened by
the punishment, the target state becomes more aggressive - adopting wider aims. Then the punishing state responds with more punishment, assuming
that the first punishment was too mild, and the target state grow even more belligerent.
But what to do?
Typically, appeasement works better than the threat of punishment. In other words, carrots are safer than sticks when the punishing state realizes
their own role in the spiral towards war; and so it is better to try appeasement and conciliation.
The "Deterrence Model"
The deterrence model arises when one state recognizes that its efforts at appeasement are not working i.e. the target state is taking advantage.
Book: Robert Jervis - "Perception and Misperception in International Politics".
What to do?
When a state realizes that appeasement, carrots, are not working then it is better to change tactic to punishment, sticks, and unyielding politics.
Causes of Spirals
There are two main explanations:
Psychological: states underestimate their own role in causing the other's hostility either because they engage in wishful thinking about
themselves or they believe that it is the other side's fault, or that the o ther side knows it is their own fault. Of course, none of that
matters so much in relation to preventing war. Only a clear policy of carrots or sticks will help the situation.
Nationalism: States paint rose-coloured self-image in their schoolbooks and public discourse, largely to build patriotism and a spirit of
civic self-sacrifice in the population. As a result they are unaware that they injured other societies in the past; hence they are unaware that
others might have legitimate grievances against them.
When to use which model
Does the target state know that it is being aggressive?
Some states do not even realize it until they have finished committing the aggression, and in that case, appeasement may be safer. On the other
hand, if the target state knows it is being aggressive then sticks are a better policy.
Are the other state's claims legitimate or illegitimate?
If their claims are legitimate then appeasement may be safer. But, having looked at the schoolbooks and rose-coloured self-images since
kindergarten, it can be difficult, even for military experts to self-evaluate to the point of finding fault in their own behavior, especially
in the past.
How strong is the other state?
It is more dangerous to appease a strong state, while at the same time being more dangerous to punish it also. Weak states on the other hand
are more responsive to appeasement from stronger states as long as those weaker states do not have overblown notions of their military capability.
Are the resources the target state seeks "cumulative"?
In other words, is the target state looking to acquire resources to help its military grow? If that is the case, then the target state will
typically keep attempting to acquire more resources to fulfill bigger and bigger aims.
Culture, Gender, Personality Disorder, Democracy, Social equality and social justice, Minority rights and human rights, Partition, Prosperity,
Economic interdependence, Revolution, Communism, Capitalism, Imperial decline and collapse, Climate change, Polarity of the International system,
Cultural learning, Nationalism, Emotional factors - revenge, backlash from contempt, honor, alpha-male status competition.
Theorizing about War
For a theory of why a war happened, or is about to happen, to be meaningful, it must meet some criteria:
Validity: Invalid theories are not useful.
Satisfaction: The theory must satisfy our curiosity i.e. not leave us with more questions than answers. For example 'the candidate
lost because she did not get enough votes' is a valid explanation of an election outcome but it is not satisfying. We need to know why the
candidate did not get enough votes.
Practicality: Does the theory guide us towards specific policy formation that will prevent war in a practical way?
Cultural Causes of War
"Some national cultures are inclined towards war. For example, harsh German child-rearing practices makes Germans belligerent" - Leopold Bellak.
Does this theory meet the three criteria mentioned?
Gender and War
"Men cause war. War would diminish with the greater empowerment of women" - Joshua Goldstein. But might women, being more dovish, appease their
way into a war?
Personality Disorder Causes War
Narcissism, megalomania, paranoia, antisocial pathology, sadism. Narcissism is the most worrying for the following reasons:
narcissists lack empathy.
they are enraged by challenge.
they punish truthful staff who bring them bad news.
Hence, narcissists live in a world of delusions. Examples of narcissistic personality disorder: Saddam Hussain, Hitler, Mao Zedong, Napoleon,
Bush Administration 2, Osama Bin Laden, Obama and his "kill list". Studies of narcissism as a cause for war are thin on the ground, but more
important in relation to narcissism are the conditions that put the narcissist in power.
Democracy Causes Peace
"because publics are more anti-war than elites, making states ruled by the public more peaceful. Democratic publics are infused with democratic
values, which makes the notion of conquering and ruling others against their will, clash with those values" - Imanuel Kant, Michael Doyle.
The evidence is strong for democracy as a cause of peace, but states that are transitioning to democracy are prone to cause war.
Minority Rights, Human Rights Causes Peace
"Minorities who are treated fairly are less likely to pursue secession by force. This dampens the risk of war". For example, the Catholic
rebellion in Ireland after 1969, and the Tamil rebellion in Sri Lanka were provoked by oppression of the Catholic and Tamil minorities. Some
argue that minority rights can increase ethnic conflict because once one sector of the population achieves independence, other sectors,
feeling that they too belong to this minority or that, affirm their own rights to independence.
Partition of Divided Societies Causes Peace
"Sometimes a divorce is the best answer to internal conflict, if the groups in the conflict will fight less as separate states". Some examples
include India | Pakistan 1947, Ireland 1922, Palestine 1947, and all the European colonial empires in the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, Woodrow
Wilson, in 1919 proposed self-determination for the nationalities of Europe as a means of bringing greater peace to Europe.
Prosperity Causes Peace
"Prosperity gives people more to lose in a war, so they avoid war more carefully. Also, prosperity promotes democracy, which independently causes
peace". But history does not include direct correlations between prosperity and peace. During 1914-1945 the world's richest states unleashed
immense violence on one another. Also, a prosperous nation, such as the United States, in international decline, is more prone to cause war
than relatively stable states. On the other hand, China, as it becomes more prosperous might cause wars in the future.
Economic Interdependence - Peace or War?
"Interdependence between states means that economic ties must be maintained for prosperity, which makes peace more likely. Also, communication
among states that are economically interdependent makes war less likely" - Imanuel Kant. Of course, the opposite may also be true, in that
states dependent on other states for resources may prefer direct control over those resources to the extent that they start a war e.g. Germany
and Japan during World War Two. Recently, China has sought to integrate Taiwan's economy to draw the two societies together; with some success.
Mass Revolution Causes War
Regimes that seize power by mass revolution tend to be more warlike in power because they are infused with myths about their own goodness and
they also exaggerate the ease of overthrowing regimes. Also, they misperceive what is happening in the world because they do not tolerate dissent
and so they lose the capacity for self-evaluation - Stephen Walt. Examples are the wars gotten into by revolutionary France during 1792-1855,
by revolutionary Russia 1920-21, by revolutionary Cambodia in 1979, and the wars entered into by the bush Administration 2 after it won power
following a spurious election result in 2000.
Communism Causes War
This is basically a variant of the previous proposition - mass revolution.
Capitalism Causes War
For two reasons: "they must conquer the markets they depend on to prevent economic depression, and they spawn multi-national corporations, which
manipulate the home state to intervene in states where they do business". This hypothesis fits the U.S. intervention in Guatemala 1954, Iraq 2003,
and perhaps British and U.S. covert action against Iran in 1953.
Imperial Decline and Collapse Causes War
When the settled borders of an empire become disputed from all sides, in relation to both responsibilities and rights of states within that zone,
war is almost always the result.
Cultural Learning Causes Peace
"war is being delegitimated as a human practice, just as slavery and duelling were earlier delegitimated" - John Mueller.
But is this a valid hypothesis? What about world war 2, Korea, Vietnam, the Iraq wars of 1991 and 2003 - present, drone war in Pakistan and
Afghanistan, the civil wars in Angola and Sudan? The Central African war of 1996-present? The growing Islam- Western collision? Perhaps war is not now
being delegitimated as a human practice but it could be. Some believe that if religions, such as Mennonites, Baha'is and Buddhist peace sects
expanded in size, war would be less likely.
Nationalism Causes War
Nationalism (definition): the doctrine that people owe their prime loyalty to their ethno-cultural group and that this group deserves a state.
If we could replace nationalism with a pan-human identity we could eliminate nationalism as a cause of conflict. Nationalism is relatively
new, post 18th Century, as a cause of conflict . But rather than abolish national identity, it would be more practical to accept national
identities as inevitable, but make them more benign by encouraging nations to abandon their nationalist mythmaking and look for a more shared
Emotions Cause Peace or War
"Emotions such as desire for honor, desire for vengeance, pride, backlash against displays of contempt, and jealously at a status reversal can
trigger war. Apologies and displays of contrition can bolster peace."
Climate Change Will Cause War
Climate calamities will displace hundreds of millions of people as refugees who will then clash with established populations in neighbouring
countries. Refugees could also make war on western civilization for destroying their lives , and to prevent western civilization from doing
any more harm. Also, an ice-free arctic will see established states at war over the mineral resources available there.
Bipolarity Causes Peace
"A bipolar international order is more peaceful than a multipolar order, because false optimism is less likely. States can't have illusions about
how many allies will join their side in the next war because there are no major non-aligned states in the system". - Kenneth Waltz.
By the same token, notions of a unipoplar order - U.S. today, and maybe China someday, cause war.
What are weapons of mass destruction? Biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. Both biological and nuclear weapons are potentially more powerful
than chemical weapons. Both biological and chemical weapons have been outlawed by the international convention. The background questions we are
considering here are i) would the world be a better place had WMDs not been invented? and ii) would t he world be a better place if WMDs were
abolished. But if they can neither be un-invented nor abolished, then what do we do now?
The technical effects of the nuclear revolution
Technical capability rarely has an effect on politics, rather technical capability is bent to serve politics and military doctrine. Nuclear
weapons are an exception - they overwhelm politics and doctrine. How? Destroying nuclear weapons is ver hard while protecting and delivering them
is very easy. The 'cost exchange ratio' is vastly in favor of the retaliator over the attacker. Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) develops
between major powers, which means that both can destroy the other's society even after absorbing an all-out counterforce attack by the other.
So, nuclear capability is absolute, and whatever the politics of a situation desire, it is the actual nuclear capability that matters most.
One of MAD's special characteristics is known as 'flat-of-the-curve', meaning that beyond a certain point, the capacity to inflict damage to the
opponent's society or to prevent damage to one's own becomes beside the point. The implication being that MAD prevents preventive war because
the more weapons that both sides have, the less the risk of their use. because first-strikes are unthinkable. So, the India-Pakistan nuclear
competition is more dangerous now than was the U.S.-Soviet Union competition. Why? Because now that each state has nuclear weapons, the situation
can stabilize only when they each have too many! And that is a logic beyond politics and military doctrine.
Nuclear Doctrine: Countervalue vs Counterforce
With the countervalue doctrine the enemy society is targeted with nuclear weapons aimed at its population. Political aims can then be achieved by
threatening to unleash the weapons on the population, and so, the population puts pressure on the state to negotiate. With the Counterforce
doctrine, the nuclear forces of the enemy state are targeted, and political aims can be achieved by threatening to disarm the enemy. But since
both sides can be effective regardless of whether they strike first or retaliate, we have a crude universe of four possible nuclear capabilities:
First-strike countervalue, which is easy to do but useless in defending oneself.
Second-strike countervalue, which is again, easy to do.
First strike counterforce and
Both iii) and iv) are hard to do, iv) being the harder of the two.
An example of a second-strike countervalue weapon were the U.S. Polaris submarine fleet in the 1960s - 1980s era. They could easily hide in
the ocean and attack the population of an enemy city, but they lacked the accuracy for a counterforce response on the enemy's own nuclear
arsenal. An example of first-strike counterforce weapon is the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). So, while it is accurate enough to
attack an enemy's nuclear arsenal, it would not survive the attack. Another first-strike counterforce weapon is the National Missile Defences
(NMD), and although the name sounds like they are second-strike (defensive), they are in fact used to back up ICBM. NMD are not configured to
protect the population, but to protect ICBM fields at home.
Five Nuclear Orders
MAD - "Mutually Assured Destruction": probably a technical inevitability.
BAD - "Both are Defended": a world in which all s tates have more than enough nuclear weapons.
WORSE - "Winning Only Requires Striking Early": a world in which all states have mutual first-strike capabilities.
MARINE - "Mankind Absolutely Rejects Nuclear Explosives": a non-nuclear world.
USA - "Unilateral Superiority-USA": a world where the U.S. is in-charge, having both second-strike countervalue and first-strike counterforce
capabilities against all other nuclear powers.
If choice were possible, which one would be most preferable?
To be deterrable, a nuclear-actors must have six attributes. It must:
be a state i.e. a "return-address" as opposed to a non-state actor
be more valuing of freedom than of conquest
have reality-based perceptions of both their own capabilities and those of their neighbours
be unable to transfer nuclear weapons around the place anonymously
have the industrial capacity to build large, secure arsenals
If all of these criteria are met, then seven positive consequences follow:
First-strike advantages disappear
"Windows" of opportunity and vulnerability disappear
Resources are less cumulative
There is less false optimism
War, if it happens, is limited
Arms racing slows down
The 'Security Dilemma'
'The measures one state MUST take to defend itself ALWAYS feels threatening to other states'.
Biological weapons differ from nuclear weapons in four main regards i) they are cheaper, ii) they can be used anonymously, iii) they have no
clear signature, so an arms-control regime is impossible to devise; and iv) the attacker almost always has the larger advantage.
And although the U.S. abandoned its offensive bioweapons program in 1968, other crazed states and non-state actors may try to acquire them
both now and in the future.
1. The root of the tragedy: Christian Oppression of the European Jewish Diaspora
Over the past thousand years Western Christian societies have relentlessly oppressed their Jewish minorities:
Christian crusades massacre thousands of Jews around Europe.
Jews expelled en masse from Britain, France (three times) and Spain then hunted and killed in the Spanish Inquisition.
Approximately 100,000 Jews massacred in Eastern Europe
Subjected to pogroms in Russia
100,000 Jews mass murdered by White Russian forces in the Russian Civil War
5.6 million Jews killed in Nazi German holocaust
Thousands of Jews driven from Poland by Polish Christians
Stalin dies before carrying out plans to kill more Jews
Europe's Jews tried self-reform, socialism, and even assimilation to appease the rage of Christians. Nothing worked. Jews made magnificent
contributions to European culture, science, economics and public life. A lil' credit? Fat Chance!
But the Palestinian Arabs showed far more tolerance towards Jews than did Western Christians.
2. The Birth of Zionism
Zionism: a movement launched by Leo Pinsker, Theodore Herzi and others to seek a state for Jews. The movement started off secular with the intention
of freeing Jews from oppression, not with historic and religious claims to the land of Israel. The Zionist movement gained important help from Britain
in 1917 with the Balfour Declaration. The early Zionist leaders foresaw that Palestinian Arabs would resist and so they prepared for that eventuality.
3. The Partition Plan of 1947
By 1947 Jews comprised 37 percent of Palestine's population while Arabs comprised 63 percent. In 1945 the Zionist leadership launched a violent
revolt against British rule; the British withdrew. The U.N. stepped in and divided Palestine into two states: a Jewish state of 55 percent of
Palestine, and an Arab state of 42 percent. The other three percent forming an international zone including Jerusalem. Both states lacked secure
borders and the Arabs rejected the plan as unfair.
4. The 1948 War
Fighting between Jews and Palestinians erupted immediately. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon attacked Israel. And while each of these
neighbouring countries had their own motives for becoming involved, Israel expanded its domain from 55 percent to 78 percent of Palestine.
The great majority, around 750,000, of Palestinians fled from Israel during the war. For decades Israelis claimed the Palestinians left
voluntarily but historians now agree that the Israelis expelled them. The former director of the Israeli army archives wrote that "In almost
every Arab village occupied by us during the War of Independence, acts were committed which are defined as war crimes, such as murders, massacres,
and rapes. The Palestinian refugee population, now numbering 4,000,000 people, is now the largest refugee population in the world. While Israelis
today condemn Palestinian unwillingness to accept a Jewish state in Palestine, history has few examples of indigenous people who did not resist
when threatened by domination or expulsion by settler-colonial movement.
So, who is wrong
Responsibility lies with the European Christian societies who for centuries directed unprovoked hatred at their Jewish neighbours. What are the
proximate causes of the 1948 war? Bad borders that bred insecurity and perceived opportunity on both sides. Also, Arab false optimism.
5. 1949 to present - religion and nuclear weapons
Religious motivation and extremism have risen on both sides. The religious paramilitarian movement, Hamas, appeared in 1980 with the stated aim
of destroying Israel. It now controls Gaza. However, secular communities on both sides now largely accept the need to share Palestine/Israel with
one another. And with a secure nuclear arsenal, Israel is unconquerable. Also, while the U.S. invaded and took control of Iraq and provided
military support to Israel, the Arab militaries have stagnated along with their economies. Israel, with the help of the U.S. has prospered.
6. Interlude: 1949 - 1956
Israel rejected Arab peace-feelers during this period, knowing that a peace settlement would require Israel to surrender territory and accept a
large return of refugees. Israel insisted that its territories were too small, that its borders were already vulnerable, and that a Palestinian
minority of 9 percent of their population was too large. Besides, Israel knew that with U.S. military support it would be in a better position in
the future to negotiate for better terms. Although Israel did not allow Palestinian expellees to return, many thousands tried to sneak back in
and some of them attacked Israelis. 200 Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians during this period while up to 5,000 Palestinians were
killed by Israel, most of them unarmed.
The 1956 War
An arms deal between Egypt and the Czechs worried Israel about Egypt's relative military power, which might create a large window of vulnerability.
So, Israel struck Egypt.
The 1967 War
Egyptian President Nasser ordered the closing of the Strait of Tiran and Israeli shipping, and so Israel attacked Egypt on June 5, 1967. Much of
the motivation behind Nasser's decision was coming from the "Arab street" with Jordan foolishly entering in the war. Israel responded by seizing
East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and then Syria's Golan Heights. The Arab states spurned all talks with Israel, declaring the three "No's of Khartoum" -
no peace, no negotiations, nor recognition re: Israel. The Palestinian Liberation Organization, PLO, was formed in 1964 and pursued Israel's
destruction until 1988, when it first recognized Israel's existence.
Proxmiate causes of the 1967 War:
Israel's in secure borders, first-move advantage by both Egyptian and Israeli forces, belligerent Arab rhetoric intoxicating the Arab street and
the Arab elite, false optimism in Egypt, and crisis blundering by Nasser.
The War of Attrition 1969-70
Egypt tried and failed to use limited war along the Suez Canal to coerce Israel into negotiating the return of he Sin'ai.
10. The 1973 War
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, recognizing a first-move advantage, organized an Egyptian-Syrian surprise attack on Israel after Israel spurned
his peace feelers. Israel won but with a cost of 3,000 dead. Israel took from the experience that it could not command the Arabs with impunity,
and it also learned about false optimism regarding no need to compromise on settlements.
11. The 1982 Lebanon War
Israel invaded Lebanon in June 1982 under the sway of Ariel Sharon, the Israeli defence minister. Sharon aimed to remake Lebanon as a pro-Israel
Christian-dominated state and in so doing, cow the Shi'a. But ham-fisted Israeli occupation turned the Shi'a against the Israeli forces and it
wasn't long before the Shi'a was fighting to eject the Israelis. Hezbollah, a Shi'a terrorist group grew out of this war, which ended with an
Israeli withdrawal in 2000 after claiming hundreds of Israeli lives.
12. The First Intifada 1987-1991
Palestinians started a stone-throwing campaign against Israeli forces, and weariness of the harassment helped energize some Israeli militiary officers
to push for peace.
13. The 2006 Lebanon War
Hezbollah attacked Israeli forces on the Israel-Lebanon border in July 2006, killing 8 and capturing 2. Israel responded with a massive bombardment
of Lebanon killing thousands of Lebanese and Hezbollah. Hezbollah, while bombing much of nothern Israel, killed 119 Israeli soldiers and 44 civilians.
Hezbollah, having recovered much of its original strength, remains a major force in Lebanese politics.
The Oslo Peace Process
When Yasser Arafat accepted the state of Israel in 1988 motions towards peace got started. The land-for-peace trade was hosted by U.S. President
Bill Clinton during July and August 2000, at Camp David, Maryland. Ehud Barack, the then Israeli Prime Minister, offered the Palestinians the
Gaza Strip and 86-91 percent of the West Bank, which would be divided into contiguous pieces and released over a period of 6-21 years. The Palestinians
rejected the offer but did not make a counter-offer. Clinton suggested a re-negotiation of sorts in exchange for a Palestinian full and final peace,
and both sides accepted. The 2001 Israeli Presidential election followed, and Palestinians began a campaign of violence against Israel, which
had the effect of mobilizing Israeli support for the hard-line Ariel Sharon, who won the election and then broke off negotiations with Palestine.
Between 2000 and 2005 about 1,000 Israelis and 3,000 Palestinians died in violence. When Yasser Arafat died in November 2004 he was
replaced by a more moderate leader of the Fatah party, Abu Mazen, who opposed violence. But in 2006 Hamas won control of the Palestinian parliament.
Hamas rejected a two-state solution and sought Israel's destruction through the use of terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians.
Why did the Oslo peace process fail?
Israel underestimated the Palestiniam demands for a full-Israeli withdrawal to 1969 levels. The Israelis offered much less and only offered
more after time ran out.
Palestinian violence, rather than compelling Israeli concessions, only undermined the efforts of the Israeli peace camp and helped the
election of the more hawkish Sharon. That was a clear miscalculation on the part of the Palestinians.
While the Israelis were negotiating withdrawal, they were at the same time, greatly expanding Jewish settlements. And that provoked the
Yasser Arafat often adopted a disastrous negotiating style - foot-dragging, no counter-offers, and often lying.
The three parts to the party - Israel, Palestine and U.S. did not agree at the outset to what they were pursuing, and so the negotiations
proceeded in fits and starts with battle lines being drawn with each detail.
European colonialism toward the Arab world
Extreme goals on both sides
Ideology - Zionism vs Anti-semetism
European Christian anti-semetism since 1000 C.E. triggered Zionism
Invented chauvinistic mythmaking on both sides
A security dilemma of close proximity and open borders
Prioritizing violence over public relations
Israeli expansion threatens Israeli security
Partition the land of Palestine - a two-state solution for a durable peace in then near-term. Both Israelis and Palestinians take responsiblility
for their own misdeeds and stop blaming each other. If they could do that, then could Palestine grant the Zionist enterprise more legitimacy?
And could the Israelis then more easily admit their own cruelties toward the Palestinians, knowing that they could attribute these in a final
sense to the Christians instead of taking full responsibility for these cruelties themselves? Most Palestinians and Israelis agree on the same
Israel withdraws from nearly all the territories seized in 1967 in exchange fo an end to the conflict and robust security arrangements for
The Palestinians would renounce any large return of refugees to Israel in exchange for large compensation.
Jerusalem would be shared along ethnic lines.
Control over Jerusalem's holy places would be shared with the Western Wall going to Israeli control and the Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount
going to Palestinian control, and sovereignty over both perhaps going to God.
Polls show that the majority of both Israelis and Palestinians are now willing to accept these parameters as a basis for peace.
There are two main questions i) when outsiders impose peace, does the peace hold once they leave the scene? and ii) if Israel can compel the
Palestinians to concede its maximum goals, is it wise to seek these goals? Or will the resulting peace be frail?
"God gave it to us" - a Jewish claim echoed by the Jews' evangelical Christian allies.
"We had it first" - a Jewish claim and a Palestinian claim.
"We had it longest" - a Jewish and Palestinian claim: It's a close call...
Most Recent Tenure
"We had it last" - a Palestinian claim
"We have it now" - a Jewish claim regarding Israel with 1967 lines; and a Palestinian claim regarding the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
"Our straits are more dire then yours. We need Palestine to survive, you don't". - a Palestinian claim.
"Palestinians can live in any of the Arab state, Jews have just one Jewish state" - a Jewish claim.
"You can't take the land because we live there now. That's barbaric." - a Jewish and Palestinian claim.
Some wars are total from the outset, like world war 1, while others start small but end with a bang, like world war 2. Some remain limited,
like Korea and Vietnam. Why? Destructive weapons cause destructive war while mutual deterrence prevents destructive war.
Four Hypotheses on arms:
States destroy what they can.
States destroy what they cannot avoid destroying.
States destroy what they must to achieve their war aims.
States destroy when they fear large punishment in return.
Wars of counterinsurgency are becoming increasingly violent because they are wars in which governments and insurgents compete to coerce
unarmed publics. The publics cannot punish either government or insurgents, so violence directed at them will be more intense.
Causes of Escalation
First-strike Advantages: When a first-strike advantage exists, war starts at an intense level as each side attacks before it is attacked.
Then they widen as each side pre-empts neutrals. They are harder to stop because of the treachery displayed by a surprise attack. Examples:
the 1941 Japanese attack on the U.S.; the 1941 German attack on the USSR; the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
Large Windows: i.e. fluctuations in relative power. When these exist, wars start at an intense level and escalate as states jump through
windows of opportunity caused by war. Windows make war more barbaric and both sides tend to fight to the end despite heavy loses. Also, both
sides are more likely to massacre civilians before they get a chance to join in the fight. Examples: world war 1, 1941 Pacific War, the 1976
massacre of Tal Zataar in Lebanon.
False Optimism: Makes war persist for longer than seems rational and they escalate and widen quickly. Examples: world war 1, world war 2,
Cumulative Resources: Causes much destruction as each side tries to acquire the other's resources or deprive the other from using the resources.
Offence vs Defence: A strong offence can make war less intense. Examples 1914-1918 vs 1792, 1950.
Warfighting Strategy and escalation
All military operations open windows, potentially, example: France tempted Admiral Boscawen's attack in 1756. But do offensive operations cause
or dampen escalation? What about U.S. war plans in relation to moving eastwards toward Russia? What are the potential windows in the desire for
a new cold war with China?
War Begets War
As a war proceeds each side adopts a darker image of the other's intentions. And while states lose reputation when they act aggressively, especially
in relation to first-strike advantage, they also lose reputation when they concede. War also creates false optimism as the belligerents' optimism
grows with more fighting but not necessarily in direct proportion to actual gains achieved. States at war feed hyper-nationalism and chauvinistic
mythmaking in order to generate public financial support for the war, and that can be hard to reverse. Any critical assessment of self-evaluation
becomes "aiding the enemy", which it actually does. So, should wartime dissent be outlawed? But then neither side can take from the domestic debates
going on in their respective countries, and so communication breaks down. The more public investment in a war, the less likely the elites admit
they were wrong. Emotional factors, such as a desire for vengeance, run amok and are hard to dampen.
While collaborating with the enemy is reviled as treason, ruining one's own country in avoidable warfare is a crime with no name and no punishment.
Case in point - U.S. investment in increasingly ambitious global goals while the infrastructure crumbles at home. Typically, throughout history,
the result is eventual civil unrest at home.
World War 2 was the greatest war in world history, killing some 35-60 million people in an enormous global conflagration. Ironically, it followed
the most elaborate and hopeful effort ever made to design a peaceful world - the 1919 Versailles peace. Never before had world leaders sought so
consciously to use their power to shape a peaceful world as they did in 1919. And never has the world seen such violence as it did in the
Versailles' aftermath. In contrast, the peace that emerged in 1945 was not designed and yet proved far more durable. What does that tell us about
our capacity to engineer a more peaceful world?
How Illusions Replaced Historical Memory
Sometimes losers write history. They did in the case of world war 1 and then sold it to the winners. Germany's Great Social Science Experiment of
1898-1918 destroyed the laboratory! But then someone falsified the lab notes. Germans practiced creative history. The Kriegsschuldreferat,
a secret public-relations office in Germany convinced German schools and scholars that the Entente powers encircled Germany and instigated
the first world war, and that the Jews and the socialists were behind it, not Ludendorff and the German superhawks. Self-evaluation, a cornerstone
of war prevention, disappeared and scholars and evaluators were persecuted. Germany, the kriegsschuldferat concluded, needed a bigger empire to
be safe from its rapacious neighbours! So, instead of learning that a reach for lebensraum, "living space", was dangerous, even suicidal, Germans
learned instead that gaining lebensraum was essential.
Germans Embrace Nazi-like Ideas
Germans first embraced Nazi-like ideas in 1920 and then the Nazis themselves in 1930. Was the second world war just a one-man show? Or had Hitler
many willing helpers? Nazi beliefs: "Germany is insecure", "An empire is the answer", "Germany can conquer an empire", "Germans built the USSR but
mere Jews run it now", "We need to bring the whole rotten structure down". During the late 1930s Germany spent far more of its GNP on the military
than did Britain or France, while German society was bitten by anti-semetism. But German society was far less anti-semetic than other East
European states. So, what happened? Two things: 1) the Christian church began propagating anti-Jewish teachings; and 2) Social Darwinism - survival
of the fittest as applied to society, was sweeping Europe at the time.
Japan was also embracing similar ideas about the necessity for empire, forbidding the press to publish articles hinting that Japan's foreign policy
was "aggressive"; preferring instead to inculcate the Japanese public with the righteousness of war against a state having 10 times its economic
Mussolini's propaganda ministry had 890 employees - lots! And his government believed the propaganda about Italy's military strength - 8530 war
planes! A large enough air force to match the RAF. It realized later that it had in fact just 583 airplanes when it eventually sent government
personnel to count them. Mussolini shared similar notions of victimization, innocence and potential global reach to the notions embraced by the
Germans and the Japanese.
Why the Strategy of Appeasement Toward Germany
Three main explanations: 1)Craven cowardice, 2) Limited military resources; and 3) A belief in Germany's propaganda re: the world being too mean
toward Germany at Versailles. Too few Britons had read Ewald Banse and Mein Kampf.
The United States
The U.S. embraced isolationism, passing a series of neutrality laws through congress during 1935-1939 that tied the presidency to strict neutrality
in the event of war - anywhere. The subtext that Hitler read from it was "We won't oppose your aggression!". Besides, having no clear national
grand strategy, the United States could not even predict its own behavior, which meant that others, such as Germany and Japan could not predict it
France was absorbed in domestic left-right conflicts and unready for war.
The Soviet Union dismissed and even helped the rise of the Nazis in Germany.
How the Storm Gathered
The USA, Britain and the USSR withdrew from central European affairs, the Germans started rearmament and Hitler was allowed to win territory
without a war. Germany had re-militarized the Rhineland by 1936, held Austria by 1938, held the Czech sudetenland by 1938, the Czech rump and
Memel by 1939. Why did this nice empire not sate Germany? When aggressors are stronger than the status quo powers we get war. And while neither
Britain nor Frnace had a clear strategy, America did not know its strategy. Hitler attacked Poland in September 1939 and world war 2 started.
And while Britain responded, the U.S. was considering "sell every chinaman a shirt and we'll get rich" and so it expanded its goals, demanding
Japanese withdrawal from China as the price of peace in 1941.
What Caused World War 2?
German expansionism? For sure, but what caused German expansionism? Here are some dubious explanations: 1) German national character? But look
at today's peaceful Germans, 2) Versailles - "a harsh peace"? But 1945 was much harsher and produced peace! 3)Hitler? - "the great man theory"?
But wasn't German society primed to accept Hitler?, 4) Militarism? But the Weimar Germany military was not the purveyor of Nazi ideas, 5) the great
depression 1929-1939? But the depression affected the whole world. Why did it make Germany crazy?, 6)War? But was world war 2 one great single war?
Causes of the Holocaust
"eliminationist anti-semetism" was widespread among Germans and predisposed them to favor Hitler and help him with his holocaust - Daniel Goldhagen,
Hitler's Willing Executioners. But anti-semetism was no more virulent in Germany than it was in Romania, Poland, Russia and Hungary during the
1930s. Why was there no Holocaust by these governments? Also, Hitler murdered millions of non-Jews aswell as Jews. So, "eliminationist anti-semetism"
is not much of a predictive theory in that regard. Besides, if the German public were as infused with "eliminationist anti-semetism" as Goldhagen
proclaims then the Jewish community in Germany would have seen it coming. Clearly, they didn't, which is why many did not flee, or fled late in
the game. Goldhagen's model would have also had to include spontaneous acts of anti-Jewish violence in Germany during the 1920s and 1930s - just
like the lynching of blacks in the American south during the 1880s and 1890s, but that was not happening in Germany to Jews. And if those things
were happening then Hitler would have not so carefully hidden the Holocaust from the German people, in fact he would have been proud to tell them
about it. Although there is a counter-argument here that he hid it from the German people so as to hide it from the rest of the world.
More likely explanations: Organized Christianity led to anti-semetism in Germany. Other European countries such as Ukraine and Lithuania helped
Germans do the Holocaust. Neither the Americans nor he British offered a haven. During 1900-1918, Darwinism was being discussed among elites in
Germany as a way of dealing with disliked Others. And coupled with a highly effective German state, appropriate-way Darwinism would
seem a more satisfying answer because it predicts what actually happened - mass murder by the German state.
To consider the future of war we need to evaluate theories across time, across space and within-case predictions.
The Kaysen Puzzle
Today there are about 20-40 wars killing several hundred thousand people each year, but these wars are mostly civil. Some important causes of
20th century war have abated, such as:
Insecurity borne out of fear of being attacked by conventional arms, which has sharply abated with the nuclear revolution.
The fading of militarism worldwide with the possible exception of Pakistan and someday China.
Historical mythmaking has sharply abated among industrialized democracies but it has not disappeared. It continues in the Mideast among
extremist religious groups such a al-Qaeda, and also among some sectors of the U.S. elite.
The spread of democracy, which makes peace more likely.
Possible Future Interstate Conflicts
U.S. vs Afghanistan 2001 - ...
U.S. vs Iraq 2003 - ...
U.S. vs "Axis of Evil", mainly North Korea and Iran
U.S. vs crazed non-state actors everywhere
U.S. vs Russia - as Russia responds to U.S. efforts to brink Ukraine and Georgia into Nato by sparking civil war in both countries
China vs Taiwan
U.S. vs China - a new "Cold War" desired by some U.S. elites
West vs Islamic world - would the West be so foolish to help get it started?
Future Causes of War
While reasons for war may be declining, war itself may not be. Why? The march of technology may make it inevitable. Bioweapons, for example, are
becoming more sophisticated while antidotes that could combat their effects are trailing far behind. Resource wars caused by climate catastrophe
will make hundreds of millions of people around the planet homeless, and destroy whole countries. Will the refugees just shuffle quietly into
the night or will they demand compensation and even vengeance for their plight?
Some Possible Solutions
1. Hegemonic American: The U.S. polices the world, preventing or stopping wars, promoting democracy, which in turn promotes peace; and
enforces non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. A good idea? But would the U.S. cause more wars than it prevented? Consider the wars
the U.S. is in right now; does it have the necessary wisdom to assume a role of world peacemaker? Will the U.S. National Missile Defence cause peace
2. World Government: An old-time favourite soluction. Could it work?
3. Collective Security: was tried already with the League of Nations 1919-1939. Why did it fail?
4. Disarmament?: A popular solution with serious short-comings.
5. Arms Control: But c an it prevent wars of counter-proliferation?
6. Amnesia international!: Deliberately setting about the task of setting up worldwide institutions that track and oppose historical
mythmaking. Human hate stems mainly from historical myths, especially myths about victimhood. Likewise, notions of specialness can have the
same outcomes as victimhood e.g. U.S. "exceptionalism" as chosen by God. Also, institutions could be set up to help the public see precisely
what war is actually like, rather than what war is made out to be by their ambitious elites. When people can understand better, they do less
harm to others and themselves.
7. Religious Hate-Watch: An idea outline previously in National Misperception.
How does the United States set military requirements? By answering five questions in sequence:
What are U.S. national security interests?
What are the threats to those interests the U.S. military can disarm?
What are the strategies that best address these threats?
What missions must the U.S. perform to support these strategies?
What forces are required to perform these missions?
The Soviet Military Doctrine: Offence and Pre-emption
The U.S. defense debate, 1947-1991.
America's prime problem: defending Western Europe from Soviet conquest. The "how to defend Europe" debate involved 7 contending strategies:
Strategic Nuclear Countervalue: threaten to punish Soviets by blasting their cities if they invade Western Europe.
Strategic Nuclear Counterforce: threaten to disarm and conquer Soviets if they invade.
Theatre Nuclear Denial: threaten to incinerate invading Soviet armies.
Conventional Denial: thwart invading Soviet armies with conventional forces.
Conventional Offence: seize Soviet territory if they invade.
German Nuclear Deterrent: let Germans threaten to blast Soviet cities.
Tripwire Strategy: Spring-load a European war to make Europe uncontrollable.
U.S. Goal: Conventional war leading to theatre war leading to general thermonuclear war.
Today - the third world intervention debate
How to address the danger posed by new technology that democratizes the power to destroy.
Two main doctrines: 1)Free trade "liberal" doctrine; and 2) Mercantile doctrine.
Free trade doctrine: national prosperity is advanced by the unfettered exchange of goods and services with other states, and this is
achieved by removing restrictions on trade.
Mercantile doctrine: national prosperity is advanced by achieving a trade-surplus i.e. by doing more exporting than importing, and this
is achieved by state subsidies to exporting industries, and by state restrictions on imports, such as tariffs, import quotas, and import-impeding
A Short History of Trade
Restrictions on trade have fallen since the late 1700s, and especially since 1945. And although the U.S. led the way by winning the argument
for free trade worldwide, it still restricts imports on some products such as agriculture and textiles. But because agriculture and textiles are
the "sunrise" industries in the poorer parts of the world, restricting their import to America is a harsh blow to he world's poor.
Eight Protectionist Arguments
Save U.S. jobs.
Nurture infant industries
Destroy foreign competition
Nurture industry that produces spin-off benefits to the rest of the economy, such as the high-tech industries.
Coerce other governments to change their policies.
Bolster national security by blocking imports from adversary countries that use their economies to buy weapons.
"Race to the bottom" problem in relation to wages and free movement of corporations around the globe - make them stay at home.
Protect cultures from being influenced by other cultural exports such as media and entertainment.
Non-economic Arguments for Free-trade
Free trade causes economic interdependence, which causes peace.
Free trade promotes prosperity, which causes peace.
Al Qaeda emerged in the late 1980s from the Soviet War in Afghanistan (1979-89) and following the Afghan civil war (1989-1996), which
resulted from the Soviet invasion.
The Soviet-Afghan War 1979-89
The Soviet Union invaded in December 1979 for two main reasons: 1) to prevent Afghanistan from sliding into the U.S. camp, and also 2) to forestall
Islamic fundamentalism. The Afghans, with the help of U.S. arms shipments, resisted, and the Soviets responded by killing one million Afghans and
creating five million Afghan refugees. But U.S. aid flowed mainly to the most extreme Islamists among the seven mujahideen groups resisting the Soviets.
Weapons always go directly to front-line fighters, who in this case, were the Islamic Jihadists - the ones most prepared to die in battle.
Osama Bin Laden's ultimate objective was to overthrow Arab regimes doing business with the the United States, and he believed that without U.S.
support for these regimes, they would fall more easily.
The Afghan Civil War 1989-1996
The Soviets withdrewn from Afghanistan in February 1989 and the U.S. continued violent resistance against the communist Najibullah regime left behind.
And once the Najibullah fell the U.S. withdrew and a civil war ensued. Half of Kabul was destroyed in the fighting.
The India-Pakistan Conflict
To avoid being caught in a two-front war with India and a pro-India Afghanistan, elements of the Pakistani intelligence service created the Taliban
to fight for influence in Afghanistan. While some Afghans, such as the Northern Alliance, continued to resist the Taliban, many Afghan people
welcomed the Taliban as the only answer to the chaos. The Taliban ruled Afghanistan with great cruelty from 1996-2001. It also allowed Bin Laden's
Al Qaeda to set up training bases in Afghanistan in return for military help against the Northern Alliance.
U.S. vs Al Qaeda
1993: World Trade Center bombed
1994: failed attempt to destroy 11 airlines over the Pacific ocean.
1998: U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania bombed, killing 212 Africans and 12 Americans.
2000: failed attack on Los Angeles airport and hotels in Jordan.
2001: Attack on the World Trade center and the Pentagon.
For the first time, a highly skilled terrorist leadership with access to considerable funds had appeared.
Why they Hated the U.S.
Six main causes:
U.S. economic sanctions on Iraq after 1991
U.S. troops in Saudai Arabia and Kuwait after 1991
U.S. backing for Israeli expansion in the middle east
3 billion U.S. dollars a year as unconditional aid for Israel since 1967
Al Qaeda's propaganda
Saudi Arabia's export of Wahhabism throughout the Mideast since 1962
Why Did They Not See 9/11 Coming?
First, there is no powerful agency in Washington that could influence the military, which does not address terrorists; second, the budget that goes
to counter terrorism agencies such as the NSA are not dependent on public concern about terrorist threats, and so there is little interest in pointing
to threats they pose.
Basic Principles of Counter-terrorism
It is a war of intelligence, not firepower.
Terrorists that can be found can be dealt with.
Ending inflammatory conflicts that feed war will help deal with Al Qaeda.
Near full Israeli withdrawal from Palestine will settle the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Ending poverty in the Muslim world will help, a lot!
Get the U.S. out of the Middle East - Robert Pape.
A War on Too Many Fronts?
President Bush defined a broad crusade. His rhetoric frames a war against scores of groups worldwide that have never viewed the U.S. as enemies,
from the Kashmiri rebels to the Tamil Tigers to the Columbian FARC to the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in
Israel/Palestine. A rising violent religious Millennarian fundamentalism is especially dangerous and has been increasing among Christians, Buddhists,
Muslims and Jews worldwide, including in the U.S. One answer: Isolationism toward the world and Stalinism with a democratic face at home in the U.S.
Another answer: Tight surveillance of all human activity by a vastly more powerful state security apparatus.
Of all policy areas, national security is the one facing the greatest danger of manipulation of public opinion. National security, being remote
from the public, is not experienced directly by the public, which makes it different from other policy areas such as economy, environment, transportation,
health, and education. The public "knows" what it is told, and although the media are frequently to blame for the manipulation, national security
secrecy also obscures the public view. Media is the window into national security and "media" is plural - news networks, newspapers, talk shows
and politicians. And although national security matters more than any other policy area, the public are not observers of national security policy
as they may be of other policy areas.
Does the Public Pay Attention?
The more remote the issue from the immediate public experience the more the public pays attention to what it is told, and that leaves the matter
wide open to manipulation by a number of special interest groups, such as:
The President and other politicians, who focus latent public opinion on particular events.
Defense industries, which warp national security by making the "means" of policy the determining factor in deciding its "ends".
Organizational interests such as "think tanks".
Eisenhower warned of the Military-Industrial Complex where defense contracts by the state go to the top defense contractors, and the public do not
typically bother themselves regarding who the defense contractors are, their networks in the media and the political sphere, and their ownership.
Manipulation by the Defense Industry
The defense industry manipulates national security in a number of ways including:
Providing personnel to fill government positions
Networking with Congress through agencies and services
Providing defense contractors, including legislative staff
Lobbying while disguising agenda setting as "option analysis"
Controlling the framing of issues and discussion and debate in the public sphere
Challenging views regarding national security that could damage their interest
Assailing the credibility of opponents
Through political contributions
Manipulation by NGOs - "think tanks"
Non-Governmental Organizations, NGOs, influence national security policy by providing the government with "studies" and "reports". NGOs always
have a definite political orientation.
Manipulation by the Presidency
The serving administration can sculpt public option on national security by:
Garnering the support of the public for particular policy
Focusing latent public concerns, particularly about "the other"
Putting issues on the public agenda through news
Releasing "trial balloons", leaks and "background" information
Selectively releasing classified information
Diverting public attention away from domestic problems
Examples: Nixon 1973 Mideast War, Clinton and Kosovo, Bush 2 and Iraq.
The media competes for inside information and inside sources, but their sources can often be disgruntled policy "losers" on the inside.
Where does the American Public get its news?
50% of all Americans read a daily newspaper while 65% over 60 years read one, and 25% of under 40 read one.
38% of Americans watch nightly TV news
Average age of prime time TV viewers is 42
Average age of nightly news viewers is 57
What is it? Information that appears in a hierarchy of classification systems such as Confidential, Secret, Top Secret, and Code Word Confidential.
While ordinary classified information such as defense data and state department data require clearance such as Noforn, No Contract, No Consultant
and so on, nuclear weapons information requires a special kind of clearance called Q Clearance.
There is a theory called "Realism" in international relations, which proposes that the strong prey on the weak unless the weak can protect
themselves, and that is the dominant view in international relations today. The "Realism" theory was first proposed by Machiavelli, Hobbes,
Morgenthau and Waltz. Let's look at a range of perspectives on the question: Is War Natural?
The Internationalist view: How far can the UN go?
The Culturalist view: War evolved with state power.
The Anthropological view: Warlike societies defeat peaceful ones or force peaceful societies into mimicking warlike ones.
The Feminist view: War is an offshoot of patriarchy. But much of the feminist view in relatioin to war is based on pseudo-anthropological
literature on lost matriarchy. Are all moms pacifist by nature? Do moms always discourage their sons and daughters from going to war?
However, feminists regard the entire framework of international relations as based around patriarchal thinking, see Marilyn French's Beyond Power.
The Freudian view: "War seems to be quite a natural thing, to have a good biological basis and to be scarcely avoidable".
War and Violence
The idea that war is instinctual excuses the blurring of lines between the natural impulse and the institutions that govern war. The language
of those institutions takes on a "hydraulic" quality that describe human nature in relation to "pressures" and so on. Chris Hedges, a former war
correspondent for the New York Times proposes that war is not all about destruction, rather it is about power of the dark side in love with
destruction - see Chris Hedges: War - a force that gives us meaning. But if we look at the history and culture of primitive societies going way
back we see that war and violence are *not* connected. Rather, war is highly rule-bound, not some instinctual purging exercise. There are societies
with no word for, or experience of war. It is, in fact, institutions that claim there to be a connection between natural instinct, war and violence
whether or not people are naturally aggressive or violent. So much for peace education!
Hope for the future
According to Freud, "war may be a transitory phenomenon in social evolution, pure loot and mastery seem no longer avowable motive." Leaders no
longer get away with warlike acts just because they feel like posteruring this way or that. War has also become associated with excitement, nobility,
manhood and being part of something bigger but at the same time, we are becoming increasingly irrational in relation to war because we are
becoming addicted to that excitement, nobility etc. - Chris Hedges.
"Primitive War" is a dubious term because it is not about territory, and seizing women and livestock is about as far as the looting goes.
Rather the concept of "feud" was more important in ancient history. "These people's wars and raids yield neither prisoners, territory, nor plunder.
They fulfill the obligations of the living towards the slain... unavenged ghosts bring sickness, unhappiness and possible disaster. It is for this
reason they go to war".
Feuding - a common concept
Gang warfare, Northern Ireland, the Mid East, Soccer hooligans in the UK. Feuding binds people together but at the same time the feuding becomes
locked into an endless cycle of reciprocal violence and tit-for-tat killing. Feuding, like war, is also rule-found and has become more rule-bound
over the centuries. Why so many rules? For two reasons - each side feels they must do it, for reasons outlined above, and they also like it.
For example, the idea of waiting until each side is all lined up and ready to go into battle has been with us since the eighteenth century.
Also, the rule that we must use only the blunt side of the axe in axe-fights, the agreement among the Yanomamo to not use bows and arrows.
So, while all forms of war include rules, the rules differ here and there. The point of feuds is not, therefore, about killing, but rather the
chivalric code of manliness, will and the importance of saving face - a lot like the wild west in the U.S.
Discipline - the great achievement of modern warfare
The concept of getting men to stand their ground while being charged as they trust and rely on others to shoot at assailants is a relatively
profound development in relation to war. But while we might criticize less evolved tribes and so on for lack of tactics and discipline, they
criticize western approaches to war as immoral because one man orders another into danger while never engaging in danger himself.
Raiding, for example, is about taking turns and keeping score, and while one army may consider the killing of women and children fair game, another
may regard it as off-founds, while another still might regard raping of women OK but no killing and so on.
The Gender of War
Clearly, war is a thing for men to do. Are feminists right when they say that it's not women as victims but women as fighters that male soldiers
can't stand? War is often seen as a rite of passage for men, with more emphasis on wounding than actual killing e.g. bleeding soccer fans having
photos taken as souvenir.
Let's consider three eras in the history of war:
The hunter-gatherers fought wars alright but in a local, uncoordinated way. They lacked the social organization to mobilize for extended warfare.
For example, they could collect food or fight, but not do both, and they had not thought up the idea of division of labour. The feuding was often
over women, honor, trinkets and customary access to territory, but not for ownership of the territory itself.
Agricultural societies had territory and also time, energy and resources invested in the territory in the form of crops and livestock. As territorial
expansion developed, so did states; the territory sustained the s tate for ever more expansion. Charles Tilly: "the state made war and war made
the state". In medieval Europe war became socially stratified, with nobles pledging allegiance to a monarch and their military adventures, and then
there was "the rest" of the population who were without honor.
The regimental system and new technology opened up a new era of war during the 18th and 19th century. The hallmark of this new era was increased
distance from the enemy coupled with increased resources needed to wage war. The result being the militarization of the economy. After the
French Revolution attempts were made to protect non-combatants while at the same time, nationalistic propaganda ensured that the entire
population of the opposing country became the enemy. The result? Hiroshima as the endpoint.
The concept of Apartheid originated in 1948 when Afrikaaners took control of South Africa from the British who had practiced more genteel racism.
Three classifications became important along racial lines i)White, ii)Black; and iii) mixed race. Apartheid meant separate living areas, pass
restrictions on mobility, marriage restrictions, and also denying the right of blacks to vote. There are bizarre cases in South Africa where
some people found their lives turned completely upside down when they discovered to their surprise from ancestoral records that they were not
as white as they originally thought they were. Race classification could mean the difference between survival and peril.
The End of Apartheid
De Klerk initiated a process to end apartheid in South Africa in 1989/1990, not necessarily because he was a nice fellow, but to save the country
from civil war. He released Nelson Mandela, ANC leader, from Robben Island jail, held elections and helped set up the truth and reconciliation
to deal with abuses. The commission, led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, got its moral authority from the concept of Christian forgiveness.
Black as well as white supplicants
Black and white adjudicators
Full disclosure and remorse or jail time
Political crimes only
Aim to hear confessions and create new public narratives
Victims of crime in the audience
Psychodrama in a special ritual context
"Now no-one can say anymore that it never happened".
Hague Tribunal and Nuremberg Trials after World War 2 with executions following Nuremberg. Rwanda used traditional courts and restorative rather
than retributive justice. In Czechoslovakia, a law was introduced banning from office those who had abused power. Israel selected to hunt down
perpetrators of the holocaust and bring them to justice.
Laos and Cambodia had been French colonies since the late 19th century, but anti-colonial resistance increased around the time of the second
world war. The leader of the resistance, Ho Chi Minh was a "communist" and nationalist but there is a debate, of course, about how "communist"
He admired George Washington and hoped that the U.S. would side with him as anti-colonialist and he wrote personally to Truman.
Vietnam had briefly been declared independent and the emperor abdicated to Ho Chi Minh. The French reconquered from the south but by 1954 the French,
beleaguered by the fighting asked for U.S. nuclear weapons. The French withdrew and U.S. military advisors stepped in.
Eisenhower and JFK took over from the French. The U.S. backed a military government, which it installed after a coup.
LBJ took over after JFK was assassinated.
LBJ escalated bombing and put U.S. boots on the ground.
U.S. college kids got draft deferments while the wealthy manipulated medical exemptions
to avoid the draft. The well-connected, such as George W. Bush got national guard service. Book: Chris Appy: Working Class War.
In 1968 Nixon came to office, claiming to have a plan to end the war, instead he escalated it - a familiar ritual in the U.S. He relied more on bombing than on
ground troops and used Napalm and agent orange. More tonnage was dropped on Vietnam than in all of World War 2, including the atomic bomb.
The U.S. withdrew in 1974 and Vietnam unified the boat people.
After Vietnam, a g roup of theorists such as Chris Gray, Jean Baudrilland, Paul Virilo and Michael Ignatieff began to talk about a new concept
of "post-modern war", which has three main qualities:
The removal of distinctions between military and civilians - everyone is fair game
The emphasis on information as the sinew of war; and
Media saturation where war is presented as spectacle for entertainment value in order to get the public onside.
There has arisen a confusion between the virtual and the real war, together with a growing sense of the absurd. And while new technologies
have emerged since the second world war, such as Drones, Cruise Missiles, JDAMs satillites and GPS laser-guided weapons, the U.S. has become
increasingly intolerant of casualties among its own troops.
The way the U.S. fought in Kosovo highlighted that fact. So, how does the U.S. military come to terms with a U.S. public that is becoming
so averted to own troop casualties, while the enemy perceives such squeamishness as a lack of resolve on the part of the U.S?
The answer is somewhat unethical - it involves inflicting maximum casualties on opponents and accidently killing innocent civilians all over
the enemy territory. Another answer is the use of private contractors and mercenaries with no particular commitment to the U.S. state.
The argument arises, therefore, that reintroducing the draft might be necessary for the sake of democracy both in the U.S. and around the world.
Churchill said that Truth is so important that it had to be protected by a "bodyguard of lies". Total war always means information war and
propaganda war. And while we need disinformation to deceive the enemy and undermine enemy morale, we need propaganda to sustain support on the home
The Right of the political spectrum often attacks the media for not being patriotic enough. For example, Senator Simpson called CNN's Peter Arnett
a traitor, blaming him and CNN for losing the Gulf war and giving a propaganda coup to the enemy - Al Jazzera.
The propaganda coup? Images of enemy civilians killed in a bomb shelter. The Left of the political spectrum, such as Noam Chomsky critiques the
closeness of corporations and governments in starting war while highlighting the fact that protests and resistance to war is underreported in the media.
The idea of "embedding" came about during the first Gulf War and became common coin during the second Gulf War. It also raised concerns about
journalistic objectivity not just among the public but also among the military itself. From Fox News to Hollywood's post-9/11 agreement to make
patriotic movies. But while Noam Chomsky regards the public as being duped into war, the public are, at the same time often avid spectators of
war on the Internet, especially with access to foreign media.
In other words, the public cannot say that they do not know what is happening. So, how does the media take the decision to cover this story
or that during a war? More pertinently, why have almost no U.S. journalists interviewed insurgents?
Book: "The Civil-Military Problematique: Huntington, Janowitzh, and the Question of Civilian control".
What's the Problematique?
The problematique is how to you ensure a strong military while keeping control of it? Or to put it another way - HOw do you control a military
while at the same time asking it to protect you? There is a tautology, or an over-baked notion, that professionalism of the military implies
civilian control. But don't professional militaries conduct coups? How does "professionalism" explain that? It is more normal to theorize about
professionalism within the sphere of the military itself instead of imagining civilian control where there is none.
In essence, reality politics mingles with military decisions and civilians, no matter how good they are, they interfere.
The Military as Political Organization
The military decides who will die and how, who will be honored and who will not, who is a traitor and who is a hero. What often happens in the
military is that the mediocre civilian rulers defer authority to the military professionals. And if those mediocre civilian rulers have not
studied enough on their own, then they will fail to recognize that even the experts can be wrong.
While the militaries of most post-Cold War democracies have made a smooth enough transition to successful civil-military relations, others
such as the Soviet Union had problems with military disintegration. The disintegration in the case of the Russian military stemmed from their
new non-interventionist stance.
Forays into Civilian Politics
Due to its organization and capabilities, the military sometimes finds it irresistible to intervene in civil politics. The result is usually coups
that frequently begin within the lower ranks of the military. The more divided a military politically, the more likely a coup. According to
Huntington - Political Order in Changing Societies, a military that sees itself as representing the middle class will revolt against oligarchs
but at the same time it will become reactionary towards the labour class and prevent mass participation.
Question: What is it that threatens the military most? Answer: Ideology. Whether its liberalism, conservatism, fascism, Marxism, or whatever.
The military has what is known as a "Conservative Fist" ideology in relation to its expertise, corporate identity and responsiblity.
While s ome civilians take the view that the purpose of the military is to serve the interests of civilians, others emphasize the separateness
and professionalism of the military within its own sphere. Both of these views - when taken to extremes, can cause problems for the citizenry.
Do we allow any other department in society to run its own affairs? While the pre-modern military were warriors, now they are managers -
"professional soldiers". So what do we want? Well, first, we need the military to look like the society - as a co-participant in society, such
as running on a clear budget, clear missions, clear designations, and clear channels to the President.
The citizenry relies both on the military and the presidency for ethical decision-making. The more detached a military is from the citizenry,
the greater the sense of professionalism and responsibility among the military personnel, and hence, the more it intervenes in civilian politics.
If the military stages a coup, it then regards the citizenry as meddlesome outsiders.
Since 1975 there have been increasing calls in the U.S. for public and government oversight of the intelligence community. The calls began as a
result of public exposure to controversial CIA covert operations and controversial actions by the intelligence community during the Cold War.
And while some argue that oversight is insufficient, others argue that it is excessive because it leads to damaging leaks. The 9/11 and WMD
commissions recommended further improvements in oversight, but more to improve the efficiency of the intelligence community than to prevent
its abuses. Nevertheless, the war on terrorism has led to new concerns about potential violations of individual privacy rights and abuses of
civil liberties by U.S. authorities against both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals.
Shifts in the Balance of Power
Much of the post-911 and post-Iraq controversies have been focused on policy actions and excessive executive privilege. The intelligence community
has been caught up in the middle of partisan politics and ends up being the focus of blame in the media, even though it is the government
executive that decide intelligence policy.
Much of the oversight actually done on the intelligence community is done by the intelligence community itself by branches such as NSC and PFIAB.
The oversight that is done in the public domain is done mainly by the FISA courts, which operate in secret and with secret interpretations of the
Surveillance of U.S. citizens overseas must be approved by the Attorney General. Although the procedures for determining who should be
surveilled are classified, Congress knows what they are. The U.S. Patriot Act has raised new concerns over potential abuses.
Budget and Oversight
Although the 9/11 and WMD Commissions recommended a joint intelligence committee combined with authorization programs and appropriation powers,
it didn't happen. The current system ensures that the intelligence community gets a base budget without "micromanagement" and Congress cannot
effectively debate what the intelligence community is doing because they keep their micro-missions secret from the executive.
However, leaks and whistleblowers are helping Congress and most of the most important leaks are coming from retired CIA officials. The problem
with oversight has become a matter of "who do you complain to?" i.e. even raise a concern without getting oneself into serious trouble with
an intelligence community that operates in secret from the government, and a government that is unable to make connections between what you are
saying and what is actually going on.