lördag 13 oktober 2012

The occurrence of war

Within the discourse of occurrence of wars there are a different range of opinions. Kenneth Waltz who is a neorealist has illustrated this very well in his three images. The images are supposed to help us understand why wars occur. Human behaviour, states as unitary actors and the international anarchy. Now, I would like to discuss this because Waltz refers to the cold war when explaining the occurence of war. For example, one strong point that he holds is that states are less likely to go to war if the international system is bipolar, meaning that we have two great powers possessing nuclear weapons - a balance of power structure. Referring to the cold war as an example for a stable peace strikes me as surprising. Yes, there were no big scale wars that emerged during the cold war, but there definitely was always a threat of the usage of nuclear weapons. Waltz's argument to this is that if both great powers possess nuclear weapons then they will always fear each other - that is where the balance of power structure comes in. But that cannot be the best solution - always operating in fear of each other. Some points of Waltz is accurate but he does certainly not have a fully reasonable solution for a stable peace or perpetual peace, of course no theory can be fully solving problems. His three images are to some extent true. States do tend to act in terms of self-interest using liberal values in order to maintain their interests. Maybe there is some truth to his theory about states acting within the international anarchic system, since there is no overall judicial system that can prosecute states. But we have non governmental organizations, there is the UN operating. So there are organizations that work together in order to secure for example human rights and regulate states behaviours in order to secure them. I think a mixture of neorealist views and neoliberal views could explain phenomena's such as the occurrence of war.