Waltz.Man the State and War

Waltz.Man the State and War - A THEORETICAL ANAL YSIS By...

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Unformatted text preview: A THEORETICAL ANAL YSIS By Kenneth N. Waltz: COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS .New York 1959 CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION ASKING who won a given war, someone has said, is like asking who won. the San Francisco earthquake. That in wars there is no victory but only varying degrees of defeat is a proposition that has gained increasing acceptance in the twentieth century. But are wars also akin to earth- quakes in being natural occurrences whose controi or elimination is beyond the wit of man? Few would admit that they are, yet attempts to eliminate war, however nobly inspired and assiduously pursued, have brought little more than fleeting moments of peace among states. There is an apparent disproportion between effort and product, be tween desire and result. The peace wish, we are told, runs strong and deep among the Russian people; and we are convinced that the same can be said of Americans. From these statements there is some comfort to be derived, but in the light of history and of current events as Well it is difficult to believe that the wish wili father the condi— tion desired. . ' Social scientists, realizing from their studies how firmly the present is tied to the past and how intimately the parts of a system depend upon each other, are inclined to be conservative in estimating the possibilities of achieving a radically better world. If one asks whether we can now have peace where in the past there has been war, the answers are most often pessimistic. Perhaps this is the wrong question. 'And indeed the answers will be some- what less discouraging if instead the following questions are put: Are there ways of decreasing the incidence of war, of increasing the chances of peace? Can we have peace more often in the future than in the past? 2 I _ ' Introduction Peace is one among a number of ends simultaneously entertained. The means by which peace can be sought are many. The end is pursued and the means are applied under varying conditions. Even though one may find it hard to believe that there are ways to peace not yet tried by statesmen or advocated by publicists, the very complex- ity of the problem suggests the possibility of combining activities in different ways in the hope that some com— bination will lead us closer to the goal. Is one then led to conclude that the wisdom of the statesman lies in trying first one policy and then another, in doing what the mo- ment seems to require? An afiirmative reply would sug~ gest that the hope for improvement liesin policy divorced from analysis, in action removed frorn thought. Yet each attempt to alleviate a condition implies some idea of its causes: to explain how peace can be more readily achieved requires an understanding of the causes of war. 1 It is such an understanding that we shall seek in the following pages. To borrow the title of a book by Mortimer Adler, our subject is “How to Think about War and Peace.” The chapters that follow are, in a sense, essays in political thew ory. This description is justified partly by the mode of inquiry—mwe proceed by examining aSSumptions and ask- ing repeatedly what (inferences they make—41nd partly by the fact that we consider a number of political philoso- phers directly, sometimes in circumscribed fashion, as with St. Augustine, Machiavelli, Spinoza, and Kant, and some- times at length, as with ROusseau. In other places we shall concentrate on a type of thought, as in the chapters on behavioral scientists, liberals, and socialists. But what is the relevance of the thoughts of? others, many of them living Ear in the past, to the pressing and awful problems of the present? The rest of the book is an answer to this question, but it is well at the outset to indicate the lines along which we shall proceed. Introduction ' 3 Why does God, if he is all—knowing and all~powerful, permit the existence of evil? So asks the simple Huron in Voltaire's tale, and thereby confounds the learned men of the ciiurch. The theodicy problem in its Secular version —rnan’s explanation to himself of the existence of. eviiw is as intriguing and as perplexing. Disease and pestilence, bigotry and rape, theft and murder, pillageand war, ap~ pear as constants in world history. Why is this 50? Can one explain war and malevolence in the same way? Is war simply mass malevolence, and thus an explanation of malevolence an explanation of the evils to which men in society are prey? Many have thought so. For though it were granted us by divine indulgence to be exempt from all that can be harmful to us from without [writes John Mil- ‘ ton], yet the perverseness of our folly is so bent, that we should never cease hammering out of our own hearts, as it were out of a flint, the seeds and sparkles of new misery to ourselves, till all were in a blaze again.1 Our miseries are ineluctably the product of our natures. The root oi": all evil is man, and thus he is himself the root of. the specific evil, war. This estimate of cause, wide- spread and firmly held by many as an article of faith, has been immensely influential. it is the conviction of St. Augustine and Luther, of Malthus and Jonathan Swift, of Dean Inge and Reinhold Niebuhr. In secular terms, with men defined as "beings of intermixed reason and passion in whom passion repeatedly triumphs, the belief has in» formed the philosophy, including the political philoso-i phy, of Spinoza. One might argue that it was as influen- tial in the activities of Bismarck, with his low opinion of his fellow man, as 'it‘ was in the rigorous and austere writings of Spinoza. If one's beliefs condition his expeo rations and his expectations condition his acts, acceptance or rejection of Milton’s statement becomes important in 1 Milton, “The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce,” in Works, 111, 180. 4 Introduction the affairs of men. And, of course, Milton might be right even if no one believed him. If so, attempts to ex— piain the recurrence of war in terms of, let us say, eco— nomic factors, might stiil be interesting games, but they would be games of little consequence. If it is true, as Dean Swift once said, that “the very same principle that ' influences a bully to break the windows of a whore who has jilted him, naturally stirs up a great prince to raise mighty armies, and dream of nothing but sieges, battles, and victories," 2 then the reasons given by princes for the wars they have waged are mere rationalizations covering a motivation they may not themselves have perceived and could not afford. to state openly if they had. It would follow as well that the schemes of the statesman Sully, if seriously intended to produce a greater peace in the world, were as idle as the dreams of the French monk Croce—— idle, that is, unless one can strike at the roots, the pride and petulance that have produced the wars as they have the other ills that plague mankind. There are many who have agreed with Milton that men must look to man in order to understand social and politi— cai events, but who differ on what man’s nature is, or can become. There are many others who, in effect, quarrel with the major premise. Does man make society in his image or does his society make him? It was to be ex- pected, in a time when philosophy was little more than a branch of theology, that the theologian-philOsophers would attribute to human agency what many philosophers before and since have described as the effects of the polity itselE. Rousseau, among many who could be mentioned, makes a clean break with the view that, man being a social animal, one can explain his behavior in society by pointing to his animal passion and/or his human reason. Man is born and in his natural condition remains neither good nor ZSwiEt, d Tale of a Tub. Introduction _ 5 bad. It is society that is the degrading force in men's lives, but it is the moraiizing agency as well. And this latter effect Rousseau was unwilling to surrender even had he thought it possible for men to retreat to the state of nature. This is his position, consistently reflected in his various works, though the myth persists that he believed the savage nobie and iamented the advent of society.3 Man’s behavior, his very nature, which some have taken as cause, is, according to Rousseau, in great part a product of the society in which he lives. And society, he avers, is inseparable from political organization. In the absence of an organized power, which as a minimum must serve as the adjudicating authority, it is impossible for men to live together with even a modicum of peace. The study of so- ciety cannot be separated from the study of: government, or the study of man from either. Rousseau, iike Plato, believes that a bad polity makes men had, and a good poL ity makes them good. This is not to say that the state is the potter and man a lump of clay posing no resistance to the shape the artist would impart. There are, as Rous— seau recognized, similarities among men wherever they may live. There are also differences, and the search for causes is an attempt to explain these differences. The'ex- planation of consquence~whether one is worried abOut the recurrence of theft or of war—is to be found in study— ing the varying social relations of men, and this in turn requires the study of politics. ‘ Can man in society best be understood by studying man or by studying society? The most satisfactory reply would seem to be given by striking the word “or” and answer- ing “both.” But where one begins his explanation of events makes a difference. The Reverend Thomas Mal— thus once wrote that, “though human institutions appear to be the obvious and obtrusive causes of much mischief 3For further discussion of Rousseau, see ch. vi, below. 6 Introduction to mankind; yet, in reality, they are light and superficial, they are mere feathers that float on the surface, in comw parison with those deeper seated causes of impurity that corrupt the springs, and render turbid the whole stream of human life.” Rousseau louked at the same world, the Same range of events, but found the lows of major causes in a different ambit. ' Following Rousseau’s lead in turn raises questions. As men live in states, so states exist in a world of states. If we now confine our attention to the question of why wars occur, shail we emphasize the role of the state, with its social and mono-mic content as well as its political form, or shall we concentrate primarily on what is sometimes called the society of states? Again one may say strike the word “or” and worry about both, but many have empha- sized either the first or the second, which helps to explain the discrepant conclusions reached. ThoSe who emphasize the first in a sense run parallel to Milton. He expiains the ills of the world by the evil in man; they expiain the great ill of war by the evil qualities of some or of: all states. The statement is then often reversed: If bad states make wars, good states would live at peace with one another. With varying degrees of justification this View canlbe at- tributed to Plato and Kant, to nineteenth—century l1berais and revisionist socialists. They agree on the principle in- volved, though they differ in their deseriptions of good states as well as on the problem of bringing about their existence. Where Marxists throw the liberals’ picture of the world into partial eciipse, others blot it out entirely._ Rousseau himself finds the major causes of war neither in men not in states but in the state system itself. Of men in a state of'nature, he had pointed out that one man cannot begin 4 Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population, pp. 47-48 (ch. x of the 1798 ed). Introduction 7 to behave decently uniess he has some assurance that others will not be able to ruin him. This thought Rous- seau develops and applies to states existing in a condition of anarchy in his fragmentary essay on “The State of War” and in his commentaries on the works of the Abbe cle SainePierre. Though a state may want to remain at peace, it may have to consider undertaking a preventive war; for if it does not strike when the moment is favor- able it may be struck later when the advantage has shifted to the other side. This view forms the analytic basis for many balanced-power approaches to international rela« tions and for the world—federalist program as well. Im- plicit in Thucydides and Alexander Hamiiton, made eX~ plicit by Machiavelii, Hobbes, and Rousseau, it is at once a generalized explanation of states’ behavior and a critical point d’ejapui against those who took to the internal struc- ture of states to explain their external behavior. While some believe that peace will foilow from the improvement of states, others assert that what the state will be like de- pends on its relation to others. The latter thesis Leopold Ranke derived from, or applied to, the history of the states of modern Europe. It has been used to explain the in-ten nal ordering oE other states as weil.5 I Statesmen, as weil as philosophers and historians, have attempted to account for the behavior of states in peace and in war. Woodrow Wilson, in the draft of a note writ- ten in November of 1916, remarked that the causes of the war then being fought were obscure, that neutral nations did not know why it had begun and, if drawn in, Would not know for what ends they would be fightingfi But often to act we must convince ourselves that we do know fiRanke, "The Great Fowers,” tr. H. H. Von Lane, in Theodore H. Von Laue, Leopold Ranke. And see, e.g., Home, Roman Political In- stitutions, tr. Dobie, especially pp. 146. 364—69. 6Link, Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Em, p. 25711. 8 Introduction the answers to such questions. Wilson, to his own satis- faction, soon did. He appears in history as one of the many who, drawing a sharp distinction between peaceful and aggressive states, have assigned to democracies all the attributes of the first, to authoritarian states all the attri- butes of the second. To an extent that varies with the author considered, the incidence of war is then thought to depend upon the type of national government. Thus Cobden in a speech at Leeds in December of 1849: - Where do we look for the black gathering cloud oE war? Where do we see it rising? 'Why, from the despotism of the north, where one man wields the destinies oi 40,000,000 0E serfs, If we want to know where is the second danger of war and disturbance, it is in that province of Russian—that miserable and degraded country, Austria— next in the stage of despotism and harbarism, and there you see again the greatest danger of war; but in proportion as you find the population governing themselves—415 in England, in France, or in America~there you will find that war is not the disposition of the people, and that if Government desire it, the people would put a check upon it.’l ‘ The constant interest of the people is in peace; no gov~ ernme‘nt controlled by the people will fight unless set upon. But only a few years later, England, though not set upon, did fight against Russia; and Cobden lost his seat in 1857 as a result of: his opposition to the war. The experience is shattering, but not fatal to the belief; for it relives in the words of Wilson, for example, and again in those of the late Senator Robert Taft. In the manner of Cobden but in the year l951, Taft writes: “History shows that when the people have the opportunity to speak they as a rule decide for peace if possible. It shows that arbi— trary rulers are more inclined to favor war than are the people at any time.” 8 Is it true, one wonders, that there is a uniquely peaceful form of the state? - If it were true, 7 Cohden, Speeches, ed. Bright and Rogers, 1, 432—33. 8 Robert A. Taft, A Foreign Policy for Americans, 19. 23. Introduction 9 how much would it matter? Would it enable some states to know which other states they could trust? Should the states that are already good seek ways of making other states better, and thus make it possible for all men to en- }:oy the pleasures of peace? Wilson believed it morally imperative to aid in the political regeneration of others; Cobden thought it not even justifiable. Agreeing on where the causes are tobe found, they differ in their policy conclusions. lint what of those who incline to a different estimate of major causes? “Now people," President Dwight Eisen- hower has said, “don’t want conflict—people in general. It is only, I think, mistaken leaders that grow too bellig- erent and believe that people really want to fight.” 9 Though apparently not all people want peace badly enough, for, on a different occasion, he had this to say: “If the mothers in every land could teach their children to understand the homes and hopes of children in every other land—4n America, in Europe, in the Near East, in Asiam the cause of peace in the world would indeed be nobly served.” 10 Here the President seems to agree with Milton on where cause is to be found, but without Milton’s pessi» mismmor realism, depending on one’s preconceptions. Aggressive tendencies: may be inherent, but is their mis- dlrectlon inevitable? War begins in the minds and emo— trons of men, as all acts do; but can minds and emotions be changed? And, if one agrees that they can be, how much and how fast can whose minds and feelings be changed? And, if other factors are relevant as well, how much difference would the changes make? The answers to these questions and to those of the preceding paragraph 9Quoted by Robert I Donovan “Eisenh ' n ' _ . , outer Will Cable ' Secret Geigeva Reports, in New York Herald Tribune, July 13, 1955, p. l. w Eisenhower, address to a meeting of the National Council 0E Catholic omen. Text 111 New York Times, November 9, WM, 13. 14. ‘3’ it a 10 Introduction are not obvious, but they are important. How can they best be sought? ' Some would suggest taking possible answers as hypothe- ses to be investigated and tested empirically. This is difficult. Most English liberals at the time of the First World War argued, as did Wilson, that the militarist and authoritarian character of the German state prompted Germany to seek the war that soon spread to most of the world. At the same time some liberals, most notably-G. Lowes Dickinson, argued that no single state could be held guilty. Only by understanding the international system, or lack of system. by which the leaders of states were often forced to act with slight regard for conventional morality, could one understand and justly assess the processes by which the war was produced.11 Dickinson was blasted by liberals and socialists alike for reversing the dominant in- side-out explanation. Acceptance or rejection of expiana tOry theses in matters such as this most often depends on the skill of the pleaders and the mood of the audience. These are obviously not fit criteria, yet it would be foolish to argue that simply by taking a more intensive loolt at the data a compelling case could be built for one or the other explanatory theory. Staring at the same set oi data, , the parties to the debate came to sharply different conclu- sions, for the images they entertained led them to select and interpret the data in different ways. In order to make sense of the liberals’ hypothesis we need somehow to ac- quire an idea oi the interrelation of many possibly rele- vant faCtors, and these interrelations are not given in the data we study. We establish or, rather, assert them our- selves. To say “establish” would be dangerous; for, whether or not we label them as such, we cannot escape from philosophic assumptions. The idea we entertain becomes a filter through which we pass our data. If the 11 Dickinson, The European Anarchy, passim. Introduction 11 data are selected carefully, they will pass like milk through cheesecloth. The recalcitrance of the data may cause us to change one filter for another, to modify or scrap the theory we hold—or it may produce ever more ingenious selection and interpretation of data, as has happened with many Marxists trying to salvage the thesis that with the development of capitalism the masses become increasingly impoverished. If empirical investigations vary in incidence and in re- sult with the ideas the empiricists entertain, it is worth ask- ing ourselves if the ideas themselves can be subjected to scrutiny. Obviously they can be. The study of politics is distinguished from other socialistudies by concentration upon the institutions and processes of government. This liocuses the politicai scientists’ concern without constitut-' ing a self—denying ordinance against the use of materials and techniques of other social scientists.12 On the latter point there is no difficulty for the student of interna- tional relations; there is considerable difficulty on the for» met, for international relations are characterized by the absence of truly governmental institutions, which in turn gives a radically different twist to the relevant processes. Yet there is a large and important sense in which tradi- tional political philosophy, concentrating as it does upon domestic politics, is relevant for the student of interna— tional relations. Peace, it is often said, is the problem of the twentieth century. it is also one of the continuing concerns of political philosOphers. In times of relativ: quiescence the question rnen put is likely to be: What good life without justice and freedom? Better to die than live a slave. In times of domestic troubles, of hunger and civil war, of pressing insecurity, however, many will 12 Cf. David B. Truman, "The Impact on Political Science of the Revolution in the Behavioral Sciences "' i ' ' i . , n Earle t . ' ' ‘ m Politics and Government, pp. 202—5”. Y e at, Research Emma” 12 Introduction ask: Of what use is freedom without a power s‘uflictent .tio establish and maintain conditions of security? That it e takes priority over justice and Ereedo-m 15 talten to be a self-evident truth by St. Augustine and Luther, by Machia- velli, Bodin, and Hobbes. If the alternative to tyranny is chaos and if chaos means a war of all against all, then the” willingness to endure tyranny becomes understandable. In the absence of order there can be no enyoyment oi lib~ erty. The problem of identifying and achieving the ditions of peace, a problem that plagues man and bedevi s the student of international relations, has, especmlly in periods of crisis, bedeviled political philosophers as well. R. G. Collingwood once suggested that the best way to understand the writings of philosophers is to seek out the questions they were attempting to answer. It is here sug~ gested that. the best way to examine the problems of 111116: national. political theory is to pose central'question an identify the answers that can be given to it. One may seek in political philosophy answers to the question. Where are the major causes oi war to be found? The ' ' ' ' " 'ircon- answers are bewrldering in the1r variety and in the _ tradictory qualities. To make this variety manageable, the answers can be ordered under the followtng three head ings-r. within man, within the structure of? the separate states, within the state system. The basrs of this ordering, as well as its relevance in the world of affairs, is suggested in the preceding pages. These three estimates of cans: will subsequently be referred to as images of internationa relations, numbered in the order given, With each’image defined according to where one locates the nexus of impor- tant causes. ' l’revious comments indicate that the views comprised by any one image may in some senses be as contradictory as are the different images inter so. The argument that war is inevitable because men are irrevocably bad, and the an Introduction I 13 gument that wars can be ended because men can be changed, are contradictory; but since in each of them indi- viduals are taken to be the locus of cause, both are in- cluded in the first image. Similarly, acceptance of a third- image analysis may lead to the false optimism of the world federalists or to the often falsely defined pessimism of a Realpolitik position. Since in all respects but one there may be variety of opinion within images and since pre- scription is related to goal as well as to analysis, there is no one prescription for each image. There are, however, in relation to each imagemgoal pairing, logical and illogical prescriptions. One can say that a prescription is wrong if he can show that following it does not bring about the predicted result. But can one ever show that a prescription was actually followed? One often hears statements like this: "The League of Nations didn’t fail; it was never tried.” And such statements are irrefutable. But even if empirical disproof were possible, the problem of proving a prescrip- tion valid would remain to be solved. A patient who in one period of illness tries ten different medications may wonder just which pill produced the cure. The appor- tioning of credit is often more difficult than the assigning of blame. If a historical study were to show that in coun- try A increases in national prOSperity always followed in— creases in tariffs, to some observers this might seem to prove that high tariffs are a cause of prosperity; to others, that both of these factors are dependent on a third; and to still others, nothing at all. The empirical approach, though necessary, is not sufficient. The correlation of events means nothing, or at least should not be taken to mean anything, apart from the analysis that aCcompa- rues it. If there is no empirical solution to the problem of pre— scription verification, what solution is there? Prescrip- 1 4 Introduction tion is logically impossible apart from analysis. Every prescription for greater peace in the world is then related to one of our three images of international relations, or to some combination of them. An understanding; of the ana- lytical terms of each of the images will open up two addi» tional possibilities for accepting or rejecting prescriptions. (l) A prescription based on a faulty analysis would be un- likely to produce the desired consequences. The assump- tion that'to improve men in a prescribed way will serve to promote peace rests on the further assumption that in some form the first image of international relations is valid. The latter assumption should be examined before the for» mer is made. (2) A prescription would be unacceptable if it were not logically related to its analysis. One who suffers from infected tonsils profits little from a skillfully performed appendectomy. li‘ violence among states is caused by the evilness of man, to aim at the internal re— form of states will not do much good. And if violence among states is the product of international'anarchy, to aim at the conversion of individuals can. accomplish little. One man’s prognosis confounds the other man’s prescrip- tion. if the validity of the images themselves can be as certained, the critical relating of prescription to image be- comes a check on the validity of prescriptions. There is, however, an additional complicating factor. Some com~ bination of our three images, rather than any one of. them, may be required for an accurate understanding-of inter- national relations. VVe may not be in a situation where one can consider just the patien-t’s tonsils or his appendix. Both may be infected but removing either may kill the patient. In other words, understanding the likely conse- quences of any one cause may depend on understanding its relation to other causes. The possible interrelation of causes makes the problem of estimating the merit of various prescriptions more difficult still. Introduction 15 What are the criteria of merit? Suppose we consider again the person who argues that “bad” states produce war, that “good” states would live peacefully together, that therefore we must bring states into accord with a pre- scribed pattern. To estimate the merit of such a series of propositions requires asking the following questions: (1) Can the final proposition be implemented, and if so, how? (2) Is there a logical relation between prescription and Image? In other words, does the prescription attack the assigned causes? (3) Is the image adequate, or has the analyst simply seized upon the most spectacular cause or the one he thinks most susceptible to manipulation and ignored other causes of equal or greater importance? (4-) How will attempts to fill the prescription affect other goals? This last question is necessary since peace is not the only goal of even the most peacefully inclined men or states. One may, for example, believe that world government and perpetual peace are synonymous, but one may also be con- vmced that a world state would be a world tyranny and therefore prefer a system of: nation-states with a perpetual danger. of war to a world state with a promise of perpetual peace. ' . We shall. try to facilitate the answering of. the questions just raised, first by a critical consideration of each image and then by a consideration of the interrelation of images. 0i? what follows, Chapters ILiV, and VI give a basic ex» plication of the first, second, and third images, respec— tively, largely in terms of traditional political phiIOSOphy. Chapters III, V, and VII further illustrate and exemplify each of the images in turn. Chapter VIII serves both as a brief essay on the interrelation of images and as a con- clusron. ...
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Waltz.Man the State and War - A THEORETICAL ANAL YSIS By...

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