Hassners dialectics is aimed at capturing the nature

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Unformatted text preview: lean towards inaction on the other. In his (2000) paper, Hassner focuses on the changing nature of war in Western society. Modern war seems to evolve along a continuum from a war between two opposing nation-states, through civil or stateinternal wars resulting from ethnic or religious conflicts, and military interventions launched to stop these state-internal wars, to military and policing actions aimed at international organizations, such as a mafia or ter- Chapter III 82 rorism. Hassner quotes Lenin’s reformulation of Clausewitz’s maxim “Politics is a way to conduct war by other means”, as an apt summary of the war-dominated 20th century. Eventually, he suggests his own revision of the war analysis by an introduction of two dynamic elements into the war paradigm. The first element is the bourgeois barbarian dialectics. It is designed to replace the Hegelian dialectics of the master and slave and the Aronian dialectics of soldier and diplomat. The Hegelian opposition was seen as the driving force behind the wars in feudal society where the master’s desire to subdue and control the slave and the slave’s drive to freedom through an overthrowing and subduing of the master remained in conflict with each other. The Aronian dichotomy between the soldier and the diplomat referred to a conventional war between nation-states, where the periods of peace and war could be related to the alternation between the increased activity or exhaustion and failure of the diplomat and the soldier. Hassner’s dialectics is aimed at capturing the nature of war in the era marked by the decline of nation-state wars and, what follows, of the nation-states themselves; in an era where the self-destruction of the whole of humanity can result from nuclear war; finally, in the era of terrorism, which can hardly be analysed within a conventional war paradigm. A nuclear strike is the epitome of bourgeois war, as the ultimate example of the concept of war based on technological supremacy. This is what Luttwak (1996) calls a post-heroic military policy, i.e. a strategy that only the best economically and technologically developed countries can afford, i.e. the United States. The employment of the so-called intelligent weapons and superiority in information and communication systems renders the enemy army paralysed and unable to retaliate, simultaneously reducing the American casualties, as well as the civilian casualties and even the enemy military casualties. This is a style of warfare characteristic of a society which displays an aversion to risk and violence and values the economy and technology.4 4 This claim of Hassner may be brought into question, especially if we compare it with Roxborough’s observation about American arrogance. Especially that the considerable publicity the ‘intelligent weapons’ and the ‘surgical strikes’ receive, provokes instant criticism, when there are civilian casualties. The number of casualties is then not compared to the potential casualties of traditional weapons, but to the heightened expectations aroused by the media. The concept of ‘war’ in the humanities 83 Terrorism represents a complete contradiction o...
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