Hobbes logically argues from the premises of human nature–equal, egotistic, and competitive–to the resultant universal war. However, his controversial solution to escape the state of nature in the form of an absolute sovereign, in combination with Locke’s advocation of an optimistic view of humanity, create dubious impressions of the “Leviathan’s” soundness. Nonetheless, Hobbes’ creation of a social contract will undoubtedly influence many modern political philosophers. Works Cited Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan, edited Edwin Curley.
Each theory offers reasons why state and people behave the way they do when confronted with questions such as power, anarchy, state interests and the cause of war. Realists have a pessimistic view about human nature and they see international relations as driven by a states self preservation and suggest that the primary objective of every state is to promote its national interest and that power is gained through war or the threat of military action. Liberalism on the other hand has an optimistic view about human nature and focuses on democracy and individual rights and that economic independence is achieved through cooperation among states and power is gained through lasting alliances and state interdependence.
A realist would posit that war is linked with human behavior, so wars are naturally occurring phenomena, and also that the system of anarchy resulting from the absence of a higher power leads to a state of war (Lisinkski). So realism offers a rather cynical explanation: we are destined to wage wars, since all politics is a struggle for both power and survival. Wars may be fought either to protect or expand security of... ... middle of paper ... ... but also than any other theory. Its focus on social factors and importance of ideas allows it to address problems that are not even in the scope of other theories. Additionally, the example of liberalism, Christianity, and socialism, among others, prove that ideas and ideologies can really change the world – as was already mentioned, a core belief of constructivism.
Machiavelli reverses the conventional understanding of war as a necessary, but not definitive, element of the development of states, and instead asserts that successful war is the very foundation upon which all states are built. Much of The Prince is devoted to describing exactly what it means to conduct a good war: how to effectively fortify a city, how to treat subjects in newly acquired territories, and how to prevent domestic insurrection that would distract from a successful war. But Machiavelli’s description of war encompasses more than just the direct use of military force, it comprises international diplo... ... middle of paper ... ...oodwill is never absolute. While Machiavelli backs up his political arguments with concrete historical evidence, his statements about society and human nature sometimes have the character of assumptions rather than observations. He concludes that with so many wretched men around virtue is hard to create in oneself.
Each definition has its strengths and weaknesses, but often is the culmination of the writer's broader philosophical positions. For example, the notion that wars only involve states-as Clausewitz implies-belies a strong political theory that assumes politics can only involve states and that war is in some manner or form a reflection of political activity. 'War' defined by Webster's Dictionary is a state of open and declared, hostile armed conflict between states or nations, or a period of such conflict. This captures a particularly political-rationalistic account of war and warfare, i.e., that war needs to be explicitly declared and to be between states to be a war. We find Rousseau arguing this position: "War is constituted by a relation between things, and not between persons…War then is a relation, not between man and man, but between State and State…" (The Social Contract).
The tenet of international relations study is the question of why wars occur. Political theorists have tackled this question with heated debate throughout history and in the post-World War II era the theories of democratic peace and realism have come to the forefront of international relations study. These two theories offer contrasting explanations for the reasons nations fight one another, and also seek to predict the likelihood of future conflict. The democratic peace theory, which concludes that democratic regimes do not go to war with one another as a result of their democratic nature, has attained the status of a law of international relations in some circles (Owen 1994, Doyle 1983). Utilizing an absence of conflict between democratic nations as the basis for the theory, Spiro identifies that proponents of Democratic Peace assert two aspects of the theory (Spiro, 1994).
War is a hard thing to describe. It has benefits that can only be reaped through its respective means. Means that, while necessary, are harsh and unforgiving. William James, the author of “The Moral Equivalent of War”, speaks only of the benefits to be had and not of the horrors and sacrifices found in the turbulent times of war. James bears the title of a pacifist, but he heralds war as a necessity for society to exist.
These contrasts are reflections of each author’s perspective on how war should be waged, the proper use of force, their definitions of the ideal victory and how best to achieve that victory as well as their methodologies, styles, and levels of analysis (Handel, p. 18-19). The understanding of these varying points of view enable us to better appreciate how each man arrives at his own unique solution to the common problem of identifying and overcoming the enemy’s most critical point. Clausewitz’s Approach Clausewitz uses systematic, empirical methods in arriving at his concept of the center of gravity being the critical strategic objective. This approach is both a product of his era, the age of enlightenment, where scientific thought was beginning to exert its primacy, as well as his view of war and how it should be waged. To Clausewitz war is armed conflict.
The development of mankind as a selfish being living in a state of war and violently attempting to obtain equality naturally lead Hobbes to conclude that an authoritative power is needed to instill order to chaos. On the other side of the spectrum, Lock molds the state of nature to be a state of peace, and attributing men to Reasonable creatures and consequently creates a representative government where the people hold sovereign power. Essentially, these theories seem are a result of a pessimistic and optimistic framing of nature and humanity.
War is a “continuation of political intercourse, carried on with other means.” Clausewitz is an advocate of total war and the annihilation of the enemy. This view holds firm to as realist believe the ultimate importance is power, national survival, and interest of the state. Morality is a “self-imposed, imperceptible limitation hardly worth mentioning…moral force has no existence save as expressed in the state and the law.” The ends and means of strategy do not always need to consider moral or ethical factors. The conflict of morality and strategy can change because of modifying political objectives. For example, the US strategy in its wars with the Indians shifted from an objective to move the Indian tribes to different lands west of the Mississippi to a strategy of annihilation.