The changing character of organized violence

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1 The changing character of organized violence

2 The presumption of rationality in war is a powerful one: strategy in a game War plans and schemes are often prepared years or decades in advance against different enemies Weapons systems take years to design, develop & deploy and technological change in very rapid Strategists try to game alternative conflicts, based on opponents capabilities, plans, motivations Deterrence is at once both about war prevention and fighting in the event deterrence fails But once war begins, all bets are off: contingency and the fog of war (Clausewitz) come to govern action Consider both Iraq and Afghanistan

3 In preparing for war, and in a war, the state seeks to control the game and the outcome This is the arena of game theory : what constitutes the best strategy for winning the game The game consists of trying to get your opponent to back down and yield If you go to war, both lose the game or, rather, a new game begins But compromise could be the best solution Hence, playing the security dilemma is a calculated effort to best your opponent

4 Prisoner s Dilemma (1 = best outcome; 4 = worst outcome) A remains silent A talks B remains silent B talks No conviction, both walk free (1,1) B cops a plea (1 yr.), A gets the slammer (5 yrs.) (4,1) A cops a plea (1 yr.), B gets the slammer (5 yrs.) (1,4) Both rat on each other and each gets 3 years (3,3)

5 Chicken (1 = best outcome; 4 = worst outcome) A is not a chicken A is a chicken B is not a chicken Both A & B crash and die (4,4) A jumps out, B dies (2,1) B is a chicken B jumps out, A dies (1,2) Both jump out, both are chicken (3,3)

6 Controlling the game also means controlling your men and materiel--difficult Long ago, armies were usually mobilized when wars seemed imminent, and soldiers in the field had to fend for themselves Assembling armies was not always easy, and soldiers looking for food and shelter might disappear Standing armies required reliable supplies, housing, weaponry, as well as training to maintain discipline Men were trained to bond with their comrades so as to fight as a collective and protect each other But this bonding could not become too strong, for it might go beyond mere comradeship

7 This is the problem addressed by Joanna Burke In the trenches, one must go against biology and be ready for sacrifice for those who are not kin Close bonding risks becoming erotic, especially under conditions of close housing and social isolation Sexual energies must be channeled and controlled so as to lead to sacrifice but not erotic love Sexual tensions were built up in order to channel them into battle Armies & navies might tolerate secret homo-eroticism but could never accept it in public In co-ed armies, no fraternization is allowed, although off-base sex for men is often encouraged

8 Is the nature of war changing? Incidence of war among states is declining Incidence of war within states is growing Military technologies are extremely destructive and getting more so (WMD) The costs of war are rapidly increasing What is interstate? What about rogue states? What about terrorism?

9 Normative force of law and practice matter Sovereignty and non-intervention are primary values among states these and other norms construct stateness International borders are fixed except in the case of referendum Crossing borders in the absence of a justified provocation is frowned upon and may be opposed by force Hence, the material benefits of offensive war may not be worth the political costs We can find support for this (invasion of Kuwait) as well as contrary evidence (threats to attack Iran).

10 What about organized intrastate violence? Have the numbers really increased since the end of the Cold War, or are these wars simply more visible than in the past? There may be as many as 30 such wars currently underway, depending on how you count Civil wars Secessionist wars Resource wars Ethnic conflicts Power struggles Class warfare Insurgencies 1. Loss of CW containment 2. Ancient hatreds 3. Ethnic incompatibilities 4. Struggles for resources 5. Wars of liberalization 6. Loss of power and status

11 Why might intrastate war be more common? Increased knowledge about means of destruction Greater access to economic resources & technology Patterns and practices provide models Incentive structures to wage war have changed Control and domination of society offers political & economic benefits Changes in political and economic conditions tend to alter social structures & threaten power relations Dominant groups may wage war on subordinate groups Subordinate groups may launch attacks on dominant groups Neighbors become enemies & social warfare is the consequence

12 Number of Degrees Is the capability to make war greater? 1,400,000 1,200,000 1,000, , , , ,000 0 U.S. Science & Engineering Degrees, Figure 3: U.S. Biology Degrees, BS MS PhD An even more important gauge of the ability of nonstate actors to build and use weapons of mass destruction is the increasing level of knowledge available even in high school science courses, not to mention undergraduate or graduate level courses, as well as the sophistication of the laboratory and analytical tools, from computers to laboratory-scale fermentation equipment, that are now routinely available. Number of Degrees 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0 BS MS PhD Richard A. Falkenrath, Robert D. Newman, and Bradley A. Thayer, America s Achilles Heel Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Terrorism and Covert Attack (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1998):

13 Elite manipulation seems to play a major role in the generation of disorder Economic and political elites can take special advantage of access to power and resources to increase their status Changes in political and economic conditions, via capitalism and democratization result in shifts in wealth, influence and control Formerly subordinate groups may benefit from these changes and acquire increased income and recognition Elites can cultivate popular resentment of such shifts through rhetoric, violence, war and even genocide Serbian wars in Yugoslavia 1990s Genocide by Hutu in Rwanda--1994

14 Georgii Derluguian offers a more sociological account of such elite wars Every society is organized hierarchically around classes and social groups Social instability arises when this organization comes under stress and threat At that point, both protection and opportunity begin to materialize, and elite structures begin to fragment Depending on circumstances, mass mobilization may follow and violence can break out Or, it might not

15 What about terrorism & GWOT? Open literature offers as many as 100 different definitions of terrorism Terrorism is the weapon of the weak against the powerful: asymmetric war But it is not purposeless: it is a tactic in a political program directed against the powerful Question: is counter-terrorism then a matter of Organized war against groups and individuals and how can they be identified? Police work in order to discover potential plots and threats before they occur, or prevent new ones from happening? Organized war can have the effect of exacerbating source conditions and increasing numbers of disaffected individuals At what point does war against specific groups become war against ideas, arguments, capacities, etc.?

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