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DANGEROUS TIMES?

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DANGEROUS TIMES? The International Politics of Great Power Peace C H R I S TO P H E R J . F E T T W E I S

GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY PRESS Washington, D.C.

Georgetown University Press, Washington, D.C. www.press.georgetown.edu © 2010 by Georgetown University Press. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Fettweis, Christopher J. Dangerous times? : the international politics of great power peace / by Christopher J. Fettweis. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-58901-710-8 (hardcover : alk. paper) 1. Peace. 2. War. 3. Great powers. 4. World politics—21st century. 5. International relations. 6. Angell, Norman, Sir, 1874–1967. I. Title. JZ5538.F48 2010 327.1'72—dc22 2010007865 o This book is printed on acid-free paper meeting the requirements of the American National Standard for Permanence in Paper for Printed Library Materials. 15 14 13 12 11 10 09 First printing

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

Printed in the United States of America

For my mom and dad, Robert and Kathleen

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Contents List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction: Anxiety, Danger and the Ghost of Norman Angell

viii ix 1

Part One Theory

1

Explaining Behavioral Change: Why Norms Evolve

19

2

From Opium to Obsolescence: The Norms of War

37

Part Two Evidence

3

On Predicting International Affairs

57

4

Evaluating the Crystal Balls

83

5

Resource Wars? The Three Stages of Petroleum Politics

110

Part Three Implications

6

Theory and Great Power Peace

135

7

Grand Strategy and Great Power Peace

154

8

Foreign Policy and Great Power Peace: Restraint in Practice

183

Conclusion: Angell, Honor, and the Proliferation of Peace Bibliography Index

215 225 263

Illustrations Tables 3.1 Key Points of the Visions

78

4.1 Post–Cold War Military Spending, Selected Countries

88

4.2 2008 Gross Domestic Product for Selected Countries, $US Trillions (% of U.S.)

89

4.3 Post–Cold War Military Spending as Percent of Gross Domestic Product

91

4.4 Nuclear Weapons States, 1989 and 2009

102

8.1 Surge Capacity of the United States, 1939–45

197

8.2 The British Military, 2007

208

Figures 1.1 From Science to Economics to State Behavior

27

7.1 The Basic Logic of Grand Strategy

159

7.2 Spectrum of Intervention

160

Acknowledgments to take longer than they have any right to, and they involve small armies of helpers. The list of people who provided me with helpful guidance and comments along the way, sometimes unknowingly, includes George Quester, Virginia Haufler, Mac Destler, Dennis Pirages, Warren Phillips, Ted Gurr, Adm. William Crowe, Michael Nacht, Ivo Daalder, Karen Dawisha, Kevin McGrath, David Clinton, Jeff Stacey, Derek Reveron, Andy Stigler, Dave Burbach, Terry Roehrig, Paul Smith, Tom Fedyszyn, Rick Norton, Joan JohnsonFreese, Peter Burns, Donald Sylvan, Ted Hopf, Maria Fanis, and Dominic Tierney. My thanks go to each. It is a pity that convention does not allow me to blame them for my errors and oversights. Most of all, my sincere thanks go to John Mueller, America’s most important living intellectual. If this book introduces his ideas to anyone who had not known of them before, then the toil will have been worthwhile. And special thanks go to the best political scientist I have ever married, J. Celeste Lay, without whom none of this would matter; and our daughter Lucy, without whom the whole thing would certainly have been completed much more quickly. ACADEMIC BOOKS TEND

Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the same coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors. Thomas Jefferson

Introduction Anxiety, Danger, and the Ghost of Norman Angell

The difficulty lies not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones. John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

twenty-first century bring? For many people, catastrophic terrorist attacks and prolonged guerrilla quagmires are chilling visions of things to come. Official signals, like omnipresent color-coded threat warnings and mystifying orders to stockpile duct tape and plastic sheeting, add to overall levels of anxiety. Six in ten Americans apparently think that a world war is “likely to occur” in their lifetime; others, including influential politicians and pundits, believe that one has already begun.1 Little wonder, then, that overwhelming majorities of people from all walks of life harbor the impression that the world is a far more chaotic, frightening, and ultimately more dangerous place than it was during the “simpler” times that came before.2 Pessimism dominates the academy as well. Senior scholars tell us that we will “soon miss the Cold War,” and that multipolarity and renewed great power rivalry are right around the corner.3 Global warming is likely to lead to one environmental catastrophe after another, which will spark resource competition and conflict galore. Civilizations will clash. Anarchy will come. Visions of the future are of tremendous importance for international relations, since all political choices are based on some perception of what is to come. Leaders face complex problems on a daily basis and must sort through a dizzying array of options and arguments as they go through the decision-making process. To bring order out of chaos, they often rely upon some combination of their instincts and experiences, shaped by historical analogy, metaphor, and deeply held (if sometimes nearly subconscious) theoretical frameworks to help construct a set of options and then forecast the outcomes that would probably follow each. Political decisions are therefore almost always based upon implicit predictions of future events.

WHAT HORRORS WILL THE

2

Introduction

If, for example, one believed that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime was likely to produce a healthy, market-oriented democracy—a Japan—in five years, a nation that would present a shining example of American values for the region and that would decrease anti-Western hostility in the Arab world, the choice to go to war would have been an easy one to make. If, on the other hand, one believed that war in Iraq would create an untenable situation, a festering wound of a guerrilla war that would fan the flames of fundamentalism, who in their right mind would have lent support to it? The vision of a post- Saddam future that President Bush held was crucial to the decision-making process that took place in the lead-up to the war. One of the most important contributions that the academic study of international relations can make to society is to provide not only frameworks for the interpretation of events but also reasonable expectations of what the future is likely to bring. The public and policymakers alike seem to pay more attention to political scientists when they discuss the future than when they examine the present or the past.4 Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations,” for instance, is one of the few ideas to emerge from academia that has thoroughly permeated policy circles around the world.5 The “democratic peace” theory has direct implications about the future behavior of states, which is one reason why it made its way into the national security strategies of both the Clinton and Bush administrations.6 Grand strategy and foreign policy are in large part products of the future that each decision maker anticipates; to paraphrase Keynes, whether they know it or not, policymakers are often guided by academic scribblers of the past.7 One cannot discern where the world may be heading without first understanding how it works, how states tend to behave, and how people can influence the course of events. This book is an examination of international politics in the twenty-first century. Along the way it will discuss the utility of predicting the future, the geopolitics of oil, the impact of ideas on state behavior, and the grand strategy of the United States. It will argue that there is a significant relationship between predictions and the theories from which they emerge, a relationship that can in some circumstances provide material for the advancement of our understanding of international politics. Anyone foolish enough to predict the future of the international system would seem to be undertaking an impossible and narcissistic task. However, concern for what is to come has always played a vital role in the study of international relations, no matter how strenuously its scholars have tried to deny it. Since the end of the Cold War, a handful of quite significant and influential macro-level visions of the future have been articulated by observers of international politics, visions that differ significantly in their forecasts of conflict, stability, globalization, freedom, terrorism, and even the fate of the state itself. Each counsels significantly different political and grand strategic choices.

Introduction

3

At the risk of spoiling a potentially dramatic ending, the vision of the future that has proven most prescient is also the most optimistic, and perhaps the most revolutionary. Rather than a clash of civilizations, coming anarchy, or a step “back to the future” toward multipolarity and instability, both theoretical logic and empirical data support the vision of a future free of major war, accompanied by a concomitant decrease in balancing behavior, proliferation, and overall levels of conflict across the world. Contrary to pessimism inside and outside the academy, for the vast majority of people the coming century is likely to be quite a bit more pleasant than was the last. Current anxiety is profoundly misplaced; we do not live in particularly dangerous times. Friedrich Kratochwil once observed with resignation that the field of international relations usually deals with problems in its theories by pausing briefly to acknowledge their existence and then simply proceeding along in the same vein as before.8 It would therefore probably not surprise Kratochwil that even though a growing number of scholars have become convinced that major war may be a thing of the past, mainstream academic and strategic debates remain mostly unaffected. The final section of this book is meant to be a corrective for the field, an attempt to include this emerging reality into the way scholars and practitioners envision international politics. If it is true that war is on the wane, then neither the theory nor the practice of international relations can remain unchanged, and grand strategies must be adjusted accordingly. The United States in particular could certainly afford to change its strategic outlook; indeed, in the long run a more restrained approach might be the only logical and practical choice.

The Ghost of Norman Angell Ours is not the first era in which major war has been pronounced dead. The list of those who have written its obituary in times past, only to be proven wrong by war’s depressing proclivity for resurrection, is long and prestigious.9 A century ago, one of history’s more infamous waves of optimism swept over the liberal intelligentsia of Europe; it was rather abruptly crushed by world war, and the reputation of its proponents suffered accordingly. That of Norman Angell, a prominent English journalist and intellectual, has taken perhaps the biggest beating. According to the conventional wisdom, Angell argued in The Great Illusion that economic interdependence had rendered major war obsolete, or even impossible, by the end of the nineteenth century. “Before World War I,” wrote one typical scholar in 2002, “Norman Angell believed that wars would not be fought because they would not pay.”10 Sir Norman has become something of a laughingstock in international relations, a paragon of liberal naiveté, a name for realists to resurrect any time anyone suggests that the rules governing war could fundamentally change. Angell was hardly the first to believe that

4

Introduction

civilization had been de-bellicized, so the argument goes, and he will probably not be the last. It is hard to believe that anyone who has actually read Angell’s work would come away with the impression that he believed the age of major war had come to an end. Angell was hardly a naïve, utopian pacifist; to the contrary, he was an unapologetic imperialist, voicing objections to neither assertive British foreign policies nor military spending. War with Germany was not only possible, he wrote, “but extremely likely.” He argued that “as long as there is danger, as I believe there is, from German aggression, we must arm,” and that he “would not urge the reduction of our war budget by a single sovereign.”11 In order for war to become obsolete, Angell realized, a revolution in ideas had to occur. His book was an attempt to spark that revolution. It was “not a plea for the impossibility of war . . . but for its futility.”12 The “great illusion” was the belief that a pan-European war could be profitable for any of the great powers. Angell argued that while victory could bestow tangible benefits during the mercantilist era, by the beginning of the twentieth century the web of economic interdependence was so complex that major, disruptive war would certainly be a losing proposition to all involved. “If in the time of the Danes England could by some kind of magic have killed all foreigners, she would have presumably been better off,” he argued. “If she could do the same thing today, half her population would starve to death.”13 There was no longer any direct relationship between military power and national wealth; if there were, “we should find the commercial prosperity and social well-being of the smaller nations, which exercise no political power, manifestly below that of the great powers which control Europe, whereas this is not the case.”14 Trade had replaced economic nationalism as the route to wealth. From an economic standpoint, conquest had become a futile endeavor by the beginning of the twentieth century. The world had profoundly changed. Unfortunately for a generation of Europeans, although Angell’s arguments received a degree of circulation in and outside the intellectual circles, few of consequence became convinced that war had lost its utility. The tragic course of World War I proved Angell correct on nearly all counts. The Allies, as Angell noted after the war, “actually had achieved, though at frightful costs, the goal of all participants in the great power rivalry. They had been able to dictate their terms to the enemy. Having done so, they were no more prosperous or secure than before.”15 The marginal benefits of victory can hardly be said to have justified the appalling cost.16 As it turns out, constructing a logical case for the futility of war was insufficient to bring the practice to an end. Major war would not be obsolete until people became convinced that its value was a great illusion. Over the course of his career, Angell argued that “men are not guided by the facts, but by their opinion about the facts.”17 Unlike modern neoliberals, Sir Norman did not believe that states act rationally. If they did, then war would have

Introduction

5

indeed been next to impossible. Angell was not a proto-neoliberal institutionalist, as some have subsequently claimed, even though he clearly shared the classical liberal faith in the progress of humanity.18 Instead a good case can be made that he was the first prominent constructivist thinker of the twentieth century (even though he wrote long before constructivism was itself constructed), since Angell argued that ideas, not a rational assessment of the national interest, motivated state behavior. Since ideas can change, so too can the rules by which the world operates. Nothing in the international society of states necessitates selfish, security-driven behavior.19 Under some “metrics of anarchy,” the self-help imperative, which realists argue is a permanent feature, would make good sense; under other, equally imaginable, sets of governing ideas, it would not. Ideas, which may or may not reflect material reality, provide structure for the system. To Angell, anarchy was what states made of it. Constructivism has grown a great deal since Angell’s time, even if it never has fully left its liberal roots behind.20 As will be elaborated as this book goes forward, the scholars today who operate under the broad constructivist umbrella are generally united by the central belief that ideas construct the rules by which states operate. As ideas change, so too can those rules, making possible fundamental systemic evolution, and maybe even the end of major war. Angell would not live to see such a change occur in ideas regarding war, but his death hardly closed the door on the possibility. In 1989 John Mueller resurrected Angell’s arguments and went further, suggesting that ideas had indeed changed and that the great powers had finally become convinced that war was not worth the cost. In his Retreat from Doomsday, Mueller argued that moral progress had brought about a change in attitudes about international war among the great powers of the world, creating for the first time an almost universal belief that deliberate aggression is unjustifiable. Whereas at many times in the past leaders were compelled by the masses to defend the national honor, today popular pressures usually encourage peaceful resolutions to disputes between industrialized states. This evolution in ideas has affected the norms that govern behavior in the international system, all but removing armed aggression from the policymaker’s set of options. Once ideas change, behavior soon follows. Ideas about the utility of dueling, for example, have changed drastically since the days when gentlemen were expected to settle their disputes on the field of honor, rendering the behavior obsolete. As Mueller explained, today dueling is avoided “not merely because it has ceased to seem ‘necessary,’ but because it has sunk from thought as a viable, conscious possibility. You can’t fight a duel if the idea of doing so never occurs to you or your opponent.” Similarly, states cannot fight wars if doing so does not occur to them or to their potential opponents. When fighting ceases to be included in the set of options for the great powers, it becomes, in Mueller’s memorable and

6

Introduction

useful phrase, “subrationally unthinkable.”21 Major war, at that stage, would have grown obsolete. A number of other scholars have subsequently joined Mueller in proclaiming that Norman Angell was not so much wrong as merely ahead of his time.22 If it is true that constructivism explains the world better than its theoretical competitors, then it is possible that war could be a thing of the past. That is, in essence, the argument that will be explored throughout the pages of this book.

Major War, Great Powers, and Obsolescence Definitions are the last refuge of academic scoundrels. Many international relations theorists deal with potentially contradictory information simply by redefining concepts, sometimes repeatedly, until the data appear to match their expectations. The most powerful claims are those that avoid this pitfall by erring on the side of inclusion, expanding the analysis as broadly as possible. The obsolescence-of-major-war argument can fall into that category. For a field so focused on conflict, it is a bit surprising that no widely accepted understanding of major war exists. Some two decades ago Jack Levy settled upon this: “a war in which there is a reasonable probability of a decisive victory by at least one side that could lead to the emergence of a new dominant or leading power, and hence to the structural transformation of the system.”23 More recently Dale Copeland declared that major wars are those “that involve all the great powers in any system, are fought at the highest level of intensity (that is, full military mobilization), and where there is a strong possibility that great powers may be eliminated as sovereign states.”24 Michael Mandelbaum broadly concurred and focused his analysis on those wars involving the world’s strongest countries “drawing on all of their resources . . . over a period of years, leading to an outcome with revolutionary geopolitical consequences including the birth and death of regimes, the redrawing of borders and the reordering of the hierarchy of sovereign states.”25 These and other rather grandiose definitions of major war limit the number of cases to single digits. For purposes of this study, any war that occurs between great powers should be considered major. While the argument clearly covers catastrophic world wars, any significant armed conflict between industrialized, powerful states would render it false. Current scholarly convention defines war as a conflict resulting in at least a thousand battle-related deaths, which seems widely inclusive and reasonable for this study. Therefore, the definition of a major war is a conflict between great powers that causes over one thousand battlefield casualties. Great powers may still occasionally strike the weak, and at times minor powers may also find themselves at loggerheads. But societal unease at the continuation of small wars—such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq, or between poor, weak states like Ethiopia and Eritrea—should be ameliorated

Introduction

7

by the knowledge that for the first time in history major armed conflict appears to be exceedingly unlikely. Consensus is similarly absent concerning what exactly makes a great power great. Levy noted that the importance of this concept was not matched by anything approaching analytical precision in its use.26 Mueller alternately described his data set as “developed countries,” the “first and second worlds,” the “major and not-so-major countries,” and the forty-four wealthiest states.27 Others refer to those states with a certain minimum standard of living, especially those in Europe;28 modern, “industrial societies”;29 or merely “the most powerful members of the international system.”30 All of these categories will be included in this book’s definition of great power, with the addition of one more: those with unrealized military power. Relevant states for this analysis are those with the potential to be great military powers, whether they develop it or not. The choice not to even prepare to fight is at least as significant as the choice not to fight. The major powers have historically been the most war-prone of states.31 As Mueller has pointed out, not just military capability but actual bellicosity has traditionally been central to the very definition of great power status.32 Levy noted that one of the things that distinguishes the great powers from the small is that the former “defend their interests more aggressively and with a wider range of instrumentalities, including the frequent threat or use of military force,” which is why they account for a “disproportionate number of alliances and wars in the international system.”33 The most intense war making in world history was experienced by European great powers prior to 1945.34 If indeed the post–Cold War great powers have ceased even considering resolving their disputes with violence, then something fundamental in international politics must have changed, something that separates the current era from all its predecessors. The study of international relations has traditionally been unequally focused upon the great powers. It would be “ridiculous” to “construct a theory of international politics based on Malaysia and Costa Rica,” Kenneth Waltz has argued, explaining that, since the fate of all states in a system is determined by the interactions among its largest members, “the theory of international politics is written in terms of the great powers.”35 The most powerful states “determine the structure, major processes, and general evolution of the system,” according to Levy. “Secondary states and other actors have an impact on the system largely to the extent that they affect the behavior of the Great Powers.”36 While the investigation in this book will concentrate on the most powerful states, as international relations theory tends to do, it should not be dismissed as entirely northcentric or neglectful of the vast majority of the world’s population. As will be explained, one of the primary implications of the argument is that, if major war has become obsolete, then minor may soon follow, through what might be thought of as a “trickle-down effect” for peace.37 The end of major war might be but the first step

8

Introduction

in a gradual demise of all kinds of armed conflict across the world. The implications for the field could hardly be more immense. Thus in its most basic, inclusive, and falsifiable form, the obsolescence-ofmajor-war argument postulates that the most advanced countries—roughly speaking, those in the global north—are extraordinarily unlikely to fight one another ever again. Put another way, there is an inverse relationship between relative level of development and the chances of being involved in a major war against a peer. Precise determination of which countries are in the north and which are not is less important than it may seem at first, since current versions of the argument do not restrict themselves to a tight conception of great power. If the logic behind the obsolescence-of-major-war argument is correct, a drastic diminution of all kinds of war everywhere may be on the horizon. It is important to note that nowhere does this argument suggest that the world will soon be without problems, or that international competition is coming to a conclusion. Rivalry will continue; envy, hubris, and lust for power will likely never disappear. The Mueller argument merely holds that war—especially major wars—need not follow, and that the means of competition have changed. Rogues and outlaws will always plague humanity, but very rarely as leaders of powerful states, especially in the northern democracies. States will compete in nonviolent ways, fighting in boardrooms rather than on battlefields, using diplomacy and economic means instead of brute force. To paraphrase Edward Luttwak, they will follow the logic of war but employ the grammar of commerce.38 One of the obvious appeals of the obsolescence-of-major-war argument is that it carries clear routes to falsification. It can be proven incorrect by virtually any big war in Western Europe, the Pacific Rim, or North America. If Japan attacks Australia, or if the United States moves north, or if Germany re-arms and makes another thrust at Paris and Moscow, Retreat from Doomsday will join The Great Illusion on the skeptical realist’s list of utopian fantasies. Indeed, since the Mueller thesis is built on a foundation of traditional liberal optimism in the progressive nature of history and is driven, as will be explained in due course, by a mechanism best described by constructivists, it should not be surprising that realists have generally been unimpressed. “The game of politics does not change from age to age,” explained a typical critic, “let alone from decade to decade.”39 Human nature and the anarchic structure of the system stack the deck against long-term stability, accounting, in Waltz’s words, for “war’s dismal recurrence throughout the millennia.”40 Indeed the most powerful argument of the skeptic is that this period of peace will prove to be temporary, like all others, and that its pacific trends will eventually be reversed. As realists are quick to point out, if major war has become obsolete, then something fundamental about state behavior must have changed. The history

Introduction

9

of the international system (until, perhaps, very recently) is marked by nearly continual conflict involving all of its actors, especially the most powerful. In the words of the military historian John Keegan, if indeed the great powers have ceased resolving their disputes with violence, it would represent “a cultural transformation,” entailing “a break with the past for which there are no precedents.”41 Robert Jervis agrees, saying that the end of war among the great powers would be “a change of spectacular proportions, perhaps the single most striking discontinuity in the history of international politics.”42 Predictions of unprecedented changes in the international system bear the burden of proof, or at least of further explanation. Providing that proof and the explanation for the process that may be rendering war obsolete is the mission of this volume.

Outline, Themes, and Contribution of the Book Although the obsolescence-of-major-war argument has won new supporters over the last two decades, its theoretical and empirical development has stalled. Why should anyone believe that this era is different, that no further resurrections are in store? The chapters that follow will be devoted to exploring the state of war—both its theoretical foundation and empirical reality. The results should have important implications for the theory and practice of international politics. The book proceeds in three parts. Theory The first part examines the theoretical foundation for the argument that major war is obsolete and that minor wars are on the wane, and seeks to establish even to skeptics that such a revolutionary change in international politics is at least plausible. It provides what the argument has lacked to this point: a causal mechanism, a model that explains the process by which war could have virtually disappeared. The crucial factor, it argues, is the interaction of the material world with the ideational, and the resulting impact on international norms. Over the course of the past decade, scholars have supplied a coherent view of how normative evolution can come to affect the way that states behave; chapter 1 contributes to that debate by discussing why norms emerge as they do, seeking to explain the difference between those ideas that “win” societal debates and change the behavior of states and those that fall by the wayside. That explanation is not terribly complicated, once one injects exogenous factors into existing models of normative evolution. The chapter compares this explanation for normative development to two of the most commonly cited examples of fundamental behavioral change in the international relations literature—slavery and dueling—and finds that it fits quite nicely.

10

Introduction

Chapter 2 applies the model to war. By its end, it hopes to demonstrate that exogenous developments in the technology of war and in the socioeconomic foundation of society have helped influence a crucial normative debate that may have rendered major war obsolete. Unfortunately for those hoping for a parsimonious theory, the various explanations that have been offered for the absence of major war—nuclear weapons, economic interdependence, democracy, international institutions, and so forth—are not mutually exclusive but additive. Together they contribute to the decisive factor, the evolution of norms. The sequence, more than any individual variable, was critical. The chapter concludes on the optimistic note that the argument that major war has grown obsolete is indeed plausible in light of our current understanding of the way the world works, due in large part to the victory of the liberal virtues over those based upon a belligerent conception of honor that is rapidly becoming anachronistic. This book differs from what has become the standard template of works in international politics (literature review, followed by preferred explanation, then case studies). It is simply not possible to prove with any degree of certainty why events do not occur and remain intellectually honest. What’s more, if the explanation in this section of the book is correct, then the end of major warfare will leave no paper trail. By definition, policymakers do not consider options that have become subrationally unthinkable. There will be no evidence in the archives, and no process to be traced. Although it will never be possible to prove beyond doubt why the great powers have put war behind them, one can construct a logical argument and examine it using extant evidence. The next part of the book seeks to do just that. Evidence The obsolescence-of-major-war argument is both a description of the present and a prediction for the future. Around the time of its modern articulation a set of alternate projections emerged, more pessimistic views that were based upon different theoretical assumptions about international politics. The second section of this book reviews the empirical support for these visions of the future and, by doing so, compares the evidence for the obsolescence-of-major-war argument against two of its most powerful competitors. It proceeds with what at first may seem to be a rather unusual method, examining the performance of predictions to test the theories of social science. Chapter 3 develops the epistemological rationale for this method by explaining the difference between predictions, forecasts, and visions, and by discussing how, under the proper conditions, the latter can provide quite useful tests for theory. In other words it presents a transtemporal imperative for the theories of international politics: If they are truly scientific, their insights will apply equally well to events of the future as to

Introduction

11

those of the past. Despite their repeated denials, many of the top scholars in the field evidently agree, because prediction has always been a central goal of the study of international relations. Richard Ned Lebow once remarked that since any major school of international relations can fit a new piece of evidence into its framework, true falsification is nearly impossible.43 New evidence, however, cannot be retrofit into a prediction. The chapter then reviews the most important visions of the future that were articulated in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse. Huntington’s has perhaps become the most famous (or infamous) of these, especially in policy circles, but it is hardly alone. An environmentally based scenario predicting resource scarcity and conflict in the future has been the intellectual offspring of scholars like Thomas Homer-Dixon and Michael Klare, as well as analysts from outside the academy like Robert Kaplan. Liberalism and constructivism supply the foundation for the vision of a war-free future that is the update of Angell’s arguments. Finally, John Mearsheimer, Kenneth Waltz, and Christopher Layne have articulated a coherent neorealist vision, extrapolating the assumptions of that theory into the coming decades. The similarities and differences among these theories illustrate the cleavages among competing approaches to international relations quite well and present falsifiable hypotheses ripe for evaluation. Chapter 4 performs that evaluation using the evidence that has been compiled over the last two decades. One outperforms the others in every single measurable category, leaving proponents of the neorealist vision to insist that more time is needed for proper evaluation. Thus far, post–Cold War international politics seems to be unfolding precisely the way that Mueller anticipated, to the confusion of many pessimists. The most prescient vision of the future—and by extension, perhaps, the most accurate theory—is not hard to identify, no matter what set of data one examines. Chapter 5 examines international behavior in oil-rich regions to see if there is any evidence for the “resource wars” vision of international politics. It argues that international petroleum politics tends to unfold according to a set pattern. The three case studies from which the analysis is drawn—the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea, and the Pacific Rim—represent distinct stages along that developmental path. The chapter examines international interaction in these key regions to determine whether the norm of pacific dispute resolution seems to have taken root, or whether wars over oil might be likely in the future. In all three, fossil fuels exist in large quantities under disputed, or weakly held, territory. Such weakness, or vacuum of power, in the past has invited intervention from the outside, especially when vital natural resources have been involved. Also in each case there have been a number of ominous forecasts of the future, using traditional realist frameworks of zero-sum games and concerns for relative power at all levels of the system. However, it is quite difficult to identify much supporting evidence

12

Introduction

for the pessimistic vision of the future. Not only have there been no major wars in these regions since the large stockpiles of petroleum have been discovered, but no great power seems to be preparing for such conflict in any meaningful way, and the major trends of the region do not point in bellicose directions. Even in what could be seen as “most likely” cases for realpolitik, the vision of the future provided by Mueller seems to be supported quite well. Counterintuitively perhaps, the story of petroleum politics is one historically marked by cooperation among consumers, not hostile competition, as realists would have us believe. The likelihood of war over oil in these three regions is quite small, and the constructivist vision appears to be well-supported. Implications The third part of the book is an extended discussion of the implications of war aversion for the theory and practice of international politics. Recognition of fundamental change often lags behind the empirical reality. Part III asks the reader to accept the notion, if just for a moment, that the preceding analysis is correct and that the world has entered a new, more pacific era. This will no doubt be more difficult for some than for others. But it should not be controversial to suggest that the importance of such a normative change, if true, would be difficult to overstate. Chapter 6 describes what the impact of the decline of war would be for the scholarship of international relations, a field that was created to describe and ultimately to prevent conflict. Current understandings of many concepts at the field’s core, such as power and sovereignty, could not remain unchanged. The implications would also be enormous for some of its major research programs, including those that explore the balance of power, the security dilemma and power transitions, the relative versus absolute gains debate, behavioralist studies of warfare, classical geopolitics, and many others. Perhaps it is not an exaggeration to say that the implications of the argument are potentially revolutionary for the study of international politics. The implications for its practice would be equally enormous. Chapters 7 and 8 examine a range of strategic, political, and military assumptions that would need to be rethought if indeed major war is no longer a realistic option for the states of the industrialized world. The vigorous grand strategy debate that has been raging since the end of the Cold War has never taken these changing international conditions into account, for example. In a world free of major war, threats are not as dire as they were at any time in the past. Most industrialized states have realized this and are pursuing a grand strategy based upon what is known as strategic restraint. The United States is one of the few holdouts, perhaps because it is the

Introduction

13

only country that continues to see high levels of threat—and obligation—in all corners of the world. Washington might not be completely alone in its resistance to change, but it is conspicuous for its failures of imagination. A more restrained grand strategy would fit a post–major war world far better. If indeed the north is effectively debellicized and stability is spreading southward, there is simply no point in pursuing an activist, international grand strategy. It would be time for America to come home, guided not by a desire for isolation, but for restraint. Chapter 8 explains the foreign policy and military policies that would be guided by a restrained grand strategy. While it is true that an unthreatened United States could afford to be significantly less engaged military and politically, it would hardly retreat behind its oceans. Vigorous engagement in other areas, such as trade and investment, would continue, and the United States would honor its humanitarian obligations. But there would simply be no need to continue to devote three quarters of a trillion dollars to defense in a world without major war. The United States should disband its regional combatant commands and start planning its forces based upon realistic threats to the national security. Internationalist grand strategies are not only enormously costly, in both real and opportunity terms, but they inevitably drag the United States into unnecessary foreign misadventures, such as the current morass in Iraq. The volume ends with a bit of speculation about why pessimism remains so rampant in industrialized society. For some reason, people often seem unwilling to accept the empirically verifiable notion that, when compared to the past, the world is an exceptionally safe place for the vast majority of its inhabitants. Despite fears generated by terrorists (and perhaps by the U.S. overreaction), more people, both in terms of raw numbers and as a percentage of the total, live in societies at peace than ever before in human history. That alone ought to provide some comfort as we move forward into the new century. In essence this book seeks to reevaluate some of the central assumptions of our discipline. To realists, the arguments put forward by Angell have always been nonstarters. The potential for such fundamental evolution in the nature of the international system has traditionally been one of the main disagreements between classical realists and their liberal critics. The realist is philosophically conservative by nature, generally refusing to accept the possibility that international politics can change in important ways; the liberal is open to evolution in human institutions such as war, and argues that it generally takes place in positive directions; the constructivist contributes by supplying the mechanism. It is the realist belief in systemic immutability, the refusal to acknowledge that, in Angell’s words, the “world has moved”—or that it is even capable of moving—that is taken to task in these pages.

14

Introduction

The twentieth century witnessed an unprecedented pace of evolution in all areas of human endeavor, in science and medicine, transportation and communication, and even in religion. In such an atmosphere it is not difficult to imagine that attitudes toward the venerable institution of warfare may also have experienced similarly rapid evolution, to the point where its obsolescence could become plausible, perhaps even probable, in spite of thousands of years of violent precedent. The burden of proof may instead fall upon those who maintain that the rules of the game of international politics are the lone area of human interaction immune to fundamental evolution, which means that war will always be with us. Rather than ask why major war could have grown obsolete, perhaps scholars should ask why anyone should believe that it could not. The assertion that war is extremely unlikely in Western Europe or North America at the beginning of the twenty-first century is hardly groundbreaking, and it certainly would not send this book flying off the shelf. However, if it were true that this condition is not only present but permanent—and contagious— then the implications for the future of international politics would be hard to overstate. For the first time in human history, it is at least possible to imagine that major war has become a thing of the past for the most powerful states of the world, and that the weaker ones may soon experience lasting peace as well. The chapters that follow will explore the extent to which that possibility could someday be considered probable, and perhaps even be widely accepted by scholars and policymakers alike. Were that ever to happen, international relations would never be the same. Notes 1. Lester, “Poll: Americans Say World War III Likely.” Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich told Tim Russert on July 16, 2006, that “we are in the early stages of what I would describe as the third world war,” a theme he has repeated ad infinitum since. See also Podhoretz, World War IV. 2. In April 2007, 82 percent of Americans told pollsters that they felt the world was becoming a more dangerous place, which was up 3 percent from the year before. Bittle and Rochkind, “Anxious Public Pulling Back from Use of Force.” One year later, the same poll found that a “significant majority” of Americans were anxious about U.S. security, demonstrating that in the United States, “anxiety remains steady over time.” Only 15 percent reported being not worried about “the way things are going for the United States in world affairs.” Bittle and Rochkind, “Energy, Economy New Focal Points for Anxiety over U.S. Foreign Policy.” 3. Mearsheimer, “Why We Will Soon Miss the Cold War.” 4. Rothstein, Planning, Prediction, and Policymaking in Foreign Affairs. 5. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.

Introduction

15

6. White House, A National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement and The National Security Strategy of the United States of America. 7. “The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.” Keynes, The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money, 383–84. 8. Kratochwil, “The Embarrassment of Changes,” 66. 9. The list includes Kant, Perpetual Peace; Spencer, Herbert Spencer on Social Evolution; and Rousseau (see Roosevelt, Reading Rousseau in the Nuclear Age). See also Bloch, The Future of War, in Its Technical, Economic and Political Relations. 10. Waltz, “Structural Realism after the Cold War,” 38. 11. Angell, The Great Illusion, 341, 312, 329. 12. Ibid., 341, emphasis added. 13. Ibid., 49. 14. Ibid., 28. 15. Angell, The Fruits of Victory, 8–9. 16. There is a long-standing debate, primarily among English historians, over the relative value of World War I; see, for instance, the essays in Bond, The First World War and British Military History. Taylor largely began the debate by arguing that the war was senseless and pointless, in The First World War. Others, such as Sheffield in Forgotten Victory and Terraine in The Smoke and the Fire, reject what they view as “literary” interpretations and maintain that the war was a necessary and just crusade. The passage of time has only served to strengthen Taylor’s arguments. No European great power emerged from the war better off than when it entered, and the miniscule gains (AlsaceLorraine, the breakup of the Hapsburg Empire, territory for an independent Poland, etc.) could hardly justify the billions of dollars spent and millions of lives lost. There is a good reason why few events have puzzled historians as much as the Great War. For an influential and more recent discussion, see Ferguson, The Pity of War. 17. Angell, After All, 107. 18. See especially de Wilde, “Norman Angell,” and Schmidt, “Anarchy, World Politics and the Birth of a Discipline.” 19. Angell, The Unseen Assassins. 20. On the connections between classical liberalism and constructivism, see Sterling-Folker, “Competing Paradigms or Birds of a Feather?” and Barkin, “Realist Constructivism.” 21. Mueller, Retreat from Doomsday, 11. 22. The works of the modern generation of scholars who have posited that major war is obsolete include Rosecrance, The Rise of the Trading State and The Rise of the Virtual State; Mueller, Retreat from Doomsday and Quiet Cataclysm; Luard, War

16

Introduction

in International Society; Ray, “The Abolition of Slavery and the End of International War”; Carl Kaysen, “Is War Obsolete?”; Kegley, “The Neoidealist Movement in International Studies?”; Mandelbaum, “Is Major War Obsolete?” and Ideas That Conquered the World; Jervis, “Theories of War in an Era of Leading Power Peace”; and Väyrynen, The Waning of Major War. 23. Levy, “Theories of General War,” 364. 24. Copeland, “Neorealism and the Myth of Bipolar Stability,” 29. 25. Mandelbaum, “Is Major War Obsolete?” 20. 26. Levy, War in the Great Power System, 1495–1975, 10. 27. Mueller, Retreat from Doomsday, 4, 256, 5, 252. 28. Luard, War in International Society, 398. 29. Kaysen, “Is War Obsolete?” 30. Mandelbaum, “Is Major War Obsolete?” 21. 31. Bremer, “National Capabilities and War Proneness.” 32. Mueller, Quiet Cataclysm, 37. 33. Levy, War in the Great Power System, 17. 34. See Levy, War in the Great Power System; Gochman and Maoz, “Militarized International Disputes, 1816–1976”; Modelski and Thomson, Leading Sectors and World Power; and Levy, Walker, and Edwards, “Continuity and Change in the Evolution of Warfare.” 35. Waltz, Theory of International Politics, 72. 36. Levy, War in the Great Power System, 8–9. 37. Mueller elaborates upon this point, without using those exact words, in The Remnants of War. 38. Luttwak, “From Geopolitics to Geo-Economics,” 19. 39. Gray, “Clausewitz Rules, OK?”, 163. 40. Waltz, “The Origins of War in Neorealist Theory,” 44. 41. Keegan, A History of Warfare, 60. 42. Jervis, “Theories of War in an Era of Leading Power Peace,” 1. 43. Lebow, “The Long Peace, the End of the Cold War, and the Failure of Realism,” esp. 250–52.

Part One Theory

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1 Explaining Behavioral Change: Why Norms Evolve NOT LONG AFTER HOMO SAPIENS came down from the trees, archeologists and

anthropologists tell us, they organized themselves into political communities and fought one another.1 Since then, the only societies that have not made war upon their neighbors have been those with no neighbors at all; and even in those cases, cleavages within communities usually developed soon enough to provide fault lines for conflict. Indeed, traditionally war has not been considered to be an aberration or a failure of diplomacy, but rather a rational, necessary, and not altogether unwelcome response to a wide variety of national threats and insults. The absence of great power war has such a taken-for-granted quality today that it is easy to forget the utter ubiquity of warfare throughout most of human history. Over 90 percent of pre-industrial societies sampled in one prominent anthropological study fought internal wars at least once per decade, and about half fought almost constantly; 70 percent fought wars against external groups during the same time period.2 War, the authors argued, “is a nearly universal fact of life in the ethnographic (anthropological) record.”3 Fighting accompanied humanity throughout all stages of its development, from ancient times through to the Middle Ages and beyond. Over the course of the previous millennium, according to Charles Tilly, war was “the dominant activity of European states.” It is “hardly worth asking when states warred, since most states were warring most of the time.”4 The evidence is clear from every century. “The sun never set on fighting in the 14th century,” noted Barbara Tuchman.5 There were only seven complete calendar years in the entire seventeenth century in which there was no war between European states (1610, 1669–71, 1680–82).6 This might seem like a small number, but it was actually an improvement over the sixteenth, according to one of its most prominent historians.7 In the eighteenth century, the great powers were never at peace for longer than seven years.8 The stronger the political entity, the more likely it was to wage war in pursuit of its aims. Overall, “the absence of organized violence during long periods of history,” Hans Morgenthau pointed

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out, “is the exception rather than the rule.”9 It seems that one might have to be a bit crazy, or at least hopelessly naïve, to consider its obsolescence to be possible. Indeed psychiatrist Franz Alexander wrote in 1941 that, from the view of his profession, “it would seem that the pacifist, who thinks the elimination of war an actual possibility, might be considered a neurotic.”10 Little wonder, then, that those who have argued that major war is a thing of the past have met a great deal of skepticism. Theories proposing that the future is likely to be starkly different from the past necessarily carry the burden of proof. Even if the evidence suggests that the world is more peaceful than ever before, no one should be convinced that these changes will last without a convincing causal mechanism. Why, after ten violent millennia of human existence, should anyone believe that major war has become obsolete? This chapter begins the process of answering that question. It seeks to fill gaps in our understanding of how ideas can sometimes evolve and eventually come to affect state behavior. I discuss how ideas become norms, and I propose a mechanism by which exogenous, material factors influence standing normative debates and provide the engine for their evolution. The chapter ends by demonstrating the plausibility of the mechanism by applying it to two of the most commonly cited examples of behavioral changes brought about by evolving ideas: slavery and dueling.

Explaining the Long Peace: From Ideas to Norms In the aftermath of World War II, few people could have been particularly optimistic about the potential for humanity to avoid a third world war. But avoid one it did; indeed the time since has come to be called the “long peace,” or a period of unprecedented great power stability.11 Scholars representing all the major schools of international relations have supplied a variety of explanations for the current period of great power peace, some of which imply a greater degree of permanence than others.12 Rationalists have proposed that nuclear weapons, a variety of domestic and international political institutions, and / or economic interdependence have altered the calculations that states make regarding warfare. Others, especially U.S. neoconservatives, give primary credit to the stabilizing influence of U.S. hegemony.13 Constructivists do not necessarily deny the importance of any of these factors but give primary credit to a change in ideas in contemporary international society. None is incorrect, necessarily, but also none explains the lack of warfare by itself.14 Demonstrating conclusively why something has not happened is of course no small task. However, identifying the cause of the six-decade-old great power peace is necessary if scholars are to determine its likely staying power. Fortunately for the new century, but unfortunately for those who prefer their theories parsimonious, the proposed explanations are not mutually exclusive. Historians

Explaining Behavioral Change:Why Norms Evolve

21

are by training and temperament more comfortable with multicausality; political scientists are rarely satisfied with explanations that list important variables and imply that “everything matters.”15 Robert Jervis treads close to this line when he says that he prefers a “synthetic explanation” for the absence of major war, giving no priority to any of the possible factors.16 This study aims to take the argument further and to explain the process by which major war has become obsolete. Indeed there is a decisive element—the change in ideas and norms—but it would have never come about without interaction with the others. A variety of material factors contributed to the belief among the most powerful states of the world that war is no longer worth the cost, but none was strong enough to accomplish the behavioral transformation on its own. In other words, the argument here is not so much that one factor is more important than the others, but that the sequence was crucial. Exogenous factors necessarily preceded the normative shift, but the shift itself was the decisive blow. A brief discussion of norms should perhaps precede an in-depth analysis of the process under consideration. Ideas and Norms, Peace and War The UNESCO constitution famously declares that “war begins in the minds of men”; perhaps it ends there as well. Both Angell and Mueller argued that war is a socially constructed institution, not a biological, psychological, or historical necessity. If the idea that war is futile were to become widespread, then people (and states) would be very unlikely to fight. Major war will be rendered obsolete as soon as people decide that its benefits are not worth its costs and change their behavior accordingly, or once a norm against it emerges. One of the most useful and oft-cited among the numerous definitions of norms describes them as “collective expectations about proper behavior” that help to formulate the set of choices that lie in front of the individual (and the policymaker) and guide decision making.17 Norms are the generally agreed-upon rules that govern international interactions, providing the foundation for regimes, institutions, and customary rules of international law.18 Group norms affect the behavior of the members, and ultimately the nature of the group; international norms affect the behavior of states, and ultimately the nature of the system. Finnemore and Sikkink argue that the “shared ideas, expectations, and beliefs about appropriate behavior” supplied by norms “are what give the world structure, order and stability.”19 Thus in some senses norms are to the constructivist what power is to the neorealist: the key determinant of the parameters within which international interactions occur. In other words, norms provide structure for the system. The literature on norms in international relations is immense and growing. Scholars have probed their nature and composition, their relevance to state behavior, the relationship between norms and international law, and, to some

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extent, their emergence and evolution.20 Over the last two decades, major works have examined normative shifts affecting the relationship between international attitudes and behavior on a wide variety of topics, from the rise of humanitarian intervention and the taboo on the use of chemical and nuclear weapons to the decline of mercenarism and assassination as state policy.21 That norms matter in explaining state behavior is no longer a point of serious debate. The controversy concerns exactly how much they matter, and under what conditions.22 Constructivists have long argued that norms have an enormous impact on conflict behavior. Norms determine what is worth fighting for, whom to fight, and how those fights should take place, in effect creating the ideational structure for international conflict. In his magisterial study of the evolution of the norms governing warfare, Evan Luard explained that even though at any given period states vary in their “particular interests and motives, in their political and social structure and in the characteristics of their leaders, all will be to some extent influenced by the aims and aspirations which are instilled by the society as a whole. No state is an island.”23 The key state decisions concerning war and peace are surely affected by rational calculations of national interest, as positivist scholars have long held; only the most ardent postmodernist would deny that empirical, material national interests—what Wendt called “brute material factors”—exist.24 However, no decision is immune to the influence of the dominant philosophies and norms of its era. Realists too have long recognized the importance of norms. According to Kenneth Waltz, international competition produces a tendency toward “sameness” in the system and wide acceptance of a common set of rules. “Societies establish norms and encourage conformity,” he argued, using praise, ridicule, and envy as norm enforcers.25 A certain degree of uniformity in behavior can be expected throughout the international system, because ideas regarding proper (or efficient) behavior, outlooks, and strategies have created common expectations among actors. What is “self-help,” after all, if not an idea learned from perceptions of the nature of the system?26 Norms are ideas translated into behavior. They provide the intermediate step between the human mind and international politics, compelling states to act in some ways while restraining them in others. Ideas fall outside the scope of some major international relations theories, which is a bit strange, given their manifest importance in explaining human behavior.27 Mueller noted that ideas are very often forces themselves, “not flotsam on the tide of broader social or economic patterns,” which nonetheless tend to be ignored by rationalists because they “cannot be easily measured, treated with crisp precision, or probed with deductive panache.”28 Surely over the last couple of centuries popular thinking about war has changed, and rather drastically. No longer is war treated as a grand adventure where heroes under the spell of amour de guerre march off in search of

Explaining Behavioral Change:Why Norms Evolve

23

glory and fame. At the very least the cult of the warrior in industrialized societies is no longer as powerful as it once was.29 In fact the contention that the ideas surrounding war have changed is not particularly controversial; what realists and other skeptics tend to find unconvincing is that such ideational changes have the potential to affect the behavior of states. Popular thinking, after all, need not be translated into national policy. Not all ideas become norms. What accounts for the difference between those that do and those that do not? Norms come and go over time as ideas evolve. Some rules that were accepted without much examination for centuries have lost their ability to shape state behavior, such as the right of the monarch to determine the religion of the people in his or her realm. At other times new international norms emerge where none existed before, like the belief in the inviolability of embassies, or the taboo against the use of nuclear weapons on the battlefield.30 If indeed major war has become obsolete, it may be because a new international norm has emerged to prevent its eruption. Developing an understanding of normative evolution is an important step toward establishing a strong theoretical foundation for the argument. The Development of International Norms Scholars have thus far failed to describe fully the process of normative creation and evolution. According to Kowert and Legro, constructivists “have relatively little to say” about how norms emerge. “And without any theory of how such identities are constructed and evolve, this research struggles to contribute more to an understanding of political behavior than the work it criticizes.”31 “It is rare,” argued another influential work, “to find a general theoretical model of norm formation and evolution in this literature.”32 The process of normative development is neither particularly mysterious nor complicated; it is, however, perhaps underappreciated. Human societies tend to be ideationally heterogeneous. Most will harbor the rhetorical preconditions for a number of norms simultaneously, some of which would support conflicting behaviors. Controversy over competing ideas can, over time, lead to a victory of some over others. Eventually, triumphant ideas can become incorporated into the behavior of society. Social debate is the evolutionary battleground for norms, and that debate can be affected (or ended, or rekindled) by a number of different factors: by leaders, systemic shocks, or even seemingly unrelated, exogenous developments. There are therefore measurable, “brute” empirical factors that will help us understand how norms come into prominence. In fact, the impact of measurable phenomena is central to the process by which any society internalizes or adopts an idea to such an extent that its behavior changes. Normative evolution does not occur in a vacuum, independent of the society in which the debate is imbedded. To understand the process by which

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norms emerge, it is necessary to understand how ideational debates occur—why some ideas win, others lose, and still others come to affect the behavior of actors. One of those rare and quite useful models to explain normative development, Finnemore and Sikkink’s “life cycle,” explains the emergence of norms in three distinct stages.33 In the first, “norm emergence,” an idea rises, often gaining the support of influential individuals that the literature refers to as “norm entrepreneurs” or proponents. These individuals use their intellectual and / or financial resources to bring the idea into public and even international consciousness, where its value can become the subject of broad debate. The idea often comes into contact with current social norms, or the status quo, which for reasons of tradition and inertia can be powerful enemies of any new manner of thinking. Once they have emerged into social debates, ideas often die as a result of intellectual fashion, inherent impracticality, or replacement by a more acceptable competitor. Some, however, slowly win over the masses. The second stage of the life cycle—the “norm cascade”—begins with a “tipping point,” a moment when the idea begins to win at least a solid plurality in the group.34 Tipping points can be gradual, driven by the inherent persuasiveness of the idea, or dramatic, perhaps in the form of an event that convinces many actors of its utility simultaneously. During the cascade that follows, an idea picks up momentum, driven by “a combination of pressure for conformity, desire to enhance international legitimization, and the desire of state leaders to enhance their self-esteem.”35 Cascade momentum can flow from the bottom up, from the people to the leaders, or from the top down, from the elites to the masses. Prior to the tipping point, Finnemore and Sikkink explain, little normative change occurs. But once tipping occurs, dramatic change is possible. “A different dynamic begins. More countries begin to adopt new norms more rapidly, even without the domestic pressure for such change.”36 The norm takes on a life of its own. The third and final stage of the norm life cycle is “internalization,” the point at which an idea takes on a “taken-for-granted quality,” when the norm is “no longer a matter of broad public debate” and becomes accepted by domestic or international society.37 An evolution in norms is complete when a change has taken place in how people think and, just as importantly, what they think about. It is virtually impossible to do something that is never even considered, or that is not in the set of viable options. Such a choice becomes, to return to Mueller’s words, subrationally unthinkable; it has reached what Wendt calls the “third degree of socialization,” where adhering to the norm becomes second nature.38 People or states change their behavior accordingly, and as a result fundamental systemic change occurs. As an example of this final stage of socialization, Wendt refers to what he calls “the Bahamas Problem,” which poses a simple question: Why doesn’t the United States conquer the Bahamas? Surely it is not deterred from doing so, nor does it

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25

calculate that the costs would outweigh the benefits. Instead it is far more likely that attacking the Bahamas simply never occurs to leaders in Washington.39 The issue is never mooted, never subjected to a rational analysis. To engage in such behavior would be to violate an established norm against conquest, one that has entered the final stages, and has reached subrational unthinkability. This life cycle adequately describes the process by which an idea becomes a norm. How this occurs is no longer a mystery; why it does so, however, still is. “Although scholars have provided convincing quantitative empirical support for the idea of a norm tipping point and norm cascades,” Finnemore and Sikkink admit, “they have not yet provided a theoretical account for why norm tipping occurs.”40 Entrepreneurs can employ various kinds of leverage to bring an idea into social consciousness, but they are not always successful. Why are some ideas triumphant while others are dismissed as crackpot, even when sponsored by seemingly powerful entrepreneurs? In other words, what is the causal mechanism? Some scholars have suggested that societal debate itself drives the process, acting as both milieu and agent of normative natural selection. Florini proposed that norms are to the society as genes are to the species: Those that do not produce advantageous outcomes compared to their competitors die due to forces analogous to evolution.41 The norms that are productive for society, or regarded as correct by the moral code of the time, tend to become accepted, while others that are less efficient, meritorious, or advantageous are discarded. Any idea is evaluated according to one criterion, in Angell’s mind: “Does it make for the improvement of society?”42 If so, it will eventually win debates and has the potential to give birth to one or more norms. If not, it will lose and quickly be forgotten. This genetic concept of normative evolution suffers from a number of weaknesses. First, the genes analogy carries a central dilemma: It assumes there is a manner with which to measure the positive or negative impact of a norm on a society. Such effects are often not at all clear, yet norms that have no demonstrable effect on society one way or the other regularly rise and fall. For instance, there was no clear improvement of English society that came from the suppression of the slave trade; nonetheless, the Royal Navy played a key role in advancing the abolitionist norm. From an economic standpoint, as will be discussed below, slavery was still immensely profitable when international society rather suddenly decided that the practice was morally abhorrent. Natural selection cannot explain all normative development, for there are instances when seemingly beneficial ideas have fallen by the wayside, and others when norms have emerged that appear to have a neutral impact on society. Second, natural selection explanations of normative evolution tend to treat the process as if it were part of a rational reaction to social stimuli. Robert Axelrod, in his classic examination of the evolutionary nature of norms, demonstrated that in an iterated game the behavior of actors can be affected as much by

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unwritten rules that carry no explicit sanction as by measurable rewards.43 The desire to please the group by following unwritten rules can be a powerful constraint on behavior. This game, however, does not account for how those rules came into being to begin with. In Axelrod’s simulation, the norm was imposed exogenously, by the controller. Once again, that norms can affect behavior is not unknown; the mystery is how those norms arise in the first place. Social punishments and rewards may help explain how norms become imbedded, but they cannot account for why such behavioral reinforcements emerge. Finally, and most important, the genetic concept of normative evolution still does not contain an explanatory causal mechanism for change. The model treats normative natural selection as if it were part of an inevitable process in need of no further examination. Change, we are to believe, just happens. These current models of normative evolution suffer from a weakness common to constructivism in general: the inability, or unwillingness, to account for exogenous forces. There was no natural mechanism by which National Socialist norms would have been brought to the forefront of societal debate in Germany, for instance, or that would have eventually defeated them. Nazi ideas came into power because violent forces altered the social structure; they died out not due to normative natural selection, but rather allied armor. While calm, rational debate may bring a tipping point and rid society of some less popular ideas, exogenous factors—such as thugs in brown shirts—can rig the debate to assure that no “natural” process reflecting the overall mores of the society takes place. To understand why some ideas win debates while others lose, one must examine the other forces at work in society at the time. Material, exogenous structural factors, especially in science, technology, and socioeconomic organization, are intimately connected with the agents involved in normative evolution. The interaction between the processes of technological / socioeconomic evolution and those of the human mind can have important effects on the functions of the international system, in ways that have been generally underanalyzed by scholars. It is in this structure that the keys to understanding the agents can be found.

Understanding Normative Change Normative evolution cannot be separated from material changes in the social milieu within which the actors dwell. Norms evolve, therefore, because the ideational structure of society is altered by exogenous forces that reorganize interaction between agents. The most important of these forces emerge from progress in science and technology.44 In one of the more perceptive essays regarding norms, Coral Bell notes that since “nothing has affected our lives as profoundly as scientific-technological innovation,” it should not be surprising that ideas and norms cannot remain unmoved by that innovation.45 Evolution in science and

Explaining Behavioral Change:Why Norms Evolve

27

Scientific/Technological Development Normative Development

State Behavior

Socioeconomic Development Figure 1.1 From Science to Economics to State Behavior

technology can have a direct impact upon not only the practical workings of society but also upon the dominant discourses of social relations, altering the environment in which ideational debates occur and the calculation of preferences. As Daniel Deudney put it, “as material forces change, problems change, and therefore which security practices are functional also changes.”46 By affecting the relationships among members of society, these exogenous factors can provide the engine that moves international norms through the stages of the life cycle. Over time, these redrawn relationships can lead to new ways of conceptualizing social organization, which helps to explain the success or failure of tipping points and cascades. Such momentum can eventually alter state behavior and even affect the fundamental nature of the system, the very rules by which the game of international politics is played. This process is summarized in figure 1.1. Scientific, technological, and socioeconomic evolution rarely create new ideas or norms. Instead they typically influence standing societal debates, often rendering one side obsolete, impractical, or even ridiculous. Not all sides in such debates are created equal, of course; the views of leaders and other elites have more influence on state behavior than does public opinion. Socialization, as Ikenberry and Kupchan have convincingly argued, is primarily an elite phenomenon.47 Once small circles of influentials become convinced of the value of a certain idea, norms can emerge and state behavior change. The masses typically follow in due time. Normative change is perhaps easier to imagine if it is based primarily upon the evolution of elite, as opposed to mass, opinion. The jump from individual thinking to national behavior, which might seem to confuse different levels of analysis, is not terribly troubling for scholars of norms who tend to conceptualize societies of members (whether individuals or states) rather than systems of states. Constructivists after all have long

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held that states themselves are fictions, “whose status rests on the strength and breadth of people’s willingness to believe in, or merely accept, their reality,” in the words of Buzan.48 Constructivists are not alone in this belief: A generation ago Arnold Wolfers explained that “states are abstractions, or at best fictional personalities . . . . [I]t is not the state that acts but always individuals, though they be statesmen.”49 Robert Gilpin has reminded critics that “of course we ‘realists’ know that the state does not exist.”50 States have no objective existence apart from their people, and it is the behavior and beliefs of those people that shape international behavior. The emphasis on human agency in international affairs allows for a number of insights, ones that help fill gaps left by purely rational explanations of state behavior, or ones that eschew “reductionism.” The argument that technological and scientific advancements can have a significant impact upon the socioeconomic structure of society is rather uncontroversial. There is no shortage of examples, from the wheel and domestication of fire to the steam engine and automobile. Perhaps the more controversial point would be whether such changes can affect social debates enough to influence normative development, and ultimately state behavior. The following section examines two prominent cases of normative evolution and finds that both fit the model quite well.

Norms and the Demise of Slavery and Dueling History contains many examples of the powerful effects that exogenous structural factors can have on long-standing ideas and norms. Among the most oftcited of these in the literature on the obsolescence of major war are two institutions that are in some ways related to war itself: slavery and dueling. These analogies are not without their critics. Samuel Huntington and sociologist Robin Fox have suggested that murder and sex, respectively, are better analogies to examine in order to gain guidance about the future of war, for, in their view, all are fundamental aspects of human experience.51 These two suggestions demonstrate the extent to which some scholars misunderstand the processes under consideration here. Murder is an individual act, one as connected to passion as to aggression; war is an act of state, compelled by reason and politics. Sex is a biological necessity, vital to the propagation of the species; war clearly is not. Slavery and dueling are far more accurate analogies, for, like war, they are institutional expressions of human ideas about proper behavior. Slavery Slavery, like warfare, is a practice as old as civilization itself, justified by the Bible, the Koran, and some of the most liberal philosophers of the Enlightenment, ac-

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cepted as a normal and indeed essential part of economic life in virtually all human societies.52 Adam Smith told his students that, since free labor accounted for only a small portion of the global workforce, it was unlikely that slavery would ever be completely abandoned.53 Axelrod observed that “for centuries slavery was ‘imagined’ as an immutable part of the natural social order. Hence it was utopian to advocate its abolition.”54 Conceptions of that natural social order changed drastically and rapidly in the nineteenth century, and today slave labor forms a central part of no national economy and no longer carries the imprimatur of either governments or international opinion. Although it may persist in the criminal periphery, over the last century slavery was effectively abolished as a national practice.55 Utopia has arrived. Ethan Nadelmann attributed the demise of slavery to the work of norm entrepreneurs in the most powerful state backed by the world’s leading navy.56 Humanitarian outrage over slavery was hardly unique to the nineteenth century, however. Abolitionist movements had always existed alongside the practice, but perceived economic necessity kept the proslavery side of the ideational debate in solid ascendance. The toil of slaves liberated a class of people from work in the fields, a job that otherwise would have occupied nearly all the time of the local inhabitants.57 The Spartan warrior would have had to spend his time producing food for his family, for example, were it not for his enslaved Hoplite. Likewise, the Southern gentry would not have been nearly so idle were it not for its enslaved laborers. No norm entrepreneurs were able to convince these societies of the abhorrence of the practice. Why did those of the nineteenth century succeed where all who came before had failed? What’s more, slavery was abandoned when it was still quite profitable, indeed when it was in what was perhaps its most profitable era. European imperialism had raised the demand for slaves to an all-time high. Economic self-interest in the industrial age did not drive slavery out of existence; in fact, it created a greater need, since free labor, no matter how unmotivated, is always cheaper in the long run than paid.58 Slaves could have been taught to use the new machines and techniques of the age, as they were in the American south after the invention of the cotton gin.59 So it was despite the economic impact of slavery, not because of it, that the Royal Navy led the effort to bring the slave trade to a halt beginning in 1807, a feat successfully accomplished by the latter half of the nineteenth century. The empire would have been much better served economically if the slave trade had been sustained, but its leaders decided that the moral costs were unaffordable. Something had drastically changed. Innovations of the industrial revolution had an enormous and decisive impact on slavery because they eliminated the need for, not the profitability of, the slave. Evolution in agricultural technology decreased the number of hours that needed to be devoted to crop cultivation, diminishing the demand for labor. The steel

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Deere plow and the McCormick reaper in particular helped turn the slave from an economic necessity into a profitable luxury.60 Prior to those inventions, farmers tilled the land with the same kind of wooden implements used in the Middle Ages and devoted about the same number of work-hours per acre. The norm entrepreneurs of the nineteenth century were successful because brute material factors tipped the scales in the societal debate over abolition toward liberalism. Technological advance by itself hardly ended the utility of the slave, but it did change the relationship of labor to the land and undercut the economic justification for keeping people in chains. The people of nineteenth-century international society were willing to acknowledge that it was not morally acceptable to force people to work the fields, so long as abolition did not imply that they would be compelled to do the work for themselves. In a relatively short amount of time the standing societal debate was tipped, ideas changed, and norms evolved. For the industrial and postindustrialized world, where technology has liberated the vast majority from back-breaking physical toil, slavery has come to be seen as an unmitigated evil to be stamped out in whatever corners of the world it may still remain. As James Lee Ray has argued, there are many logical and philosophical connections between slavery and war. Both are remarkably illiberal institutions that exist only when it is possible to thoroughly dehumanize other groups. They both involve the use of brute force and rely upon “invidious comparisons between groups of human beings.” The victory of abolitionists in modern international society should offer hope that egalitarian ideals “will likewise ultimately render untenable the roughly analogous invidious comparisons and rationalizations for legal killing which serve as justifications for the initiation of international war.”61 Exogenous factors helped to liberalize international society and turn it against slavery, a practice once thought to be a permanent part of the human condition. Perhaps then they could have done the same with war among the industrialized powers. Dueling While a vigorous academic debate has taken place among economic, social, and political historians about the causes of the end of slavery, no such passionate examination followed the demise of dueling. The major histories of the activity treat its end as if it were the natural result of the upper classes coming to their senses, rather than as a process in need of explanation.62 But despite its smaller scale and comparative moral insignificance, dueling was until fairly recently a widely accepted social institution among the privileged, with fairly obvious parallels to war. Carl von Clausewitz observed on the very first page of On War that a “war is nothing but a duel on a larger scale”; a century later, Quincy Wright wrote that in earlier times “war was a state duel in that the army fought as representative

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of the prince,” and “many of the curious conventions of the duel flow from the psychological factors which are also present in war.”63 Dueling as a method of conflict resolution was a common component of upper-class European (and American) society for centuries and central to the conception of masculinity itself.64 The concern for honor and reputation that compelled individuals to meet at twenty paces was often identical to that which caused the great nations to meet on the field of battle.65 Honor always counsels belligerence; wherever it is a virtue there will always be conflict, no matter how irrational or futile fighting may be. Insults to the national honor have been the cause of many a personal and national conflict, especially in less liberal ages when personal mortality seemed less important than social standing. Angell noted that for most of human history even educated people in the most advanced European societies believed that it was “not in human nature” to expect a man of “gentle birth to abandon the habit of the duel; the notion that honorable people should ever so place their honor at the mercy of whoever may care to insult them” was “both childish and sordid.” Insults had to be “wiped out in blood.”66 Society dictated that violence was an acceptable and, indeed, necessary method with which to address challenges to personal or national honor. By the 1840s, however, this ancient institution was gone from all but a few remote corners of the industrialized world. The foppish absurdity of the practice seems to have played a key role in its demise. Angell noted that “the chivalric code, with its cold indignation and pompous self-consciousness, was finally deflated by ridicule.”67 Mueller concurred, adding that “formal dueling seems to have evaporated mainly because it came to be taken as a ridiculous mode of behavior.”68 However, dueling had existed for hundreds of years and was the object of mockery and scorn for much of that time. Laws banning the practice existed in many places, but they were roundly ignored and rarely enforced. The most infamous dueler in American history, Aaron Burr, was never prosecuted; neither were Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, playwright Ben Jonson, Aleksandr Pushkin, nor the vast majority of the thousands of other men who took part in duels. Why was ridicule suddenly successful in the nineteenth century when it had not been before? That question is unanswerable without reference to the exogenous factors present in broader society. Once again, technology had a decisive influence on a normative debate. The main weapons of the duel prior to the 1830s were the epee and the smooth-bore pistol, and lethality levels were relatively low. Social attitudes toward dueling changed dramatically as the weapons used became more dependable, more accurate, and much more lethal. Historian Dick Steward is worth quoting at some moderate length. Shifting social attitudes . . . were reinforced by technological changes that began in the 1830s and early 1840s. Percussion pistols were replacing flintlocks, and

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this added an even more dangerous element to the art of dueling. Moreover, many of the newer pistols were rifled—an innovation which increased their accuracy. . . . Smoothbore flintlock weapons had hardly ever been instruments of exactitude, but with the rifled-bore Colt revolver, pistols at ten paces now took a lethal quantum leap.69 Dueling died much faster than slavery, in large part because it had no natural economic allies. Once the death toll began to rise, the behavior rapidly began to be seen as an absurd waste of life, and its participants became targets of parody. The imperative to avoid becoming the object of ridicule soon came to outweigh the demands imposed by honor. Mockery was successful where law was not and norms changed, primarily because of the emergence of an exogenous factor: the Colt revolver. Dueling as a manner of dispute resolution died out with a change in what defined honor and in how human life was valued in general. It no longer is even contemplated by the same class of people who once considered it to be necessary and natural. The normative evolution that brought about its end was another sign of the growing power of philosophical liberalism. Wright attributes its disappearance to the rise of the “bourgeois temperament,” which emphasized the “acquisition of wealth as the appropriate means to influence and prestige.”70 A variety of modern romantics like Richard Hopton seems to lament its demise, complaining that “honour barely exists in the modern world; it has become confused with self-interest and debased by relativism.”71 Indeed the rate at which dueling died was directly related to the power of liberalism in the state. The code duello was more quickly abolished where respect for the individual was replacing the worship of honor. Although the practice was finished in France by the 1840s and banned in England in 1844, it continued uninterrupted in the Prussian officer corps through World War I.72 Historian Kevin McAleer attributed the duel’s long life in Germany to the conscious, active rejection of liberalism by the Junker class.73 Retaining the duel became a way for the conservative aristocracy to pretend that no social evolution was occurring in Europe. Since no state is an island, such pretense could not last forever, and the practice died with the Kaiser’s government. Even strong encouragement by the illiberal governments of both Hitler and Mussolini was not enough to bring the duel back.74 Abolitionists and opponents of the duel had powerful allies ready to assist in the enforcement of the emerging norms. The British Navy, the Union Army, and antidueling laws surely aided in ending the practices. But without the consent of the people, neither would have been eliminated. Enforcement mechanisms without the support of society are rarely effective, as the United States discovered during its experiment with prohibition. Successful regulations banning slavery and dueling were manifestations of, not the reasons for, the evolution of norms;

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they were signs of societal debates won. Laws were not decisive. Instead, the way people regarded the activities changed as time went on, due to concomitant scientific, technological, and socioeconomic evolution. Only after changes in ideas did norms evolve. The norms governing slavery and dueling have reached the final, internalization stage of Finnemore and Sikkink’s model, having long ago become subrationally unthinkable, and therefore obsolete, in industrialized society. Due in large part to the transformation of the socioeconomic structure of society brought about by technological development, slavery was rendered unnecessary and dueling ridiculous. Could the same process account for the demise of major war and signal the beginning of the end of armed conflict everywhere? Notes 1. Archeological opinion on the matter is reviewed by LeBlanc, Constant Battles; for the view from anthropology, see Edgerton, Sick Societies. For the opinion of one of the most prominent military historians, see Keegan, A History of Warfare. 2. Ember and Ember, “Violence in the Ethnographic Record,” 5; discussed in Snyder, “Anarchy and Culture.” 3. Ember and Ember, “Resource Unpredictability, Mistrust, and War,” 242. 4. Tilly, Coercion, Capital, and European States, AD 990–1990, 74 and 184, emphasis in original. 5. Tuchman, A Distant Mirror, 228. 6. Clark, The Seventeenth Century, 98. 7. Parker, Spain and the Netherlands, 1559–1659, 65. 8. Luard, War in International Society, 53. 9. Morgenthau, Scientific Man vs. Power Politics, 49. 10. Alexander, “The Psychiatric Aspects of War and Peace,” 504. 11. Gaddis, The Long Peace. 12. For reviews of these arguments, see Jervis, American Foreign Policy in a New Era, and Mueller, “War Has Almost Ceased to Exist.” Full discussions will also take place in the next chapter. 13. Hegemonic stability as a potential cause of the period of peace will be dealt with at some length in chapter 7. 14. One other potential explanation for the decline of war is perhaps worth noting, if mostly for entertainment purposes. Luttwak has suggested that the declining birth rate in great powers may have had an impact upon their willingness to become involved in war. He gives little reason to believe that only parents in small families mind if their children are killed fighting for the state, or that parental love contains an aspect of declining marginal utility. It is a creative, intriguing, and ultimately silly idea, one that contains a rather stark conflation of correlation and causality. See his “Where Are the Great Powers? At Home with the Kids.”

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15. See the essays in Elman and Elman, Bridges and Boundaries. 16. Jervis, American Foreign Policy in a New Era, 26. 17. Jepperson, Wendt, and Katzenstein, “Norms, Identity, and Culture in National Security,” 54. 18. See Krasner, International Regimes, and Hasenclever, Mayer, and Rittberger, “Integrating Theories of International Regimes.” 19. Finnemore and Sikkink, “International Norm Dynamics and Political Change,” 894. 20. In addition to those works listed elsewhere in this chapter, some of the most influential works on norms include Friedrich Kratochwil, Norms, Rules and Decisions; Onuf, World of Our Making; Barkin and Cronin, “The State and the Nation”; Klotz, Norms in International Relations; Finnemore, National Interests in International Society; Raymond, “Problems and Prospects in the Study of International Norms”; and Goertz, International Norms and Decision Making. 21. Finnemore, “Constructing Norms of Human Rights Intervention”; Price and Tannenwald, “Norms and Deterrence: The Nuclear and Chemical Weapons Taboos”; Thomas, “Norms and Security”; and Thomson, “State Practices, International Norms, and the Decline of Mercenarism.” See also Nadelmann, “Global Prohibition Regimes,” 479–526. 22. Brooks and Wohlforth, “Power, Globalization, and the End of the Cold War,” 6. 23. Luard, War in International Society, 15. 24. Wendt, Social Theory of International Relations, 94. 25. Waltz, Theory of International Politics, 127 and 76. See also Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion,” 15. 26. Wendt, “Anarchy Is What States Make of It.” 27. For a discussion of ideas and international relations, see the essays in Goldstein and Keohane, Ideas and Foreign Policy. 28. Mueller, The Quiet Cataclysm, 131. 29. Holsti, “The Decline of Interstate War,” 140–41. 30. Tannenwald, The Nuclear Taboo. 31. Kowert and Legro, “Norms, Identity, and their Limits,” 469. 32. Mitchell, “A Kantian System?” 758. She points out that Finnemore and Sikkink’s model, discussed below, is an exception, albeit an incomplete one. 33. Finnemore and Sikkink, “International Norm Dynamics and Political Change.” Another exception is the closely related four-stage lifecycle described by Nadelmann in his “Global Prohibition Regimes,” 484–85. 34. Wendt discusses tipping points in Social Theory of International Relations, 264. See also Schelling, Micromotives and Macrobehavior, 99–102. 35. Finnemore and Sikkink, “International Norm Dynamics and Political Change,” 895. 36. Ibid., 902. 37. Ibid., 895.

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38. Mueller, Retreat from Doomsday, 11; and Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics, 272–78. 39. Wendt, Social Theory of International Relations, 289–90. 40. Finnemore and Sikkink, “International Norm Dynamics and Political Change,” 901. 41. Florini, “The Evolution of International Norms.” See also Nelson and Winter, An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change. 42. Angell, The Great Illusion, 179. 43. Axelrod, “An Evolutionary Approach to Norms.” 44. For thoughtful discussions of the interplay between science and political change, see Granger, Technology and International Relations; Rittberger, “Science and Technology in the New International Order”; Volgler, “Technology and Change in International Relations”; Sanders, International Dynamics of Technology; and Skolnikoff, The Elusive Transformation. 45. Bell, “Normative Shift,” 46. 46. Deudney, “Geopolitics and Change,” 102. 47. Ikenberry and Kupchan, “Socialization and Hegemonic Power.” Deutsch et al. observed that active, direct popular support plays a relatively minor role in the formation of security communities, in Political Community and the North Atlantic Area, 93–106. 48. Buzan, “From International System to International Society,” 329. 49. Wolfers, Discord and Collaboration: Essays on International Politics, 48. The point is discussed further by Thomas in The Ethics of Destruction, 182–84. In general this argument echoes many of those made by Anderson in Imagined Communities. 50. Gilpin, “The Richness of the Tradition of Political Realism,” 301. 51. Huntington, “No Exit,” 7; Fox, “Fatal Attraction,” 12–13. 52. Loewenberg, “John Locke and the Antebellum Defense of Slavery.” 53. Smith, Lectures on Jurisprudence, 181. 54. Axelrod, “An Evolutionary Approach to Norms,” 1110. 55. There are some areas of the world where the peculiar institution lasted beyond the nineteenth century, and where it still does to this day. Saudi Arabia, for example, did not outlaw the practice until 1962; slave labor was used extensively by Hitler and various communist societies; the slave trade still seems to exist in the Sudan; and various forms of de facto sexual slavery seem to be a growing problem in many parts of the world. Yet these lingering instances of slavery are illegal and certainly abhorrent to international sensibilities. 56. Nadelmann, “Global Prohibition Regimes,” 492–98. 57. This is discussed by Eltis in Economic Growth and the Ending of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. 58. Some Marxist historians have argued that capitalism’s rise made slavery unprofitable; see Williams, Capitalism and Slavery, and Davis, Slavery and Human Progress. Today, however, the inherent profitability of slavery seems to be fairly widely accepted.

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See Miers, Britain and the Ending of the Slave Trade; Eltis, Economic Growth and the Ending of the Transatlantic Slave Trade; Kaufmann and Pape, “Explaining Costly International Moral Action”; and Ryden, “Does Decline Make Sense?” See also Ashley, “Three Modes of Economism.” 59. Aufhauser, “Slavery and Technological Change.” 60. Gordon, An Empire of Wealth, pp.173–76. 61. Ray, “The Abolition of Slavery and the End of International War,” 423. 62. See Baldick, The Duel, for a review. 63. Clausewitz, On War, 1; Wright, A Study of War, 176. 64. See Baldick, The Duel, and Langholm, “Violent Conflict Resolution and the Loser’s Reaction.” The connections between the duel, conservative culture, and masculinity are discussed by Steward in Duels and the Roots of Violence in Missouri. 65. Kagan discusses the concept of honor and its relationship to the outbreak of war in On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace. 66. Angell, The Great Illusion, 202, 205. 67. Ibid., 205. 68. Mueller, Quiet Cataclysm, 119. 69. Steward, Duels and the Roots of Violence in Missouri, 192. 70. Wright, A Study of War, 178. 71. Hopton, Pistols at Dawn, 390. 72. Seitz, Famous American Duels, 2–3. 73. McAleer, Dueling. 74. Hopton, Pistols at Dawn, 377–80.

2 From Opium to Obsolescence: The Norms of War IN 1839 GREAT BRITAIN DISPATCHED the Royal Navy to reprimand a manifestly

inferior non-European people, which was something it did with some regularity throughout the imperial era. The upstart, who in this case was China, had had the temerity to impose restrictions on the importation of British opium, which London had promoted as a way to offset China’s monopoly on tea. As addiction rates in Chinese coastal cities grew throughout the 1830s, opium became synonymous with the corrupt, debilitating, unwelcome influence of the West. By the end of the decade Chinese leaders had seen enough and ordered the arrest and even execution of foreign drug peddlers. Such insults to the crown could not go unpunished, of course; the Chinese were soon bludgeoned into rethinking their drug control policies, and doors were reopened to opium by 1842. The process more or less repeated itself in 1856.1 In other words, Great Britain, the strongest, most enlightened society in the world, used military force on two occasions to force another country to import narcotics. Few historical events baffle the modern undergraduate more than these Opium Wars. Students often appear to be at a loss when confronted with this story and tend to dismiss its importance, as if the differences between that bygone era and the current one are too great to warrant serious contemplation. International attitudes toward the use of force (and toward narcotics) have certainly evolved in the intervening 150 years, and the behavior of states has changed along with them. The Opium Wars are worth remembering for a variety reasons—not the least of which is because the Chinese have not forgotten them—but for the purposes of this argument the conflicts offer a clear reminder that the rules governing international interaction, and the norms of war, can undergo drastic change. By now most scholars of international relations should be broadly aware of what has to be the most important phenomenon in post–Cold War international politics: the marked, dramatic decline in the number and intensity of all kinds of warfare, including traditional interstate wars, civil wars, and ethnic conflict. As

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coming chapters will discuss in more detail, warfare seems to be quietly disappearing from the planet; the international system seems to have entered a golden age of peace and security, even if few outside the academy seem to have noticed. The implications and potential longevity of these pacific trends are still debatable, but their empirical reality is not. This chapter applies the framework for normative evolution to warfare, providing reason to believe that the venerable institution of war may be disappearing. Three important material, measurable processes unfolded during the twentieth century that decisively changed the relationship between society and armed conflict. Taken together, these exogenous factors helped to tip the scales of the social debates surrounding warfare, driving the new norm against major war through the stages of the life cycle to the point that it may well have become subrationally unthinkable. None can take full credit for the demise of major war, much less the decrease in all levels of conflict. But the fact that they unfolded simultaneously may well have brought about changes in the way people think about war that would be very difficult to reverse. Their effects are additive. The chapter also explains why this rather titanic change is likely to be permanent: Normative evolution is typically unidirectional, for a number of important, logical reasons. Overall, the way that great (and, increasingly, lesser) powers envision honor is no longer the same as it has been throughout most of human history. In many ways, liberalism and honor pull states in opposite directions; today there is reason to believe that the former has won, and that the successors of Norman Angell are correct. The world may be a significantly less dangerous place than the conventional wisdom would have us believe.

Exogenous Factors The process of normative development that may have brought an end to major war incorporates many of the competing explanations for the current era of peace. Three groups of exogenous factors helped bring society to the tipping point: military and civilian technology, economic interdependence, and institutions. Science and Technology Over a century ago Polish banker-turned-military-expert Ivan Bloch argued that “all the pomp and circumstance of glorious war disappeared when smokeless powder was invented.”2 After a century of technological and economic development, the rest of the world may have come to agree. Modern technology and tactics have made possible a form of warfare among great powers that is more destructive and devastating than almost any conceivable benefit that could come from fighting.

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Atomic weapons obviously and permanently changed the rules that govern international interaction since they all but remove the possibility of meaningful victory from the calculations of potential aggressors. Many scholars have suggested that it is no coincidence that nuclear weapons came into existence at about the same time that the great powers stopped fighting one another, since they make offensive war an irrational, self-defeating, and exceedingly unlikely exercise.3 Some scholars have enough faith in the pacifying effect of nuclear weapons to suggest that an efficient way to spread stability would be to encourage controlled proliferation to nonnuclear states.4 Although nuclear weapons may well have contributed to Cold War stability, there are many seemingly peaceful great power relationships that are unaffected by their presence. Most European powers are nuclear-free, even if they do benefit from the U.S. umbrella. It strains the limits of extended deterrence logic, however, to suggest that the only thing keeping the major European powers at peace is the belief that the United States would respond with nuclear weapons at the outbreak of war. Even during the Cold War deterrence could not prevent limited wars, which have become very rare between the most advanced states. Nuclear weapons certainly cannot take credit for the apparent trickle-down effect of peace. There are no nuclear states in Central or South America, for example, but those regions have been virtually free of interstate war for decades. The relative decline of civil wars and ethnic conflict around the globe since the end of the Cold War also cannot be a by-product of nuclear weapons. Thus, while deterrence helped shape views toward warfare at the upper levels of the system, it is not the only reason why those views seem to be seeping down to the less-developed states. Those modern weapons that do not cause “mass destruction” can still lead to incalculable human and societal devastation, which may be sufficient to make major war too expensive to contemplate for advanced postindustrial societies.5 The threat of nuclear war may guarantee terrible consequences for aggression, but conventional war is no longer something that states can enter into without risking the serious damage that twenty-first-century conventional weapons can cause. In the long run, determining which class of weapon is more influential may not be too important, for their effects are additive. Together they may have the potential to permanently alter the way members of advanced societies think about the cost of modern war. Civilian technology has also affected the relationship between society and war. Not only is modern conflict more destructive than ever before, but people are now more aware of its true nature. Communications technology developed rapidly over the course of the last century, bringing the grim reality of war to public consciousness. Graphic photographic visions of the battlefield began to emerge in the middle of the last century, when pioneers like Matthew Brady

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shocked and horrified with images of the aftermath of Civil War clashes, which helped to frame public perception of the war. The British government realized the pacifying potential of the photograph and banned public displays of any images of World War I casualties until years after the war ended.6 Photos and film were more controllable in the early part of the century, but by its end television brought directly into people’s living rooms visions of war that were devoid of romance and glory.7 While the overall impact of communications technology can be debated, one thing seems certain: By the end of the twentieth century it was much more difficult to hide the tragic human realities of the battlefield from the public than it was at the end of the nineteenth. Not only has warfare become markedly more deadly, in other words, but society is inescapably more aware of that deadliness than it has been in the past. When television replaced the romantic poem as the medium through which people receive their images of war, the requisite illusions of glory and honor became more difficult to maintain. Economic Interdependence and Globalization The final influence from the material world on the normative structure of twentieth century international politics was economic. Angell argued in 1909 that “it is only where a community has nothing to lose, no banks, no personal fortunes dependent upon public good faith, no great businesses, no industries that the Government can afford to repudiate its obligations or disregard the general code of economic morality” by going to war.8 Seven decades later, neoliberal institutionalists began arguing that modern levels of economic interdependence are of significantly greater levels than in Angell’s time, giving states a strong incentive to resolve their disputes peacefully.9 These scholars argued that it is almost always in the interest of states today, if they are rational and self-interested, to cooperate rather than run the risk of ruining their economies, and those of their main trading partners, with conflict. Economic considerations are not the only ones that states must weigh when war looms, but to the extent that they affect decisions in this postmercantilist age they do so in a uniformly pacific direction. The globalization of production is a powerful force for stability among those countries that benefit from the actions of multinational corporations.10 Today’s highly mobile investment dollars flee instability, providing strong incentives for states to settle both external and internal disputes peacefully. In his review of the impact of economic integration on international politics, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman asserted that globalization “both increases the incentives for not making war and increases the costs of going to war in more ways than in any previous era in modern history.” Although states may have al-

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ways thought twice before embarking on war, “in this era of globalization they will think about it three times.”11 During the Cold War almost any state could expect to receive financial aid from one or the other of the superpowers if it aligned itself properly on the ideological spectrum and claimed a robust domestic opposition. Today, an “electronic herd” of investors is the major source of capital, and therefore of the potential for further economic development, prosperity, and wealth. Since this herd is repelled by chaos, any state wishing to remain plugged into the international economy would have to think long and hard before employing its military to solve its problems. Globalization has been accompanied by an evolution in the way national wealth is accumulated. The major industrial powers, unlike their less-developed neighbors, seem to have reached the rather revolutionary conclusion that territory is not directly related to national power and prestige.12 Great power society now instructs its members that security and prosperity derive from an increase in economic, rather than military or political, reach. Trade, not conquest, is the route to wealth in today’s international system. Angell argued that “it is evident, even on cursory examination, that no real advantage of any kind is achieved for the mass of one people by the conquest of another.”13 A century later there is reason to believe that a good many people agree. In fact, the number of people in and outside academia who still believe that conquest can bring benefits to industrial societies seems to be steadily shrinking.14 Edward Luttwak argues that in many regions geopolitics is slowly being replaced by “geo-economics,” in which “the methods of commerce are displacing military methods—with disposable capital in lieu of firepower, civilian innovation in lieu of military-technical advancement, and market penetration in lieu of garrisons and bases.”15 In a geo-economic world international rivalry would not disappear, nor would clashing interests, but the methods of conflict resolution would typically be nonviolent. If Luttwak is right and the “low politics” of the past are becoming the “high politics” of the future, then we should see a marked decrease in the incidence of war between these actors. “In principle, purely economic actors do not care about influence or prestige,” noted Mueller, “they care about getting rich.”16 At the very least, it is hard today to sustain the argument that economic pressures encourage the outbreak of war. A globalized world would probably be a more peaceful one as well. Critics are quick to point out that the two most interdependent countries prior to World War I were England and Germany, and consequently that trade has not always led to peaceful relations.17 Economic interdependence, no matter how complex, cannot guarantee peace until people become convinced that they have too much to lose by fighting. One of Angell’s fiercest critics, Alfred Thayer Mahan, argued prior to World War I that “nations are under no illusion

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as to the unprofitableness of war itself ”; honor and interest compelled them to fight anyway.18 Overall, as Angell discovered to his frustration, technological and socioeconomic development do not change societies on their own. Still, these exogenous factors are hardly mutually exclusive and instead have been working in concert over the course of the last hundred years to affect the standing societal debates about the wisdom of major war. Taken together, these processes have made the end of major war, in Robert Jervis’s mind, appear to be essentially overdetermined.19 Democracy and the United Nations Finally, a number of domestic and international institutions emerged over the course of the twentieth century that might also have had a pacifying influence on international society. Institutions are not entirely exogenous to the process of normative development; they are the result of changes in ideas and can be thought of as the formal confirmation of the existence of norms. But they also can serve as agents, both by spreading behavioral patterns and by helping them to become ingrained in members of a society. Two in particular are worthy of discussion. Perhaps most prominently, throughout the century democracy spread to every continent, if not to every country. While the widely tested and debated democratic peace theory is not universally accepted in the field, the hundreds of books and articles that have been written on the subject over the past twenty years have probably been sufficient to convince many that democracies rarely fight one another.20 Since most of today’s great powers practice some form of democracy, perhaps it should be unsurprising that conflict has been absent in the global north. A skeptic could point out that although the democratic peace might help explain why there have been no intra-West wars, it does little to account for the lack of conflict involving nondemocratic great powers, such as the Soviet Union and China. The long peace extends beyond the community of free societies, even if democracy has helped the norm against major war take root. Democracy is the most efficient transmitter of popular preferences into state policy. Societies that desire peace are more likely to get it under a democratic government than any other; democratic societies that seek war are also more able to produce it. And there have been many times in history when the people have not only desired but nearly demanded war. The American people were more warlike than their government in 1898, for instance.21 Raymond Aron noted that the common people in all of the great powers in 1914 “showed scarcely less enthusiasm for war than those who had retained a military caste and respect for aristocratic values. The cult of violence and the lust for power became most

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intense at a time when, as a result of wars and revolutions, a popular elite had finally suppressed the old aristocracy.”22 Democracy did not help bring about peace until popular opinion about war changed. Having lived without major war for so long makes it easy for scholars to forget that, historically speaking, it has not typically been an unpopular venture upon which to embark.23 A number of international institutions grew in power as democracy spread after World War II. Some scholars have suggested that regimes and institutions profoundly affect state behavior. By increasing the rewards for cooperation and punishing conflict, they serve to inhibit aggression and war.24 The United Nations is the most prominent but not the only example of an institution that can make the outbreak of conflict less likely, and that can help bring it to a close when conflict does break out. The United Nations provides a forum for discussion and diplomacy, and it can supply experts in mediation, peacekeeping, and conflict resolution in the event of hostilities. Andrew Mack in particular gives the increase in UN peacekeeping primary credit for the decline in warfare.25 Once again, however, international institutions cannot take full credit for the absence of major wars and the decreasing number of minor ones, because no institution is capable of enforcing peace upon countries that want to fight. Regimes and laws are codifications of generally accepted behavior; they can help reinforce norms and make them routine, but they cannot impose new behavioral patterns upon unwilling states. The United Nations was never designed to make war impossible, or to make peace part of an offer that no country could refuse. The direction of the causal arrow is not clear for either domestic or international institutions; it is just as plausible to suggest that peace preceded, and then abetted, their creation.26 The rise in peacekeeping in particular has only been possible because of great power cooperation. Even Mack admits that the success rate of UN peacekeeping has been rather low, which suggests that something else may be at work. While no institution can prevent the outbreak of war, especially major war, together they can presumably help shape incentives and make cooperation seem to be a more rational state choice in many instances. Such institutions shape rather than create behavior and are not decisive in explaining outcomes. But for the past two generations they have been doing so in mostly liberal, positive, peaceful directions. Perhaps Bloch and Angell were merely ahead of their time. Perhaps it took a pair of world wars for the awesome destructive power of modern weaponry to become clear to most people, aided by the accompanying development of communications technology. Perhaps technological, institutional, and economic innovations helped lead to a decisive victory in a standing normative debate, one which would have the power to change the fundamental nature of the

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international system. These exogenous changes, taken together, may have had the power to change the norms that give the world its structure and provide the rules governing interaction.

The Tipping Points of August The norm against major war entered the second stage of its life cycle, the norm cascade, after a two-step tipping point. The first began to affect the standing normative debate but proved insufficient to change minds everywhere, or to alter state behavior systemwide. By the time of the second, the idea that a major war could not be worth the cost—the idea that Angell had unsuccessfully championed—became rapidly and widely accepted. The first event was World War I, which not only introduced industrialized military technology into combat, but also brought the effects of that technology into the consciousness of the public. The second event occurred forty-one Augusts later. The bombing of Hiroshima made the specter of modern war too horrible to contemplate, for leaders and publics alike. World War I is the key event for both Angell and Mueller. For the former, the Great War was heartbreaking evidence of his failure to convince the world of the futility of major combat; for the latter, it was the beginning of the postbellic era among the great powers. Mueller in effect makes the case that the war convinced most of the developed world that Angell was right, and that the costs of war far outweighed the benefits. The existence of a growing pacifist movement both before and after the war gave people an alternative vision for international relations, one that was not accompanied by inevitable bellicosity. Because of the exertions of the prewar antiwar movement—the norm entrepreneurs—World War I “was the first in which people were widely capable of recognizing and being thoroughly repulsed by those horrors and in which they were substantially aware that viable alternatives existed.”27 After the war, for the first time in history, the majority of people in the most powerful states embraced the idea of living in peace. A broad change in attitudes toward conflict was evident in every aspect of society, from official discourse to the arts. As a historian of war literature remarked, “the experience of the First World War marks a great divide in the imagination.”28 War lost its romance; for most, amour de guerre passed from the scene. Unfortunately this transformation did not occur with equal weight everywhere. The ancien régime held on for another few decades, particularly in two of the great powers. Japan, which had largely avoided the carnage and therefore the lessons of the war, and Germany, whose defeated people were mobilized by a charismatic and atavistic demagogue, were still willing to fight in the pursuit of power and prestige. The failure of the international community to stop them—the much-maligned policies of “appeasement”—was to Mueller proof

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of the extent to which the antiwar idea had seeped into the consciousness of most industrialized states. The rest of Europe simply could not bring itself to believe that Hitler actually wanted to fight. It was to take another war before these two recidivist states became convinced that war was a futile proposition. Since their defeat, however, both Germany and Japan have become model citizens of the international community. Along with the rest of the rich countries of the world, they seem to have grown convinced of military power’s futility in resolving disputes. Mushroom clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the final blow, permanently changing the way that states wage, and people think about, war. The use of nuclear weapons made major war unthinkable and rendered those who pondered how one could be waged into objects of ridicule in popular circles.29 Once those bombs were dropped, the tipping point in the normative debate regarding major war had been reached. The point is not that nuclear weaponry immediately and irrevocably changed the way that all people think about war; as Michael Mandelbaum has pointed out, this is not the case.30 Instead, Hiroshima and Nagasaki gave weight to those who had long argued that the benefits of modern conflict cannot possibly outweigh the costs. Nuclear weapons provided irrefutable ammunition for pacifists in what was in effect a standing societal debate about how best to resolve state differences. After their use, the argument that any society could benefit from a major conflict became untenable. It took Hiroshima not for war to become futile, but for people to become convinced of that futility. Thus the obsolescence-of-major-war argument holds that technology, by improving the mechanisms of death and bringing it directly into human consciousness, affected a normative debate and made great power society begin to wonder if major warfare was a worthwhile endeavor. At the same time, domestic and international institutions emerged, both of which had additive, pacifying effects on the system. Finally, an evolution in economic organization destroyed the direct relationship between ownership of land and state power, prosperity, and prestige, at least for the industrialized world. Bombarded by these exogenous factors, the normative debate tipped decisively in the peaceful direction, and the rationale for fighting major wars was all but removed. State behavior, however, did not change until people began to recognize that major war was not worth the cost. Once that idea won the social debate, a norm was created, and major war effectively came to an end. Could war have gone from ubiquitous to obsolete in less than a century? Perhaps a better question is why it could not have, given the rapid pace of technological change. There can be no doubt that the pace of advancements in all other areas of human endeavor greatly accelerated in the twentieth century. Coral Bell has pointed out that for most of history, normative change was so slow as to be

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undetectable. From 1648 to 1948, “the normative foundations of the society of states hardly changed at all.” Even the antislavery norm took more than sixty years to become established. In the twenty-first century, however “the process is moving quite fast, and it is all we can do sometimes to notice anything else.”31 Angell hoped that social attitudes would evolve as fast as the pace of science and technology; perhaps his wish eventually came true.32

Liberalism and Honor “We despise a nation, just as we despise a man, who fails to resent an insult.”33 To Teddy Roosevelt and millions like him, national and personal honor had to be defended in blood. The most important ideas that have had to change in order for war to be nearing obsolescence are those that define masculinity itself. Perceptions of what constitutes honorable behavior—all of which are socially constructed and therefore malleable—would need to have evolved if humanity has really seen an end to both dueling and warfare. For most of human history, leaders routinely demonstrated a willingness to bring their nation to war rather than lose face or be dishonored. What this meant in practice was that states had to be ready to respond to a challenge and go to war at a moment’s notice.34 Reputational virtues, like credibility, honor, and prestige, always support belligerence over prudence; they must be protected by actions, no matter how violent or ill-advised.35 To be a man, and to be a country, was to be ready and willing to fight. If honor makes fewer demands upon policymakers in the twenty-first century than it did in all previous ones, then relative levels of belligerence would also presumably drop. Evidence for honor’s influence is not hard to find. It was honor more than interest that propelled the great powers into World War I, and honor that prevented them from finding a compromise solution long after it had become clear that the costs were far outpacing any potential benefit that victory could bring. No war has baffled historians more than the Great War, which seems to have had no clear casus belli; the millions of pages devoted to explaining its outbreak have generally paid too little attention to the importance of honor, perhaps because its logic is almost beyond the ability of the modern sensibility to comprehend.36 It is only because the notion that honor propelled the great powers into war seems so incredible, according to Michael Donelan, “that the search for other explanations has been incessant.”37 Insults to its honor compelled the United States to enter the war, which of course delighted this country’s macho element, men like Theodore Roosevelt, to no end. “Once honor was gone, reputation was gone,” explained Quincy Wright in his magisterial examination of war. “No one would fear to commit trespasses against the dishonored, who would rapidly sink in the world.” For both indi-

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viduals and states alike, reputation, prestige, and honor were “the practical road to security and advancement.”38 Such concerns were not entirely irrational, of course. Political leaders in times past had to be concerned with their reputations for at least three important reasons. If the general perception arose that they lacked honor—or, more specifically, the willingness to fight—they might well have faced internal challenges from ever-present domestic enemies, external challenges from rivals, and blows to their own self-esteem, which was itself constructed in a society that valued honor above all other virtues. At many times in the past, honor had at least some basis in interest.39 Today, that basis may no longer exist. Thanks in large part to changes in the material world, the threats posed by loss of honor today are significantly less serious. Domestic opponents in democracies are less likely to wrest control from a dishonored leader, at least until the next election. Nuclear and other destructive modern weapons discourage neighbors from taking territorial advantage of any perceived weakness in their rivals. Over time, the concept of honor changed with the social milieu in which it was embedded. It deserves emphasis that honor is a profoundly illiberal virtue. As liberalism waxed, pressures to defend honor waned. Napoleon wrote to his brother Joseph that to him, “Peace is a word devoid of meaning.” Instead, what he sought was “a glorious peace.”40 Glory, honor, and prestige compelled war after war throughout history. If they no longer do, then a normative shift would have had to have taken place within the society of states. Honor and Previous Periods of Peace The centrality of honor to this process helps put previous, seemingly stable, eras into somewhat greater perspective. The extended period of great power peace that followed the defeat of Napoleon is such an example, one that is commonly mentioned by critics as evidence that the current era is not without precedent. During and after the Concert of Europe, the European powers managed to avoid major war for forty years, or even as much as a century, depending upon who is doing the counting. Given enough time, the argument goes, post–Cold War stability will probably prove to be equally temporary. Upon close examination, however, this objection falls apart for at least three reasons. First, it is worth noting that the Concert era appears peaceful only if one uses a much narrower definition of great power than is used in this study. Purposely excluded from discussions of the long nineteenth-century peace are states that were not drastically weaker than the great powers of Europe, at least not over the course of the entire century, such as the Ottoman Empire, the United States, Japan, Mexico, China, and perhaps even Persia. The current era of peace is not Eurocentric, nor is it confined to a small handful of the most powerful states.

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Second, and much more important, even if one were to focus merely on the five great European powers, the nineteenth century still cannot be regarded as very peaceful. To the contrary, the great empires fought each other and the smaller powers quite frequently throughout this period. Luard dismisses the long peace in his study of the history of warfare. “It is not the case, as is sometimes suggested, that this was, even in Europe, a peaceful age,” he argues. “Wars were frequent. In Europe alone there were 74 conflicts of consequence in this period. . . . In the world as a whole there were at least 244 wars or about 1.9 a year on average.” In addition, Luard counts 43 civil wars in Europe alone between 1815 and 1914.41 Even the most stable era of concert, from 1815 to 1853, was still much more violent than the twenty-first century has been. Although there was only one major interstate war in Europe during this time, the 1828–29 RussoTurkish, internal conflict wracked France, Spain, Greece, Belgium, Poland, and Portugal prior to the widespread revolts of 1848. It is even harder to argue that the second half of the nineteenth century was peaceful by any reasonable standard. The Crimean War and the wars of unification in Italy and Germany all claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. The worst civil conflicts in the history of both the United States and China occurred in the 1860s. The list of great power crises and near-wars, which have been nonexistent in the post–Cold War era, is quite long. One of the main reasons the great powers did not fight one another during this period was because they were busy increasing their prestige by conquering other peoples. Colonial wars, many of which were quite bloody, raged throughout the period; the greater the power, the more it fought to expand. The impetus for empire was inherently competitive, in a couple of ways. Colonizers wanted to enrich their countries in order to improve their relative standing among great powers. Perhaps more important, they wanted to shower glory upon the homeland and contribute to the psychological defeat of their European competitors. Empires were always measured against one another, and not just for the material benefits they produced. “The glory of the empires was not spectacle such as institutions that advance human interests must provide,” wrote Donelan, “it was entertainment.”42 Great power competition for riches, power, and honor may have played itself out in the periphery much more frequently than in Europe, but it never stopped throughout the Concert era. Finally, just as significant as the wars that were actually fought are those that were merely contemplated. The update of Angell’s argument rests on the notion that war has become subrationally unthinkable, or not even part of the option set for the great powers. By contrast, war was still quite thinkable for the statesmen of the nineteenth century, and indeed it was a crucial function of the state, a necessary and constant feature of both action and planning. Public opinion mirrored that of national leaders. Although this era was one in which pacifism

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began to take root in some small minorities, war was seen in general as “normal, acceptable, or even desirable” by the great powers, according to Luard, and “public opinion generally was often bellicose.”43 The dominant ideational structure certainly did not see war as something to be avoided. In fact, many learned people and statesmen felt that war was not a tragedy but a test of mettle that brought out the best in men and states. Colonies provided an outlet for great power expansion and war fever, and far-away battlefields spared the people and cities of Europe. But once expansion was over—once the map of the world was colored in by great power colonialism—direct conflict erupted anew. The states of Europe ran into the morass of World War I with an alacrity that was the product of decades of built-up hostility and amour de guerre. Honor was the central virtue of the period, and honor often had to be defended in blood. The peace of the nineteenth century is more mythical than real, and it should not be compared to the current era of great power stability. The twenty-first century resembles the nineteenth in few important normative dimensions; the way people think about war and the way states act toward it seem to have changed dramatically over the hundred years and four generations that have since passed. The mere fact that other periods of relative great power peace came to violent ends hardly proves that all stable eras are fated to be temporary.

Causing Nonevents and Normative Recidivism As frustrating as this may be for political scientists, it may never be possible to prove precisely why the world has recently gone through its longest period without major war. Strictly speaking, no one can ever be completely sure why something does not occur. This case presents even greater methodological challenges, since if normative development is indeed the root cause of the absence of major war, it will leave little evidence. If a norm against major war has moved into the final, “internalized” stage of development, then it will never occur to policymakers to discuss it, or to identify the reasons why they choose not to wage it. It will not be possible to identify crisis behavior, because crises will very rarely happen. Who can say with any confidence exactly why the great powers did not even come close to war in the 1990s, for instance, or why there were no crises among them? Wars are extremely low-probability events. There are no “most likely” cases, or moments when war could have been reasonably expected to occur, to provide material for analysis. The precise cause of political nonevents can be very difficult to identify, as deterrence theorists have long known. Cases of deterrence failure are far more easily studied and categorized than cases of its success. It is often not possible to determine with any degree of certainty whether a potential aggressor was dissuaded because of actions by the defender or simply by indifference. To try to

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answer such questions would, in Bruce Russett’s mind, “lead to too much speculation at the expense of the careful analysis of each case in detail.”44 In The Limits of Safety, Scott Sagan grappled with a similar problem of trying to explain precisely why events—in his study, accidents with nuclear weapons—did not occur. He employed a comparative case study method known as process tracing, which in essence recreates the process that determined political outcomes. He was able to do this in large part because he had a series of crises to guide his research. Delving into massive archives without such guideposts, he noted, would have been an impossibly massive undertaking.45 The obsolescence-of-major-war argument, on the other hand, has no guideposts, no crises to consider, no near-misses to recreate. Subrationally unthinkable choices are by definition never considered, and the reasoning behind them is left unexamined. Too often political scientists seem content simply to mine the historical record for quotations that could be interpreted as support for their arguments, while omitting those that are less convenient. Too often we choose cases on the dependent variable, which becomes less testing a theory and more illustrations of our points. Studies of war are fortunate enough to have ample dependent variables upon which to choose their cases (even if doing so should raise red methodological flags).46 Explanations of peace have no such obvious cases. It will never be possible to prove beyond doubt why the great powers have put war behind them. The best one can do is construct a logical argument and examine the evidence that does exist in hope of convincing even the skeptics over time. Robert Jervis once noted that when objective measures of truth are absent, a research program succeeds when many scholars adopt it; so too this argument would succeed when many scholars become convinced of its accuracy.47 While this may not be enough to satisfy all readers, the rather enormous implications that such a change would bring may well justify a bit of further discussion of the topic. In the final analysis, identifying the precise cause of great power stability may not prove to be as important as confirming its existence, since all of these explanations discussed above, both rationalist and constructivist, carry with them a clear implication of permanence. Nuclear weapons cannot be uninvented, and states tend to give them up only when they determine that their security is virtually assured. Deterrence theory might suggest that the construction of truly reliable defenses, especially ballistic missile shields of some nature, might have the potential to disturb the strategic stability of the long peace, proving it to be temporary. But since no defense can ever be completely reliable, and since only a 100 percent success rate is acceptable against a nuclear attack, even if missile defenses are widely deployed it is quite a leap to suggest that states would ever be confident enough in them to risk annihilation through aggression. The potential utility of major war will always be far outweighed by its risks among states with nuclear weapons.

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The forces behind neoliberal explanations for the long peace are also likely to strengthen as the years pass, as economic interdependence becomes more complex, more democracies are either established or consolidated, and as institutions emerge, expand, and deepen. One need not be convinced that history has ended to believe that democratic election is the key to modern political legitimacy, and that the conventional economic wisdom supports the expansion of free markets as the surest route to state prosperity.48 The potentially pacifying forces of globalization are not likely to be reversed. Finally, and most important, normative evolution in liberal directions is typically unidirectional. History has very few precedents for the return of institutions deemed by society to be outmoded, barbaric, or futile.49 Few would argue, for instance, that either slavery or dueling is likely to reappear in this century. “The human environment,” argued Deudney, “once changed by the advent of scientific knowledge and technical know-how, cannot easily be returned to its previous state . . . . Once revealed, knowledge . . . permanently changes the opportunities and restraints of human groups.”50 Steel plows are unlikely to fall into disuse, and the lethality of weaponry available to potential duelers will not decrease in the foreseeable future. Norms, because they are inseparable from broader structural elements in society, develop along a straight line, not a cycle; they are as unidirectional as the technological development that gives them inspiration. As long as science, technology, and economics do not take unprecedented steps backward, major war is unlikely to return. Illiberal normative recidivism is exceptionally rare. As the playwright Tony Kushner memorably concluded his Angels in America, “the world only spins forward.” The idea that history is linear, progressive, and positive is one of the beliefs that comprise the very definition of liberalism, separating it from its classical realist critics.51 Liberals are generally united in the belief that society can improve because people learn and can control their base instincts through rules, institutions, and ideas. To realists, sooner or later those instincts will emerge and ruin the dreams of optimists. Whenever people suggest that war could be a thing of the past, suggested Michael Howard, the prudent reader should check to make sure his air raid shelter is in good repair.52 The potential for fundamental change has been a constant point of debate between liberals and realists since those terms gained meaning, and although it cannot be resolved in one volume, this book does hope to add a bit of weight to one side over the other. Without the ability to progress—without what Richard Tarnas called a Judaic view of history (as opposed to the Hellenic, cyclical realist view)—the potential for the obsolescence of war would not exist.53 Modern political science is in some senses a quest to identify causes, and to separate the consequential from the peripheral in order to gain a deeper understanding of complex phenomena. This work, then, is by necessity different. Although the normative explanation seems to be the best explanation of the

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obsolescence of major war, the other possible hypotheses cannot be entirely ruled out, even if they do not contradict one another. However, it is important to recognize that causal debate is not as important as it may seem. No matter what forces have driven the long peace, they are not likely to wane. The ultimate reasons behind fundamental change in state behavior are not nearly as significant as the outcome. In other words, the importance of the topic is not dependent upon the precise identification of why major war has become obsolete, only that it has, and that it probably cannot be reversed. For an increasing number of scholars, that war has become obsolete no longer seems terribly controversial. The implications of such a finding, no matter its cause, would be hard to overestimate. More evidence for the obsolescence-of-major-war hypothesis accrues every year that goes by without great power conflict. The realist might explain away this evidence by citing the existence of nuclear weapons and deterrence, and the neoliberal might give the credit for great power peace to democracy, regimes, and a new brand of complex interdependence. The constructivist would point out, however, that these factors are important only to the extent that they have fundamentally changed the way citizens of great powers think about major war. Explanations that minimize the importance of human agency cannot fully explain why fundamental changes in the nature of the international system occur. It is little wonder, then, that many strict rationalists doubt that there could ever be a normative shift so powerful that it could bring about the end of war. Perhaps the argument in these pages can help explain how normative evolution affects state behavior and, ultimately, the nature of the international system. Until that mechanism is understood, the obsolescence-of-major-war hypothesis cannot respond to the just-you-wait-and-see counterargument, the rationalist insistence that this period of great power peace is a temporary historical anomaly. Indeed, some are likely to go to their grave refusing to believe that the fundamental nature of the system can change and that a third world war is unlikely to ever happen. However, perhaps it is significant that neither those skeptics nor anyone else will be going to those graves as casualties in a major conflict. A once unthinkable proposition, that such war might be a thing of the past, is growing more and more plausible with every peaceful year. If it is true that proving the cause of nonevents is a near-impossibility, then how can this study move forward? What evidence will the absence of major war leave? In the next section, two sets of evidence will be examined, both of which are dependent upon predictions that were made about the future of the international system. In essence this book will argue that an evaluation of prediction is a valuable way to test an otherwise untestable idea, such as that major war has become obsolete. Retreat from Doomsday was hardly the only work to lay out a vision of the future of international politics; coherent neorealist and ecopessimist

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visions were articulated at about the same time. It is only slight exaggeration to say that the fate of the world rests upon which turns out to be correct.

Notes 1. Recent additions to the literature on the Opium Wars include Hanes and Sanello, The Opium Wars, and Gelber, Opium, Soldiers and Evangelicals. 2. Bloch, Future of War, in Its Technical, Economic and Political Relations, lxii. 3. Mandelbaum, The Nuclear Revolution; Van Creveld, “The Waning of Major War”; and Jervis, “The Political Effect of Nuclear Weapons.” 4. See Waltz’s contribution to Sagan and Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons; and Mearsheimer, “Back to Future.” 5. Luard, The Blunted Sword, and Mueller, “The Essential Irrelevance of Nuclear Weapons.” 6. Ferguson, The Pity of War. 7. For an interesting discussion of the political power of television, see Quester, The International Politics of Television. See also Iyengar, Is Anyone Responsible? and Durr, “What Moves Policy Sentiment?” 8. Angell, The Great Illusion, 71. 9. Keohane and Nye, Power and Interdependence and “Power and Interdependence Revisited.” See also Copeland, “Economic Interdependence and War”; Oneal and Russett, “The Kantian Peace”; Barbieri and Schneider, “Globalization and Peace”; and Mansfield and Pollins, Economic Interdependence and International Conflict. 10. Brooks, Producing Security. 11. Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, 250–51. 12. Rosecrance, The Rise of the Trading State and The Rise of the Virtual State; and Gartzke, “The Capitalist Peace.” For a dissenting view, see Waltz, “Globalization and Governance.” 13. Angell, The Great Illusion, 40. 14. One exception is Liberman, Does Conquest Pay? Robust counterarguments can be found in Brooks, Producing Security, and Zacher, “The Territorial Integrity Norm.” 15. Luttwak, “From Geopolitics to Geo-Economics,” 17. 16. Mueller, Quiet Cataclysm, 38. 17. Barbieri, The Liberal Illusion. 18. Angell, The Great Illusion, 175. 19. Jervis, “Theories of War in an Era of Leading Power Peace,” 8–9. 20. The modern democratic peace debate began in earnest with Doyle, “Liberalism and World Politics.” 21. Kagan observes that the Spanish-American War might have been the most popular conflict in American history. Dangerous Nation, 406. 22. Aron, War and Industrial Society, 22. 23. For a discussion the general popularity of war in past centuries, see Mueller, Retreat from Doomsday, 37–52.

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24. For representative works, see Krasner, International Regimes; Keohane, “International Institutions”; Keohane and Martin, “The Promise of Institutional Theory”; and Morgan, “Multilateral Institutions as Restraints on Major War.” 25. Mack, “Global Political Violence.” 26. Thompson, “Democracy and Peace”; and Bell, “Normative Shift,” esp. 52. 27. Mueller, Retreat from Doomsday, 142. 28. Clarke, “Forecasts of Warfare in Fiction 1803–1914,” 23. 29. For instance, early strategic nuclear theorists that discussed fighting and winning nuclear wars, especially Kahn (On Thermonuclear War) and Kissinger (Nuclear Weapons in Foreign Policy), provided the inspiration for Peter Seller’s maniacal Dr. Strangelove. 30. See Mandelbaum, The Nuclear Revolution. 31. Bell, “Normative Shift,” 48. 32. Angell, The Great Illusion, 199. 33. Ibid., 203. 34. Best, Honour among Men and Nations, 46. 35. Fettweis, “Credibility and the War on Terror.” 36. Good places to start on this topic include Joll, The Origins of the First World War; Snyder, The Ideology of the Offensive; and the essays in Miller, Military Strategy and the Origins of the First World War. 37. Donelan, Honor in Foreign Policy, 106. 38. Wright, A Study of War, 177. 39. Donelan, Honor in Foreign Policy, 152. 40. Ibid., 65. 41. Luard, War in International Society, 52, 54. 42. Donelan, Honor in Foreign Policy, 158. 43. Luard, War in International Society, 358, 361. 44. Russett, “The Calculus of Deterrence,” 98. See also George and Smoke, Deterrence in American Foreign Policy, 516–17, and “Deterrence and Foreign Policy”; and Kugler, “Terror without Deterrence.” 45. Sagan, The Limits of Safety, 4–5. 46. Van Evera discusses problems with studies of war that choose their cases on the dependent variable (which includes almost all of them) in Causes of War, 12. 47. Jervis, “Realism in the Study of World Politics,” 972. 48. Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man. 49. This point is made by Jervis in “Theories of War in an Era of Leading Power Peace,” 9; see also Wendt, Social Theory of International Relations, 312. 50. Deudney, “Geopolitics and Change,” 107. 51. See Zacher and Matthew, “Liberal International Theory.” 52. Howard, “A Death Knell for War?” 53. Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind, 104.

Part Two Evidence

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3 On Predicting International Affairs Our confidence in a point of view should wax or wane with its predictive success and failures, the exact amounts hinging on the aggressiveness of forecasters’ ex ante theoretical wagers and on our willingness to give weight to forecasters’ ex post explanations for unexpected results. Philip Tetlock, Expert Political Judgment

took practically everyone (including, it deserves to be recalled, the Soviets) by surprise. The essential facts surrounding the collapse of the Soviet Union are well-known and uncontroversial, but their meaning for international relations theory is not. Some scholars have argued that the end of the Cold War poses a number of important epistemological problems for mainstream international relations; others responded initially by minimizing the theoretical importance of the event, and eventually by developing ex ante explanations that retrofit the Soviet collapse into one theoretical framework or another. The topic became the theme of a very important debate that stretched throughout the 1990s, one that had implications for the ultimate wisdom of employing a scientific approach to international politics. As with most controversies in the field, the major issues remain unresolved. At the very least, it would appear that the widespread failure to anticipate the most significant systemic event in the last fifty years of global politics should serve as a warning to all social scientists who predict the future. After all, there is no shortage of literature from the 1970s and 80s that got the outcome completely backwards.1 Over the course of the preceding three decades, international relations had undergone a fundamental shift in its identity, moving from the humanities into the social sciences, and its scholars took pride in the progress being made in their sophisticated, scientific understanding of politics. The sudden end of bipolarity was a rude awakening, a reminder that there are limits to what can be learned. In a scathing indictment of the field, John Lewis Gaddis argued that “no approach to the study of international relations claiming both foresight and THE END OF THE COLD WAR

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competence should have failed to see it coming. None actually did so, though, and that fact ought to raise questions about the methods we have developed for trying to understand world politics.”2 Neorealism, the dominant unified theory of international relations, bore the brunt of the criticism.3 While scholars of that school sought to reconcile the peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union with their core proposition that states value survival above all else, constructivists of various stripes have broadly interpreted the Cold War’s end as evidence of the importance of ideas and norms in international politics.4 Many constructivists felt that the collapse of bipolarity could herald not only systemic transformation, but also an essential change in the way international politics operated. Neorealists, theoretically conservative by nature, were generally disinclined to grant the possibility of fundamental systemic change. As Kenneth Waltz had argued, “through all the changes of boundaries, of social, economic and political form, of economic and military activity, the substance and style of international politics remains strikingly constant.”5 The concept of such change is at the heart of modern debates between rationalist and constructivist approaches to international politics.6 “On the most fundamental level,” Fischer has pointed out, “neorealism and [constructivism] clash over the age-old question of whether human affairs are defined by continuity or change.”7 Whereas mainstream theory tends to treat state motivations and behavior as constants due to the immutable structure of the system, constructivism allows for the possibility that a state in 2014 might act completely differently from one in 1914 because the dominant beliefs of the “micro-foundations” of states—people—could have changed. Hardly anyone from either school of thought, however, saw the end of the Cold War on the horizon. Analysts of international politics also missed the manner in which that war would end: peacefully, “quietly,” with hardly a shot being fired.8 As impossible as it would have seemed just a decade before, the mighty Soviet military-industrial colossus imploded, an event that no one with any knowledge of history would have expected. Paul Kennedy spoke for the vast majority when he argued that there was “nothing in the character or tradition of the Russian state to suggest that it could ever accept imperial decline gracefully.”9 War, or at least the threat of war, was long considered by many to be almost a necessary condition for important political change.10 Broad systemic change had simply never occurred without a fight. Perhaps this aspect of the Cold War’s demise was in fact impossible to predict using the rule book with which many scholars interpreted world events. The end of the Cold War also revived interest in the prediction of international events. This chapter argues that forecasting has in fact always been a central, if sometimes unstated, feature of international relations scholarship, and that it must remain so not only to maintain our scientific aspirations and contribute

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to society but also to provide propositions with which to test our theories. This should by no means be an outlandish suggestion; many coherent visions of the international future have already been generated. Over the course of the past two decades it has actually been quite fashionable to take standing theories of international politics and extrapolate them into the future. There is much that can be learned from these efforts. The final section of this chapter defends the wisdom of the entire enterprise against the immediate objection that it is too soon to be doing any such evaluation at all.

Predicting the Future of International Relations Three decades ago Thomas Milburn noted that “predictions and forecasts and their validation are an important and ubiquitous feature of contemporary life.”11 Indeed, the craving for some sort of foreknowledge seems to be part of human nature, arising from psychological anxiety about the future, the unknown, and perhaps about personal mortality. Predictions and forecasts provide comfort, an illusion of control and at least some basis from which to make the difficult decisions of the present. Throughout history, the craving for accurate predictions has led people to listen to those who seem to understand the present in ways that permit deeper understanding of what is to come. Predictions and forecasts provide expectations for the future, and they will probably be a part of human experience as long as larger metaphysical questions remain unanswerable. No scholar worthy of the title would assert that the particulars of human behavior are predictable in the prophetic sense, and any attempt to do so would be as easily dismissible as the babblings of Edgar Caycee or a circus palm-reader. But the inability to employ a crystal ball should not entirely preclude the attempt to extrapolate the theories of international politics into the future. Political scientists will never be able to predict specific events, for their subject, like the weather, is too complex to be anticipated with any degree of certainty.12 Assessing probabilities, however, is well within their range. Rather than meteorologists, perhaps scholars of international relations can reasonably aspire to be like climatologists, who may be unable to predict individual events but can certainly identify a range of options that are more likely given certain expected conditions. No one will be able to say with any certainty what the weather will be like in Columbus, Ohio, on a given day in July a decade hence, but we can say, because of our ability to extrapolate past trends into the future, that there is a high likelihood of warm temperatures and an extremely low probability of snow.13 The abysmal record of prediction in international affairs, symbolized no more clearly than by the general failure to anticipate the end of the Cold War, raises older issues about the roles and goals of the social sciences in general. Quite varied opinions have emerged over the past decades as to the viability of projecting

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the assumptions of theory into the future. “Despite the folklore to the contrary, prediction is neither the major purpose nor the acid test of a theory,” J. David Singer has argued on behalf of the conventional wisdom. “The goal of all basic scientific research is explanation.”14 The failure to foresee the end of the Cold War, therefore, ought not to lead to epistemological crises for scholars of international politics. After all, if collapse of his country had been easily predictable, it is not likely that Gorbachev would have embarked on the reforms that made the unprecedented, unimaginable event possible. Scholars have long been familiar with the many problems that arise during any attempt to extrapolate trends and theories into the future, not the least of which is the inherent unpredictability of the core subjects of politics: human beings. Unlike the constants of the physical world, like gravity and friction, human behavior is erratic, strategic, and even at times irrational, and leaders are no exception. In fact, the practice of politics, as much as any competitive venture, often rewards unpredictability and evolution, while punishing static, consistent, predictable behavior. Robert Jervis outlined a number of other problems inherent in the attempt to make predictions in politics, among which were the following: political events are rarely monocausal, and are in fact usually products of multiple sets of complex interactions that at present even the most experienced social scientists cannot fully explain; prediction itself can be a self-denying exercise if it affects the expectations of the players of international “games”; human decisions, made by any of the multiple actors involved in international interactions, have decisive influence upon outcomes; and the current era is unprecedented in some significant ways, making its political development unclear at best.15 Despite these limitations, many works by some of the top scholars in the field contain implicit or explicit predictions about the future development of the international system, at least in outline, with each vision unfolding according to the view of the presenter. For example, Waltz may argue that his theory, like evolution, predicts “nothing in particular,” but he has also offered many specific predictions that seem to spring naturally from the assumptions of structural realism.16 In fact, all of the major theoretical schools of international politics contain a healthy explicit or implicit predictive element; anticipating the future has always been one of the field’s principle objectives.17 The better the theory fits with events of the past, goes the rather logical conventional wisdom, the better it ought to fit with those of the future. Among scholars there is a greater faith in prediction than is sometimes acknowledged; even the supposedly skeptical Singer believes that “a strong explanatory theory will—because it is better able to account for and explain the effects of changing conditions—provide a more solid basis for predicting than one that rests on observed covariations and postdictions alone.”18 Theories of international relations, while mostly descriptive, have always been prescriptive and predictive as well. The scholarly study of inter-

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national relations must not neglect the future, for at least two important reasons. The first is practical; the second, philosophical. First, theories that ignore the future for the sake of the past contribute little to policymakers or society as a whole. Although the production of practical policy advice is of course another debatable goal of the social sciences, many scholars have not abandoned the hope that their work can contribute to the world outside the academy. In order to “whisper in the ear of the king,” the scholar must have some concept of the direction in which the world is heading, hopefully informed by a lifetime of study. If one gives up the hope that political science can help clarify likely futures, then the advice it provides is no more useful than the guesswork of the amateur. Little would separate the experienced, wise scholar from the jack-of-all-trades pundit. John Mearsheimer has eloquently lamented the decline in respect for “policy relevance” among many social scientists. Political scientists in particular “have developed a self-enclosed world where they talk mainly to each other and their students,” he argued, “and dismiss those who have any inclination to be a public intellectual.” As a consequence, the field has been involved in a decades-long effort to marginalize itself, succumbing to a growing “cult of irrelevance.”19 Political science probably has room for both those who engage in purely theoretical work and those who seek to change society for the better; indeed, it is a bit strange to suggest that either worthy goal should be abandoned. Without a predictive element, the real-world relevance of the work done in international relations will always be minimal. It is an essential component of the once-proud, once-respected goal of affecting the broader society in which the Ivory Towers are embedded. Second, the moment international relations scholars cease using their theories to predict the future is also the moment they give up their aspirations to create a true science of international interaction. The hard sciences hardly shy away from prediction. As Stephen J. Hawking has argued, “a theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definitive predictions about the results of future observations.”20 It is the predictive force, according to many philosophers of science, such as Carl G. Hempel and Paul Oppenheim, that “gives scientific explanation its importance.” The “major objective of scientific research,” they have argued, is “not merely to record the phenomena of our experience, but to learn from them, by basing upon them theoretical generalizations which enable us to anticipate new occurrences.”21 The success or failure to account for new information is central to the evaluation of a scientific proposition, no matter what its subject. As Alexander Wendt put it, “science depends on truths being transhistorical.”22 If we are to believe that the rules of the past have no relevance to the future—if transtemporal validity

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does not exist—then the study of politics will always be more art than science. International relations can be either scientific and include prediction, or purely descriptive and concentrate on explanation. It cannot be both. Thus, one of the central contentions of this book is that prediction matters, or should matter, in the social sciences. Specifically, I hope to advance a predictionand-evaluation method for theories of international relations, under the assumption that the performance of predictions based upon coherent extrapolations of theory can provide a viable test of that theory. If correlations in past data actually capture fundamentals about state behavior rather than merely arithmetical coincidence or historical anomaly, then those relationships ought to remain fairly constant when extrapolated into the future. Likewise, when predictions logically extrapolated from the core concepts of a theory fail to materialize, then epistemological red flags should presumably rise. If independent variables A and B truly account for behavior C, then where A and B are observable, C should also materialize. If it does not, then the relationship is spurious. The process of prediction-and-evaluation is simple and logical, and it deserves to be a more widely accepted method of putting our theories of international politics to the test.

Predictions, Forecasts, and Visions Among the reasons that the current literature on prediction in the social sciences is not very satisfying is that it often confuses concepts and employs nonspecific, even contradictory terms.23 At the most basic level, distinctions exist between predictions, which typically employ deterministic language, and forecasts, which are often couched within a certain range of probabilities.24 Predictions are specific and often policy oriented (“the United States will attack North Korea in November”), whereas forecasts are nonspecific and open-ended (“war on the Korean peninsula is inevitable”). These definitions imply that predictions are unscientific and foolish, whereas forecasts, because they are typically less deterministic, may in fact be legitimate goals for the social scientist. However, the opposite is closer to the truth: The indeterminate nature of forecasts often renders them vague and ultimately unfalsifiable, and they are therefore of limited utility in testing the theoretical foundations upon which they are built. Only scholars bold enough to make testable predictions, ones that arise as much from the theory as from the theorist, contribute to the potential for progress in our understanding of the international system. Forecasts, because they usually omit time restrictions, are by nature unfalsifiable. A prominent recent example is Alexander Wendt’s forecast of an “inevitable” evolution toward one world government. Wendt does not expect this to happen in his lifetime, or the lifetime of the next generation. When pressed, he gives a time horizon of “one or two centuries, maybe more.”25 Given enough

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time anything can happen, which gives the theorist the luxury of never having to be held accountable. In order for Wendt’s forecast to be useful, he would have to suggest some intermediate steps or at least trends that would be observable within a given span of time. In other words, he would have to make his forecast testable. While no one should be taken to task for the failure of one prediction, in practice it is fairly rare that they are made in isolation. Often scholars articulate an interrelated set of predictions, all of which tend to arise naturally from the same theoretical base. Put together, these individual predictions can be said to make up a vision of the future, to borrow a term from metaphysics. By evaluating the success or failure of these visions, insight can be gained into the accuracy of the theory from which they emerge. Falsifiable, testable propositions can take the following form: If theory X is true, then we ought to see behaviors A, B, C, and D in the near future, ceteris paribus. If the predicted behaviors are not observed over a reasonable period of time, then an explanation is in order. Perhaps the correlations are incorrect; perhaps the interaction effects are misunderstood; perhaps some other mitigating condition arose. Or perhaps something about the theory is in need of fundamental reexamination.

Predictions as Testable Propositions “Conjecture,” wrote Daniel Bell, “stipulates a set of future predicates whose appearance should be explicable from theory.” It is theory that allows scholars to interpret international events, and theory that drives all useful exercises in prediction. Without it, argued Bell, even accurate prediction is merely “insight, experience or luck,” not science.26 The core tenets of the major theories of international relations can generate testable propositions about how states should behave in the future as well as how they have behaved in the past. The closer predictions are to these core theoretical tenets, the more useful they can be for evaluation. In some senses predictions make for quite stringent tests because, unlike post facto explanations, they cannot be modified or adjusted to fit the facts.27 To be clear, theoretically useful predictions about the future contain three components: • They are logically extrapolated from the core tenets of a theory; • They contain metrics that allow for confirmation or falsification, such as clear expectations and general time horizons; and • Ideally, they are articulated as a set of predictions, or a vision, rather than alone. If so presented, visions can allow for future scholars to evaluate the expectations of theory against the evidence the world provides in the interim. Employed

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properly and judiciously, such a method would have the potential to help scholars determine relationships that an examination of the past alone cannot, such as the strength of the correlations in their data and causal direction. Sufficient conditions could be separated from the merely necessary; interaction effects could be evaluated and, to the extent possible, measured. Overall, our understanding of the subject could emerge far stronger than before. The evaluation of predictions, though clearly not without potential pitfalls, has at least three immediate methodological advantages, besides merely being a new way to think about the science of politics. First, it combats what might be thought of as the deductive fallacy of international relations theories. Although many scholars, including Waltz, have at various times asserted that their brand of political science is deductive, or theory-driven, in reality most theories of international relations are by nature inductive.28 Waltz’s neorealism and many of the other major theories of international politics were born out of a lifetime of observation of state behavior, not merely developed in laboratory isolation and then tested against the evidence. Scholars who attempt to generate theory from logical premises alone usually cannot help but consciously or unconsciously incorporate the lessons they have learned about how the world works. Except for those purely mathematically derived ideas that emerge from formal modeling, in this field evidence typically precedes theory.29 Since the set of possible case studies for many interesting questions in international relations is usually rather small, the scholar (sincere methodological protestations notwithstanding) often derives theory from a limited set of observations and then tests the theory using the very cases that gave rise to it in the first place. Our tests using case studies are usually, in reality, arguments defended with historical examples.30 Not surprising, case-based international relations works usually confirm the expectations of theory. The various cyclical and wave theories of state behavior are clear examples of inductivity.31 The argument that wars occur in cycles arose from historical observation, not internal theoretical logic. The work on the war-proneness of “revisionist” or “status quo” states is another; such categorizations are always tautological, obvious only in retrospect.32 As the next chapter will explain, the extensive literature on alternatives to balancing behavior is also entirely inductive, and always based on post facto observation. The mere fact that such theories are inductive does not imply that they are incorrect, or that they are not worthwhile ventures. They may well capture important aspects of state behavior and contribute to our understanding of international politics. But without predictions about when behavior should be observed before it occurs, it will never be possible to determine the validity of any theory. “Some theories emerge from detailed observation,” argued King, Keohane, and Verba, “but they should be evaluated with new observations, preferably ones

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that had not been gathered when the theories were being formulated.”33 Predictions allow for the evaluation of new information, rather than merely reinterpretation and reclassification of the old. They create real potential for deductive science, since they set out theoretical expectations and allow the evidence to confirm or deny their veracity. The articulation and evaluation of predictions is a long, slow process, to be sure, and it is not useful for every kind of question. It will never replace existing methods of political science, obviously, nor should it. But neither should it be dismissed outright by those who are insecure about the timelessness of their perspectives, since it is the only method capable of performing a true deductive test of our often inductively generated theories. Second, the use of prediction-and-evaluation may ultimately be necessary to advance beyond divisive theoretical impasses, since it may be that at this point only new data will allow the field to resolve some of its long-standing controversies. One of the major obstacles facing advancement of our understanding of state behavior has always been the relative paucity of cases and low levels of variance in key concepts.34 Were scholars given a hundred separate worlds to study, all populated with human beings divided into Westphalian state systems, they would be able to make some quite specific and accurate descriptions of international political behavior. There would be far fewer puzzles, and we would likely have definitive statements about anarchy, the potential for peace, and many of the other major issues in the field. However, scholars have only one world with a small number of states and a few short centuries of reliable history (to the extent that it is reliable at all) upon which to draw. We are left not knowing whether twenty-first century international organization is the result of irresistible forces of human nature sculpted by structural constraints, or of random chance that would not arise again were the cycle to be repeated. From where is new evidence going to emerge to evaluate theories if not from future events? The data that scholars use—the lion’s share of which is from the period between 1648 (or 1816) and today—has been dissected, parsed, measured, remeasured, and evaluated many times over. Although the details may be controversial at times, we know a great deal about the relative polarity and power distributions of the past, and have constructed our theories accordingly. We also are quite familiar with the wars, the revolutions, the crises, the trade patterns, the regime types, the alliances, and the rivalries; yet major theoretical cleavages continue to divide the field, all awaiting future events to demonstrate their worth. It does not seem terribly likely that major new surprises await the next reevaluation of the existing data, no matter how deeply complex and sophisticated our statistical techniques become. Useful data are on the way, however, if only scholars will be prepared to employ them. Finally, in a related point, this proposed method has another epistemological advantage by potentially alleviating one of the central perplexing problems of

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both neorealism and its constructivist challenger. A common critique of both approaches to international relations is that neither generates a sufficient number of testable propositions with which to evaluate the overall robustness of the theory. It is hard to see how this weakness can ever be overcome without considering predictions to effectively be such propositions. Both schools of thought, when logically and faithfully extrapolated into the future, contain clear, specific, testable expectations. Over time, these expectations can be used to evaluate the validity of these theories themselves. Extending the time horizon for analysis into the future not only generates new evidence but opens the door for new positions to be tested. “One of the great things about being an intellectual in contemporary America,” observed Robert Manning, “is that there is rarely any price to be paid for being wrong.”35 At the very least, evaluating predictions keeps scholars honest and forces them to admit error when their expectations do not materialize and perhaps to explain why this happened. Evaluating predictions may help advance our understanding of international politics and move some of the great theoretical debates forward out of what can be endless, circular polemic ruts. Unfortunately, many scholars are hesitant to explicitly extrapolate their theories and arguments into the future. In some cases, it may prove possible for others to generate logical predictions from standing theories, but this study does not attempt to do so. Instead, it examines only those predictions explicitly articulated by the theorists themselves. Even this early take has the potential to generate some clear and interesting findings.

Visions of the Future Despite the fact that scholars, journalists, activists, analysts, and other observers of international politics generated a rather limitless supply of predictions and forecasts in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the number of coherent visions of the international future was quite limited. Only two such visions logically extrapolate core propositions of standing international relations theories in a useful way. Both predict outcomes specific enough to be measurable, falsifiable, and, to some extent at least, both provide time horizons. One of these visions is built upon neorealist foundations, and the other, perhaps not surprising to the careful reader, is the updated version of Angell’s protoconstructivist ideas. These are by no means the only international political forecasts from the past two decades, nor are they necessarily those that have been most influential in policy circles. However, they are the only ones suited for evaluation; the others are either vague, atheoretical, atemporal, or all of the above. Perhaps the bestknown of these untestable visions, the “clash of civilizations,” contends that the

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fault lines of future conflict will not be between states but civilizations defined largely along religious lines.36 Huntington’s critics are legion, but his thesis has generated more discussion than any other, perhaps because it seems to strike a chord of truth in many people, especially in the wake of September.11. However, even if a visceral belief in what Huntington has had to say may be widespread, his vision springs from no theory, offers few specifics that would allow confirmation or falsification, and certainly contains no discernible time horizon. It is not, therefore, a useful vision. The “clash” must be either accepted or rejected as much on faith as on science.37 Another commonly discussed vision of the future that generally fails to pass the usefulness test is the “coming anarchy,” articulated in popular form by journalist Robert Kaplan and in scholarship by Thomas Homer-Dixon, Michael Klare, and others.38 At the root of this vision is the assumption that resource scarcity and runaway population growth will combine to cause societal breakdown and conflict over the course of the next century. Oil is the most commonly cited vital resource, but it is hardly the only one.39 However self-defeating a war to control oil reserves may seem to be in the short run, there is reason to believe that such conflict could pay long-term dividends.40 Over time the necessary pieces of infrastructure can be rebuilt, and the market may well overcome international opposition to the sale of ill-gotten fossil fuels if economic pressures build high enough. Direct or indirect long-term control of territory that contains oil or affects its distribution could theoretically bring tremendous benefits to an aggressor state. “International competition for access to vital materials,” argued Klare, “is certain to become increasingly intense and conflictive.”41 This vision, though of somewhat limited theoretical utility, will be discussed further in chapter 5. Like the clash of civilizations, the coming anarchy vision does not spring from a standing theory of international relations, nor does it contain time horizons or many specifics that would allow it to be proven wrong. Overall, therefore, the vision has little long-term theoretical importance. However, both it and the clash are easily evaluated, since there is but one dimension that can confirm or refute their validity: conflict. If instability and violence have grown where resources are scarce, if civil and cross-border warfare have been on the increase, then perhaps the civilizational or environmental pessimists have a point, if a rather limited one, to make. If not, then one is left wondering why civilizations would clash more in the future, or exactly how scarce resources have to be in order to inspire conflict, which are points these visions generally leave under-addressed. This chapter focuses its attention upon the two visions of the future that have greater potential to contribute to our understanding of international politics. Both incorporate the crucial assumptions of major approaches to international relations and extrapolate them into the future so effectively that it is perhaps no exaggeration to argue that their predictions can be considered good tests of the

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theories from which they emerge. They are, in other words, both theoretically and practically important. The Neorealist Vision By virtually all measures, neorealism remains one of the dominant intellectual forces in international relations theory.42 Although few scholars may classify themselves as neorealist purists, many if not most continue to refer to Waltz’s Theory of International Politics as an important basis of comparison for their own ideas. As postwar realism was a response to perceptions of Wilsonian idealism during the interwar era, international relations at the beginning of the twentyfirst century has been in a real sense a response to Waltz.43 Neo- or structural realism was first and foremost an attempt to apply scientific rigor to the study of international politics. Classical realism is more of a philosophy than a theory, as Robert Gilpin has observed, which renders it rather immune to falsification by traditional scientific methods.44 Neorealism, on the other hand, purports to be a true theory of international politics, and it should therefore be much more open to evaluation. Although the two share many of the core assumptions about the nature of humanity and power, neorealism explicitly focuses on system-level phenomena and constraints. Its key assumptions, as recently articulated by John Mearsheimer, are as follows: the international system is anarchic, in that it has no central authority; great powers “inherently possess some military capability”; states can never be certain about the intentions of others; survival is the primary goal of states; and, finally, states are rational actors. In the absence of a central world government, states can rely on no one but themselves for their survival. As a result, “three general patterns of behavior result: fear, self-help, and power maximization.”45 These core assumptions have driven both the theoretical development of neorealism and the predictions that are based upon it. In the early 1990s leading neorealists offered clear visions of what their theory would predict for the coming years. International Security, arguably the field’s leading journal, carried articles by Mearsheimer, Waltz, and Christopher Layne that together outlined a closely related, clear set of predictions that have been repeated and clarified a number of times since.46 This study attempts to stay out of the weeds of the various inter-realism debates by choosing to include influential members from different neorealist subcamps. While it is generally a mistake to pigeonhole major scholars into one theoretical group—such people are always more complex than any single school of thought could capture—it is nonetheless true that these three men have been rather consistent throughout their long and quite important careers. Mearsheimer is perhaps the best-known proponent of offensive realism, a school of thought that suggests that states are pressured by

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anarchy to expand in pursuit of power. Waltz’s work is the paragon of defensive realism, which holds that states seek security, rather than power, which generally leads to more defensive choices.47 Finally, much of Layne’s body of work, especially the more recent, falls quite squarely into the neo-classical realism camp, which splits from neorealist orthodoxy by adding the domestic level of analysis to its description of state behavior.48 While these scholars certainly do not agree on everything, for the purposes of this chapter it is sufficient to note that compared to the rest of the field their similarities far outweigh their differences, and that their predictions for the emerging structure of the system were remarkably similar. Waltz, Mearsheimer, and Layne have always displayed the confidence and intellectual courage to extrapolate their theories into the future, providing material for evaluation as events unfold. They clearly agree, at least implicitly, with the logic of this method, and with the assertion that their theories will be as relevant tomorrow as they were yesterday. Other scholars in the realist tradition, including those with fundamental disagreements with the visions of these three, have not offered logical extensions of their thinking. Since neorealism is a much more unified theory than many of its competitors, the fact that it has spawned a coherent and in some senses testable vision of the future should come as no surprise. It is of particular interest for at least two reasons. First, this vision has proven to be remarkably influential for international relations theory, sparking a number of long-lasting debates. The stature of the authors and the clarity of their vision guaranteed that these articles and their successors would have major, lasting effects on the field, forming the heart of many discussions of the future of the system. Second, this vision remains closest to pure Waltzian neorealism, applying its central assumptions and expectations about international outcomes in a very direct manner. Since this common vision is a clear representation of neorealism, it is a good candidate to be evaluated against the events of the past two decades. Predictions about the future, John Vasquez noted more than a decade ago, represent “one of the few instances where neorealism has actually specified, in a clear manner, a body of evidence that would falsify it.”49 If neorealism does indeed have a great deal of explanatory power, then the future ought to look very much like that described by these three scholars. Waltz’s stated goal was the same as that of the others: to use “structural theory to peer into the future, to ask what seem to be the strong likelihoods among the unknowns that abound.”50 Since all three were working from broadly similar intellectual foundations, it should be no surprise that they arrived at nearly identical visions of the future, containing five major common points. First, all three argued that unipolarity cannot last. Classic balance-of-power theory, which is central to neorealism, holds that states tend to band together to offset the power of the largest member of the system in order to best guarantee their own security. Since the United States was clearly the strongest power in

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the world at the end of the Cold War, other states would, over time, begin to balance against it. “Unipolar systems contain the seeds of their own demise,” wrote Layne, because “states balance against hegemons.”51 The nature of U.S. hegemony (whether hostile or unthreatening) would make little difference, since uncertainty is a constant feature of the system and no state can be sure of the intentions of another. “Over time,” wrote Waltz, “unbalanced power will be checked by the responses of the weaker who will, rightly or not, feel put upon.”52 Thus the consensus of these scholars was that the so-called “unipolar moment” was just that: a moment, “a geopolitical interlude that will give way to multipolarity between 2000–2010.”53 It is worth noting up front that although there has been a great deal of work refining the understanding of how states balance by scholars working in the neorealist tradition, most of which has been written since the Cold War ended, it is balancing behavior that constitutes the heart of neorealist theory. The expectation of balancing is what allows neorealism to claim to be a coherent theory of international politics, and what drove its predictions of post–Cold War international politics. The next chapter will discuss the various options states have when facing unbalanced power—balancing, bandwagoning, buck-passing, chain-ganging, etc.—as well as the effect that these concepts have on the theory. For now, it is important to emphasize that when the Cold War ended, neorealist theory, as articulated by its most prominent proponents, predicted balancing. There was no equivocation, no anticipation of any other, lesser behavior. And that anticipation remains, for the most part, unchanged. Second, in a related point, all three scholars felt that structural factors guaranteed that the system would soon be multipolar.54 The anarchy and self-help imperative that neorealists describe apply irresistible pressure on states to maximize their potential power. As Layne explained, eligible states that fail to maximize their power and “attain great power status” are “predictably punished.”55 States with the potential to be great powers that choose not to do so are exceptions, “structural anomalies” according to Waltz, not the rule. “For that reason, the choice is a difficult one to sustain. Sooner or later, usually sooner, the international status of countries has risen in step with their material resources.”56 Although nothing in neorealist theory specifically precludes bipolarity from being the answer to unipolarity, all three of these senior scholars felt that multipolarity was a more likely outcome. Despite the reluctance of neorealists to predict individual state decisions, these scholars identified a number of states that seemed to be the strongest candidates for emergence as great powers, based on empirical measurements of their potential. China was prominently mentioned by all three. Layne argued that Germany was “beginning to exert its leadership,” and Japan was “beginning to seek strategic autonomy.”57 Russia would surely recover and seek to reassert

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itself. Mearsheimer mentioned Great Britain, France, and maybe even Italy. The exact number of new poles would be determined over time, but no matter what that number turned out to be, all three agreed that it was “certain that . . . multipolarity will emerge in the new European order.”58 These two predictions form the core of the neorealist vision, the “emerging structure” of which Waltz wrote, and the main reason why “we will soon grow to miss the Cold War.”59 The three that follow are logical extensions of the crucial first two, and were expressed in more probabilistic terms. There is nothing probabilistic, however, about the prediction of the rise of challenges to American hegemony, and of coming multipolarity. The third prediction is more specific: All three felt that the NATO alliance was doomed.60 Since, according to neorealist theory, alliances exist in response to specific threats, there was little reason to believe that NATO would live for long once its raison d’etre was removed. Mearsheimer predicted that, while it “may persist on paper,” NATO would cease to “function as an alliance.”61 Waltz had little faith in NATO’s ability to last as an effective organization. “As is often said, organizations are created by their enemies,” he argued. “We know from balance-of-power theory as well as from history that war-winning coalitions collapse on the morrow of victory, the more surely if it is a decisive one.”62 Since victories are rarely more decisive than that of the West in the Cold War, neorealists expected the collapse of NATO to be a virtual foregone conclusion. Fourth, as a reaction to the rising insecurity that would accompany multipolarity, states were likely to turn to nuclear weapons. Despite the efforts of the United States and others at non- and counterproliferation, “nuclear weapons will nevertheless spread, with a new member occasionally joining the club,” predicted Waltz.63 “The most likely scenario in the wake of the Cold War,” agreed Mearsheimer, “is further nuclear proliferation in Europe,” and “it is not likely the proliferation will be well managed.”64 Instability would also fuel proliferation throughout the global south, which had been “contained reasonably well in the cold war,” but was likely to “become a significant problem in the decades ahead, increasing the chances of nuclear war.”65 Since the spread of these weapons was almost inevitable, both Waltz and Mearsheimer felt that it was in the interest of the West to attempt to manage—and indeed even to encourage—gradual proliferation, which would help stabilize the coming multipolarity. Finally, these neorealists envisioned a new system more prone to violence. Waltz had long argued that bipolar systems are more stable than multipolar, so it follows that he would interpret the end of the Cold War as an ominous portent for the future. 66 According to Mearsheimer, the next decades will “probably be substantially more prone to violence than the past 45 years. . . . The demise of the Cold War order is likely to increase the chances that war and major crises will occur in Europe. Many observers now suggest that a new age of peace is

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dawning; in fact the opposite is true.”67 Layne concurred, concluding that “the coming years will be ones of turmoil in international politics.”68 No doubt there would be many scholars that generally fall under the neorealist umbrella who would disagree with part or all of this version of the future; nonetheless, as articulated this vision does represent a good extrapolation of pure structural realist theory. If the core assumptions of neorealism are as accurate as they are parsimonious, then the international system should have at least begun to conform to the vision that Waltz, Mearsheimer, and Layne provided soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Constructivist Visions If power is destiny for the neorealist, perhaps it can be said that ideas are destiny for the constructivist. Waltz, Mearsheimer, and Layne focus primarily upon the structure and distribution of power, predicting the effect that unipolarity would have on the system; the second important vision under consideration has attempted to recognize the structure and distribution of ideas in an attempt to identify the norms so salient in the international system (or society) that they are likely to constrain and compel state behavior in the years to come. One of the dominant ideas identified by this vision involves major war, which, for the first time in history, may have become obsolete. Throughout the 1990s, and largely as a response to the end of the Cold War, ideas returned to international relations theory as a major independent variable, and constructivism took on the status of both a major theoretical school and a vibrant critique of realism.69 Constructivism is the blanket term for a broad range of scholarship that attempts to return human agency to the study of international relations by moving ideas, norms, culture, and discourse from the periphery of analysis to its center.70 In some senses it is built upon a foundation of philosophical liberalism, retaining that faith in the potential for fundamental change in the nature of the individual and of the international system, as well as for human and societal progress. Constructivism parts company with modern neoliberalism, however, in the level of analysis on which it generally operates. Broadly speaking, neorealists primarily examine the international system; neoliberals draw their conclusions from the state level; and constructivists believe that, although these are important, so too is the individual or human level of analysis.71 In addition, constructivists and neoliberals diverge significantly over the importance of institutions. Mearsheimer was simply wrong when he argued that “institutions are at the core of critical theory.”72 In fact, many constructivists feel that institutions are important as independent sources of state behavior only to the extent that they transmit ideas and beliefs into policy norms.73 According to this thinking, for example, the “democratic peace” is in reality a “liberal

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peace,” the institutionalization of peaceful ideas already present in the populace. In other words, peace emerges from the people up, rather than from the institution down.74 Certainly feedback loops exist, and institutions can help shape the ideas of society. However, should the people want to fight, as did the French in 1870, Americans in 1898, Arabs in 1948, and Armenians in 1991, they will get to do so more quickly in a democracy. From a constructivist viewpoint, democracy helps bring peace to a society that already wants it, but no institution by itself can impose peace upon any unwilling population. Today the constructivist umbrella stretches over critical theorists, postmodernists, feminists, and many others. With such wide membership, perhaps it is not surprising that there is no single, unified theory of constructivist international relations to match Waltzian neorealism.75 Instead, constructivism is perhaps better considered an approach, a large semirelated body of thought that is connected by the “reductionist” demand that human agency be reinjected into the study of international politics alongside that of the state. Constructivists do not view the inability (or refusal) to articulate a unifying theory of politics as a weakness, but rather as a natural outgrowth of the recognition that the international system, like the human beings that are its microcomponents, is complex, multidimensional, selfcontradictory, and in a constant state of flux, incapable of being captured neatly with a single coherent theory.76 The greater the parsimony of a theory, therefore, the less accurately it describes international (and interhuman) politics.77 The neorealist vision of the future is fairly consistent, unified, and coherent. Predictions by constructivists, by contrast, are quite varied. But it is not true, as some critics have argued, that constructivism has nothing to say about the future. Some constructivist scholars may agree with Mearsheimer when he argued that “critical theory per se emphasizes that it is impossible to know the future,” but not all do.78 Just as neorealist seers examine the likely future course of the element they see as central to state behavior—the structure of the system— constructivists who would predict the future focus on the likely development of their central variable: ideas. Constructivism inspired a number of alternate visions of the future that deemphasize structural constants and focus instead on the human element of politics. These visions share neither common assumptions about state behavior nor a belief that the rules by which the system is run are eternal and unchanging. To many constructivists, change is almost inevitable and not necessarily positive. Some are more optimistic than their neorealist counterparts, others are pessimistic about the future, and still others are more or less agnostic. Optimists, however, have articulated the most widely known, useful constructivist vision of things to come. At its heart is an apparent victory in the historical struggle of ideas. Fukuyama’s oft-maligned declaration of the “end of history” did not counsel chroniclers to

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stop recording events because all interesting developments had already occurred. Instead, Fukuyama argued that economic and political liberalism had emerged triumphant at the end of the twentieth century, defeating all ideological foes, some by force of arms and others by persuasion.79 At the end of history, the world would be dominated by liberal great powers, and ideological recidivism would be unlikely. The constructivist vision of the future that has generated the clearest and most viable, testable propositions (even though its first articulations predate constructivism itself) is of course that of Mueller, Rosecrance, Jervis, and the others who have argued that major war has grown obsolete. The idea that normative evolution has rendered war subrationally unthinkable to the leaders of the great powers produces a vision of the future strikingly different than that of the neorealists. Five clear predictions emerged from this vision. The first of these is the most obvious: Although wars may continue between states in the global south or pit northern states against southern, conflict—or even the realistic potential for conflict—will be absent from international relations in the industrialized world. One of the most attractive elements of this prediction is that it has no time horizon: the anticipated outcomes, or nonoutcomes, do not need generations or centuries to unfold. They are immediately apparent and ready for falsification. Second, since the impulse to balance power among the great powers would be greatly reduced in a world where the potential for conflict is next to zero, this vision of the future held that there would be no necessary rise of new great powers—or return to multipolarity—following the end of the Cold War. In fact, it would be profoundly irrational for great powers to incur the costs to build large, unnecessary militaries in a post–major war era when their ultimate security is assured a priori. The constructivist vision presents a world where, in sharp contrast to neorealist theory, the intentions of other states are in fact knowable, at least as far as offensive military operations are concerned. States that choose not to become great military powers would not be the “structural anomalies” that Waltz described, but rather rational actors responding to decreased threat. This vision argued that the rise of new great powers, and the end of the “unipolar moment,” would be a very unlikely outcome. Third, the logic of this vision further suggested that the impetus to obtain nuclear weapons would not increase, at least not among the great powers, because they would not feel threatened by the United States or any other state in a world where major war had grown obsolete. As one scholar wrote in 1993, if constructivist assumptions are correct, “the number of states fearful or ambitious enough to seek nuclear weapons will decline rather than increase as a result of the end of the Cold War.”80 The runaway proliferation throughout Europe and the Pacific

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Rim predicted by Waltz and Mearsheimer would not occur if this vision of the future more accurately anticipated international interaction. Fourth, alliances in a world free of major war would be unlikely to operate according to the rules of the past. Traditionally, as state power waxed and waned across regional systems, alliance membership would often shift, sometimes dramatically, occasionally bonding even longtime enemies together in common interest. Great Britain and France could go from enemy to ally in less than a generation, for instance, in the face of Prussia’s rise. If no new threats appear on the horizon, alliance structure could be expected to remain somewhat stable. In a world where no major shifts in threats cause states to reassess their alliance relationships, the pure inertia created by any institution may well cause it to persist well past its apparent usefulness. NATO would stay in place unless acted upon by a force. The chief reason that alliances would persist, according to Mueller, “is not because they prevent war, but because they exist.”81 Finally, and perhaps most important, the constructivist vision contended that the obsolescence of major war in the North would drive an expansion of peace to the South. If it is true that war is obsolete for the strongest of powers, then the weakest could reasonably expect that it would soon be for them too, as their societies and economies develop, and as they adopt the institutions, technology, and ideas of the industrialized world. The notion that productive behaviors are adopted throughout the system is present in nearly all theories of international politics, but it is particularly common among constructivists. Mueller argued rather logically, echoing long-held realist belief, that “third world countries are more likely to try to emulate developed countries than vice versa.”82 Over time, this vision anticipated a spread of the war-aversion norm to almost all corners of the globe. Great power rivalry exacerbated conflict in the periphery, both directly and indirectly. The United States and the Soviet Union, like the great powers before them, stoked the fires of far-flung wars. “With the demise of the Cold War,” Mueller predicted, “it is to be expected that such exacerbation will not take place.”83 There would likely be fewer wars, according to this vision, and those that break out will be shorter, because external forces will not be as starkly divided about the outcome. Angola in the 1970s was a Cold War battleground; today war there would be merely a tragedy. Unlike in times past, potential combatants would not be able to find support for their cause in a world undivided by ideology and unthreatened by conflict. This trickle-down effect for peace was the most revolutionary, counterintuitive, and ridiculed aspect of the retreat-from-doomsday vision. If this vision were correct, the end of major war would be just the first step toward a diminution of war everywhere, and the gradual but constant shrinking of the size of what some

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scholars have labeled a “zone of turmoil.”84 It is the empirical aspect of this vision that most obviously sets it apart from all the others. Fortunately, it is also the easiest to evaluate. The next chapter will take up that task.

Is It Too Soon? The first objection of many (if not all) of the scholars whose work is under consideration here would likely be that eighteen years (or twenty, depending on when one believes the Cold War ended) is just too short a time frame to conduct a fair evaluation of their visions. Mearsheimer wrote in 2001 that although “what has happened so far does appear to contradict the predictions of offensive realism . . . too little time has passed.”85 Indeed, there seems to be a sense that the international system is currently in a transition stage of sorts, an interlude between great eras, and that more time is needed before the nature of the next phase will become apparent. But at least four arguments can be made to support the claim that a sufficient amount of time has elapsed to take what will be, after all, only a first-cut evaluation of these visions. First and foremost, these projections of the future were not written with a long time frame in mind. The neorealist scholars under consideration had no faith in the staying power of this transition stage of international politics; we were going to soon miss the Cold War. Those who have resurrected Angell’s arguments do not argue that the world is in a transition period at all, instead positing that many of the most important rules by which the new system will operate have already become apparent. Therefore, to a large extent this chapter evaluates these visions based on time horizons set by the scholars themselves. Just as significantly, even those who felt that their predictions would come into being “over time” cite gradual processes that ought to be empirically perceptible. Nothing in the internal logic of these visions suggests that there should be a significant delay before their expectations begin to become apparent, since the relevant forces that would provide the engines of change are already present. The transformational processes and trends they foresaw ought to have begun in the first couple of decades after the demise of the previous system. At the very least, these would-be visionaries must articulate a coherent reason why delay is to be expected. The second reason to believe that an evaluation is appropriate is related to the first. The post–Cold War era has provided the system with a number of different shocks in the form of almost every imaginable type of crisis, any of which could have sparked the kinds of changes that the scholars expected. The world has experienced economic crises, decolonialization, ethnic conflict, civil war, state failure, insurgencies in powers great and small, interstate wars, coups, sustained guerilla wars, major natural disasters, catastrophic terrorism, and many other violent and nonviolent events that have had the potential to overcome in-

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ternational political inertia and initiate widespread change. It seems reasonable to believe that that the system that has emerged after the past twenty years may have elements of stability. If these events have not spurred the kind of evolution predicted by these visions, then it is hard to see just what kind of shock would. Those who suggest it is too soon to evaluate these visions of the future must explain exactly what would have to occur in order to kick start the trends they foresaw. Third, there is historical precedent for this enterprise. Broad outlines of the systems that were to follow each of history’s major shocks, and the rules by which they would operate, had become apparent after a similar amount of time had elapsed. By the middle of the 1830s, the multipolar Concert of Europe had become an obvious reality; few doubted that the interwar era would be multipolar two decades after the end of World War I; no one argued in 1965 that more time was necessary to judge the nature of the bipolar world. Based on prior experience with systemic transformation, therefore, twenty years seem to be sufficient for the essential characteristics of a new system to emerge in observable ways. Finally, and perhaps least important, eighteen to twenty years is a bit literal and restrictive, for after all it is possible to project a few years beyond the immediate time horizon with a very good degree of accuracy. One of the more robust if unsurprising findings of quantitative international relations scholarship is that the best predictor of events in year X is the situation in year (X–1). Reasonable short-term projections of economic potential and military spending are certainly available for the great powers. The time horizon used in this chapter is in reality a bit longer than it seems. The obvious reaction by any skeptic to this venture—some form of “just you wait”—is too open-ended to be useful and renders predictions unfalsifiable.86 The scholars that defend their probabilistic and even “inevitable” evolutions of the international system by asking for more time can never be proven wrong. Despite objections to the contrary, nothing in the logic of these projections suggests a reason to expect a delay in the beginning of their development. By now, nearly two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the trends that these visions predicted ought to have at least begun to make themselves apparent in observable ways. In sum, shortly after bipolarity collapsed starkly different visions of the future were articulated by scholars working in two of the major schools of international relations theory. As summarized in the table below, one was founded upon the assumptions of the balance-of-power framework and predicted the end of unipolarity; a rapid, “inevitable” rise of new great powers; the end of NATO; proliferation of nuclear weapons; and an increase in systemic instability and conflict. The other was based upon the assumption that an evolution in norms had rendered

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Table 3.1 Key Points of the Visions Neorealist Inevitable Untenable Inevitable, welcome Skeptical Likely to increase

Constructivist Balancing Unipolarity Proliferation Survival of NATO Conflict

Unlikely Unthreatening Unlikely Agnostic Absent among great powers; diminishing among lesser

major war obsolete and predicted that there would be no balancing behavior among the great powers, no rise of other great powers or multipolarity, no further nuclear proliferation, and the gradual decrease of violence in the global south. For Waltz, Layne, and Mearsheimer, immutable systemic characteristics would drive states to behave in certain, preordained manners; for Mueller, Jervis, and Mandelbaum, important changes had taken place in the fundamental nature of the system, and the behavior of states had already adjusted accordingly. Perhaps most significant for the theory of international politics, the neorealists under consideration expected the anarchic structure of the international system to prove decisive in shaping future events. The constructivist view identified trends in ideas and extrapolated them forward. An evaluation of the two visions will perhaps lend some insight into which explanation better understands why states behave as they do. “Good theories both explain and predict,” according to Layne.87 Strictly speaking, good theories both explain and predict accurately. The following chapters will provide an evaluation of these visions of the future to see which has more accurately anticipated the course of events. Notes 1. One of the few scholars to reexamine his predictions about the end of the Cold War was historian John Lewis Gaddis. See his “How the Cold War Might End: An Exercise in Faulty Prediction,” in The United States and the End of the Cold War, 133–54. 2. Gaddis, “International Relations Theory and the End of the Cold War,” 6. 3. These critical works include Lebow, “The Long Peace, the End of the Cold War, and the Failure of Realism”; Koslowski and Kratochwil, “Understanding Change in International Politics”; Lebow and Risse-Kappen, International Relations Theory and the End of the Cold War; Herrman, “Identity, Norms and National Security”; and English, “Power, Ideas, and New Evidence on the Cold War’s End.” 4. Defenses of the neorealist account of the end of the Cold War can be found in Deudney and Ikenberry, “Soviet Reform and the End of the Cold War” and “The In-

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ternational Sources of Soviet Change”; Wohlforth, “Realism and the End of the Cold War”; Schweller and Wohlforth, “Power Test”; Brooks and Wohlforth, “Power, Globalization, and the End of the Cold War” and “From Old Thinking to New Thinking in Qualitative Research.” 5. Waltz, “A Response to My Critics,” 329. 6. For good general discussions of change in international politics, see Holsti, Siverson, and George, Change in the International System; Buzan and Jones, Change and the Study of International Relations; and Rosenau and Czempiel, Governance without Government. For clarification of the neorealist position, see Gilpin, War and Change in International Politics. For more on constructivist approaches, see Koslowski and Kratochwil, “Understanding Change in International Politics;” Walker, “Realism, Change, and International Political Theory”; and Legro, Rethinking the World. 7. Fischer, “Feudal Europe, 800–1300,” 428. 8. See Mueller, Quiet Cataclysm. 9. Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, 514. 10. Carr, The Twenty Years’ Crisis, 1919–1939, 216. See also Gilpin, War and Change in International Politics. 11. Milburn, “Successful and Unsuccessful Forecasting in International Relations,” 91. 12. Not all political scientists would agree that individual events are unpredictable. Bueno de Mesquita has developed an expected utility model based upon rational choice assumptions to forecast the future in Predicting Politics and The Predictioneer’s Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-Interest to See and Shape the Future. As a part of his rather devastating critique, Tetlock notes that the latter volume reads like a sales pitch for Bueno de Mesquita’s consulting firm, in “Reading Tarot on K Street,” 57–67. 13. The weather metaphor is discussed in a somewhat different context by Quester in Before and After the Cold War, vii–x. 14. Singer, Models, Methods, and Progress in World Politics, 74, emphasis in original. Discussed also by Gaddis, “International Relations Theory and the End of the Cold War.” 15. Jervis, “The Future of World Politics,” 39–45. 16. Waltz, “Evaluating Theories,” 916. 17. Gaddis, “International Relations Theory and the End of the Cold War,” 10; and Elman, “Horses for Courses.” 18. Singer, Models, Methods, and Progress in World Politics, 249. 19. “Conversations in International Relations,” 242. See also George, Bridging the Gap. 20. Hawking, A Brief History of Time, 9. See also Gaddis, “International Relations Theory and the End of the Cold War,” 10; Choucri and Robinson, Forecasting in International Relations; and Booth, “Dare Not to Know.” 21. Hempel and Oppenheim, “Studies in the Logic of Explanation,” 138. 22. Wendt, Social Theory of International Relations, 69.

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23. These issues are discussed by Freeman and Job in “Scientific Forecasts in International Relations.” 24. See Choucri, “Key Issues in International Relations Forecasting,” 4. 25. Wendt, “Why a World State is Inevitable.” The time horizon remarks were made at the Mershon Center for International Security, Columbus, Ohio, January 6, 2004. 26. Bell, “Twelve Modes of Prediction,” 47. 27. Ray and Russett, “The Future as Arbiter of Theoretical Controversies,” 446. 28. Waltz, “Realist Thought and Neorealist Theory,” 33. 29. The early articulations of the democratic peace theory provide another counterexample. Kant had little evidence upon which to base his belief that liberal states would not go to war; his theory, it should be noted, was inherently predictive, and therefore deductive. See Kant, Perpetual Peace. 30. Ingram discusses this in “The Wonderland of the Political Scientist.” 31. Farrar, “Cycles of War”; Modelski, Long Cycles in World Politics; and Goldstein, Long Cycles. 32. These labels seem to have first been defined by Schweller in “Tripolarity and the Second World War.” 33. King, Keohane, and Verba, “The Importance of Research Design in Political Science,” 476. 34. Bennett and Stam discuss the challenges that the (fortunately) low levels of variance in war pose for scholars in the behavioralist research program in The Behavioral Origins of War, 208–212. 35. Manning, The Asian Energy Factor, 1. 36. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. 37. Tetlock comes to roughly the same conclusion about Huntington’s vision, in Expert Political Judgment, 14. 38. Kaplan, The Coming Anarchy. For scholarly discussions of the future of environmental conflict, see Orme, “The Utility of Force in a World of Scarcity”; HomerDixon, Environment, Scarcity and Conflict; Deudney and Matthew, Contested Grounds; and Klare, Resource Wars. 39. Heinberg, The Party’s Over; Deffeyes, Hubbert’s Peak; Campbell, The Coming Oil Crisis; and Roberts, The End of Oil. 40. Liberman has argued that conquest does indeed pay for the aggressor, even among industrialized states, in Does Conquest Pay? 41. Klare, “Geopolitics Reborn,” 428. 42. The classic work of neorealism is of course Waltz, Theory of International Politics. When the term was first coined, it also referred to the ideas of Gilpin in War and Change in International Politics, but for the last twenty years at least, neorealism has been synonymous with Waltz. 43. The common perception that idealism dominated the academy in the interwar era is greatly exaggerated. See Ashworth, “Where are the Idealists in Interwar International Relations?”

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44. Gilpin, “No One Loves a Political Realist,” 4. 45. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 30–32. 46. Mearsheimer, “Back to Future”; Waltz, “The Emerging Structure of International Politics”; and Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion.” More recent clarifications of those visions include Waltz, “Structural Realism after the Cold War”; Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics; and Layne, “U.S. Hegemony and the Perpetuation of NATO.” 47. For more on the differences among realists, see Brooks, “Dueling Realisms”; and Taliaferro, “Security Seeking under Anarchy.” 48. Throughout much of his career, Layne’s work tended to fit more comfortably under the defensive realist umbrella; lately, he has been exploring neoclassical ideas and concepts. See his The Peace of Illusions, esp. 9–10. On neoclassical realism, see Rose, “Neoclassical Realism and Theories of Foreign Policy”; Schweller, “Unanswered Threats”; and Zakaria, From Wealth to Power. 49. Vasquez, The Power of Power Politics, 300. 50. Waltz, “The Emerging Structure of International Politics,” 79. 51. Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion,” 7. 52. Waltz, “The Emerging Structure of International Politics,” 79. 53. Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion,” 7. See also Art, A Grand Strategy for America, 2–3. 54. Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion,” 45. Wohlforth is one of the rare neorealists that disagrees with this prediction; see his “The Stability of a Unipolar World.” 55. Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion,” 9. 56. Waltz, “The Emerging Structure of International Politics,” 59. 57. Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion,” 37 and 38. 58. Mearsheimer, “Back to Future,” 31. 59. Mearsheimer, “Why We Will Soon Miss the Cold War.” 60. Layne is more specific about this in his “Superpower Disengagement.” 61. Mearsheimer, “Back to Future,” 5. 62. Waltz, “The Emerging Structure of International Politics,” 75. 63. Sagan and Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons, 1. 64. Mearsheimer, “Back to Future,” 37 and 39. See also Frankel, “The Brooding Shadow.” 65. Mearsheimer, “Disorder Restored,” 225. For specific predictions of proliferation in the Third World, see 234–35. 66. The relative stability of bipolar vs. multipolar systems is the subject of considerable debate. For influential early works, see Deutsch and Singer, “Multipolar Power Systems and International Stability”; and Waltz, “The Stability of a Bipolar World.” More recent contributions include Hopf, “Polarity, the Offense-Defense Balance, and War”; and the response by Midlarsky, “Polarity and International Stability.” 67. Mearsheimer, “Back to Future,” 6 and 52. 68. Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion,” 51.

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69. See Brooks and Wohlforth, “Power, Globalization, and the End of the Cold War.” 70. Some of constructivism’s more influential works include Wendt, “The AgentStructure Problem in International Relations Theory” and “Anarchy Is What States Make of It”; Katzenstein, The Culture of National Security; Lapid and Kratochwil, The Return of Culture and Identity in IR Theory; Hopf, “The Promise of Constructivism in International Relations Theory”; and those cited below. 71. On the levels of analysis, see Waltz, Man, the State, and War. 72. Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” 38. 73. For a discussion of the relationship between institutions and ideas, see Keohane, “International Institutions.” 74. Doyle, “Liberalism and World Politics.” 75. The closest constructivism has come is Wendt, Social Theory of International Relations. 76. See Hopf, “The Promise of Constructivism in International Relations Theory,” 196–97. 77. For more on this point, see Kratochwil, “The Embarrassment of Changes.” 78. Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” 38. See also Cox, “Towards a Post-Hegemonic Conceptualization of World Order” in Rosenau and Czempiel, eds., Governance without Government. 79. Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man. 80. Chafetz, “The End of the Cold War and the Future of Nuclear Proliferation,” 128. 81. Mueller, Retreat from Doomsday, 263. 82. Ibid., 251–52. 83. Mueller, Quiet Cataclysm, 11. See also Mandelbaum, “Is Major War Obsolete?” 33–34. 84. Singer and Wildavsky, The Real World Order. 85. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 390. 86. Kang makes similar arguments in “Getting Asia Wrong,” esp. 63–65. 87. Layne, “The ‘Poster Child for Offensive Realism’,” 121.

4 Evaluating the Crystal Balls

The world is about to conduct a vast test of the theories of war and peace put forward by social scientists. John Mearsheimer, “Why We Will Soon Miss the Cold War”

Daniel Bell warned those who would predict the future that “every seer has a sense that an age is ending.”1 The scholars who have announced the end of major war surely have such a sense, as do most who have written about the future of international politics since the end of the Cold War. This chapter examines aggregate data from the last two decades to try to determine whether there is reason to believe that an age actually is ending, or if Angell’s successors have merely repeated the mistakes of optimistic seers of the past. Along the way it seeks to answer the following kinds of questions: What kinds of conflict patterns emerged in the 1990s and early part of the twenty-first century? What is the current structure of the international system? Has the unipolarity that followed the end of the Cold War begun to give way to multipolarity? Are states balancing the power of the United States, either internally or externally? And, ultimately, which vision of the future seems to be better supported by the evidence from this initial phase of the post–Cold War system? The final section discusses the implications of the findings for the theory of international relations, and for social science in general.

NOT TOO LONG AGO

Conflict The obsolescence-of-major-war vision of the future differs most drastically from all the others, including the neorealist, in its expectations of the future of conflict in the international system. If the post–Cold War world conformed to neorealist and other pessimistic predictions, warfare ought to continue to be present at all levels of the system, appearing with increasing regularity once the stabilizing influence of bipolarity was removed. If the liberal-constructivist vision is correct,

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then the world ought to have seen not only no major wars, but also a decrease in the volume and intensity of all kinds of conflict in every region as well. The evidence supports the latter. Major wars tend to be rather memorable, so there is little need to demonstrate that there has been no such conflict since the end of the Cold War. But the data seem to support the “trickle-down” theory of stability as well. Empirical analyses of warfare have consistently shown that the number of all types of wars—interstate, civil, ethnic, revolutionary, and so forth—declined throughout the 1990s and into the new century, after a brief surge of postcolonial conflicts in the first few years of that decade.2 Overall levels of conflict tell only part of the story, however. Many other aspects of international behavior, including some that might be considered secondary effects of warfare, are on the decline as well. Some of the more important, if perhaps underreported, aggregate global trends include the following: • Ethnic conflict. Ethnonational wars for independence have declined to their lowest level since 1960, the first year for which we have data.3 • Repression and political discrimination against ethnic minorities. The Minorities at Risk project at the University of Maryland has tracked a decline in the number of minority groups around the world that experience discrimination at the hands of states, from seventy-five in 1991 to forty-one in 2003.4 • War termination versus outbreak. War termination settlements have proven to be more stable over time, and the number of new conflicts is lower than ever before.5 • Magnitude of conflict / battle deaths. The average number of battle deaths per conflict per year has been steadily declining.6 The risk for the average person of dying in battle has been plummeting since World War II—and rather drastically so since the end of the Cold War.7 • Genocide. Since war is usually a necessary condition for genocide,8 perhaps it should be unsurprising that the incidence of genocide and other mass slaughters declined by 90 percent between 1989 and 2005, memorable tragedies notwithstanding.9 • Coups. Armed overthrow of government is becoming increasingly rare, even as the number of national governments is expanding along with the number of states.10 Would-be coup plotters no longer garner the kind of automatic outside support that they could have expected during the Cold War, or at virtually any time of great power tension. • Third party intervention. Those conflicts that do persist have less support from outside actors, just as the constructivists expected. When

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the great powers have intervened in local conflicts, it has usually been in the attempt to bring a conflict to an end or, in the case of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, to punish aggression.11 • Human rights abuses. Though not completely gone, the number of large-scale abuses of human rights is also declining. Overall, there has been a clear, if uneven, decrease in what the Human Security Centre calls “one-sided violence against civilians” since 1989.12 • Global military spending. World military spending declined by one third in the first decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall.13 Today that spending is less than 2.5 percent of global GDP, which is about twothirds of what it was during the Cold War. • Terrorist attacks. In perhaps the most counterintuitive trend, the number of worldwide terrorist incidents is far smaller than it was during the Cold War. If Iraq and South Asia were to be removed from the data, a clear, steady downward trend would become apparent. There were 300 terrorist incidents worldwide in 1991, for instance, and 58 in 2005.14 International conflict and crises have steadily declined in number and intensity since the end of the Cold War. By virtually all measures, the world is a far more peaceful place than it has been at any time in recorded history. Taken together, these trends seem to suggest that the rules by which international politics are run may indeed be changing. The trend is apparent on every continent. The only conflict raging in the entire Western Hemisphere in 2010 was the ongoing civil war in Colombia, and even that was far less bloody than a decade prior. Cruise ships have returned to Caratagena. Despite the fact that there are no nuclear weapons south of the United States, the states of Central and South America act as if they do not fear an attack from their neighbors. The rules of realpolitik no longer seem to apply. Europe, which of course has been the most war-prone of continents for most of human history, is entirely calm, without even the threat of interstate conflict. More than one scholar has noted the rather remarkable fact that no serious war planning now goes on among the European powers.15 “All over Europe and the Americas,” John Keegan has observed, “armies are withering away.”16 The situations in Bosnia and Kosovo, while not settled, are at least calm for the moment. And in contrast to 1914, the great powers have shown no eagerness to fill Balkan power vacuums; to the contrary, throughout the 1990s they had to be shamed into intervention, and were on the same side when they eventually did so. International reactions to turmoil in the Balkans in 1914 and in 1992 demonstrate the extent to which the international system had changed. Today’s power vacuums seem to repel far more than they attract.

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Every one of the roughly two billion people of the Pacific Rim is currently living in a society at peace. The brief-but-bloody Sri Lankan civil war was Asia’s only conflict of significance in 2009. The pacific trend was even visible in Africa where, despite a variety of ongoing serious challenges, levels of conflict were the lowest they have ever been in the centuries of written history about the continent. Douglas Lemke has pointed out that, despite the fact that “existing research on the causes of war and conditions of peace suggests the likelihood of war in Africa is especially high,” the continent is the world’s most peaceful in terms of interstate war.17 Darfur and the Congo are the only real extended tragedies still under way; the intensity of the internal conflicts simmering in Algeria, Somalia, the Central African Republic, and a couple of other places is lower than a decade ago. This can all change quite rapidly—Ethiopia and Eritrea might at any moment decide to renew their pointless fighting over uninhabitable land, for instance—but as of now, the continent has never been more stable. West Africa is quiet, at least for the time being, as is all of southern Africa, despite the criminally negligent governance of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. In the greater Middle East the Israeli-Palestinian issue continues to simmer at somewhat low levels with occasional eruptions, as does the endless civil war in Yemen. And while the two guerilla campaigns in which the United States and its allies find themselves bogged down show no signs of ending, they are relatively small wars compared to those that have taken place in the region in the past. Only one international conflict has occurred since the 2003 war in Iraq, and it can be counted only if the definition of “war” is stretched a bit. Despite the sound and fury that accompanied the 2008 Russo-Georgian clash, especially during the U.S. presidential campaign, the combined casualty total appears to be under one thousand battle deaths, which means it would not qualify as a war according to the most commonly used definitions.18 None of this is to suggest that these places are without problems, of course. But given the rapid increase in world population and number of countries (the League of Nations had 63 members at its peak between the wars while the United Nations currently has 192), a pure extrapolation of historical trends would lead one to expect a great deal more warfare than there currently is. Attempts at conquest, it seems, are simply far less common today than they have been throughout history. Territorial disputes, which have led to more wars than any other single cause, have dropped to record low levels, especially among the great powers.19 International borders have all but hardened.20 State survival, the key factor driving behavior according to defensive realists, is today all but assured for even the smallest of states.21 Throughout most of human history, the obliteration of political entities was a distinct possibility. Polities as diverse as Central Asian empires, Greek poleis, and German princely states were all at risk of conquest or absorption by powerful neighbors. That this no longer occurs is an underappreciated break from the past. Since

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World War II, precisely zero UN members have been forcibly removed from the map. The only country to disappear against its will—South Vietnam—held only observer status in the United Nations. As Martin Van Creveld has pointed out, the world reacted in a uniform, collective manner to Saddam Hussein’s attempt to absorb Kuwait, perhaps demonstrating the existence of a norm against territorial conquest.22 Today, for the first time in history, political entities are safe from complete annihilation or absorption by their neighbors. Conquest is dead.23 So while the retreat-from-doomsday hypothesis may seem at first Eurocentric and irrelevant for much of the world, in fact there is some early evidence to indicate that the end of warfare in the North may mean the beginning of its decline in the South. Despite perceptions that the current wars “on terror” and in Iraq may have created, overall levels of conflict have abated over the last seventeen years, just as the constructivist vision expected. There remains a human (and perhaps particularly American) tendency to replace one threat with another, to see international politics as an arena of competition and danger.24 The intersection of personal and group psychology in relation to international events is an area in need of a good deal of further research.

Unipolarity Two decades ago the belief that the power of the United States was waning (or, perhaps more accurately, that the rest of the world was recovering from World War II) was widespread in both academic and popular circles.25 “Declinism” seems to be particularly virulent in the wake of disastrous wars, and it has returned following the debacle in Iraq.26 But it is worth noting that at the very least the first version of this forecast proved wrong. After a decade of the new millennium, the United States is far more powerful in a comparative sense than any country has ever been. Economic crises notwithstanding, the “unipolar moment” is demonstrating a staying power that few neorealists anticipated.27 The world is still in most measurable and unmeasurable senses unipolar, since the United States towers over all other states militarily, economically, politically, scientifically, technologically and even culturally. Unipolarity is stronger than ever. As John Ikenberry has argued, “the preeminence of American power today is unprecedented in modern history. No other great power has enjoyed such formidable advantages in . . . capabilities. We live in a one-superpower world, and there is no serious competitor in sight.”28 “To say that the world is now unipolar,” added Robert Jervis in a recent World Politics issue devoted to the topic, “is to state a fact.”29 Militarily, although the U.S. armed forces like to prepare to fight against “peer competitors,” nothing that resembles a peer exists in the world today, as the following table illustrates.

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Table 4.1 Post–Cold War Military Spending, Selected Countries 1989

1992

1995

1998

2001

2004

2008

United States UK France Japan Germany Italy Russia China India

479.1 62.0 57.6 38.4 55.5 30.4 203.0 12.3 12.2

424.7 58.6 55.9 41.4 52.4 28.8 42.5 16.5 10.7

357.4 50.8 52.8 42.5 43.2 25.8 21.7 15.0 12.6

328.6 47.7 50.3 43.4 41.0 30.8 13.6 19.3 14.8

345.0 48.8 50.0 44.3 40.5 33.5 21.2 28.5 18.3

480.5 60.2 54.1 44.2 38.8 34.9 26.1 40.6 21.7

548.5 57.4 52.6 42.8 37.2 32.1 38.2 63.6 24.7

Total, Non-U.S. As % of U.S.

471.4 98

306.8 72

264.4 74

260.9 79

285.1 83

320.6 67

348.6 64

Figures are in US $ billion, at constant 2005 prices and exchange rates and are for calendar year. Data compiled from SIPRI, http: // first.sipri.org, accessed December 2009. Figures from Russia and China are SIPRI estimates—the International Institute of Strategic Studies estimates their actual spending to be somewhat higher, at approximately $51 billion each in 2005. The SIPRI estimate for China reflects the budget of the People’s Liberation Army, which has been shrinking somewhat over time.

The U.S. figures do not take into account the supplemental appropriations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When those are added, the 2009 defense budget of the United States was well above $700 billion, which is greater than the military spending of the rest of the world combined. Much attention has been paid to the amount of money that the United States spends on its military; somewhat less obvious, at least to the layman, is the qualitative advantage that the U.S. military holds over all possible competitors. Over the course of the 2009 fiscal year the United States spent nearly $80 billion on research and development, which is more than the combined R&D expenditure of the rest of the world; in fact, it is an amount greater than any other state spends on its entire military.30 Its edge in information technology, precision, and speed has inspired some observers to claim that the United States has experienced a “revolution in military affairs” that places its military on a completely separate, higher plane than those of other states.31 Consequently, the United States has almost full control of the “global commons,” the air and seas, which allows its military access to all land areas of the world.32 Both quantitatively and qualitatively, therefore, the armed forces of the United States have a greater advantage over the rest of the world than any power that has come before. Economically, the story is much the same. Despite the recession, the economy of the United States remains the largest, most robust, and strongest on earth. In the 1990s the U.S. economy grew by 27 percent, approaching twice the growth of the European Union (15 percent) and three times that of Japan (9 per-

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cent).33 Economic comparisons to unipolar moments of the past are misplaced, for as historian Niall Ferguson has argued, the United States is far wealthier today in comparison to the rest of the world than Britain ever was.34 Its economy dwarfs all others. Despite this apparent overwhelming disparity in power, not all scholars agree that the system is unipolar.35 Mearsheimer cites two reasons why he thinks the system is instead multipolar: First, he has consistently maintained that the nuclear arsenals of Russia and China allow them to counter U.S. influence, which is a central characteristic of multipolarity; and second, although he concedes that the United States exercises hegemony over the western hemisphere, it does not in the eastern, nor does it seek to do so. Thus, although the United States dominates its side of the world, “it is not a global hegemon.”36 Neither argument is very convincing. Although nuclear weapons can level the military playing field, polarity is traditionally a measure of overall capabilities, of influence as much as of destructive potential, and the United States is the only state whose power is multidimensional. Today Russia may be capable of hitting St. Louis with a nuclear weapon, but it struggles to project power and influence into its near abroad. Using Mearsheimer’s unidimensional scale, the Cold War was multipolar as well, since bipolarity ended in 1952 when the British entered the nuclear club. The overall political effect of nuclear weapons is not at all clear; some scholars, in fact, have argued that they are essentially irrelevant to state behavior.37 While this remains controversial, what is surely true is that most observers seem to measure polarity using a multidimensional framework. This includes Christopher Layne, who presumably knew about the existence of other nuclear arsenals when he commented in 2009 that it is “beyond dispute” that “the United States still enjoys a commanding preponderance of power over its nearest rivals.”38 More puzzling than his unidimensional conceptualization of power is Mearsheimer’s apparent confusion of hegemonic dominance with unipolarity.

Table 4.2 2008 Gross Domestic Product for Selected Countries, $U.S. Trillions (% of U.S.) United States Japan China Germany France UK Italy Russia India

14.2 4.9 (34) 4.3 (29) 3.6 (25) 2.8 (20) 2.6 (18) 2.3 (16) 1.6 (11) 1.2 (8)

National currency GDP, converted into U.S. dollars at the relevant year’s conversion rate, from the World Bank Development Indicators Database.

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Hegemony, according to an oft-used definition, is a situation in which one state is “powerful enough to maintain the essential rules governing interstate relations, and willing to do so.”39 Polarity is a measure of the distribution of power in the system, and is beyond the control of the actors. Hegemony is a foreign policy or grand strategic choice, a state-level decision to pursue dominance. Unipolarity is a facilitating condition of global hegemony, to be sure, but the two need not go hand-in-hand. The United States can sit atop a unipolar system, therefore, without seeking hegemony or empire. Mearsheimer is correct when he argues that “hardly any evidence indicates that the United States is about to take a stab at establishing global hegemony.”40 But this does not preclude unipolarity, which is the most accurate description of the current distribution of world power. The truly remarkable aspect of the current era, as Brooks and Wohlforth have pointed out, is the across-the-board dominance of the United States.41 If this is not unipolarity, then such a condition has never—and probably will never— exist. No viable peer competitor emerged in the first post–Cold War period. A crucial issue for the predictions, then, is this: How have the other states of the system reacted to unipolarity? Have they sought to enter into arrangements that would assure their survival in the face of overwhelming power, such as balancing or bandwagoning, as would be the minimum expectation of the neorealist? Or have they not acted as if they felt threatened by the power of the United States?

Balancing All three neorealist scholars cited the irresistible impulse to balance power as the engine that would drive multipolarity’s emergence. “Unipolar systems contain the seeds of their own demise,” argued Layne, because “states balance against hegemons.”42 Since states in a self-help system cannot rely on others to assure their security, no amount of assurance about the benign nature of U.S. hegemony would be able to assuage their basic survival fears. Other states would feel the need to offset, or balance, U.S. power. Waltz identified two ways that this can be done: internally, by increasing their own capabilities; and externally, by formally or informally allying themselves with other actors.43 If his claim that “units in a self-help system engage in balancing behavior” is true, then one or both of these should be observable in the system.44 On the other hand, if the constructivists are correct, one would not necessarily expect to see behavior driven by the impulse to balance. It should not be difficult to demonstrate that no great power has been attempting to increase its internal capabilities in an effort to counteract those of the United States. None of the next eight biggest military powers have increased their spending to a level that could seriously compete with the United States

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since the Cold War ended, as table 4.1 hoped to demonstrate. The trends thus far reveal little sign of any attempt by the other states of the industrialized world to actualize their considerable potential power, despite neorealist predictions to the contrary. Total military spending is only part of the story. Since the Cold War, these states have all acted as if they were “structural anomalies,” according to the neorealist conception. None spent anywhere near the maximum that their wealth would allow to improve their militaries, preferring to direct their money toward other priorities instead. Military spending as a percentage of GDP in these states remained relatively constant—and low—throughout the era. As points of comparison, since the end of the Cold War Israel has annually devoted between 8 and 11 percent of its GDP to its military, Saudi Arabia more than 10 percent, and North Korea as much as 35 percent.45 Presumably the states listed in table 4.3 could have spent much more money on their defense if they had felt the need to balance the power of the United States. Instead, most great powers—and especially the Europeans—drastically slashed their military spending and capabilities, acting as if their security concerns were rather minor. Between 1992 and 1998 Russia experienced what William Wohlforth called the “steepest decline in peacetime military spending by any major power in history.”46 Even China, where military spending is growing along with the size of its economy, has chosen to devote a very small percentage of its GDP toward defense, a percentage that is not growing. It could spend a great deal more, and presumably would, if it felt the need to balance the United States. For example, although the U.S. Navy has claimed for years that China is considering building an aircraft carrier as the centerpiece of an effective “blue water” force, as of now such fears have had no basis in demonstrable reality.47 Beijing has upgraded its submarine fleet and drastically increased the pay of its military personnel, but it has yet to demonstrate much urgency to upgrade its overall power projection Table 4.3 Post–Cold War Military Spending as Percent of Gross Domestic Product

Russia India UK France China Italy Germany Japan

1991

1996

2001

2007

c. 5.7 3.0 4.1 3.4 2.4 2.1 2.2 0.9

4.1 2.6 2.9 2.9 1.7 1.9 1.6 1.0

4.1 3.0 2.4 2.5 2.0 2.0 1.5 1.0

3.5 2.5 2.4 2.3 2.0 1.8 1.3 0.9

Data from SIPRI 2008, http: // first.sipri.org.

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capabilities. Although the real level of Chinese spending is hotly debated, it is clear that the Peoples’ Republic could do more if structural pressures were compelling it to do so. Whether some of these states chose to rely on protection from the United States or felt that the utility of large militaries was declining is not as important for these purposes as the inescapable conclusion that most great powers have not increased their military capabilities in any way that could be interpreted as internal balancing. Trends since the Cold War have been fairly constant, and fairly convincing: States have generally tolerated unprecedented disparities in material power without much reaction at all. If indeed internal balancing is occurring, it is not doing so in any observable way, with the possible exception of China, and even there it does not seem to be a high national priority. No apparent external balancing has taken place during the past twenty years of unipolarity either. Although some analysts feared that a “Russo-Chinese axis” might form in the wake of NATO expansion, for instance, no such axis has developed, and as Mearsheimer has admitted, “they have not formed a serious balancing coalition against the United States and few believe that they will do so in the future.”48 Despite the expansion of U.S. military reach in recent decades, no formal or informal political alliances have been created to balance against the United States. Those multilateral Eurasian institutions that have been created were designed to address regional concerns such as drug trafficking, border demarcation, and terrorism, not to balance U.S. power and influence. In 1996 Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and later Uzbekistan established the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is a favorite data point for those attempting to demonstrate that balancing behavior is indeed occurring. The SCO was founded to settle lingering border disputes, however, and has evolved in order for its member states to be able to share information in the struggle against Islamic fundamentalism.49 September 11th and the events that followed have strengthened the determination of the SCO states to coordinate their antiterrorism policies.50 Today the organization is something of an updated Three Emperors’ League, meant to counter internal rather than external threats to the region’s autocratic regimes. The SCO is not an organization designed to provide a balance to U.S. power; to the contrary, its interests align perfectly with those of Washington, which opposes fundamentalism with equal, if not greater, fervor. Few regional experts, even the most pessimistic, feel that the SCO functions, or is designed to function, as a balancing organization.51 The limited international military cooperation that has occurred since the Cold War has in large part been instigated by the United States, and it has often met with a general lack of enthusiasm in other circles. The oft-proposed panEuropean defense force is instructive in this regard. The Europeans had pledged

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to take on a greater share of the burden for their defense a few times during the Cold War—the Lisbon Conference in 1952, the “Radford Plan” of 1956, and again in the late 1970s—but the temptation to free-ride had always proven to be too great to be overcome.52 Calls for the creation of a European defense identity followed every military action of the post–Cold War era, usually emerging loudest from Paris. The most serious discussions took place in November 1999 following the bombing campaign in Kosovo, when the European Union members agreed to a common approach to arms procurement, and pledged as part of the “Helsinki Communiqué” to create by 2003 a sixty thousand member “rapid reaction force” that would, in effect, be the first pan-European military force. Reactions in the United States were mixed, ranging from skeptical to nervous to hopeful. In late August 2000 Layne argued that a real EU defense identity was emerging, because the issue was “not about burden sharing any more. This is about balancing power.”53 This was of course a very logical conclusion, since he was “simply describing that, as we would expect, if realist theory is right and states balance against hegemons, that others have drawn the conclusion that we are the hegemon, that we are too powerful and they are trying to begin to balance against us.”54 This statement would also seem to imply the reverse, that if states do not balance against hegemons then something in neorealist theory is wrong. Once again, not much came of the 2000 discussions except more pledges that have gone largely unfulfilled. Renewed efforts have followed in the wake of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in fact two limited peacekeeping operations have been conducted under EU auspices, in Macedonia and the Congo.55 Even if at some point in the future the Europeans are able to surmount the considerable financial, political, and technological hurdles to create an independent military force, it is doubtful that it would be designed to balance the military power of the United States. As currently proposed, the EU force will be small, designed to respond rapidly to regional emergencies in ways that complement the current NATO structure. It is a peacekeeping and peace enforcement tool rather than a sign of the emergence of pan-European balancing behavior.56 Not only is the currently imagined force (and imagined is thus far the correct word) not designed to play the role of balancer to the United States, but it is welcomed by Washington as a sign that the Europeans may be willing to shoulder more of the burden of providing for the defense of the West. Its purpose is more constabulary than military, and its leadership is too closely integrated into the NATO structure to be considered independent. None of this should be interpreted as evidence of European inability to create the kind of military that could balance that of the United States. Together the fifteen EU member states have a GDP comparable to that of the United States

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(approximately $14.51 to $14.26 trillion) and a far greater population (500 to 307 million), with the ever-present possibility of expansion.57 But to date the Europeans have never chosen to take any serious integrative steps that would be necessary to counterbalance the power of the United States. Instead they have chosen to maintain independent armed forces, resulting in inefficient and duplicative spending. A 2000 Center for Defense Information report concluded that total European military spending, which at the time constituted 60 percent of that of the United States, yielded only 10 percent of the capabilities, an imbalance that has only grown since.58 Despite the overwhelming disparity, the Europeans do not seem to feel an impetus to expand.59 Overall, no international military actions that could be interpreted as opposed to the United States in character or implication, such as multilateral training operations or force integration, have been carried out since the end of the Cold War. Seth Jones has made the case that European security cooperation has actually measurably accelerated since the end of the Cold War.60 He makes a number of strong points, and it is certainly true that there have been an increased number of pledges on the part of the major European countries. To Jones, the minor operations that have taken place are evidence of an emerging EU security identity. To someone with a more broad historical perspective, deployments of 1400 (to the Congo) and 7000 (to the Balkans) are minor, half-hearted, strategically irrelevant pieces of social work. Social work will of course have a place in the new strategic environment. One could make a plausible case that it is more important than ever before, if in fact the security challenges of the coming century do not involve the threat of major war. But the actions of the European Union—which, as Jones describes, are all being done with peacekeeping in mind, as additions to the United States, rather than in opposition to it—are not evidence of balancing. These are rich countries, and together they are even richer. It is quite a stretch to believe that the same states that not long ago put millions of men under arms could not do more if the impetus to balance were present. Jones acknowledges that his is a minority view, and that “for the vast majority of scholars . . . security cooperation has been more talk than action.”61 Waltz and Mearsheimer have been reluctant to admit that no balancing is occurring. They seem to see it everywhere, though the evidence they cite has been fairly weak, or even nonexistent. Typical are Waltz’s unsupported statements that, although multipolarity has not arisen, “one does, however, observe balancing tendencies already taking place,” and that “multipolarity is developing before our eyes: To all but the myopic, it can already be seen on the horizon.”62 He sites no facts or trends to support this assertion; it must be accepted on faith, lest one admit to myopia. Although adamant that theirs is not a theory of foreign policy and therefore cannot be falsified by individual state actions, it is worth noting

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that neorealists nonetheless commonly refer to such “reductionist” evidence to support their arguments when convenient.63 For example, Waltz states that “in recent years, the desire of Japan’s leaders to play a militarily more assertive role has become apparent, a natural response to Japan’s enhanced economic standing.”64 Putting the unsupported yet “apparent” nature of this action aside for the moment, it is important to note that to neorealists, the foreign policy decisions of individual states are only relevant when seemingly supportive of their visions of the future. Similarly, rhetoric matters when it is supportive but is merely “lip service” when it is not. All scholars tend to do this, of course, picking and choosing the statements that support their case while ignoring others. But during discussions of both institutions and norms over the years, neorealists have consistently argued that rhetoric without corresponding action is meaningless. Mearsheimer has argued that, although “it should be obvious to intelligent observers that the United States speaks one way and acts another . . . the gap between rhetoric and reality usually goes unnoticed in the United States itself.”65 Critics of institutionalism have spent the last two and a half decades admonishing scholars to pay attention to what states do, not to what their leaders say. Those same admonitions should apply to the rhetoric of balancing, for state actions show no signs of proving neorealist predictions correct. Although it is true that international verbal opposition to unipolarity and perceived American arrogance is surely on the rise, or that it has at least spiked since the war in Iraq, there are not many signs of state action reflecting that opposition. For now, it is merely rhetoric. Neither external nor internal balancing has taken place in any serious way since the Cold War ended. Wohlforth puts it succinctly: “The absence of balancing among the great powers is a fact. . . . By any reasonable benchmark, the current international system is one in which both external and internal balancing among great powers is at a historical low.”66 “It is remarkable,” wrote G. John Ikenberry in the introduction to a volume exploring this puzzle, “that despite the sharp shifts in the distribution of power, the other great powers have not yet responded in a way anticipated by balance-of-power theory.”67 Explaining Unbalanced Power That the rest of the world is not balancing U.S. power has not proven to be nearly as controversial as the implications of that nonbehavior for the theory of international politics. Scholars have sought to explain this phenomenon in at least four ways. First, and most important, a line of robust scholarship has grown to refine or reimagine neorealism in the absence of balancing. A number of alternative behaviors have been identified and terms coined, all of which seek to describe state reaction to unbalanced power. The second approach has been to

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redefine balancing itself to be able to describe current international behavior that is in fact taking place. Third, some scholars have sought to place restrictions on balancing, suggesting that the behavior can be expected only under a restricted window of cost. Finally, others have suggested that the current era is atypical, in that internal problems of would-be balancers have prevented the expected behavior from emerging. While either or even all of these lines of argument may accurately capture some aspects of international relations, their acceptance would necessarily and drastically weaken neorealism as a coherent theory. In addition, all of the explanations are post facto, entirely unpredicted by the theory prior to the emergence of underbalancing. The evaluation of predictions allows for a return to the expectation of theory prior to the accumulation of evidence, which has not been realized. Realism as an approach to politics may be richer for the addition of the lines of reasoning discussed below, but neorealism as a theory is not. Alternatives to Balancing A robust debate has arisen as it has become apparent that the expectations of neorealism are not being borne out by the post–Cold War evidence. The failure to balance has inspired a number of scholars to investigate whether balancing was ever really the dominant reaction of states toward an aspiring hegemon. As it turns out, while the balancing imperative makes for elegant theory, it does not describe the way states have historically behaved.68 A growing list of alternate behaviors has been proposed, including bandwagoning, buck-passing, chainganging, balking, binding, soft balancing, leash-slipping, and probably others.69 Many of these terms have become integrated into the modern lexicon of international relations scholarship, and there is reason to believe that they describe state reactions more accurately than simple balancing. Most begin with realist assumptions and fall within the parameters of the classical (or neoclassical) realist approach to international relations. Three points are worth noting about this parade of neologisms, all of which highlight the utility of evaluating predictions in international politics. First, all of these new concepts are inductively produced. Each is based upon observations of historical cases and is accompanied by descriptions of the domestic- or system-level conditions that seem most likely to produce them. Cases are often presented—sometimes as “tests” of the theory that was built on their observation—that are inevitably selected on the dependent variable. Second, none of these descriptions has been replicated by unfolding events. There is simply no way to know whether our understanding about when states bandwagon or pass the buck or let the leash slip are correct without making predictions that can be evaluated over time. Without such longitudinal studies, it will never be clear which cases are anomalies and which are the result of real state

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behavioral tendencies. As of now, these concepts may constitute the inchoate form of a number of theories of international politics, but they are all in need of testing against new evidence as it emerges. Finally, to the extent that these new terms have been part of efforts to rescue Waltz’s neorealist theory, they have failed. While these new behavioral categories may well describe state behavior under certain conditions better than did Waltz, they ought to be considered challengers to, not refinements of, neorealist theory. The balancing imperative is what made Waltz’s structural realism a distinct theory of international politics, distinguishing it from what were merely approaches, like realism and liberalism. If states do not balance, then neorealism as a coherent theory is simply wrong. The prediction-and-evaluation method prevents theories from being altered whenever necessary to explain all possible state behavior under any conditions. Neorealism may be gravely wounded but realism itself will never die, and these new concepts may well provide the way forward toward a better, more accurate theory. If such a future theory is to be accepted, it will need to predict as well as explain. Soft Balancing The second path scholars have taken to explain the lack of balancing is simply to expand the meaning of the term. To the traditional internal and external balancing subcategories some have recently sought to add a third—“soft”—which according to Robert Pape is the “early stages of balancing,” in which other powers “use nonmilitary tools to delay, frustrate, and undermine” the unilateral policies of the unipole.70 Soft balancing would include diplomatic disagreement or insufficient enthusiasm for the policies of the state to be balanced. Pape has argued that the events leading up to the Iraq War, such as the lack of international support at the United Nations and Turkey’s refusal to allow the United States to launch attacks from its soil, signaled the intention and resolve on the part of the rest of the world to begin serious resistance to U.S. power. Lack of unanimity at the Security Council and occasional refusal to grant over-fly rights are apparently portents of hard balancing to come. Redefining key concepts after the fact to better suit the evidence is one of the least convincing methods with which to defend a theory. Soft balancing is another entirely inductive explanation for underbalancing, since no one anticipated it to occur ex ante. None of its proponents have been able to explain why it has been chosen instead of other options open to would-be balancers. But more important, it sets the bar for balancing so low, and allows it to be defined so vaguely, that there is virtually no behavior that would not qualify. Pape and other proponents pick over the historical record in search of minute behaviors or comments to support their case. When the Putin / Medvedev administration voices objections to U.S. bases in Kyrgyzstan, that is evidence of soft balancing; but

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its cooperation regarding Kosovo, North Korea, and Afghanistan is apparently irrelevant. It does not matter that the aggregate behavior of the other great powers has been mostly cooperative with the United States. If Pape can find areas of disagreement, he can prove his point. The Iraq example is indeed instructive, if not exactly in the way Pape supposed. The most salient fact about the war from a systemic perspective is that the rest of the world made no serious effort to stop U.S. actions. Even if other countries could not have effectively blocked the United States from deposing Saddam Hussein, surely there were other steps that could have been taken to show disapproval, beginning with the obvious: They could have supported Saddam, financially, diplomatically, or even militarily. Instead no power great or small took any action to help Iraq beyond objecting at the United Nations and refusing to actively participate in the invasion. The lack of great power support for the United States did not translate into even passive support for Saddam, and is only evidence of balancing if the term is broadened so widely as to be rendered all but meaningless. The United States responded to the September 11 terrorist attacks by greatly expanding its power and reach in some of the most crucial regions of the world. The U.S. defense budget approached, and then passed, the $700 billion mark, and Washington established new, semipermanent bases in states of the former Soviet Union.71 Its policies and actions became assertively unilateral; it withdrew from any treaty that seemed to restrict its freedom of action and attacked a strategically significant state that had not threatened its interests in any real sense. When the initial phase of the “war on terror” wound down, the capabilities of the United States were higher in real and relative terms than ever before, and its behavior more erratic. Throughout all of this, the rest of the world voiced the occasional objection, and at times it did not cooperate fully. To Brooks and Wohlforth, this seems like “unipolar politics as usual,” less a sign of balancing to come than merely predictable disagreements between mostly cooperative states.72 Proponents of soft balancing have not explained why they insist on focusing upon the disagreement at the margins of international interaction, rather than on the general agreement that exists at the center. The Costs of Balancing Wohlforth, both alone and with coauthor Brooks, has attempted to recast external balancing as a collective action problem, and internal balancing as prohibitively expensive. The absence of the former should not be surprising, since “collective action in pursuit of a single goal—such as balancing a hegemon—is very hard to achieve.”73 The large lead that the United States possesses discourages the latter. “The concentration of capabilities in the United States,” he argued, “passes the threshold at which counterbalancing becomes prohibitively costly.”74

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Neorealism is not wrong, in other words. The rules that govern unipolarity are just different. Perhaps Brooks and Wohlforth are onto something. But it is important to point out that no one thought that the imperative to balance was dependent upon cost prior to the 1990s. Their argument hardly rescues Waltz’s theory; instead, to accept it would necessitate a total rejection of neorealism’s most basic logic. Nowhere does neorealist theory suggest that balancing only occurs when there is no risk or cost, or when it is easy to do so. In fact, quite the opposite is true: The strength of the impulse to balance power (or threat) should be directly related to the size of the power to be balanced. In a self-help system, presumably, the greater the imbalance, the greater the pressure to act in order to assure one’s survival. Whether one subscribes to Waltz’s balance-of-power or Walt’s balance-ofthreat, tremendous imbalance should provide greater incentives to overcome collective action problems and to bear the costs of guaranteeing security.75 States have had little difficulty acting collectively many times in the past, often when the power to be balanced was far less preponderant than that of the United States in the early twenty-first century. They have historically also been willing to maintain enormously expensive militaries. Neither is being done today. External balancing itself is not cost-prohibitive. In the absence of cost, collective action problems are not particularly daunting. If states are not able to overcome such minimal collective action problems, or to bear the costs to balance the post–Cold War United States, then it is hard to see when they would ever feel compelled to do so.76 Consider a brief counterfactual: If the Soviet Union in the 1930s, or Bismarck’s Prussia, or virtually any other state in history had enjoyed the kind of dominance that the United States currently maintains, there is little doubt that the actions of the other great powers would have been significantly different than those of today. Collective action problems would have been rapidly overwhelmed by the imminent threat, no matter how far advanced the capabilities of the unipole may have seemed, or how prohibitively costly an attempt to balance would have been. Since it is hard to imagine that any state would have allowed such a threatening imbalance to exist without reaction, one is left to conclude that there may well be something qualitatively different about the modern era. Wohlforth’s logic is intriguing and creative, but at this point underexplained. At exactly what point, for instance, does increasing threat make costs overcome inertia? Why exactly does this happen? Until such mysteries are cleared up, it appears more logical that underbalancing is occurring not because of the constraints that prevent collective or individual action, but because the impulse to do so is absent. Wohlforth posits that if the cost barrier were not present, balancing would occur; constructivist theory suggests that, since unipolarity is not threatening in a world without major war, balancing never even occurs to most

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states—or seems irrational when it does. Constructivists do not need to redefine terms, reimagine concepts, or create major exceptions to their theories in order to explain behavior that, after all, they expected a priori. Balancing and Internal Problems Layne has offered a fourth rationale for underbalancing. According to his analysis, virtually all potential counterbalancers—especially Russia, China, Japan, and Germany—have experienced “internal problems” since the end of the Cold War severe enough to prevent them from attempting to balance U.S. power.77 Domestic conditions in these states make them anomalies, in other words. However, nowhere does neorealist theory suggest that only states devoid of internal problems will balance power. Indeed one would be hard-pressed to find any such state in history, especially since Layne’s bar for what constitutes internal problems is set rather low. Apparently, Germany and Japan experienced levels of internal troubles that were sufficiently high to prevent the most basic of state behaviors, although exactly what those troubles were is unclear. China, which may have seemed to experience astonishing post–Cold War growth, was evidently similarly afflicted. Ultimately, Layne does not feel the need to put much effort into explaining underbalancing, since it is not really a puzzle to begin with. The underlying message of the single paragraph devoted to what would seem to be a rather important anomaly is the old standby line: Just you wait. “Balance of power theory is good at predicting that power balances eventually will form whenever too much power is concentrated in the hands of a single great power,” he maintains. “But it cannot predict how long it will take for this to happen.”78 Most of all, although Layne admits that thus far his predictions have proved to be wrong, nonetheless “the analytical case made to support the prediction that unipolarity would cause new great powers to emerge as counterweights was correct.”79 The analysis was correct, therefore, even if the evidence to this point suggests the opposite. In the end, no matter what the reason, one vision outperformed the other regarding balancing behavior. Post facto alterations may eventually lead to the articulation of theories that better describe state reactions to unbalanced power, but they cannot change the fact that neorealist expectations have been proven wrong on the issue that defines the theory better than any other. There is a standing vision of the international future that does not need to be modified after the fact, since its predictions have been spot on. No neologisms are needed to rescue the obsolescence-of-major-war vision, since its expectations have been borne out by nonevents. Perhaps the truth is simpler than the increasingly complicated realist canon suggests: Perhaps states are not balancing the overwhelming U.S. power because that power is not associated, at least in the minds of the great powers, with danger. Perhaps the major powers are not balancing the United

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States because they do not fear for their security, despite the overwhelming material disparity and necessarily uncertain intentions. And perhaps states are not balancing the threat of the United States because, despite its power, it poses little threat in a world where conquest and major war have grown obsolete. The war in Iraq has demonstrated that even a major show of force on the part of the world’s strongest actor in what is arguably the most vital region in the world can inspire no hard balancing behavior among the other great powers. At this point, it is growing ever more difficult to imagine exactly what could.

NATO It should not take much to prove that the constructivist vision has described the future of NATO and nuclear proliferation far better than the neorealist. Not only did the alliance fail to shrivel and die without an enemy, but it remained robust and even expanded. “Although realists would have predicted otherwise,” Layne has admitted, “the first post–Cold War decade did not witness a lessening of the Atlantic Alliance’s bonds.”80 NATO fought its first conflict as an alliance in Kosovo in 1999, and it embarked upon a second round of expansion that brought its membership up to twenty-six states, including three that were once part of the Soviet Union. Its members showed another sign of solidarity after September 11, not only by symbolically regarding the terrorist attacks as an attack on all but by sharing the burden in Afghanistan. Now NATO is evidently considering a further round of expansion, which will include Albania and Macedonia. Georgia and Ukraine may be next. How the alliance members will benefit materially from these new additions is not clear. In reality, the alliance no longer functions to address the security of its members; as Alexander Wendt has noted, it exists primarily because the members want it to, not for any rational, material reason.81 The idea that it is worthwhile seems to be more than enough to keep it going. International relations, it seems, need not be strictly rational. All forecasts of NATO’s demise soon after the collapse of the Cold War were mistaken, and if current trends are reliable predictors of future events, such a collapse is not imminent. Its members have not seen fit either to break its bonds or to realign themselves in response to any other threat. In fact, they do not seem to act as if such threats are on the horizon. Simple inertia may prove to be enough to keep NATO together, since no other forces, at least in the form of threats or internal dissent, seem ready to tear it apart.

Nuclear Proliferation Nuclear weapons are the ultimate guarantor of security, and the few states that felt insecure did indeed pursue them with some determination over the course

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of the last eighteen years. The “nuclear club” has added one new member (North Korea) since the Cold War ended, and one additional state (Iran) seems to be actively seeking entry somewhere between six months and ten years down the road. Still, the overall pace of proliferation has not increased since the end of the Cold War, as table 4.4 demonstrates. Proliferation unfolded more slowly in the 1990s than in any decade since the invention of nuclear weapons. Two states founded the club in the 1940s (the United States and the USSR), one more joined in the 1950s (the UK), and then came two each in the sixties (France and China), seventies (India and Israel), and eighties (Pakistan and South Africa). In the 1990s, there were none. The overhyped nuclear tests on the Indian subcontinent in 1998 merely confirmed what had been widely known for years: that both countries possessed nuclear arsenals. North Korea has been the only new nuclear weapons state since the end of the Cold War, and theirs may well prove to be a short-lived club membership, since as of this writing Pyongyang has at times seemed willing to negotiate them away. Since the collapse of the USSR, trends in proliferation have in fact been negative: Three states that inherited part of the Soviet arsenal (Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan) peacefully surrendered the weapons—hardly the kind of actions that neorealists would be able to explain or recommend.82 South Africa gave up its arsenal, and both Brazil and Argentina decided that the pursuit of nuclear weapons was not worth the cost.83 Proliferation momentum has not only ground to a halt since the end of the Cold War, it has swung in the opposite direction. Perhaps more significantly, the list of states that possess the capability to produce nuclear weapons but choose not to is growing rapidly. By one estimate, there are nearly fifty “nuclear capable” countries.84 The kind of proliferation across Europe that Mearsheimer feared inevitable due to the removal of superpower influence has not occurred, perhaps because the states of the industrialized world did not feel threatened. Indeed, the remaining stockpiles are increasingly Table 4.4 Nuclear Weapons States, 1989 and 2009 1989

2009

United States USSR China United Kingdom France India Pakistan Israel South Africa

United States Russia China United Kingdom France India Pakistan Israel North Korea

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irrelevant in a world where major war is next to unthinkable. The British and French nuclear arsenals, for instance, deter little except the erosion of national pride. Perceptions of threat seem to have proven to be more relevant to state behavior, and to nuclear proliferation, than material imbalances of power, and those perceptions appear to be lower than at any time in history.

Replacing Theories Thus, at this point it can be said with some confidence that the constructivist expectation for a decline in all kinds of warfare at all levels of the international system anticipated the course of events quite well. Together with incorrect neorealist predictions about the emergence of multipolarity, the inevitability of balancing, the end of NATO, and the increase of proliferation, this information seems to confirm that, as of 2010, the optimistic vision of the future has explained the evolution of international reality much more accurately than that supplied by Waltz, Mearsheimer, and Layne. On at least two occasions, Waltz has quoted Charles Kegley’s 1993 observation that, “should we witness the advent of a new multipolar system . . . realism will remain the most compelling framework to assess the dynamics that will surround the great powers’ probable interactions.”85 If multipolarity would have been vindication for neorealism, then intellectual consistency demands that continued, unbalanced unipolarity should at the very least be problematic. Neorealist purists have constructed one last line of defense, one that builds entirely on a few lines of Lakatos. These purists dismiss the importance of the inconsistencies or inaccuracies in their theory by challenging critics to articulate a coherent, unified, parsimonious theory to replace neorealism. The theory may have its flaws, the argument goes, but it will remain dominant in international relations until another with a greater degree of explanatory power emerges to supplant it. “Proving something false requires proving something else true,” Waltz has argued. “A theory is overthrown only by a better theory.”86 All theories of international politics are probabilistic and therefore impossible to disprove, since seemingly contradictory evidence may just be examples of anomalies.87 Neorealism ought to remain the standard, then, until a better all-encompassing theory of state behavior is developed. Since “we have yet to construct a competing research program that can account for both new facts and anomalies as well as past patterns of state behavior,” Elman and Elman argue, “Waltz’s theory should not be discarded until something better comes along to replace it.”88 Repeated failure to account for novel events should therefore not be considered a weakness of the dominant theory of state behavior. The scholar who tends to believe that the actions of states are as capricious as those of human beings is unlikely even to attempt to devise a theory capable of

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improving upon the inconsistencies of neorealism. But that inability in itself does not imply that neorealism actually describes state behavior in an accurate way; rather it may be, as frustrating as it may seem, that no such theory is possible. Our quest for the unifying theory of international politics may ultimately prove to be as fruitless as Einstein’s quest for the “theory of everything” to unify physics.89 If there is no Unifying Theory of Everything in international politics—and suffice it to say that many scholars strongly suspect there is not—then the first attempt to articulate such a theory, however flawed, will never be replaced. This clever rear-guard action on the part of neorealists leaves us with the unique conclusion that it is better to cling to an incorrect (or at best rarely correct) but parsimonious theory than to admit that international politics may be too complex to describe in simple theoretical terms. For those who suspect that there may not in fact be an elegant, unifying, all-encompassing theory of international politics, the argument that neorealism must be replaced rather than dismissed is an impossibly high bar to clear. Lakatosian logic provides the last, ultimately impregnable rhetorical defense, despite the fact that Lakatos himself argued that “mature science,” unlike “pedestrian trial-and-error,” consists of research programs “in which not only novel facts but, in an important sense, also auxiliary theories, are anticipated.”90 The suggestion that theories cannot be proven or disproven is one that would surprise (and, one suspects, amuse) those in other fields. Neorealism, which self-consciously replaced a doctrine it saw as empirically soft and theological, has become theology to its adherents. In international politics, as with everything else, Occam’s Razor holds true: The simplest, most logical explanation is probably the correct one. It may be true that the current state of the international system is an interlude, and despite the near-total failure of neorealism to account for state behavior since the Cold War, multipolarity and balancing are indeed on the horizon. It may also be true that immutable systemic constraints combined with state insecurities will drive the system in directions that no movement of ideas will be able to affect. But for now, a review of the evidence would suggest that the most likely answer is that the neorealists were wrong. Not only has there been no balancing or rise of great powers, but the prospect of such behavior, and of great power war, is even less likely than it was when the Cold War ended. Arguments that any vision of the future will arise “sooner or later” should never be given benefit of the doubt. If the behavior predicted by a theory is not occurring, there has to be a reason why anyone should believe it will begin at some distant, or not-so-distant, point in the future. There are, after all, visions of the future that are not waiting for their supporting evidence to start accumulating. The “retreat from doomsday” vision of world politics seems to be amassing

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more and more data every year, passing the prediction-and-evaluation test far better than its neorealist counterpart. No one can say with any certainty what the future international system will look like; the best an analyst can do is to measure the trends and extrapolate. Those trends over the last twenty years seem to side quite heavily with the optimistic vision of the future, and give ammunition to those who insist that ideas are indeed important independent variables in world politics. Notes 1. Bell, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society, 51. 2. Gurr first reported these counterintuitive trends nearly a decade ago: “Ethnic Warfare on the Wane.” Since then, the compiling nonevents have been recorded by Gurr and Marshall, Peace and Conflict 2005; Human Security Centre, Human Security Report 2005; Wallensteen and Eriksson, “Armed Conflict, 1989–2003”; and Harbom, Högbladh, and Wallensteen, “Armed Conflict and Peace Agreements.” 3. Gurr and Marshall, Peace and Conflict 2005, 1. 4. See the data kept by the Minorities at Risk Project, “Minorities at Risk Dataset.” 5. Gleditsch, “The Liberal Moment Fifteen Years On,” 694. 6. Mack, “Global Political Violence,” 7. 7. Lacina, Gleditsch, and Russett, “The Declining Risk of Death in Battle.” 8. Fettweis, “War as Catalyst.” 9. Human Security Centre, Human Security Report 2005, 41. The authors analyze the genocide dataset maintained by Barbara Harff. 10. Mack, “Global Political Violence,” 1. 11. Harbom and Wallensteen, “Armed Conflict and Its International Dimensions, 1946–2004”; and Zacher, “The Territorial Integrity Norm,” 242. 12. Mack, “Global Political Violence,” 8. 13. See Kaldor, “Beyond Militarism, Arms Races and Arms Control,” and the Data Finder on the World Bank webpage, datafinder.worldbank .org / military-expenditure ?cid=GPO_42. 14. Terrorist incidents are tracked in the Global Terrorism Database by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland. 15. Jervis, American Foreign Policy in a New Era, 12; and Lebow, “The Long Peace, the End of the Cold War, and the Failure of Realism,” 269. 16. Keegan, War and Our World, 34. 17. Lemke, Regions of War and Peace, 163. 18. The exact numbers are still a matter of some dispute. See Kuprashvili, “Georgia: Conflict Toll Confusion.” The modern definition of war used in much political science research was first discussed in Singer and Small, The Wages of War, 1816–1965.

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19. Vasquez, The War Puzzle; and Kocs, “Territorial Dispute and Interstate War, 1945–1987.” 20. Smith, “States and Homelands.” 21. On defensive realism, in addition to Waltz, see Glaser, “Realists as Optimists”; and Taliaferro, “Security Seeking under Anarchy.” 22. Van Creveld, “The Waning of Major War,” 109. 23. Simons, “The Death of Conquest”; and Zacher, “The Territorial Integrity Norm.” 24. Schroeder, “Does Murphy’s Law Apply to History?” For analyses of the unusually high levels of threat perception in the United States, see Johnson, Improbable Dangers; Fitzgerald, Way Out There in the Blue; and Mueller, Overblown. 25. Among the most prominent works of declinism were Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers; Tucker, “America in Decline”; and Keohane, After Hegemony. As late as 1996, Robert Gilpin was claiming to be an “unreconstructed declinist,” providing further proof that few scholars ever admit error, no matter how overwhelming the evidence to the contrary: see “No One Loves a Political Realist,” 5. 26. To Pape, this decline means that the likelihood of instability and war is going to rise over the course of the coming years: see “Empire Falls.” See also Zakaria, The Post-American World; and Reid, The United States of Europe. 27. Krauthammer, “The Unipolar Moment.” 28. Ikenberry, America Unrivaled, 1. This is also the conclusion reached by Brooks and Wohlforth in World Out of Balance. 29. Jervis, “Unipolarity,” 188. 30. Figure taken from the FY2009 DOD Budget request. 31. On the RMA, see Krepinevich, “Calvary to Computer”; Arquilla and Ronfeldt, In Athena’s Camp; Gray, Strategy for Chaos; and Sloan, The Revolution in Military Affairs. 32. Posen, “Command of the Commons.” See also Hart, The Shield and the Cloak. 33. Ikenberry, America Unrivaled, 1. 34. Ferguson, Empire, 367. 35. One of the most prominent of these scholars was Huntington, in “The Lonely Superpower.” 36. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 381. 37. See for instance Mueller, “The Essential Irrelevance of Nuclear Weapons”; and Luard, The Blunted Sword. For counterarguments, see Jervis, “The Political Effect of Nuclear Weapons”; and Gaddis, The United States and the End of the Cold War, 105–18. 38. Layne, “The Waning of U.S. Hegemony—Myth or Reality?”, 150. 39. Keohane and Nye, Power and Interdependence, 44. 40. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 382. 41. Brooks and Wohlforth, “American Primacy in Perspective.” Their view remains the same in their most recent work, World Out of Balance.

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42. Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion,” 7. 43. Waltz, Theory of International Politics, 168. 44. Waltz, “The Emerging Structure of International Politics,” 73. 45. SIPRI 2008, http: // first.sipri.org, accessed December 2009. 46. Wohlforth, “Revisiting Balance of Power Theory in Central Eurasia,” 220. 47. Robert Ross has been the most recent expert to predict that the Chinese will soon embark upon a program to construct an aircraft carrier (“China’s Naval Nationalism”), based largely upon his perception of their maritime strategy—and the fact that they are reading Mahan. As of now, though, it is merely speculation. 48. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 528 fn 62. 49. On the origins of the SCO, see Misra, “Shanghai 5 and the Emerging Alliance in Central Asia.” 50. See Collins and Wohlforth, “Defying ‘Great Game’ Expectations.” 51. Blank, a leading realist analyst of the Caspian and Central Asia, has argued that the SCO is “primarily a Chinese initiative against terrorism originating in Xinjiang and Central Asia.” See “China in Central Asia,” 150. 52. For a review, see Dockrill, “No Troops, Please. We Are American.” 53. Remarks made at the Cato Institute Policy Forum, “Creating a European Security and Defense Identity,” 33. 54. Cato Institute Policy Forum, “Creating a European Security and Defense Identity,” 31. 55. The EU is also currently running peacekeeping operations in Bosnia. See Kaldor and Salmon, “Military Force and European Strategy.” 56. See Brooks and Wohlforth, “Hard Times for Soft Balancing.” 57. Extensive data on these issues are available on the website of the European Union, specifically the EU Statistical Office, http: // epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu. See also the CIA World Fact Book, http: // www.cia.gov / library / publications / the-world-factbook / geos / ee.html. 58. Center for Defense Information, “European Security and Defense Identity,” 1–3. 59. Sheehan, Where Have All the Soldiers Gone 60. Jones, The Rise of European Security Cooperation. 61. Ibid., 5–6. 62. Waltz, “Structural Realism after the Cold War,” 915. 63. The argument is made by Waltz most directly in “International Politics Is Not Foreign Policy,” as well as in both Theory of International Politics and “Evaluating Theories.” See also Telhami, “Kenneth Waltz, Neorealism, and Foreign Policy.” 64. Waltz, “The Emerging Structure of International Politics,” 65. 65. Mearsheimer, “Liberal Talk, Realist Thinking.” 66. Wohlforth, “U.S. Strategy in a Unipolar World,” 100. 67. Ikenberry, America Unrivaled, 3. 68. Schroeder, “Historical Reality vs. Neo-Realist Theory”; Hui, War and State Formation in Ancient China and Early Modern Europe; Kaufman, Little, and Wohlforth, The

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Balance of Power in World History; and Nexon, “The Balance of Power in the Balance.” Other treatments of balancing evidence can be found in Maurseth, “Balance-of-Power Thinking from the Renaissance to the French Revolution”; Healy and Stein, “The Balance of Power in International History”; and Powell, “Stability and the Distribution of Power.” 69. Schweller, “Bandwagoning for Profit” and “Unanswered Threats”; Christensen and Snyder, “Chain Gangs and Passed Bucks”; Walt, Taming American Power; and Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion Revisited.” 70. Pape, “Soft Balancing against the United States.” See also Paul, “Soft Balancing in the Age of U.S. Primacy” and “The Enduring Axioms of Balance of Power Theory”; and Kelley, “Strategic Non-Cooperation as Soft Balancing.” 71. Fairbanks and Bacevich, “Bases of Debate.” 72. Brooks and Wohlforth, “Hard Times for Soft Balancing.” 73. Wohlforth, “U.S. Strategy in a Unipolar World,” 98, and most recently “Unipolarity, Status Competition, and Great Power War.” See also Levy, “What Do Great Powers Balance against and When?” 74. Wohlforth, “U.S. Strategy in a Unipolar World,” 100. The most complete statement of the argument is in Brooks and Wohlforth, World Out of Balance. 75. Walt, The Origin of Alliances. 76. Layne has added another layer to this post facto explanation: Perhaps balancing extant hegemons is more difficult than hegemons on the rise. It is left incumbent upon the reader to figure out why this might be the case. See Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion Revisited,” 10. 77. Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion Revisited,” 10. 78. Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion Revisited,” 10 fn. “We have no way to predict the exact timing by which rising powers will resort to hard balancing,” explained Paul, Wirtz, and Fortmann, “but it is most likely to appear when one or more major powers gains sufficient capabilities to challenge the U.S. power.” In other words, balancing will occur when there is a balance of power. Balance of Power, 372. 79. Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion Revisited,” 8 fn. 80. Layne, “U.S. Hegemony and the Perpetuation of NATO,” 77. 81. Wendt, Social Theory of International Relations, 352. 82. Mearsheimer, “The Case for a Ukrainian Nuclear Deterrent.” 83. See Sagan, “Why Do States Build Nuclear Weapons?” 84. Hymans, The Psychology of Nuclear Proliferation, 4. 85. Kegley makes that statement in “The Neoidealist Movement in International Studies,” 139; Waltz quotes him in “Evaluating Theories,” 915, and in “Structural Realism after the Cold War,” 54–55. 86. Waltz, “Evaluating Theories,” 914. 87. Waltz addresses the impossibility of disproving theories in “Thoughts about Assaying Theories,” vii–xii.

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88. Elman and Elman, “History vs. Neo-Realism,” 192. Lakatos makes the argument, somewhat less stridently than his followers, in “Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes,” 91–195. 89. The author is aware of the effort under way to unify physics with “string theory.” Perhaps someday political science will develop an equally baffling approach to unification. Until then, however, the point stands. 90. Lakatos, “Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes,” 175.

5 Resource Wars? The Three Stages of Petroleum Politics

AT SOME POINT IN THE twenty-first century, the world will begin to run low on

oil. Demand around the world is skyrocketing for the nonrenewable resource, far outpacing the growth of supply, and all projections suggest the pace will continue. While oil will not likely ever run out in the literal sense, geologists warn that in the not-so-distant future it may well be a relatively scarce commodity. Pressure on states to secure a stable supply will increase, and instability or even conflict could result. Since the end of the Cold War, a number of scholars have suggested that petroleum geology holds important insights about the future of international politics. Scarcity might be the defining feature of the twenty-first century, spawning a series of “resource wars” as states seek to secure a steady supply of the commodities that have become vital to their security and economy. If the world contained an unlimited bounty of natural resources, the current era of great power peace might continue indefinitely; unfortunately, there may come a time when states feel the need to go to war to secure adequate supplies. Since the single most vital national interest for today’s industrial (and postindustrial) states is access to oil at a stable price, as oil becomes scarce, great power peace will be put to the test. This resource-wars, ecopessimist vision was originally articulated by specialists from other fields. Beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, a string of dire predictions emerged from population biologists, environmentalists, climatologists, and others warning humanity about the limits to the carrying capacity of the Earth. It is beyond the scope of this study to evaluate the science of these ventures; it is clear however that when their findings strayed beyond hard science into politics, these studies were abysmal failures.1 An apparent unfamiliarity with the workings of human society and a general tendency to analyze people as if they were sheep or crawfish helps account for the underperformance of these predictions through the years. Among human populations, politics matters. A number of international relations scholars have taken the data and arguments generated by these hard scientists and applied to them an understand-

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ing of state behavior, in the process generating a somewhat more sophisticated vision of politics to come. These scholars reduce the monocausality in their projections, but remain solidly pessimistic about the future. Overall, this vision holds that conflict will become more frequent in the future as demand outstrips supply of a variety of vital resources, amid runaway, uneven population growth.2 “International competition for access to vital materials,” argued Michael Klare, “is certain to become increasingly intense and conflictive.”3 Other scholars have argued that scarcity will contribute to increased civil strife and ethnic conflict.4 From an analytical perspective, the utility of the ecopessimist vision is rather limited. It does not contain two of the three components that are necessary for the prediction-evaluation method: It does not spring logically from the core tenets of a standing theory, nor does it contain specific, falsifiable premises with time horizons. Since its prediction is monolithic—the ecopessimists are focused almost entirely on conflict—a systematic evaluation of the vision would be too brief to be interesting, because so far it has clearly not been borne out by events. There is little need to repeat the analysis of the preceding chapter, since the evidence regarding resource conflicts is incontrovertible: There have been none, despite the steady stream of warnings and rather gaudy additions to the numbers of both people and states.5 The expectation of civil strife exacerbated by resource scarcity has also not been met, since violence has declined in regions of intense scarcity as well as those of plenty. As of now, ecopessimists fall back on the familiar, unconvincing defense of their predictions: Just you wait. We are to believe that there is an environmental threshold below which humanity cannot sink, but that it just has not yet been reached. Instead, this chapter will merely seek to examine the international politics of petroleum, in the hope of gaining some insight about state behavior regarding vital resources. It argues that international petroleum politics passes through three clear stages, and it discusses the characteristics of each with a real-world example. Among all of the possible resource casus belli in the next century, surely petroleum is at least near, if not at, the top of the list. If cooperation rather than conflict is the rule concerning even the most vital of national interests, then presumably collaboration on issues of lesser importance will be possible, perhaps even easier. Could oil be worth fighting for? If the answer is no, then precisely what could? There is good reason to believe that conquest of oil-rich regions could pay substantial dividends, especially over the long term.6 The international community might at first react negatively to “naked aggression,” but in the long term it might open itself up to oil sales from an aggressor if economic pressures were to build high enough. Long-term control, either directly or indirectly, of territory that contains oil or affects its distribution could theoretically bring tremendous benefits to an aggressor state. As Klare has argued on behalf of the conventional wisdom, “that conflict over oil will erupt in the years ahead is almost a foregone

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conclusion.”7 Twenty-first-century great powers will no doubt still regard unfettered access to the oil, coal, and natural gas that are crucial to their militaries, economies, and societies to be in their vital national interest.8 Stephen Krasner has argued that when it comes to energy resources, realpolitik, with its assumptions of zero-sum games and immutable conflict, best accounts for the behavior of states.9 If this is truly the case, then perhaps those who have announced the end of major war have spoken a bit too hastily. Perhaps access to oil will always be, to use Kenneth Waltz’s words, the “only economic interest for which the United States may have to fight.”10 Like much of international relations, this chapter will concentrate on outcomes, on state behavior, in the understanding that the cause of the absence of conflictual behavior will never be truly knowable, especially if the norms explanation is correct. Unfortunately, no trace of the process that led to decisions regarding oil in these regions is possible. Leaders rarely leave evidence about the factors regarding decisions that they do not consciously make. If pacific norms have been internalized, as discussed in chapter 2, then they will leave no paper trail. Instead, the chapter will consider the following types of questions: How have disputes and crises in these regions unfolded? Has the use (or threat) of force been an option for the states involved? Does the relative military power of the sides in disputes have any effect on outcomes and behavior? Which vision of the future seems to be unfolding? And overall, does major war over the territory that contains energy-producing natural resources seem to be a viable possibility? The behavior of states in these most vital regions ought to provide some evidence as to what the future has in store. In methodological jargon, the three regions under consideration represent “least likely” cases for the obsolescence-of-major-war vision, and “most likely” for the ecopessimist view.11 As King, Keohane, and Verba have noted, the strength of the inferences made about theory “depends to a considerable extent on the difficulty of the test that the theory has passed or failed.”12 Since petroleum politics would seem to present a difficult case for the optimistic vision of the future, the strength of the inferences it may yield would appear to be strong indeed. According to Homer-Dixon, the “likely result” of energy resource scarcity is “widespread conflict over energy resources, especially since many of the world’s remaining reserves are in geopolitically unstable regions, like the Persian Gulf and Central Asia.”13 If the neo-Angellian vision of the future can account for state behavior even in contested, petroleum-rich regions, then it is hard to see where it would fail.

The Stages of Petroleum Politics The regions that will have the highest likelihood of hosting or sparking great power conflict over oil in the coming century may well be those that have an

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enormous supply of recoverable fossil fuels in efficient forms and disputed, shared, or weak ownership of the territory that contains them. The presence of oil assures that external interest in the region will be high; regional weakness or disputes provide the potential for instability and power vacuums that could metaphorically suck interfering outsiders in. The three regions that will be examined in the following sections are those where oil provides the great powers with powerful incentives to intervene in regional affairs, and where local governments are not strong enough to stop them. Pirages and Ehrlich argued in 1974 that “the potential for dangerous confrontations among major powers in these areas will grow apace with their increasing need for energy and other resources.”14 Great power need for energy has grown tremendously in the time since. The Persian Gulf has been central to petroleum politics throughout the entire oil era; the Caspian emerged onto the energy radar screen only after the fall of the Soviet Union; much of the story of Pacific Rim oil has yet to be written. Taken together, these three regions describe the typical development of the international relations of petroleum and perhaps can lend insight into what the future can be expected to bring. These are the most logical “hotspots,” the areas that have the greatest potential to be the sparks for war over oil—and perhaps any major war—in the coming century. The politics of all oil-rich regions seems to go through roughly similar stages of development. None of these stages are particularly dangerous—in fact, each is more stable than the last. The most uncertain stage for any weak, petroleum-rich region is the first, which extends from the discovery of the existence of the fuels through the initial squabbles over who will own the rights to their development. Scholars and strategists will likely be most vociferous in their debates over the potential for problems during this first stage—and for good reason, since it is the most explosive period, the time when war is most likely as actors jockey for influence over the exploitation to come. The economic and strategic stakes can hardly be higher than establishing precedent for the control of petroleum-rich territory. The Pacific Rim clearly falls into this category. Not only are reliable estimates of total reserves not yet available, but basic questions about ownership and distribution are far from settled, and its strategic position near the oil-thirsty Pacific states makes it an area “ripe for rivalry,” to paraphrase the conventional wisdom.15 Petroleum production in the region is at a very inchoate stage, and many uncertainties remain over exactly who will be the primary beneficiaries of the seabed’s resources. Once littoral states and interested outside actors reach the initial (if fragile) development agreements in a petroleum-rich, weak region, the second stage of the life-cycle begins. In this stage the oil begins to get to market in serious amounts. Behavioral norms and expectations begin to settle over the region, and measurable trends regarding cooperation and conflict emerge as parties on all

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sides realize who are the likely winners of the early competition. At this stage, states have the option to undertake measures to avoid any unfavorable outcomes that might prove to be semipermanent resolutions to ownership questions. The Caspian region is currently in this second stage, and as such its development lies neatly in between that of the other two cases under consideration. While the issues of sovereignty over the undersea resources are not fully settled, they are close. A variety of agreements have been reached over the last decade to bring Caspian oil to market, agreements that have been based upon realistic assessments of the size of the deposits rather than the rather wild conjectures that appeared shortly after independence. While the region has not reached what could be considered fully mature relations, since many of its major issues are not settled to the full satisfaction of all parties, its level of development ought to offer clear insight into what can be expected from the middle stages of oil politics. If no actor seems poised to make a destabilizing move during this period, the development of the oil-producing region moves into its final stage, when precedents have clearly been set for the politics surrounding resource exploitation. Development on a large scale begins in the third stage of this political life cycle, which also should be accompanied by the smallest danger of major war. This stage begins once the sovereignty issues are all but settled, and the interests of both consumers and producers align in a desire to keep the pumps operational. Mutually satisfactory rules of the game have been established; a miniature international society determines the bounds of interaction for the consumers and producers alike. The Persian Gulf clearly fits into this category. It has progressed through the first two stages and has been the epicenter of oil development for almost as long as industrial society has been dependent upon imports, virtually synonymous with petroleum politics since the dawn of the oil age. Although it may seem quite chaotic at times, in fact the oil politics of the Gulf are in many ways quite stable, and oil flows uninterrupted by the region’s occasional turmoil. Even if small wars continue, the odds of a major war breaking out in the Gulf, the richest territory on Earth, are vanishingly small. The international political development of the Gulf has reached nearly full maturity, and it can perhaps serve as a harbinger of things to come for the other two regions.

Stage One: The Pacific Rim One of the truly significant moments in the history of international politics took place in late 1993. The exact date it occurred is unclear, since at the time no one seemed to take much notice. There were no headlines, no news coverage, no analysis from CNN pundits, not even hyperbolic warnings from Congress. Looking back, it seems remarkable that no one took note of the moment that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) became a net importer of oil.16 Few events

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were to have as much lasting importance for economics, politics, and national security affairs, for the transition to oil importer status was an early symptom of the rapid growth that the Chinese economy was to experience over the next decade (and counting).17 The effects on the price at the pump are clear; the implications for international politics, significantly less so. Oil is only one aspect of the increasingly complex web of economic and security relationships throughout the Pacific Rim. That complexity has helped to fuel many pessimistic forecasts for the region’s security environment by long-range strategic planners on both sides of the ocean.18 Indeed analysts and pundits can assemble a number of plausible Pacific Rim scenarios that bring the era of great power peace to an end. There is no peace on the Korean Peninsula, for example, only a cease-fire; a tenuous stability exists across the Taiwan Strait, with the PRC promising war if Taiwan attempts to end the “one China” façade; and most important for purposes of this discussion, the familiar pull of fossil fuels may have put the states of Southeast Asia on a collision course in the South and East China Seas. Of these, the pressures of the increasing energy demand of Asia in general, and China in particular, may be the strongest reason why the seas are “the most likely site for war” in the next century, in the minds of many an analyst.19 While finding a steady source of oil will clearly be vital to Chinese leaders, the desire for petroleum will not necessarily lead them down the warpath. Despite the fact that some longtime China observers have argued that “seizing the initiative is embedded in doctrine as a preferred course of action,” a major conflict in the Pacific Rim would likely end the Chinese economic miracle, crippling China’s hopes of escaping the Third World.20 In the few times since the end of the Cold War when Beijing’s “twin pillars” of legitimacy—nationalism and economic growth—have seemed to come into conflict, economic considerations have outweighed the imperatives of nationalism.21 When forced to choose, Chinese leaders have consistently pursued economic development at the expense of nationalist goals.22 If this trend proves to have staying power, then war in the Pacific Rim will remain a very low-probability event for the foreseeable future. Two conflicts over the Diaoyu Islands have been particularly instructive about the relative weight that Chinese leaders put on economic stability. No one seemed to have much cared who owned these barren islets until 1969, when oil was discovered under the East China Sea. Estimates of between ten to one hundred billion barrels encouraged China, Japan, and Taiwan to assert that the chain had long been part of their territories.23 In 1990, and again in 1996, right-wing Japanese youth groups began the construction of lighthouses on three of the Diaoyus, and Chinese nationalists on both sides of the Taiwan Strait responded with outrage. Chinese leaders initially fueled the flames of nationalism while simultaneously pursuing expanded economic relations with Tokyo.24 However, as the crisis escalated and these two goals came into conflict, Beijing not only

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decided that its economic relations outweighed its nationalist goals but actively tried to restrain the more bellicose elements of its society, placing controls on e-mail servers in universities and cities where anti-Japanese sentiment was growing.25 The formerly communist government of the PRC essentially chose capitalist economic development over nationalism. In order for any energy company to be interested in developing the resources of this region, jurisdictional issues must be settled. As long as higher risks mean higher costs, the perception of instability will remain the single greatest factor driving potential investors away from energy resources of the Pacific Rim.26 No state will be able to benefit from the oil and gas fields of the region until ownership issues are cleared up. As the surprisingly few rational choice analyses of the region have concluded, economic factors play a major role in encouraging China and the other regional actors to seek peaceful, negotiated resolutions of outstanding issues.27 In order to maintain its high growth rates, Beijing may soon need to cut a deal regarding its nearby seas. International precedents for offshore oil exploitation certainly suggest that Pacific Rim issues could be settled peacefully. In fact, there has never been a war over off-shore oil deposits, even though there are a few rather significant fields that have been discovered in the past few decades, from the North Sea to the Gulf of Mexico. In all cases, agreements have been reached to develop the oil and gas fields without conflict. Peaceful precedents do not guarantee peaceful futures—Norway and the United Kingdom are obviously quite different from China and Taiwan—but it is worth noting that when vast offshore hydrocarbon fields have been discovered before, despite the energy autarky and billions of dollars at stake, lasting agreements have emerged that have benefited all parties. The emergence of an era of geoeconomics in the Pacific Rim would not mean the end of international squabbling. The “logic of conflict” may always apply, and competition will never disappear, but the instruments that states use will likely be those of commerce rather than of war.28 In the South and East China seas, even if China decides to alter the status quo as its power grows, military force need not be the tool it chooses to employ. As one analyst has argued, “there is little or no convincing evidence to suggest that Chinese leaders regard the use of military force as a tool for achieving explicitly—and primarily—economic or resource goals.”29 Another interpreted Chinese strategy as being “a gradual policy of establishing a greater physical presence in the South China Sea, without recourse to military confrontation.”30 Geoeconomic theory does not say that China will not want to expand its presence in the South and East China seas, just that it will be willing, and even eager, to settle disputes diplomatically. Thus far, this seems to have been the case. A Chinese challenge to the status quo in the Pacific would entail an enormous risk for a questionable reward, which is a calculation that Beijing seems to have

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made. In the East China Sea, China and Japan have taken active steps to begin developing what has been called a “conflict avoidance regime” to address their many overlapping claims, from fishing rights, scientific research notifications, and ultimately military and intelligence activities.31 Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, Chinese relationships with both the United States and ASEAN have improved dramatically, leading to the signing of a “code of conduct” for parties in the various South China Sea disputes.32 Regional trends suggest that the risk of war seems to be decreasing as time goes by. Alastair Iain Johnston is not alone among major China scholars in believing that fears of a rising dragon are misplaced, and indeed China exhibits all the signs of being a status quo power.33 The idea that oil is not worth fighting for may well have taken hold in the Pacific Rim. The diminution of military influence on policymaking is indicative of a broader generational change that seems to be occurring inside Beijing. A number of China experts have begun to argue that the current leadership of the PRC has little in common with the founding members of the communist party, and are far less dogmatic in their approach to both economics and politics.34 While it is surely a bit premature to suggest that there is a Chinese Gorbachev ready to bring political freedom to his people, at the very least Beijing has altered the way it treats its neighbors. China’s much-discussed “charm offensive” has won it many friends in East Asia, and it has helped solidify many of the complex economic ties that cement stability across the region and avoid the regional tensions that realists have expected to see in response to its rapid economic growth.35 Beijing has been reluctant to use its military superiority to threaten or bully its neighbors into cooperation. Perhaps it is on its way to internalizing the norm of peaceful conflict resolution and will soon no longer contemplate the use of force to achieve its goals; for now, perhaps, the determination to be a good neighbor is the best step for which anyone can hope. It is worth noting that the major academic China experts are generally far less pessimistic than the various journalists and amateur historians who have investigated the topic.36 Although there are very few political scientists in China (and those that do exist are not exactly free to write what they want), many Chinese analysts do not seem to worry greatly about a great power clash either.37 The more one knows about the situation, it would seem, the less one feels that war is imminent. This is hardly the first time that amateurs seeking to sell books have breathlessly predicted war with rising Asian powers. Two decades ago we were told by some of the same people that war with Japan was on the horizon.38 If the evaluation of predictions were more widely employed, the assumptions underlying the current wave of pessimism could perhaps be put in greater context and compared to their previous performance. The assessment that peace and stability are likely in the future does not seem to appeal to the mass market, no matter how accurate it might be.

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The two decades of post–Cold War international relations in the Pacific Rim have not unfolded as early pessimist forecasts predicted. In fact, the states of the region have acted almost as if they were unaware of the inevitability of rivalry. No alarms seem to have been rung in response to the growth of China, and even what Thomas Christensen called “the high church of realpolitik” has not followed the basic expectations of that school of thought.39 Like everywhere else, East Asia has been marked by a notable (and what must be to many a rather puzzling) lack of balancing behavior.40 Today both the evidence and theoretical logic support the belief that major war to assert control over the potentially vast petroleum deposits in the South and East China seas, despite lingering disputes over their ownership and rapidly increasing regional demand, is not very likely in the indefinite future. If indeed the use of force to assure access to oil is not a realistic option for even the “high church” in a region at an early, unstable stage of petroleum politics, then can it be an option anywhere?

Stage Two: The Caspian Sea Once littoral states and interested outside actors reach initial (if fragile) development agreements in a petroleum-rich, weak region, the second stage of the lifecycle begins. In this stage the oil begins to get to market in serious amounts, often following a round of initial deal making between interested parties. Behavioral norms and expectations begin to settle over the region, and measurable trends regarding cooperation and conflict emerge as parties on all sides realize who are the likely winners of the early competition. Desperate measures could still be undertaken to avoid unfavorable, semipermanent outcomes that appear to be more likely with every passing year. The Caspian region is currently in this second stage, and as such its development lies neatly in between that of the other two cases under consideration. While the issues of sovereignty over the undersea resources are not fully settled, they are close. A variety of agreements have been reached over the last decade to bring Caspian oil to market; these have been based upon realistic assessments of the size of its deposits rather than the rather wild conjectures that appeared shortly after the breakup of the Soviet Union. While the region has not reached what could be considered fully mature relations, since many of its major issues are not settled to the satisfaction of all parties, its level of development ought to offer clear insight into what can be expected from the middle stages of oil politics. The search for alternative sources of petroleum led to the center of postSoviet Eurasia in the 1990s. That the Caspian Sea was rich in oil was no surprise; Baku was after all one of the first centers of the inchoate international oil industry at the beginning of the last century, and the name Azerbaijan means “land of fire,” which, legend has it, came about as a result of fires fueled by oil seeping through

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to the surface. Soviet inefficiency and mismanagement, as well as the choice to develop Siberian reserves rather than those of the Caspian, led to the virtual disappearance of the region from the international petroleum consciousness. New discoveries throughout the 1990s reawakened hopes of a potential energy bonanza coming from the heart of Mackinder’s Heartland. In the 1990s the Caspian was on the cutting edge of international diplomacy, made “seriously sexy” in the words of one U.S. diplomat by back-room deals, geopolitical machinations, and renewed “Great Games.”41 This excitement was accompanied by concern and pessimism, even predictions of doom. “If we clash,” one Russian analyst wrote, “it will be on the Caspian.”42 Throughout the decade there was little reason to doubt that the region was the most serious area of direct Western-Russian contention—and of potential conflict: The Caspian is a region with large reserves of energy-producing natural resources in territory marked by disputes between brand new, fragile, and weak states.43 In times past, during the era of realpolitik, these factors would have almost assured international competition over control of its resources. Today, however, there is reason to believe that the various internal problems of the Caspian are less likely to result in dangerous international cleavages than to unite the great powers in an effort to address them. A variety of pessimistic forecasts emerged throughout the decade.44 Historian Stephen Blank, who is perhaps the most prolific and widely cited of the group, has been arguing since the collapse of the Soviet Union that if the West does not become more engaged in the Caspian, it risks “losing” the region to Russian neoimperial machinations.45 Zbigniew Brzezinski has been equally pessimistic about the future of stability in the Caspian unless the United States becomes far more active to counteract the influence of Moscow.46 These pessimists argued that Russia was unlikely to accept anything but hegemonic or neoimperial dominance in the region, and that the outside powers were equally unlikely to accept Russian hegemony. The “win-win” scenarios spoken of in Washington and elsewhere merely hid their true desire for complete control of the region and its resources. “For Russia, the United States, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, China, and Eurasia’s oil and gas producing states,” Blank argued, “control of those energy sources and their transportation to market means leverage, if not control, over the producer states’ destinies.”47 If this vision of the region was the correct one—if all sides see this region as the goal in a renewed international competition—then there would indeed be danger of conflict in the long term. Michael Croissant and others have pointed out that if this situation were to devolve into war between blocs led by Russia on one side and Turkey on the other, a major crisis—and perhaps a major war—would be the likely result.48 This early pessimism revolved around two major issues, either of which seemed to have the potential to pit regional states against one another and to

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bring in outside states to support their allies. First, pipelines had to be constructed to bring Caspian oil to market. Because the region has no outlet to the oceans, there is no easy way to get its resources to international buyers. Therefore, in order for the Caspian to realize its potential, massive investment was needed to create or improve extraction equipment, such as rigs and platforms, and transportation equipment, such as pipelines and tankers.49 Second, the legal status of the Caspian Sea was undefined.50 The heart of the dispute is whether the Caspian, which is an entirely land-locked, salty body of water, is a sea or a lake. The distinction is important not only for geography buffs: If the Caspian is a sea, then according to international law each riparian state can claim ownership of the seabed adjacent to its coast; if it is a lake, then its riches must be shared equally by all surrounding states. Unsurprisingly, the states with large oil and gas deposits close to their shores (Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan) argue that the Caspian is a sea. The states whose coastlines hold fewer deposits (Russia, Turkmenistan, and Iran) have argued that the Caspian is a lake and, therefore, that its resources should be shared equally between the five states. Little would be gained by repeating the intricacies of the development of these issues, both of which have been addressed at length elsewhere. The important point for the purposes of this discussion is that, despite the fears of pessimists, neither of these issues has come close to sparking conflict. The states of the region, in conjunction with the energy companies, have reached a series of agreements on export routes, including the well-known pipeline from Baku through Tblisi to Ceyhan (BTC), which started carrying Caspian oil in mid2006. The littoral countries have also held a series of meetings on the legal status issue, the most recent of which was in Tehran in late February 2007, and they may well be close to reaching a lasting agreement. Russia has dropped its objections to considering the Caspian a sea, and Iran appears to be close to doing the same. The absence of a well-defined legal status for the Caspian Sea prevents maximum exploitation of resources of the region, which has created strong incentives for the riparian states to settle the outstanding issues.51 Many major agreements for exploration and production, which were impeded by seemingly insurmountable problems only a decade ago, have been reached.52 The most important and obvious fact about Caspian geopolitics is this: No side has ever used force, or even threatened to use force, in order to bring about its preferred outcome in either the pipeline or legal status dispute. In fact, the states of the Caspian have consistently failed to act in ways that pessimists expected. For instance, as William Wohlforth has noted, there has been little or no balancing behavior evident in the Caspian.53 Despite the pessimistic predictions to the contrary, great power politics in the Caspian have evolved virtually free of any significant military component. The relative power of the actors has not mattered in

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any of the outcomes, perhaps because the utility of force is clearly minimal.54 The language that the players are using may resemble traditional realpolitik, but the issues over which they are arguing—and, much more important, the tools that they are using to pursue them—are entirely diplomatic and economic. Finally, no matter how serious the issue may seem from the rhetoric the actors occasionally use, the danger of conflict over either pipelines or the legal status issue is likely to shrink further as time goes on. Each year that goes by without the threat of war sets precedents for the peaceful resolution of disagreements. The BTC pipeline was constructed, for instance, without the accompanying violence once feared by many.55 Over the course of the coming decade, other agreements will likely emerge on how to bring Caspian oil to market, and construction may begin on new routes. Conflict over pipelines, especially between great powers, is less likely now that BTC has set a cooperative precedent, and as time goes on it will become even less plausible. The risk of conflict is surely highest before the ink on an agreement dries. Martha Brill Olcott, arguably the leading American expert on the region, wrote that it certainly seems predictable that the level of Western interest in the region will diminish once the Caspian export routes are firmed up and the constructions of pipelines begun. . . . Once pipelines are built and production begins, the focus on the region is likely to shift to potential new areas of energy exploration. There will of course be interest in maintaining the flow of oil, but relations will move to a “maintenance” phase.56 This “maintenance phase” is unlikely to be as contentious as the initial negotiations, which, though sometimes spirited, are by no means explosive. The pipeline and legal status issues may occasionally be discussed with the language of geopolitics but states continue to employ the instruments of geoeconomics, and as such are no threat to the validity of the obsolescence-of-major-war argument. International relations in the Caspian have been unfolding like a legal dispute, not unlike the one over the status of the sea itself. The parties presented their positions, and even though some interests came into conflict, eventually the court in which the disputes are settled has been the stateroom, not the battlefield. Each side has an interest in the maintenance of order in the system, like citizen stakeholders in domestic society. The balance of military power, especially between the great powers, has hardly mattered in the dispute at all. The strongest regional power has not been able to force its will on the weakest. Despite the fact that billions of dollars, autarky, and tremendous international influence is at stake in the final outcome of this Caspian drama, the great powers do not seem to find it worthwhile to risk aggression. The oft-repeated predictions of

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conflict are not coming true, and the likelihood of major or minor war in the region—which appears never to have been high—is shrinking ever further as the months pass.

Stage Three: Maturity and the Persian Gulf If no actor decides to make a desperate move during the second stage, the development of the oil-producing region moves into the third, where clear precedents have been set for the politics surrounding resource exploitation. Resource development on a large scale begins in the final stage of this political life cycle, which also should be accompanied by the smallest danger of major war. This stage begins once the sovereignty issues are basically settled, and the interests of both consumers and producers align in a desire to keep the pumps operational. Mutually satisfactory rules of the game have been established; a miniature international society determines the bounds of interaction for the consumers and producers alike. The resource region that is most obviously in this third stage is the Persian Gulf, in which as much as two-thirds of the world’s oil can be found. There is simply no part of the globe more vital for the world’s economy, and no territory with greater strategic significance for the industrialized powers in the twentyfirst century. The presence of petroleum was a necessary if not sufficient condition for both Gulf Wars and is the main reason for great power interest in an otherwise barren, violent, backwards, tyrannical region.57 The Gulf has been on the short list of vital national interests of the United States since British influence in the region waned, and assuring free and fair access to its oil has been a cause for which Washington has long been prepared to fight. As the world’s thirst for oil grows throughout this century, the strategic significance of the Gulf will grow apace. Even though the region has been of vital strategic significance for the past fifty years, there was never a time when a great power war to assure access to its riches seemed imminent. Counterintuitively perhaps, as the relative importance of the Gulf grew steadily following World War II, the risk of major war simultaneously fell. Over and over again, the superpowers acted as if they felt that the imperative to avoid direct confrontation outweighed even the potential value of the Gulf ’s riches.58 Despite the fears of pessimists, the periodic crises that gripped this vital region, from Iran to the Suez to the various Gulf Wars, never came close to dragging major powers into a war that they had apparently decided they did not want.59 If historical trends are any indication of future potential, radical changes would have to occur to break the intraconsumer stability that exists regarding the Persian Gulf at the beginning of the twenty-first century. All regional trends indicate that much more likely short- and long-term scenarios involve coopera-

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tion among consumers (as well as between consumers and producers), rather than war between the great oil-thirsty powers. The limited utility of military force to address oil crises in the Gulf was never more apparent than during the 1973 Arab embargo. It is not much of an exaggeration to suggest that the modern oil era began as the Yom Kippur War drew toward a conclusion, when the Arab oil embargo rudely awakened the West to the extent and depth of its dependence on the Persian Gulf. Rather than create divisions among the great importing powers, however, the Arab states helped to solidify the notion that the real geopolitical chasm in the Persian Gulf separates consumers from producers. Common interest among consumer states led a few in the United States to argue that the great powers ought to seize Arab oil, inviting these upstart small powers to suffer what they must in opposition to overwhelming power. Pentagon planners drew up contingency plans to seize the oil fields, should the order have been given.60 In an essay encouraging the United States to consider the use of force as a way to resolve the crisis, Robert Tucker noted how different this crisis was being handled than any that preceded it, due to the “absence of meaningful threat of force.” We know how the oil crisis would have been resolved until quite recently. Indeed, until quite recently it seems safe to say that it never would have arisen because of the prevailing expectation that it would have led to armed intervention. It is important to underline this point lest the utter novelty of the present situation be lost.61 Despite the obvious superiority of U.S military power, the prospect of using force to end the oil embargo died without serious debate.62 Military power played no role in the resolution of the 1973 crisis, nor did it factor into oil politics in any serious way during the Cold War. In fact, as a general rule, force has not proved to be very useful in oil politics. Thus modern Melians withheld a vital natural resource from the Athenians of our age. Tucker was one of the very few who noticed that the rules by which international politics were run had changed. “Suddenly,” he wrote, “we find ourselves in a strange universe.”63 This new universe did not include the United States alone: Although Tucker remained critical of U.S. policy in the Gulf, he noted in 1981 that, in light of the decline that he and many others felt that the United States was experiencing, the Soviets had proven to be oddly cautious and tentative in their actions.64 As it turns out, Moscow had reached the same conclusions as Washington about the feasibility of seizing Gulf oil. Even though the Soviets had the obvious advantage of proximity and a massive imbalance in

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available forces in the region, they do not seem to have ever seriously considered making such a move, despite the persistent concern of the United States. A resource war seemed to be a real possibility following the Soviet thrust into Afghanistan in 1979. President Carter called the invasion the “greatest threat to peace since World War II,” and many analysts concluded that Moscow’s ultimate goal was to become arbiter of oil supplies to the West.65 However, recently released archival materials make it clear that the Soviet attack was not the first move in a major thrust toward the Gulf, but rather an effort to remove a puppet regime in its near abroad that had grown uncooperative.66 Former Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin claimed in his unusually frank memoir that there was no grand strategic plan to seize a foothold on the way to the Gulf, arguing rather logically that “had the Soviet leadership possessed such a plan, it would have paid far more attention to Washington’s possible reaction and would have taken preemptive diplomatic measures.”67 Instead the Kremlin was under the impression that Afghan leader Mohammad Daoud Khan, who came to power in a Soviet-sponsored coup in 1973, had switched sides and was on the CIA payroll. The Soviets apparently felt that it would be a relatively simple task to manipulate Afghan politics and remove a potential threat on their vulnerable southern flank. There was no secret plan to thrust through Iran to the Gulf. In fact, by the time of the invasion of Afghanistan, Soviet strategists had abandoned any thought of continuing through Iran to the Gulf.68 Dismissing for the moment the difficulties that Iranian geography would have posed for Soviet armor, by the early 1980s the Kremlin could not be sure that it would have been able to count on the element of surprise for such an attack. They knew that the invasions of both Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Afghanistan a decade later were detected by Western intelligence months before they occurred, and preparations for a drive to the Gulf, which would have to have been much bigger, would surely have been detected as well.69 The Soviets could not have expected to use a lightning strike to seize Iranian oil fields and present the West with a fait accompli. Any such attack would have necessarily risked a wider war; this was apparently enough to discourage any serious contemplation of such a move in Moscow. In fact there is no evidence to support the idea that strategic denial of Persian Gulf oil, a longtime strategic nightmare for Washington, was ever one of Moscow’s central objectives. The Soviets never attempted to interfere with the transit of Gulf oil through the vulnerable maritime choke points, although doing so would have presumably proven both fairly simple from a military point of view and potentially devastating for the West.70 U.S. analysts had long determined that there was little that the West could do to counter a Soviet invasion of Iran, but as it turns out, there was little to worry about.71 Even during the height of the Cold War, the West and the Soviets never let the omnipresent crises in the Gulf region pull them too close to the brink of conflict.

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Both sides in fact commonly took pains to make their actions transparent in order to avoid miscommunication and misperception.72 If major war was unlikely in the Gulf throughout the Cold War, then the chances of its occurrence seem to be even more remote now. In 1991, no great power came to the aid of Saddam Hussein or even blocked the U.S.-led coalition from crushing his army. Much less harmony preceded the 2003 war, but there was never any threat that the war would bring the great powers to war against one another. Diplomatic opposition to Washington’s actions was strong in many capitals, but no industrialized power seemed willing to contemplate military support for the Iraqis. Despite the fact that the French, Germans, Russians, and others protested the Bush administration’s “preventive war” in Iraq, none reacted in ways that could realistically be interpreted as hostile. Disagreements among the strong powers over policy in the Gulf will no doubt continue, but military measures to oppose the United States have always been, for all intents and purposes, subrationally unthinkable for the other industrialized states. This discussion is not meant to imply that conflict and instability are absent from the region, as the ongoing war in Iraq makes painfully clear. However, international interaction in the Persian Gulf during the petroleum era has always been a story of big powers versus little, of producers versus consumers, and never of big powers against one another. Even in more contentious periods, control of the Gulf has never come close to providing the spark for a major war. If the region were to be the site of a major conflict, presumably it would have happened during the Cold War, when the superpowers maintained entangling alliances with the Middle East’s frequent combatants. The risk of such a clash never seems to have been high, however, despite the obvious strategic importance of the region. The end of the Cold War has made a major war in the Gulf even less likely. Despite the chaos generated by the continuing Arab-Israeli crisis and the two wars with Iraq, if current trends are any guide to the future, the risk of great power war in the Persian Gulf is exceptionally low. Overall, the tradition of pacific great power interaction in the Gulf has only strengthened since the collapse of the Soviet Union. As the two U.S.-Iraq wars make clear, the dominant response of the consumer states has become cooperative, not confrontational, where exploitation of the Gulf ’s resources has been concerned. The external great powers have not allowed the producer states to create divisions between them and have managed to remain more-or-less united. Consumer states act as if they have internalized liberal norms of interaction, rather than insecurity beget by anarchy in a self-help system. A de facto behavioral regime has emerged in the Persian Gulf, one that has survived a variety of shocks. The region has entered into the third stage of petroleum politics—the most stable, mature period, where rules are set and resource exploitation can proceed unhindered. While no one can say with certainty that there will never be

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a situation that brings the great powers to loggerheads in the Gulf, patterns from the past seem to indicate that the odds against such an outcome are extremely high indeed.

War and Oil If the cases above are any indication, no stage of this life cycle carries much risk of major war to control resources. In fact, the most obvious observation that emerges from the study of petropolitics is that at no time have great powers come close to loggerheads over control of these vital regions. No country has ever actively prepared to conquer these weak areas, nor has any felt it necessary to prepare to defend them. Consumer cooperation, rather than conflict, is the rule. There has never been a war to control territory that contains fossil fuels, and there are good reasons to believe it is likely that there never will be. The conventional wisdom concerning the inevitability of energy wars is probably wrong. Why has great power behavior failed to live up to pessimistic expectations? While it is hard to argue that democracy has helped confound the various ecopessimist projections, since not all interested parties are democracies, other rationalist explanations for stability cannot be entirely ruled out. Perhaps it is the fear of escalation toward a nuclear holocaust that has kept the great powers from fighting over oil. Perhaps liberal internationalists are correct and complex interdependence should be given primary credit. Whatever the initial cause, the idea that war would be a viable option to control the most valuable regions in the world does not seem to have occurred to the great consumer nations. As time goes on, it becomes more and more unlikely that it ever will. Resources have historically been a primary motivator for war. The most valuable regions—those worthy of contestation and conquest—have always been those that were the richest. Today, that calculation seems to have changed, even regarding the most vulnerable, valuable regions in the world. It seems as if the states of the industrialized world have indeed taken Angell’s ideas to heart and have reached the conclusion that oil is not worth fighting one another for. Perhaps, for the first time, nothing is. The most charitable thing that can be said about the ecopessimist vision of the future is that thus far it has proven to be remarkably inaccurate. Conflict over resources other than oil, such as the “water wars” that have been predicted with regularity over the past few decades, has never occurred.73 Global population is booming, yet there is less starvation now as a percentage of the population than ever before.74 Despite the fact that there are far more people now in places like India and China (and despite draconian population control measures inspired by ecopessimist thought), both countries are experiencing the fastest economic

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growth in their histories, with hundreds of millions of people having been lifted out of poverty. Even West Africa, where Robert Kaplan gathered his evidence to make his “coming anarchy” projections, is much calmer—and more crowded— in 2010 than it was when he wrote. David Victor aptly titled his recent cover story in The National Interest “What Resource Wars?”; the responses, from stalwarts of the vision like Homer-Dixon and Klare, were basically versions of the same tired old just-you-wait. The former also expanded the universe of potential cases so that any internal conflict, even the genocide in Rwanda, could be considered a resource war. “Put a microscope on any big conflict looking for resources,” replied Victor sagaciously, “and you’re sure to find exactly what you are looking for.”75 Simply put, scarcity has not driven an increase in either external or internal conflicts. Population biology has not proven to have much predictive power for human beings. The failure of hard sciences to provide insight into international politics ought to give a moment’s pause to those warning of the security implications of climate change. That the Earth is warming due to human activity is doubted only by a Luddite fringe of right-wing talk radio hosts, pseudoscientists, and reactionary members of the House of Representatives; the science behind climate change is not really open to much rational debate at this point. What is less clear, however, is the extent to which catastrophe will follow. The potential consequences of warming are invariably expressed in the most hyperbolic ways: Rapidly rising seas, ice ages, catastrophic hurricanes, drowned polar bears, and all manner of disaster have been predicted to occur in the coming decades. Alarmism perhaps climaxed when the chief scientific advisor to the British government predicted that “Antarctica is likely to be the world’s only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked.”76 Pentagon planners and otherwise staid observers of foreign affairs see the potential for increased conflict, even nuclear war, due to climate change.77 The planet is in peril, we are told, and we ought to be worried. Very worried in fact, according to a Time magazine cover story.78 It should go without saying that the planet’s existence is not “in peril.” The Earth will survive in one form or another perfectly fine, whether or not there are people able to live upon it. Moreover, there is little doubt that people will be able to continue to exist, and plenty of room for hope that we will be able to adjust peacefully over time to the warming climate. Humanity found ways to deal with prior environmental crises, from the disappearing ozone layer to acid rain, without fighting. The warming climate can be thought of as another challenge to the stability of the post–Cold War era; a corresponding increase in conflict is an empirical prediction that can be tested as the coming decades unfold. The predictions, and logic upon which they are based, are set for future evaluation. If the performance to date of the ecopessimist vision predictions is any indication

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of the validity of the assumptions upon which it is based, now may not be the time to begin buying property in Antarctica. The ecopessimist research program will charge ahead throughout the new century, no doubt. Evidence, or lack thereof, will matter little; we will continue to be told that resource wars are just around the corner. Recall that one of the great values of the evaluation of predictions, and what makes it such an important way to increase our understanding of international politics, is that unlike post facto explanations predictions cannot be changed to retrofit the data. The evidence is rather clear that this vision, thus far at least, was wrong, since the world has stubbornly refused to conform to the expectations of those who thought that environmentally induced anarchy was coming. An evaluation of the stages through which petroleum geopolitics pass suggests that even resource wars may, like all other forms, be all but obsolete.

Notes 1. No one has proven to be less prescient than Paul Ehrlich, who has been producing apocalyptic scenarios for four decades. The only hope that humanity had for avoiding catastrophic war, he argued, was that population would be decreased through starvation; see The Population Bomb, 45. He has been consistent in his beliefs since, even if events have proven him wrong at nearly every turn. His career success is proof that scholars are never punished for incorrect predictions, and that no one ever admits error: Ehrlich told NPR’s Diane Rehm on July 24, 2008, that he had been “overly optimistic” in his predictions, since he hardly discussed global warming at all. 2. Some of the best explanations of this vision include Orme, “The Utility of Force in a World of Scarcity”; Klare, Resource Wars; O’Hanlon, “Coming Conflicts”; and Pegg, “Globalization and Natural Resource Conflicts.” 3. Klare, “Geopolitics Reborn,” 428. 4. Homer-Dixon, Environment, Scarcity and Conflict, and The Upside of Down; and Kahl, States, Scarcity, and Civil Strife in the Developing World. 5. See Victor, “What Resource Wars?” 6. Liberman, Does Conquest Pay? 7. Klare, Resource Wars, 29. The Ehrlichs have also predicted that wars will break out over the control of natural gas: see The Dominant Animal, 353. For oil pessimism, see Deffeyes, Hubbert’s Peak; Heinberg, The Party’s Over; Campbell, The Coming Oil Crisis; and Roberts, The End of Oil. 8. Lieber, “Oil and Power after the Gulf War”; and Dafter, “World Oil Production and Security of Supplies.” 9. Krasner, Defending the National Interest; Orme, “The Utility of Force in a World of Scarcity.” 10. Waltz, “A Strategy for the Rapid Deployment Force,” 52.

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11. See Eckstein, “Case Study and Theory in Political Science,” 127. 12. King, Keohane, and Verba, Designing Social Inquiry, 209. 13. Homer-Dixon, The Upside of Down, 263. 14. Pirages and Ehrlich, Ark II, 219. 15. This is an oft-used phrase coined by Friedberg in “Ripe for Rivalry.” 16. Salameh aptly describes this quiet transition as one of the “true watershed moments of international politics,” in “China, Oil and the Risk of Regional Conflict,” 141. 17. For other early, pessimistic forecasts, see Calder, “Asia’s Empty Gas Tank”; and Manning, “The Asian Energy Predicament.” 18. Gertz, The China Threat; Menges, China; Navarro, The Coming China Wars; and Copper, Playing With Fire. 19. Kristof, “The Rise of China,” 67. 20. Whiting, “China’s Use of Force, 1950–96, and Taiwan,” 105. 21. Downs and Saunders, “Legitimacy and the Limits of Nationalism,” 118. 22. Ibid., 117; and Feigenbaum, “China’s Military Posture and the New Economic Geopolitics,” 72. 23. Downs and Saunders, “Legitimacy and the Limits of Nationalism,” 126. 24. Ibid., 139–40. 25. Guoxing, “China Versus South China Sea Security,” 108. 26. See Yergin, Elkof, and Edwards, “Fueling Asia’s Recovery,” 47–48. 27. Wu and Bueno de Mesquita, “Assessing the Dispute in South China Sea.” 28. Luttwak, “From Geopolitics to Geo-Economics.” 29. Feigenbaum, “China’s Military Posture and the New Economic Geopolitics,” 73. 30. Storey, “Creeping Assertiveness,” 99. 31. Valencia and Amae, “Regime Building in the East China Sea.” 32. See Song, “The Overall Situation in the South China Sea in the New Millennium”; and Thao, “The 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.” 33. Johnston, “Is China a Status Quo Power?” and Lai, “China’s Oil Diplomacy.” 34. Christensen and Glosny, “Sources of Stability in U.S.-China Security Relations.” 35. Kurlantzick, Charm Offensive; Shambaugh, “China Engages Asia”; and Medeiros and Fravel, “China’s New Diplomacy.” 36. See especially Kang, China Rising; Johnston, “Is China a Status Quo Power?”; Friedberg, “The Future of U.S.-China Relations”; Fravel, “Power Shifts and Escalation”; and Ross and Feng, China’s Ascent. 37. Zhang, “Chinese Perceptions of American Power, 1991–2004”; Deng, “Hegemon on the Offensive,” and “Reputation and the Security Dilemma.” 38. Friedman and Friedman, The Coming War with Japan; Thurow, Head to Head; Van Wolferen, “The Japan Problem”; and Packard, “The Coming US-Japan Crisis.” 39. Christensen, “Chinese Realpolitik,” 37. 40. Kang makes this point very convincingly in “Getting Asia Wrong.”

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41. Quoted by Lieven, “The (Not So) Great Game,” 80. The booming literature on this region refers to it in a variety of ways—Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Transcaspian, the Soviet South, etc. The area relevant to this discussion is what is emerging as a new geographical designation: simply “the Caspian,” an area “defined less by demography or geographic proximity than by geology.” See Ruseckas, “State of the Field Report,” 2. As Graham Fuller has said, “the Caspian is where the oil is.” It includes the littoral states of the sea, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan, and to a lesser degree Georgia and Uzbekistan. The other new republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus are relevant to this discussion only to the extent that they affect the states of the Caspian. 42. Bogomolov, “If We Clash, It’ll Be on the Caspian,” 21–22. 43. Blank makes this argument in “American Grand Strategy and the Transcaspian Region,” 66. 44. This school of thought is well represented by Odom and Dujarric, Commonwealth or Empire?; Cohen, The New “Great Game”; Ahrari, The New Great Game in Central Asia; Kleveman, The New Great Game; and those cited below. 45. Blank’s more recent works on the Caspian include U.S. Interests in Central Asia and the Challenges to Them; “China in Central Asia”; and After Two Wars. 46. Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard, and The Choice. 47. Blank, “American Grand Strategy and the Transcaspian Region,” 65. 48. Croissant, “U.S. Interests in the Caspian Sea Basin,” 360. 49. The literature on potential Caspian pipelines is quite voluminous. For some of the best realist analyses, consult Cornell, “Geopolitics and Strategic Alignments in the Caucasus and Central Asia”; Blank, Energy and Security in Transcaucasia, and “American Grand Strategy and the Transcaspian Region”; Cohen, The New “Great Game”; and Starr, “Power Failure.” For good economic analyses of the Caspian pipeline situation, see Ebel and Menon, Energy and Conflict in Central Asia and the Caucasus; Jaffe and Manning, “The Myth of the Caspian ‘Great Game’”; Roberts, Caspian Pipelines; and Ebel, Energy Choices in the Near Abroad. 50. Many reviews of this issue and the positions of the actors in this dispute exist. One of the best is Oxman, “Caspian Sea or Lake.” See also Amineh, Towards the Control of Oil Resources in the Caspian Region; and Dekmejian and Simonian, Troubled Waters. 51. Mojthed-Zadeh, “The Geopolitics of the Caspian Region,” 182. 52. Rabinowitz, Yusifov, Arnoldi, and Hakim, “Geology, Oil and Gas Potential, Pipelines, and the Geopolitics of the Caspian Sea Region.” 53. This is the conclusion that Wohlforth reaches in “Revisiting Balance of Power Theory in Central Eurasia.” This does not appear to pose a problem for him, since “any theory worthy of its salt is likely to be wrong about some things and simply inapplicable to others” (234). Evidence, apparently, is irrelevant. 54. Lieven, “The (Not So) Great Game,” 73. 55. See Shaffer, “From Pipedream to Pipeline.”

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56. Olcott, Revisiting the Twelve Myths of Central Asia, 9. 57. Of course there are those who think that oil was both a necessary and sufficient cause. Although this is usually the domain of the fringe left, some thoughtful analyses do exist. See Klare, “For Oil and Empire”; and Rutledge, Addicted to Oil. 58. In 1987, Reich argued that “the overriding US strategic-political interest in the Middle East for more than four decades has been the avoidance of nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union.” The Powers in the Middle East: The Ultimate Strategic Arena, 59. See also Breslauer, “On Collaborative Competition.” 59. For pessimistic forecasts, see Schmidt, Armageddon in the Middle East; and Fukuyama, Escalation in the Middle East and Persian Gulf. 60. A recently released British memo at the time noted British concerns about the possibility of armed American intervention. Defense Secretary James R. Schlesinger apparently wrote to his British counterpart that the United States would not tolerate threats from “under-developed, under-populated” countries, and that it was “no longer obvious” that the United States could not use force to resolve the stand-off. However, military planners prepare for many contingencies. The extent to which the United States seriously contemplated the use of force in this instance awaits declassification of the relevant U.S. documents. See Frankel, “U.S. Mulled Seizing Oil Fields in ’73.” 61. Tucker, “Oil,” 22. 62. Collins and Mark, Oil Fields as Military Objectives, 77–82. 63. Tucker, “Oil,” 22. 64. Tucker, “The Purposes of American Power,” 247. Tucker felt that Soviet interference in the region was inevitable, and that unless Washington took some assertive actions, competition for the resources of the Gulf would “hold out the constant prospect for dangerous confrontations” between the superpowers (256). In other eras, he probably would have been right. 65. Carter quoted by Dobrynin, In Confidence, 443. See also Sick, “An American Perspective,” 30. Among the many analysts that came to pessimistic conclusions about Soviet intentions were Brzezinksi, Power and Principle, and “After the Carter Doctrine”; Goldman, The Enigma of Soviet Petroleum; Ross, “Considering Soviet Threats to the Persian Gulf ”; Fukuyama, The Soviet Threat to the Persian Gulf; Thompson, “The Persian Gulf and the Correlation of Forces”; and Chubin, Soviet Policy toward Iran and the Gulf. 66. This conclusion follows analysis of the documents relating to the war in Afghanistan that have been released by Moscow since the end of the Cold War. Those relevant to the beginning of the war and its motivations can be found on the website of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Cold War International History Project. The discussions and documents relating to Afghanistan deal almost exclusively with internal Afghani problems, and make neither overt nor veiled references to next steps. While it is possible that such information and planning has never been released by Moscow, the burden of proof would seem to lie with those who argue that such a smoking gun exists but has yet to be found.

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67. Dobrynin, In Confidence, 441. 68. Epstein, “Soviet Vulnerabilities in Iran and the RDF Deterrent,” 157. 69. Valenta, “From Prague to Kabul.” 70. Bennett, “The Soviet Union,” 115–16. 71. McNaugher, Arms and Oil; Fukuyama, “Soviet Military Power in the Middle East.” 72. For example, the Soviets could not have made their intention to rescue the Egyptian Third Army in 1973 any more transparent if they had called Nixon to inform him that it was coming. 73. Haftendorn, “Water and International Conflict”; and Starr, “Water Wars.” 74. Fogel, The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700–2100. 75. Victor, “The World Is Not Enough,” 36. 76. Lomborg, Cool It, 13. 77. The Pentagon study: Schwartz and Randall, “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security,” October 2003. The staid observer: Gray, Another Bloody Century, 82–83. 78. Kluger, “Global Warming Heats Up.”

Part Three Implications

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6 Theory and Great Power Peace

THE GREAT WAR MOTIVATED E. H. Carr and his colleagues to establish the first independent department for the study of international politics at Aberystwyth in 1919. In large part, the field that has emerged since has been an attempt to understand, explain, and ultimately prevent interstate conflict. War is one of the few quasi-quantifiable topics in international relations, and it has been the direct or indirect subject of the majority of the field’s works; it is probably no exaggeration to say that in one way or another war is what motivated most of its scholars to enter the profession in the first place. If the fundamental nature of war were to change, one would expect the repercussions for the field to be rather powerful, to say the least. The obsolescence-of-major-war argument clearly describes such a fundamental change, but to this point it has had little impact upon mainstream international relations. A number of key questions remain unaddressed and underconsidered: What would a future without major war look like? How would the study of international politics evolve in the absence of a realistic possibility for world war, and an overall decline in all kinds of conflict? How would our theories need to be adjusted and updated to describe accurately an age of great power peace? In other words, what if Mueller is right? In some senses this chapter is an exercise in conjecture and speculation. It asks the reader to accept the argument, if just for a moment, that the great powers have indeed put warfare behind them, at least in their interactions with one another. For some, this will require a near-impossible stretch of imagination; for others, it will be a logical and overdue recognition of modern reality. If it is true that many nations no longer consider fighting such wars, then many of our central beliefs about state behavior will have to be rethought and adjusted to better describe twenty-first-century conditions. The first section of this chapter discusses the central theoretical implications of the obsolescence of major war, including the fallacy of proceeding as if states

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had uniform motivations and reactions, and the crucial distinction between potential and kinetic power. The second section speculates on the ways in which some of the major theories and debates in the field would be affected if the great powers prove stubbornly insistent upon conducting peaceful relations. The implications would be enormous for some of the most central issues in international relations, such as the balance of power, security dilemma, power transition, offense-defense theory, the relative versus absolute gains debate, hegemonic stability theory, classical geopolitics, and behavioralist approaches to war. In a recent edited volume exploring the debate over the future of war, Raimo Väyrynen noted rather off-handedly that “many theories of international relations will simply cease to exist if the thesis about the decline of major-power wars can be sustained.”1 While that language may be a bit strong, at the very least this chapter hopes to demonstrate that if and when a broad consensus were to emerge that major war has indeed become obsolete, theories of international politics could not remain unchanged. If current trends continue, and more years pass without even the threat of major war, scholars of international relations must prove flexible enough to adjust their theories accordingly. Continued belief in an orthodoxy that is no longer supported by facts is theology, not science.

Theoretical Implications of Great Power Peace In 1963 Harold Sprout criticized the field of international relations for its obsessive search for what he called a “master variable” that would unlock the secrets of state behavior.2 Today scholars still seem to be searching Einstein-like for a unifying theory, one that would be able to provide sweeping explanations for why states act as they do. Waltz has arguably come closest to articulating such a metatheory, although others have made valiant efforts.3 Almost by definition, a unifying theory must assume a certain degree of homogeneity in state motivations and behavior across regions and levels of development. In general, international relations theory does not allow much room for fundamental behavioral differences across regions, historical eras, or levels of development in the international system. A widely cited but in some senses not deeply influential alternative conceptualization of the twenty-first-century international system is the “two worlds” framework first discussed by Goldgeier and McFaul, which rejects the common assumption of uniformity in favor of two separate if interacting systems that operate under different sets of rules and norms.4 Among the “core” of powerful states, they argued, “economic interdependence, political democracy, and nuclear weapons lessen the security dilemma.” In the “periphery,” which roughly translates to the global south, “pressures for expansion are still present, stem-

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ming from goals of wealth, population, and protection as well as from internal instabilities.”5 To Goldgeier and McFaul, the rules of structural realism no longer seem to apply to the states of the core, even if they still may guide behavior in the periphery. Singer and Wildavsky were among the very few to elaborate upon this idea. They agreed that the world is divided into two “zones,” one marked by peace and stability, the other by turmoil and war.6 In order to design effective policy for the twenty-first century, according to this framework, the fundamental zonal distinction must be recognized and the fiction of a homogenous system of states rejected. “There are useful things to say about the zones of peace,” argued Singer and Wildavsky, “and there are useful things to say about the zones of turmoil; but if you try to talk about the world as a whole all you get is falsehoods or platitudes.”7 Their analysis went on to propose changes in the approach of policymakers, leaving scholarship that speaks in falsehoods and platitudes largely unexamined. Theories that apply to the states in one zone need not accurately describe the behavior of those in the other; in fact, as heretical as it may sound, states at different developmental levels often exhibit entirely different behavioral characteristics. Many scholars of international relations assume away such distinctions and proceed as if all states in all regions act and react the same way. In a world free of major war, assumptions of a monolithic system would be especially problematic. If such war has truly become obsolete, scholars will have to adjust a series of crucial concepts and theories if they are to remain accurate. The following sections begin to discuss what those changes might look like. They are equal parts critiques of standing scholarship and agendas for future research.

Power: Potential and Kinetic Just as scholars may soon have to admit that not all of their theories apply with equal force everywhere, they may also need to adjust their thinking about some of the field’s core concepts. The way scholars approach power, for instance, would have to be reimagined in a world free of major war. Many theories of international behavior assume that the nonmilitary measures of state power— including a variety of economic, demographic, and political factors—are of little value beyond their use in constructing armed forces. To borrow the terminology of the physical sciences, economic prowess is sometimes treated as if it were little more than potential military power that at any time could be transformed into the kinetic power of militaries in motion.8 Realists in particular assume that military force is the ultima ratio of international politics, and that the other measures of state power matter only to the extent that they can be converted to coercive forms.9 “A state’s potential power,” argued Mearsheimer, “is based on the size of

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its population and the level of its wealth.”10 Potential power in his estimation is clearly synonymous with military capability. Such assessments made perfect sense in the nineteenth century, when the sagacious policymaker in London or Paris had to be very concerned with the growing prosperity of the newly unified Germany, since its economic power could easily be translated into military when war came. Moreover, all knew that sooner or later war would come. If, however, the day has arrived when most observers know with some certainty that such war will not come, our theories of power should be adjusted accordingly. Today the states of the zone of peace seem to recognize that potential power is not likely to be turned kinetic; the days where measures of power were important only to the extent that they could be translated into military strength may be over. In the self-help, anarchical system of the neorealist imagination, states feel irresistible pressure to maximize their potential power. Those with unrealized great-power potential are structural anomalies, according to Waltz, exceptions rather than the rule: “For that reason, the choice is a difficult one to sustain. Sooner or later, usually sooner, the international status of countries has risen in step with their material resources.”11 However, as chapter 4 pointed out, since the end of the Cold War almost all potential great powers have proven to be structural anomalies. Most did not spend anywhere near the maximum that their wealth would allow to improve their militaries, preferring instead to direct their resources toward other priorities. Military spending as a percentage of GDP across the global north remained relatively constant—and low—throughout the era. Germany and Japan are the most obvious examples of potential military power unrealized, but they are by no means the only ones.12 Nearly every state in Europe and the Pacific Rim could raise a much bigger military than it currently possesses, and presumably would if external threats warranted. Today’s great powers do not attempt to reach their full military potential in large part because they know that, for the first time in history, their neighbors are extremely unlikely to attack. One of the prime assumptions of offensive realism—that states cannot ever be completely assured of the intentions of their neighbors—would be rendered anachronistic in a world free of major war, where the great powers could at the very least be reasonably assured that their neighbors would not be planning to launch a surprise offensive.13 The most powerful states in today’s system simply do not act as if the threats in the anarchic, self-help world are particularly dangerous or existential. New conceptions of power may be needed for an era in which potential military force does not threaten to turn kinetic. The rest of the analysis in this chapter will be structured around the distinctions between the zones of international politics, and between potential and kinetic military power. These two propositions, if true, would have significant

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implications for many of the most important concepts in a field essentially built upon the study of war.

Structural Explanations for War If the realistic potential for war has been removed from some regions or zones, one would expect to find a concomitant decrease in international phenomena and behavior driven by insecurity. For instance, states in a zone of peace have no need to be concerned with uneven rates of economic growth, even when significantly higher gains are made by their neighbors. Further, in this zone one would not expect to see much balancing behavior or strong effects of the security dilemma. The offense-defense balance of their militaries would be irrelevant. These concepts, so central to the study of international relations over the past few decades and the subject of countless exercises in both traditional and formal theory, are all dependent upon the ever-present possibility of war between states. Where that possibility does not realistically exist because pacific norms have been internalized, one would expect these concepts to have little explanatory power. The sections below, which will be kept brief to avoid excess repetition, discuss a variety of such concepts at the center of the discipline that may no longer be useful for describing the relations among the great powers. Their citations are meant to be illustrative, not exhaustive. Relative vs. Absolute Gains and the Power Transition Nearly a half-century ago Waltz wrote that “relative gain is more important than absolute gain” in the anarchic, zero-sum, self-help system where war is a constant possibility.14 Neoliberals typically counter by arguing that growing power benefits all states in the system, for international economics is now a positive-sum game, where rising tides raise, rather than threaten, all boats.15 This debate over the importance of relative versus absolute gains, which has been a source of contention between neorealists and neoliberal institutionalists for decades, would be all but settled in a world free of major war.16 In general, the greater the potential for military power to be made kinetic, the more states have to be concerned with relative gains. Prudence would insist that those in a zone of turmoil maintain a close eye on the economic gains made by their neighbors. However, in a zone of peace, where the risk of economic power being converted to military is minimal, uneven rates of growth need not be feared. The West does not need to be concerned about a growing China or recovering Russia in a world free of major war, for example, because their potential military power would never become kinetic. In a post-bellic world, relative levels of economic power—and, just as importantly, of growth—would be

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irrelevant to stability at the upper levels of the system. Neoliberals would have won the debate. The “power transition theory” describes a closely related phenomenon.17 A century ago Sir Halford Mackinder claimed that all the “great wars of history” were “the outcome, direct or indirect, of the unequal growth of nations, [due to] the uneven distribution of fertility and strategical opportunity upon the face of the globe.”18 Thucydides had offered a similar explanation for the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, which in his view was made inevitable by the insecurity that the growth of Athens caused in the previously dominant Sparta.19 In the introduction to one of the major works on the subject, Organski and Kugler explained that power transition was the best way to account for the outbreak of major wars: If one nation gains significantly in power, its improved position relative to that of other nations frightens them and induces them to try to reverse this gain by war. Or, vice-versa, a nation gaining on an adversary will try to make its advantage permanent by reducing its opponent by force of arms. Either way, changes in power are considered causae belli.20 The power transition theory is so deeply embedded into the consciousness of scholars that Robert Gilpin thinks it has attained the exalted status of a law, which he calls the “realist law of uneven growth.”21 However, this law would have no jurisdiction in a post-bellic world. Presumably, uneven growth in power does not increase the risk of war where the institution has grown obsolete. Rising powers would not make their neighbors overly nervous if it was generally understood that they would not seek to expand their political reach. The wars that Organski and Kugler sought to explain are extremely unlikely in a zone of peace, irrespective of transitions in power. A more recent work on the subject—one which continues to suggest that the power transition is “unrivaled in scope and reach”—offers a way to incorporate great power peace into the theory.22 In order for power transitions to result in war, it claims, one or both sides of the shift in relative power must be “dissatisfied.” Therefore, if all great powers are satisfied, war will not occur and lasting great power peace may be possible. Unfortunately, though, measuring a priori satisfaction is impossible, and the suggestion that it is a necessary component of peace is tautological (without dissatisfied states, war never occurs). Such labels are only apparent in retrospect. However, proponents of the power transition theory seem to have opened the door to the power of ideas: The world of the future may just have no sufficiently dissatisfied states. Without opening that door, the theory would lose all utility. No amount of internal validity can confirm a theory entirely divorced from the evidence of actual international interaction. More empirical support emerges every year to

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suggest that power transitions are not potential casus belli among the most powerful members of the modern system, even if they may continue to be somewhat (though not very) important in explaining state behavior in the shrinking zone of turmoil and instability. Neither the debate over relative versus absolute gains nor the power transition theory will be relevant to state behavior in the global north if pacific norms of conflict resolution have indeed been internalized and if potential power is unlikely to turn kinetic. This observation has obvious implications for international politics in the Pacific Rim. As the previous chapter argued, there is no shortage of popular and scholarly works that suggest that rivalry and even war between the United States and China is all but inevitable in the coming century. China is the most often cited potential “peer competitor” for the United States, which among other things provides the justification for a number of enormously expensive weapons programs. Indeed, were the dynamics of twenty-first-century international politics the same as that of the nineteenth, then there would be cause for significant concern. However, in a world where major war is obsolete, there would be no reason for the United States to fear a rising China, or a consolidated European Union, or even a “revanchist” Russia. Transitions of power are only dangerous if imbalance is threatening. When it is not, then relative power can wax and wane without consequence. China’s rise is therefore likely to unfold peacefully, predictions of doom notwithstanding. Alliances and Balances of Power Theories about the mechanisms driving and inhibiting alliance formation would have far less explanatory power in a world free of aggressive great power war. The long history of investigations into balancing and bandwagoning behavior in the system rests on an assumption of a certain amount of homogeneity in state behavior, at least under set international and domestic constraints.23 If major war is obsolete as a tool of conflict resolution for the most powerful states, then one would expect to see far less balancing in the upper levels of the system. Without the threat of war, states have little to fear from unbalanced power.24 In a system where even clashing national interests are not considered worthy of contestation by force, one would expect the impetus to balance to be greatly decreased. As chapter 4 argued at some length, at the beginning of the twenty-first century balancing behavior is nearly absent among the great powers in the proposed zone of peace, presumably because the threat of potential military power becoming kinetic is next to zero.25 Väyrynen sagaciously has observed that both sides of the obsolescence of war debate are at times guilty of being unmoved by any amount of evidence and logic; however, the evidence that balancing behavior is not as prevalent as it once was seems to be fairly overwhelming.26

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In a zone of peace, threats would in effect be balanced a priori. In those few regions where uncertainty over the intentions of neighbors still exists—in those zones of turmoil where war is still a realistic option—states would have to take steps to bolster their security using strategies such as balancing, bandwagoning, buck-passing, and the rest. Scholars studying balancing behavior would have to look to such regions to accumulate their data, for states in a zone of peace would behave far differently. The two worlds of international relations would demand separate theories to describe the alliance formation of their member states, since no uniform explanation of state behavior could possibly remain accurate. Anarchy would not be nearly as frightening if the great powers have arrived at a lasting, stable peace. In a world where the ultimate survival of the state is not in question, the risks posed by anarchy would be greatly diminished, as would the self-help imperative. Waltz felt that “only when survival is assured can states safely seek such other goals as tranquility, profit, and power.”27 Today, since their survival is all but assured, at least from external threat, states will likely turn their attention to what were formerly secondary concerns—and probably with equal vigor. Only when early humans were assured of their basic survival were they able to devote time to other, perhaps higher pursuits. The Security Dilemma and the Offense-Defense Balance Robert Jervis was one of the first to explore at length the logic of the security dilemma, or “spiral model,” and the related offense-defense balance.28 Charles Glaser noted that scholars have since employed the logic of these two concepts to address many of the most important issues in the field, including (but obviously not limited to) “the effectiveness of deterrence and reassurance, sources of moderation in Soviet policy, the severity of relative gains constraints, alliance behavior, military doctrine, imperial expansion, revolution and war, ethnic conflict, conventional arms control, U.S. nuclear policy and arms control, nuclear proliferation, the escalatory dangers of conventional war, U.S. grand strategy, and the prospects for peace in Europe and policies for preserving it.”29 In other words, the influence of these two concepts to the development of international relations theory over the course of the past few decades can hardly be overestimated. However, their importance to the next few may be dramatically decreased if the obsolescence-of-major-war argument continues to be supported by (non)events. The security dilemma is a well-known cause of insecurity, misperception, arms races, and instability in a self-help international system.30 Such a dilemma develops as “many of the means by which a state tries to increase its security decrease the security of others.”31 Uncertainty about the intentions of neighbors causes a state to increase its military capabilities, which in turn creates insecurity

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in its neighbors, who react by increasing their own capabilities. This dynamic creates a spiral of mutual distrust that can lead to arms races, balancing, increasing tensions, and perhaps even war. This dilemma will always be a real condition in the few areas of the world where war remains a constant, realistic possibility. In the absence of that possibility, enhanced military capabilities do not automatically decrease the security of neighbors. One of the major differences between a zone of peace and a zone of turmoil is that in the former the core realist assumption that states cannot know the intentions of others would be untenable, since at the very least they could be fairly assured that their neighbors do not intend to launch a major, offensive war. The security dilemma would not haunt regions where states have put major war behind them; it need not be, as it was pessimistically described in a recent work, “the existential condition of uncertainty” in human affairs.32 One need not look far to find evidence suggesting that security dilemmas are already exceptionally rare in the proposed zone of peace. Since arms races are quite obvious symptoms—perhaps even necessary symptoms—and since no significant arms races have occurred in the global north since the end of the Cold War, it seems logical to suggest that the security dilemma may be a concept devoid of explanatory power in that zone. The absence of these arms races across the north seems to support the argument that these states do not live in fear of the intentions of their neighbors, presumably because major war has moved closer to the point of subrational unthinkability. The fundamental absence of insecurity in a zone of peace would also drastically alter calculations of the importance of the balance between offense and defense. This well-known concept holds that war is more likely in situations where the attacker is perceived to be at an advantage over the defender, because of weaponry, geography, tactics, or morale.33 Stephen Van Evera cited ten reasons why this can sometimes be the case, from the rather obvious (the attacker has a better chance of success) to the not-so-obvious (offensive advantage affects state behavior at the negotiating table).34 The theory has been one of the most widely explored in the field in the last few decades, prompting one observer to remark not long ago that it had reached the level of a “growth industry.”35 But that industry cannot continue to grow if the great powers have put major war behind them. Once again, this theory remains interesting and important to explain state behavior only in regions where war may actually result from an offense-defense imbalance. The characteristics of arsenals would have precisely zero impact on the likelihood of war in regions where the institution had grown obsolete. Is conflict between any of the great powers more likely because of an offensive advantage possessed by either? For example, does the overwhelming offensive capability of the United States make war more likely with another member of the global north? Or, to approach the subject differently, would such

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a war be less likely if Washington focused its attention and resources on more defensive weaponry and tactics? Is the offense-defense balance of the militaries of Europe a factor in the likelihood of a war on that continent? The theory might continue to remain relevant for places where the trickle-down theory for peace has not yet reached—the Persian Gulf, for instance—but it would be anachronistic and misapplied to a zone of peace. If the great powers prove stubbornly insistent on peaceful conflict resolution, offense-defense theory, like so many of the major concepts of international relations, would not contain much insight of use to analysts of their behavior. Theories that purport to explain and predict the outbreak of war would be rather useless if all sides know that war will never actually break out.

Behavioralist Approaches to the Study of War Certain subfields of international relations sometimes seem to have institutional interests in denying that major war could ever become obsolete. Scholars who approach the study of warfare using a behavioralist approach, such as those who work with the various databases housed at the University of Michigan and elsewhere, would at the very least have to adjust their conclusions if the “correlates of war” that they are attempting to identify no longer apply to relations between the strongest states.36 Studies from this literature rarely suggest that correlates of wars in some regions, or in certain eras, could be completely different from those in others. This literature as a whole is particularly egregious in its insistence upon considering state behavior as a constant in the attempt to identify the variables that lead to war. Indeed what may be its most basic implicit assumption is that fundamental state behavior does not change from era to era. The Correlates of War (COW) database, upon which so much of this research is based, includes all wars from 1816 through the recent past, and the vast majority of the scholars who mine its riches assume that the wars of the nineteenth century vary little in their basic characteristics from those of the twenty-first. All wars, it seems, are created equal, or are at least equally created. It is an assumption rarely examined and even more rarely challenged. Extraterrestrial readers of behavioralist outlets such as the Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Interactions, or the Journal of Peace Research would come away convinced that the earth is a place of logical, utility-maximizing states in a system marked by the constant risk of warfare at all levels. They would think that all states behave in a uniform, predictable manner that has not, and indeed cannot, change. In other words, they would come away with an image that may well have little relation to international politics of the twenty-first century. This research could be updated to describe more accurately international security behavior in two ways. The first route, which is something the subfield has

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typically refused to do, would be to make the findings time-specific. Research based on the COW and the other major databases typically employs data that span the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but conclusions that arise from its studies are expressed in sweeping, all-encompassing language. Results are almost always reported as eternal constants without potential time limitations. For example, Vasquez will report that “territorial disputes increase the probability of war” rather than what the data literally tell him, which would be that between 1816 and 1992 territorial disputes increased the probability of war.37 By not making their conclusions time-specific, behavioralists implicitly assume that the fundamental nature of warfare does not change from era to era, which may well prove to be empirically and theoretically problematic. Reporting findings in a more accurate way would allow for comparison across historical periods and may keep a strain of COW research relevant to the coming century. It is perhaps worth noting that it is not just behavioralists who draw much of their evidence from nineteenth-century Europe, the era when assumptions of uniform motivation and goals best fit the evidence. Kissinger’s dissertation examined the Concert of Europe era, which had a profound impact upon his thinking.38 Gilpin drew his conclusions from seven hegemonic wars, the last of which was World War II.39 Assumptions about the permanent, immutable nature of the fundamental rules of international interaction underlie much of the scholarship in the field, not just that of the behavioralists. Scholars of warfare tend to have little to say about post–Cold War international relations, and for good reason: Many of the concepts under consideration no longer seem to have descriptive utility for the strongest states in the system. It should come as no surprise that constructivists in general have never placed much faith in the behavioralist approach to international relations. By virtue of its methods, behavioralist international relations minimizes human agency or eliminates it entirely, taking the personification of the state (or at least antireductionism) to an extreme.40 Many traditional correlates of war that constructivists consider crucial, such as honor, fear, prestige, humiliation—indeed ideas themselves—are frustratingly unquantifiable and, therefore, uncaptured by behavioralist models. As a result, the research program has generated a tremendous amount of knowledge about extant mathematical patterns in conflict variables, but precious little wisdom about the actual causes of war. The program marches on, however, seemingly unconcerned. The work of Evan Luard provides a good example of a more useful approach to the empirical study of war, one from which behavioralists could benefit. In his War in International Society, Luard examined the issues, motives, decisions, profitability, and beliefs about war through time, looking for commonalities within, not across, eras.41 He argued that the conventions regulating war do indeed change dramatically over time, a crucial finding that is not captured by

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most COW-based research. In other words, Luard used a framework to understand war that did not necessitate immutable rules governing state behavior, and that could take into account at least the possibility for evolution in the international system. The second alteration that could save quantitative studies of war from irrelevance in the twenty-first century would be for those scholars to drop the increasingly problematic cross-regional assumptions of uniformity in state behavior. In other words, what is needed is the widespread recognition that there are significant and important behavioral differences among states in the zone of peace as opposed to those in the zone of conflict. The factors that have increased the likelihood of war in the past—proximity, alliances, rivalries, territorial disputes, regime types, arms races, waxing and / or waning power, and so forth— would have no effect on those dyads that lie inside a zone of peace, but may still be important to understanding the behavior of those states unlucky enough to lie outside. If indeed there are some kinds of warfare that have become obsolete, then there will be correlates of war that apply to some states but not to others. For example, one of the most robust (if unsurprising) findings of this literature is that states in close proximity to each other are more likely to go to war than states chosen at random—or, as Vasquez puts it, “wars are much more likely to occur between neighbors.”42 What would be more accurate to say in a post– major war era would be that wars are much more likely to occur between neighbors in the zone of turmoil, and that proximity has no impact whatsoever on the likelihood of war in the zone of peace. The current era may be free of major war between the great powers, but quantitative studies of war are built to proceed as if no fundamental changes can take place, and as if all states across all eras were motivated by the same forces and make similar decisions regarding their basic security. Ironically, without adjustments for either time specificity or regional heterogeneity, the empirical approach to warfare may be at risk of losing touch with international empirical realities. Peace research may have missed the widespread outbreak of peace.

Classical Geopolitics, or Geostrategy Finally, and perhaps least significantly, great power geopolitics of the classical tradition founded by Mackinder and Alfred Thayer Mahan would be another casualty if indeed major war has grown obsolete.43 Geopolitics is at its essence merely “the influence of geographical factors on political action,” but the term has generated an entire school of thought in international relations with specific assumptions and biases, which is somewhat marginalized but alive today.44 It is not entirely clear that this tradition ever contained much insight into state

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behavior, or into proper strategy; what is very clear, however, is that many of its conclusions would have absolutely no relevance in a world free of major war. Mackinder, who is sometimes called the “father of geopolitics,” founded a tradition perhaps more accurately thought of as geostrategy for it envisions the entire world as a battlefield and attempts to identify the most advantageous position for the inevitable and ongoing struggle for global dominance. The writings of Mackinder, Mahan, and Spykman, along with their modern-day successors Colin Gray and Zbigniew Brzezinski, discuss geostrategy writ large, which deals with the interaction and balance among the most powerful players of the international system.45 The smaller, weaker states of the periphery are of importance only to the extent that they influence the actions of the powerful.46 Geostrategic analysis emerged at the end of the final era in which it could have been useful: the nineteenth century, when the ideas of realpolitik certainly constituted the dominant principles guiding state behavior. Looking to the map for clues about how to proceed in a struggle for control of the world made sense in an age of clashing empires, near-constant warfare, and zero-sum games. The strategist would want to know where the most strategic area on earth is, because it was a safe assumption that, as Spykman said, “other things being equal, all states have a tendency to expand.”47 If that impulse to expand is truly absent in the upper levels of the system, then policy advice from geopolitics is of little utility. Geostrategy assumes that a certain degree of conflict is endemic in the international system, and indeed it considers states to be little more than geographical identities in perpetual conflict.48 The geopolitician / geostrategist typically defines the fault-lines that organize and define that conflict and goes on to advise his countrymen on how to proceed. The reader comes away with the impression of a world defined by contrasting and conflictual imagery, whether it be of sea power versus land power, heartland versus rimland, or USSR versus the U.S. conflict, and the oppositions that arise from it, is a central assumption of geostrategic analysis. Where it does not exist, or where it is not even contemplated, classical geopolitics is essentially useless. Classical geopolitics needs conflict to survive. Without the threat of war, geopolitical reasoning, and more importantly the conclusions to which it leads, would have little to say about how the most powerful, industrialized countries behave in the twenty-first century. Political geography itself is of course not irrelevant, for it encompasses many different concepts in addition to geostrategy, but useful geopolitical analysis will involve interaction between the great powers and the smaller, or among the smaller powers, because at the upper levels of international relations it would be as obsolete as major war. There would never be a heartland or rimland power threatening to overrun the world, nor any need

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to worry about the advantages that geography confers upon its owners across the most powerful strata of international relations. Identifying the strategic territory on the global battlefield is not important when that battlefield is effectively under a permanent ceasefire. The states in a zone of peace would have nothing to learn from Mackinderian geopolitics, even if those in a zone of turmoil still might.

The Road Ahead Among some international relations scholars, one can already sense something resembling nostalgia for the past. Although few would argue that the world was better off when balances of power, the security dilemma, and power transitions dictated the behavior of all states, it is probably broadly true that the international relations of the past were somewhat more interesting than those of today. If it is true that war inspires many to enter this field, then perpetual great power peace, while surely welcome, may seem rather dull. Cooperation and trust are simply not as compelling as conflict and betrayal. However, the study of international relations will likely never follow major war into obsolescence. History will not end; there will always be topics to study, patterns to identify, and behavior to understand. In fact, a debellicized system may prove to be more complex, if significantly less dangerous, than those that preceded it. Those topics that were once relegated to the periphery of international relations—“low politics,” to paraphrase Kissinger—will likely become central to the field in the future. Rather than further microanalyses of balances of power and the like, tasks for future international relations scholars may cluster around the following kinds of categories: • Redefinitions of power. If it is true that twenty-first century power is exceptionally unlikely to ever become kinetic, then new ways to envision and measure power are perhaps in order. How will modern states attempt to wield influence over one another? Scholars will need to determine the kinds of tools that states following the “grammar of commerce” will wield and determine ways to measure them. Diplomacy would take on a different tone without the credible threat of force. Frederick the Great famously wrote that “diplomacy without force is like an orchestra without a score.” How will twenty-first-century diplomatic orchestras operate? • Regionalism. Since pacific norms do not diffuse across the world in a uniform manner, regional differences will remain until and unless such diffusion becomes complete. Scholars of international politics will need to admit that their theories may well not apply to all areas of the world; the most important distinction, of course, will be zonal.

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Not all regions can yet be considered security communities. Buzan, Waever, de Wilde, and Lemke have made some important initial steps in this direction.49 • The retreating state. More than six decades ago Quincy Wright observed that “communities without an enemy have tended to divide.”50 While the demise of warfare means that states may no longer disappear by force, it does not necessarily imply that states will not implode due to internal political forces. While nationalism shows little sign of disappearing, the various monopolies upon force, law, and justice that governments typically hold may erode in the virtual absence of external threat. Bernard Brodie felt that “the very existence of the nation-state results very largely from the overhanging threat of war.”51 Are there states that lack the cohesion to survive without that threat during a period of prolonged peace? Perhaps state sovereignty will remain the central organizing concept throughout the coming century, and perhaps not.52 • Civil-military relations. In a related point, the absence of external threat may have profound implications for civil-military relations. At the very least, military professionalism may erode, at least in some countries, if soldiers know that they are unlikely to be called upon to fulfill their traditional role. Perhaps international constabulary roles, such as peacekeeping and peace enforcement, can fill the gap for the militaries of some countries; for others, militaries may turn their attention inward in ways that may not always be welcome. Michael Desch has observed that “the more externally-oriented the military is, the less likely that it will become politicized and thus inclined to affect domestic politics.”53 The military establishments in post-bellic societies are likely to shrink, and they may not always go away gently. What happens to the warriors when there are no longer wars to fight? • International political economy. Modern states might not fight one another, but they will not stop competing. It seems reasonable to expect that the measures of twenty-first-century greatness and prestige might be national wealth rather than military prowess. We may well be entering a golden age for low politics, when economic issues dominate the agendas of great powers. The complexity of modern economic interdependence was never made more manifest than after the financial meltdown that began in earnest in October 2008. The importance of understanding the workings of the international economy is likely to be at the top of state agendas. The demand for experts in all aspects of IPE will likely more than offset any drop for those who take traditional approaches to security.

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• Human security.54 Violence may prove to be a permanent part of the human political condition, even if war is all but vanquished. Scholars whose expertise includes little more than international war would probably do well to become familiar with those threats to security that are still likely, such as terrorism, warlordism, kleptocracy, and failing states. Security will no longer have much utility if it is beholden to the state, since most states in the twenty-first century will be basically secure. • “Good governance.” The intranational problems of the twenty-first century may far outweigh the international. Clearly the primary goal of post–major war decisionmakers should be to expand the zone of peace, to accelerate the “trickling-down” of war aversion, and to add new states to the list of those that seem to have put total war behind them. Mueller and others have suggested that good governance is the solution to most of the problems of the global south.55 What does “good governance” look like? How can it be promoted? Must it include democracy? • Grand strategy. Finally, even if international outcomes have become more predictable, individual state strategies have not. The collapse of bipolarity created greater flexibility for states to determine the ends they will pursue and the means with which to pursue them. The burgeoning sub-subfield of grand strategy studies, therefore, will likely attract a great deal of attention in the new century. Stephen Walt, in his wide-ranging review of the field after the end of the Cold War, argued that “the study of grand strategy will be increasingly important.”56 Generally speaking, the stronger the state, the greater its flexibility and options for choosing a grand strategy. That of the United States, therefore, will be most interesting, and most important. U.S. grand strategy in a world free of interstate war will probably be the subject of substantial debate in the coming years; it will certainly be the subject of the next chapter. Overall, the field will likely evolve away from treating war as if it is a central, inevitable, and not entirely unwelcome component of the human condition. Eventually, in the absence of contemporary data, the field may well tire of sweeping, universal conclusions based largely upon nineteenth-century great power behavior that have no relevance for the present or future. The new system, though far more peaceful and stable, might just inspire more than a few international relations scholars to long silently for those exciting days when war was a constant, terrifying, fascinating possibility.

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Widespread recognition of fundamental changes in state behavior often occurs slowly, perhaps over generations. Long-held beliefs are quite resistant to change. Too many analysts have made deep emotional and intellectual investments based upon assumptions of static and unchanging behavior across regions and eras for there to be much rapid evolution in international relations theory. In this case, the international system may be demonstrating a potential to change greater than that of the scholars that spend their lives observing it. But one point seems incontrovertible: If indeed major war has become obsolete, then the field of international relations cannot remain simultaneously unchanged and accurate. The revolutionary implications of great power peace—an idea utopian to Angell but realistic to Mueller—would be hard to overestimate. Notes 1. Väyrynen, The Waning of Major War, 22. 2. Sprout, “Geopolitical Hypotheses in Technological Perspective,” 187. 3. Waltz, Theory of International Politics. Another attempt was made by Wendt, Social Theory of International Relations. 4. Goldgeier and McFaul, “A Tale of Two Worlds.” 5. Ibid., 469–70. 6. Singer and Wildavsky, The Real World Order. 7. Ibid., 3. 8. Sprout suggests such an analogy, albeit in a different context, in “Geopolitical Hypotheses in Technological Perspective,” 188. 9. Waltz made the oft-cited “ultima ratio” comment in reference to force in general in Theory of International Politics, 113. See also Art, “American Foreign Policy and the Fungibility of Force.” 10. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 43. 11. Waltz, “The Emerging Structure of International Politics,” 59. 12. For a discussion of German and Japanese national security decisions in the postwar era, see Berger, Cultures of Anti-Militarism. See also Maull, “Germany and Japan”; Katzenstein, Cultural Norms and National Security; and Midford, “The Logic of Reassurance and Japan’s Grand Strategy.” 13. Murray argued that the inability to know the intentions of other states is the basic problem of statecraft. The Change in European Balance of Power, 1938–1939, 355. 14. Waltz, Man, the State, and War, 198. 15. Keohane and Nye discuss the concept of “complex interdependence” in Power and Interdependence, and “Power and Interdependence Revisited.” For a brief but quite clear elaboration of the “rising tides” point, see Krugman, “Competitiveness.” 16. Good discussions of the relative vs. absolute gains issue include Snidal, “Relative Gains and the Pattern of International Cooperation”; Powell, “Absolute and Relative

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Gains in International Relations Theory”; and Grieco, Powell, and Snidal, “The Relative Gains Problem for International Cooperation.” 17. The theory is usually credited to Organski in World Politics. See also Organski and Kugler, The War Ledger; Houweling and Siccama, “Power Transitions as a Cause of War”; Kim, “Power Transitions and Great Power War from Westphalia to Waterloo”; Lemke, “The Continuation of History”; DiCicco and Levy, “Power Shifts and Problem Shifts”; and Tammen et al., Power Transitions. 18. Mackinder, Democratic Ideals and Reality, 1. 19. Strassler, The Landmark Thucydides, chapter 1. 20. Organski and Kugler, The War Ledger, 13. 21. Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics, 95. 22. Tammen et al., Power Transitions, 21. 23. The tip of the iceberg of the balancing vs. bandwagoning debate includes Waltz, Theory of International Politics; Walt, The Origin of Alliances; Christensen and Snyder, “Chain Gangs and Passed Bucks”; Schweller, “Bandwagoning for Profit”; Glaser, “Realists as Optimists”; Rosecrance and Lo, “Balancing, Stability, and War”; and Vasquez, “The Realist Paradigm and Degenerative versus Progressive Research Programs.” 24. The “balance of threat” refinement was supplied by Walt, originally in The Origin of Alliances. 25. For a discussion of the curious lack of balancing behavior at the upper levels of the international system, see the essays in Ikenberry, America Unrivaled. 26. Väyrynen, The Waning of Major War, 22. 27. Waltz, Theory of International Politics, 126. 28. Jervis, “Cooperation under the Security Dilemma.” 29. Glaser, “The Security Dilemma Revisited.” 30. Major works on the security dilemma, in addition to Jervis, include Herz, “Idealist Internationalism and the Security Dilemma,” and “From Balance to Concert: A Study of International Security Cooperation”; Snyder, “The Security Dilemma in Alliance Politics”; and Glaser, “The Security Dilemma Revisited.” 31. Jervis, “Cooperation under the Security Dilemma,” 169. 32. Booth and Wheeler, The Security Dilemma, 21. 33. Quester, Offense and Defense in the International System; Lynn-Jones, “OffenseDefense Theory and Its Critics”; and Van Evera, “Offense, Defense, and the Causes of War.” 34. Van Evera, “Offense, Defense, and the Causes of War,” 5–6. 35. Two observers, technically: Glaser and Kaufman, “What Is the Offense-Defense Balance and Can We Measure It?” 45. 36. Influential early behavioralist works include Singer, Quantitative International Politics and The Correlates of War I. More recent major works include Vasquez, What Do We Know About War? and Bennett and Stam, The Behavioral Origins of War. 37. Vasquez, What Do We Know about War? 367. 38. Kissinger, A World Restored.

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39. Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics. 40. Many constructivists do not object in principle to treating the state like a person. See especially Wendt, Social Theory of International Relations. 41. Luard identified five broad “ages” between 1400 and the 1986 publication of War in International Society. 42. Vasquez, What Do We Know about War? 337. The only thing surprising about this conclusion is the amount of attention it has received. See Diehl, “Geography and War: A Review and Assessment of the Empirical Literature”; Gochman, “Interstate Metrics”; Bremer, “Dangerous Dyads”; and Kocs, “Territorial Dispute and Interstate War, 1945–1987.” 43. For a more in-depth discussion of this, see Fettweis, “Revisiting Mackinder and Angell.” 44. Gottman, “The Background of Geopolitics,” 197. Useful modern examples of geopolitical analysis, or discussions of their utility, include Østerud, “The Uses and Abuses of Geopolitics”; Gray, “The Continued Primacy of Geography”; O Tuathail, Critical Geopolitics; Brzezinksi, The Grand Chessboard; Parker, Geopolitics; Art, “Geopolitics Updated”; and Gray and Sloan, Geopolitics, Geography and Strategy. 45. In addition to those sources cited above, see Gray, The Geopolitics of the Nuclear Era, The Geopolitics of Superpower, and “In Defence of the Heartland.” 46. Such concerns are at the heart of Brzezinksi’s The Choice, which directly returns to the “heartland” thesis, arguing that the most vital strategic area on earth is what he refers to as the “Global Balkans,” the heart of the Eurasian landmass. The limited utility of the Heartland concept is discussed by O Tuathail, “Putting Mackinder in His Place,” and Fettweis, “Sir Halford Mackinder, Geopolitics and Policymaking in the 21st Century.” 47. Spykman, “Geographic Objectives in Foreign Policy I,” 394. 48. O Tuathail, “At the End of Geopolitics?” 36. 49. Buzan, Waever, and de Wilde, Security; and Lemke, Regions of War and Peace. 50. Wright, A Study of War, 1042. See also Porter, “Is the Zone of Peace Stable?” 51. Brodie, War & Politics, 227. 52. Strange, Retreat of the State. 53. Desch, Civilian Control of the Military, 122. 54. On the concept of human security, see Paris, “Human Security: Paradigm Shift or Hot Air?”; and King and Murray, “Rethinking Human Security.” 55. Mueller, The Remnants of War, 171–81. 56. Walt, “The Renaissance of Security Studies,” 226.

7 Grand Strategy and Great Power Peace HOW SHOULD THE DECLINE of war affect the decisions of individual states? What is the best grand strategy for an era of great power peace? The next two chapters continue the thought experiment begun in the last and ask the reader to accept the notion, if just for the next few pages, that major war is indeed obsolete and perhaps even the corollary that the incidence of all kinds of warfare is decreasing. If these assertions are true, then the threats states face, and the way they define their interests, will be different than at any time in history. Foreign policy should not remain unaltered in an era of great power peace; as the security environment changes, so too should grand strategy. Indeed, for most states those adjustments have already occurred. Only one country acts as if war—even major war—remains a distinct possibility. That one state is also the world’s strongest and most influential. If the analysis in the preceding chapters is true and war is disappearing from the planet, then threats and opportunities extant in the system would no longer demand an activist, interventionist, internationalist U.S. foreign policy. America should come home—not so much because of the dangers of internationalism, but rather because there simply is no compelling reason not to do so. The wisest grand strategy spends the least in order to gain the most; it minimizes costs and maximizes benefits. Activism is justified, therefore, only when there is clear necessity. The United States ought not be heavily involved abroad merely because it can, but only when it must (or, to the idealist, when it should). In other words, there are only two reasonable justifications for internationalism: to address threats, or to pursue opportunities. While it is true that recommendations for internationalist policies are usually based on some combination of both of these, in a world free of major war neither would be terribly compelling. This chapter is an examination of the implications of the end of major war for grand strategy. The United States will be its primary focus for a few reasons.

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First, as the most powerful member of the system, the behavior of the United States will have the greatest impact upon the system in the next century, for good or for ill. Even though no single state can alone determine the character of politics to come, the grand strategic choices made by the United States will have disproportionate consequences in every corner of the world. Second, and just as important, Washington seems uniquely oblivious to the titanic changes in international politics described in these pages. More than any other country, the United States acts as if another major war remains a constant, viable possibility, as if the Beltway filters out news of the world beyond. Finally, strategic flexibility is directly related to power. Weak countries often have their strategies determined for them by outside forces. Debates about the proper Polish or Mexican grand strategy would not be as interesting, since their choices are constrained by limited resources and powerful neighbors. The set of strategic options before the United States, on the other hand, has no natural limits. Only the grand strategies of the great powers are worthy of too much discussion; that of the greatest, most flexible of powers is the most worthy of all. With great power comes both great flexibility to pursue a wide variety of goals and great responsibility to affect the progression of events. Some analysts believe that unipolarity (under benevolent U.S. leadership) may be responsible for the current peace, that the preponderant military and economic power of the United States provides the common good of security for the international community of states. If it is true that without the U.S. presence the world would descend into chaos, then any alteration of its grand strategy would clearly be a mistake. Thus, along the way this discussion will address the final possible explanation for the current era of great power peace: that the stability is provided by the hegemonic United States. The next section introduces grand strategy. It describes the current debate in strategic circles about the choices facing the United States and connects those choices to theories of international politics. The second section begins a rather logical approach to developing a grand strategy, the first step of which should be to assess the “security environment,” identifying the threats, challenges, and opportunities in the system of states. Next, the chapter explains the basic tenets of the grand strategy supported both by the theory of international relations that seems to best describe the way states behave and by the threats that exist in that security environment. Finally, by responding to those who give U.S. hegemony credit for the current era of stability, the chapter explains why there is little danger in following a different path. By its end, this chapter hopes to make the case for a far more restrained U.S. role in the coming century compared to that of the last, one that is more closely matched to what might soon be considered the “new normal” in international politics.

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Grand Strategy and the United States It has become quite fashionable to compare the United States to ancient Rome.1 While the analogy probably obscures more than it illuminates, one thing is certain: Both societies revere(d) their founding fathers. The United States worships Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, and their compatriots as passionately as the Romans did Romulus and Remus, and it still seeks their wisdom on a wide variety of subjects, from political theory to constitutional questions to religious freedom. The hagiography, however, stops at the water’s edge. The founding fathers had quite clear views about grand strategy, but their thoughts seem to be all but disregarded by most modern thinkers. When it comes to domestic policy, the word of the founders is gospel; in foreign policy, it is quaint. In fact, grand strategy was one of the very few issues on which the founding fathers spoke with virtually one voice. With varying degrees of enthusiasm (and for different reasons), these men felt that the United States ought not to squander the blessings provided by geography. They consistently and forcefully counseled their new nation to be restrained and not involve itself in the affairs of the Old World.2 Washington was the most prominent advocate, arguing in his Farewell Address that “nothing is more essential” for America “than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded.” His “great rule” of strategy was that the United States ought to extend its commercial relations with foreign nations but have with them “as little political connection as possible.” All of his colleagues, even those with longstanding disagreements on nearly everything else, basically agreed with this sentiment. Alexander Hamilton advised Washington that “America’s predisposition against involvement in Old World affairs” ought to be a “general principle of policy”;3 Thomas Jefferson was “for free commerce with all nations, political connection with none, and little or no diplomatic establishment.”4 In his 1776 pamphlet Common Sense, Thomas Paine wrote that although “Europe is our market for trade, we ought to form no partial connection with any part of it. It is the true interest of America to steer clear of European contentions.” John Adams argued that “we should separate ourselves, as far as possible and for as long as possible, from all European politics and wars.”5 This recommendation was heeded by his son, President John Quincy Adams, who in 1821 issued his famous and eloquent warning against going abroad in search of monsters to destroy, and by most of his successors for over a hundred years. The founders did not, of course, believe that war had become obsolete. Instead, they lived in what they felt were “normal” times, when the threats to the security and prosperity of the United States were rather minimal. As a consequence, their strategic recommendations were for equally normal times. They

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would have understood that the Cold War was somewhat abnormal, since a clear threat to the American way of life existed. Today that threat is gone. “The United States performed heroically in a time when heroism was required,” as the late ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick argued. “With a return to ‘normal’ times, we can again become a normal nation—and take care of pressing problems of education, family, industry, and technology. We can be an independent nation in a world of independent nations.”6 Washington understood that exceptions would have to be made on occasion, and that the United States would have to make “occasional alliances for temporary emergencies” until storms pass. Now that the Soviet storm has passed, one suspects that the founders would recognize our situation today as one similar in many important ways to their own, and that they would recommend a return to restraint in our interactions with the rest of the world. A number of recent works have argued that this common perception of the strategic guidance of the founders is mistaken, and that instead these men were pragmatists who did not counsel a course separate from the rest of the world.7 These accounts do an admirable job of constructing and then knocking down the straw man of an isolationist United States. It is no great insight to point out that U.S. leaders have always lent rhetorical support to those who sought liberty and freedom abroad. It is also unsurprising that its policymakers carried out robust debates over the proper course of action and intervened in the affairs of other countries whenever it seemed wise to do so. The United States was never isolationist, and virtually no strategist thinks it ought to be today. These modern reinterpretations of history cannot wash away the obvious fact that for most of its existence, the United States defined threats, interests, and opportunities quite narrowly and maintained appropriately small militaries with which to address them.8 The affairs of the Old World in particular held little more than a passing interest to U.S. strategists, who felt that the oceans provided adequate buffer from most ills. It was restraint not isolationism that dominated the grand strategy of this country for its first hundred and fifty years. During that time, the nation experienced steady economic growth and was unmolested by outside forces, eventually rising to become the strongest of the world’s great powers. Strategic restraint seemed to serve the young nation quite well. After the Second World War, a series of decisions was made that altered the traditional strategic approach, and the United States has followed an activist, internationalist path since. Each postwar administration eschewed the advice of the founders, and by the beginning of the twenty-first century internationalism had become imbedded in the national strategic conventional wisdom. The need for such activism is rarely even examined, much less seriously challenged. The next few sections make the case that a reexamination of U.S. grand strategy is overdue and lay out a framework with which to do it.

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Grand Strategy Sir B. H. Liddell Hart appears to have been the first to discuss grand strategy as a separate area of study. For Hart, grand strategy was the highest plane of national policymaking and “practically synonymous with the policy which guides the conduct of war.”9 Over time, the concept has been broadened significantly and now has come to encompass all aspects of national power (military, political, economic, and cultural) in times of both war and peace.10 It has since been defined in many different ways, but a few components remain central to its current usage. First, grand strategy is the lens through which states identify and prioritize goals, interests, and threats, separating the vital from the peripheral. Second, it helps construct the basic outline of how those national goals ought to be approached.11 In other words, grand strategy defines and prioritizes national ends, and prescribes the means with which to pursue them. It allows policymakers to answer a set of difficult questions: How much is enough? How much engagement, how much spending, how much military power is sufficient to achieve national ends? And what should those ends be? By identifying the national interests and goals, grand strategy helps set both floors and ceilings for political and military structures. It helps leaders identify available goals and options and also aids in decisions large and small, acting as a heuristic device for policymakers charged with making difficult choices in an uncertain world. It helps them determine what is important in any given situation and what is included in the set of possible responses. Grand strategy therefore provides the foundation upon which good foreign policy is made. In theory, it ought to help eliminate, or at least minimize, both vulnerability and waste. Good grand strategy also serves as the bridge between theory and policy. A solid theoretical foundation is a sine qua non, since in order for leaders to plot the proper strategic course for any state, they must first have some concept of how the world works (a theory) and, based on that concept, a sense of what the future is likely to hold.12 Whether they realize it or not, policymakers can usually trace their thinking back to the advice of Keynes’s “academic scribbler.”13 When not guided by theory, strategic thinking is little more than an exercise in useless guesswork. An equally important influence upon the development of grand strategy is what in military circles is referred to as the security environment, or external constraints on state behavior. A variety of regional and global factors exist in every era that are beyond the control of policymakers. Security environments vary greatly regarding both the threats they contain and the opportunities they present. The outside world gets a vote in the formulation of any grand strategy, in other words, and that vote can be either constraining or enabling.

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External Constraints

Theory of International Politics

Grand Strategy

Expectations for the Future

Figure 7.1 The Basic Logic of Grand Strategy

The best grand strategies are built upon a strong foundation of both theory and an assessment of the threats and opportunities extant in the international environment. Inattention to, or miscalculation of, either of these two pillars puts states at risk of a mismatch of ends, ways, and means, and therefore of strategic disaster. Grand Strategy of the United States During the Cold War, the United States had a recognizable, understandable grand strategy. Although pursued in different ways across administrations, containment helped policymakers understand and interpret novel situations and counseled the proper responses.14 South Korea and Vietnam took on strategic significance precisely because policymakers were dutifully following a particularly aggressive form of containment, which held that it was important—and not just important but vitally important, worth spilling American blood and spending its treasure—to combat the spread of communism wherever it reared its head. Grand strategy guided the many decisions involved with those wars, for better or worse. When the Cold War ended, so did the utility of containment. Since then, scholars and pundits have produced a steady stream of proposals regarding the proper course for the United States during its “unipolar moment.”15 The best of these have been based upon logical extrapolations of international relations

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Isolationism Offshore Balancing

Cooperative Security Empire

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Restraint

Selective Engagement

Primacy

Figure 7.2 The Spectrum of Intervention

theory, or at least some conception of how the world works. It is probably no exaggeration to say that there are as many taxonomies of grand strategy as there are scholars working on the subject, since every major contribution to the literature has made an attempt to frame the debate by grouping the various strategic recommendations into a coherent set of options. Four seems to be the most common number of ideal types, but it is hardly the only one.16 Inevitably, they create the impression that grand strategic choices fall along a spectrum, one that looks something like the figure above. On the one end of the spectrum lies isolationism, the specter that seems to haunt internationalists in the United States, which in its purest form implies complete political, military, and economic disconnection from the rest of the world, a “fortress America” that would attend to its own needs first, second, and third.17 On the other end is empire, which holds that the United States should in effect control the decision-making processes of other states. Both of these extremes are exceptionally rare in serious debates, except when employed as straw men to be dismantled by proponents of strategies that fall somewhere in between. And of course every strategist feels that his or her proposal falls between these two extremes. Even the most ardent isolationists or primacists are quick to point out that they do not match those on the fringes, and that people can be found who are even more extreme than they. In debates over grand strategy, just like everything else, there is value in seeming to be part of the moderate middle, or the golden mean. Throughout most of American history, grand strategists were not divided into four camps, but two: isolationists and internationalists.18 Today, since the membership in the latter category is far greater, more ink is spilled dividing and subdividing the various internationalist strategies than considering a wholesale alternative. The crucial choices in front of U.S. policymakers, according to most grand strategic thinkers, all involve when and how the United States should engage the rest of the world with its military—not whether to do so in the first place. As Eric Nordlinger argued, international activism is included in the very definitions of security and strategy that are today in most common use.19 The central foreign policy question throughout most of the republic’s history— whether the affairs of the world demand (or deserve) our attention—has ef-

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fectively been taken off the table. The debate begins with the assumption that international activism should be the cornerstone of U.S. grand strategy, and it discusses not whether to intervene but when and how. That assumption is in need of reexamination. Prior to the Second World War, U.S. leaders had the viable option to remain aloof from many of the crises affecting the rest of the world. Isolation was a respectable choice, a proud and responsible strategic alternative to internationalism, not a caricature used primarily to paint political opponents as know-nothings and flat-earthers. Within one generation, isolationism went from being the default option to a pejorative term in grand strategy conversations. By 1972 Robert Tucker observed that “so marked is this prejudice that in the American political vocabulary there are few terms carrying greater opprobrium than isolationism.”20 Today isolationism is more commonly thought of as an era in U.S. history, like reconstruction or the depression, rather than as a vibrant strategic option. It is less a coherent strategy than an epithet, a barb thrown to discredit opposing versions of internationalism. No one wants to be labeled with the “i word,” least of all those who counsel restraint.21 This unfortunate state of affairs may be about to change, since the security environment the United States faces is much different from the one that internationalists seem to perceive. All activist grand strategies are based on the assumption that war is a constant, unchanging feature of the international landscape. The most salient feature of the twenty-first-century security environment may well be that major war has become obsolete; if this proves to be the case, then the primary justification for all the internationalist grand strategies would simply evaporate. Based upon the threats it is likely to face and interests that are most pressing, the United States should follow a grand strategy based upon strategic restraint.

Reevaluating Post–Cold War Grand Strategy Why should the United States change its grand strategy? Why try to fix an international system that is not necessarily broken? Inertia is, after all, a very powerful (if astrategic) political force. The political capital required for any strategic change is enormous and, given the inevitable opposition, the cost is usually high. The default option for any president is always to continue the strategy of his or her predecessor, making changes only on the margins. However, the status quo has costs as well. The benefits of fundamental change can sometimes outweigh the costs associated with leaving the path of least political resistance. At the very least, periodic reexamination of the justification for national grand strategy is always wise. Any such evaluation should begin with an understanding of theory and proceed through an assessment of the security environment the nation is likely to face.22

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Grand Strategy and International Relations Theory While theory alone provides no sure path to strategy, incoherence and guesswork arise in its absence. In order to determine the correct path for any state, strategists must have an understanding of how the world works and where it is likely going; as Stephen Walt has argued, “the best—indeed, the only—way to assess the merits of different strategies is to evaluate the competing hypotheses on which they are based.”23 Yet analysts working from the same theoretical foundation can and do formulate starkly different grand strategies. At other times, those from quite diverse schools can at times end up in agreement. Of those schools, realists and liberals have devised a variety of often competing grand strategic recommendations, while to this point constructivists have generally chosen not to participate in these debates, preferring description and critique to prescription. This has been an unfortunate decision, because that school of thought could certainly make important contributions to the formulation of grand strategy. The wide variety of scholarship that falls under the realist umbrella can support a number of competing grand strategies, depending on which aspect of the school of thought one considers most important and relevant.24 Some scholars who are generally considered to be realists, such as Samuel Huntington, Niall Ferguson, Colin Gray, and Michael Mandelbaum, have argued that stability only comes to the international system under the guidance of a hegemon. The hegemonic stability theory leads them to argue that the top U.S. strategic priority for the twenty-first century ought to be the maintenance, for as long as possible, of U.S. leadership, or primacy, in political, military, and economic affairs.25 Others are more convinced about the inevitability of balancing behavior in the international system and recommend that the United States play a more selective role that is less likely to encourage the rise of competitor states or coalitions. This school of thought, which includes the majority of realists, supports selective engagement or offshore balancing strategies for the United States.26 This split in realist thought has intellectual roots in what are often considered the two major founding documents of structural realism, one of which focused upon the importance of hegemons (Robert Gilpin’s War and Change in World Politics), while the other constructed a theory around the inevitability of balancing (Kenneth Waltz’s Theory of International Politics).27 Despite their differences, basic realist assumptions about the importance of pursuing material interests are present in all of these strategies. Realists tend to share the belief that the ultimate end for U.S. grand strategy should not be transformative, that peace and stability are more important than progressive change. Perhaps most important, they all assume that there are eternal, immutable rules

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of international politics that states violate at their peril. Strategists need not look far beyond Thucydides and Clausewitz, in Colin S. Gray’s mind: “There is an essential unity to all strategic experience in all periods of history because nothing vital to the function of war and strategy changes.”28 Liberals are generally more willing to endorse the notion that the world can and does change, and usually for the better. Their grand strategies tend to share a common end or goal for the United States: the creation and maintenance of a just, liberal world order. On the means with which to arrive at that end, however, they part company. Some recommend a multilateral, cooperative approach, one that would rely heavily upon institutions, regimes, and law; this is a grand strategy often referred to as cooperative security.29 Others think that the only real route to the desired order is through the aggressive, muscular assertion of U.S. hegemony. The world needs to be led in positive directions by a sheriff, according to this way of thinking. Strategic recommendations from the rather poorly named neoconservative movement tend to support strong international leadership by the United States in the pursuit of a better world.30 Primacy, therefore, can be a realist or liberal grand strategy. All liberals tend to be united, however, on the importance of improving the world, and they recommend that the United States not fail in the historic, unprecedented opportunity to do so. Overall, primacy in either its realist or liberal form makes no sense absent faith in the theory of hegemonic stability.31 This is a faith to which we will return. Constructivists have to this point been agnostic about grand strategy. Most do not make any specific strategic recommendations at all, often preferring instead to critique standing policy rather than suggest alternatives or make explicit strategic or policy recommendations.32 Constructivist international relations has never been designed to be an aid to statecraft, which is one of the reasons that to date it has had little utility for the practical world of the policymaker. But constructivist scholarship, to the extent that it emphasizes the importance of ideas and identity in the formation of policy, can indeed supply the foundation of coherent grand strategy. The mere fact that it has not done so to this point hardly implies that it cannot. It is not true, as some critics have argued, that constructivism has nothing to say about the future.33 Just as neorealist strategists base their recommendations on the factor they see as central to state behavior—the structure of the system—constructivists who would advise policymakers should focus on their central variable: ideas. The most important aspect of constructivism for debates about grand strategy is the belief that fundamental evolution in the nature of the international system is not only possible but to be expected. Ideas are constantly in flux, and as they change so too do the rules and guidelines that shape state behavior. That “anarchy is what one makes of it” has become almost a cliché.34

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No school of international relations theory produces uniform grand strategic recommendations; equally confusing for the policymaker, scholars from opposing theoretical approaches can reach similar strategic conclusions, if for different reasons.35 Some who advocate primacy do so because they maintain a Hobbesian worldview and believe that the United States is the only state with the potential to play the role of leviathan. Others do so for more liberal reasons, under the impression that the United States has a moral obligation to spread its ideals across the world.36 Such arguments are clearly not mutually exclusive. Likewise, both realists and liberals can strongly oppose a grand strategy based upon the assumptions of hegemonic stability. Opposition to actions taken to spread liberal ideas, like the war in Iraq, has at times united many grand strategists of all stripes. Realists were among the most vociferous early critics of the U.S. war in Iraq, for instance, because they generally oppose actions taken to spread liberal notions of freedom and democracy.37 Many liberals took issue with the war’s means more than its ends, objecting to the unilateral, aggressive, military nature rather than the goal. The case for strategic restraint can also rise from a number of different theoretical camps. One need not be convinced of the constructivist belief that ideas have changed the way states approach war to think that a less engaged United States would be better off. Christopher Layne is no constructivist, for example, but his “offshore balancing” shares a great deal in common with restraint. It is important to note, however, that the logic behind the two recommendations is different: Whereas Layne sees any quest for hegemony over Eurasia as quixotic and ultimately self-defeating, constructivist logic suggests that such a quest would simply be unnecessary. No balancing is occurring, no counter-hegemonic coalitions rising, no other great power is preparing to challenge the United States. Global stability will not unravel without the calming presence of its Uncle Sam. Commitments should not be withdrawn from Eurasia because they are dangerous, in other words, but because they are pointless. Thus theory informs, but does not determine, strategy; ends can be liberal or realist, as can means. None of the major schools of international relations theory produces uniform grand strategic recommendations. In addition, each state has a set of features unique to its situation: Geography, history, culture, and other factors will assure that no two follow the exact same strategic path. But such factors are indecipherable absent an understanding of how the world works, or a theoretical foundation, which when combined with information from the “real world” can lead to identification and prioritization of interests, and to the means for addressing them. Only when theory is combined with a coherent understanding of the threats and opportunities extant in the system can any proper grand strategy be formulated.

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From Theory to Strategy: Assessing the Security Environment Generally speaking, there is a direct correlation between the level of danger perceived in the security environment and support for internationalist grand strategies. In other words, the more threat the analyst perceives, the more deeply he or she feels that the United States has to be involved in political affairs abroad. It is no coincidence that those with the highest perceptions of threat to the United States—the neoconservatives—also espouse the most muscular, activist grand strategy.38 The most vocal proponents of primacy are also those that think the world is a significantly more dangerous place than it was during the Cold War. “America is in danger,” Donald and Frederick Kagan argued in 2000. “Already, increasing military weakness and confusion about foreign and defense policy have encouraged the development of powerful hostile states and coalitions that challenge the interests and security of the United States.”39 Like-minded politicians reconstituted the Committee on the Present Danger after September 11 to remind America that mortal danger had not gone the way of the Soviet Union.40 Indeed one need look no further than the titles of some of the major recent neoconservative works—Present Dangers, World War IV, The War against the Terror Masters, Against All Evil, Why We Fight, Surrender Is Not an Option, and others—to come away with the impression that the world is a very dangerous place where freedom is under continual assault.41 Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich believes that the challenges of the current era are every bit as great as those faced by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, since America’s enemies represent a “mortal threat to our survival as a free country.”42 These are rather curious conclusions to reach, since as compared to any other country in the long history of international affairs, the United States would seem to be quite safe from any serious or “existential” attack. It is hard to imagine how even the combined military and economic might of Eurasia (as if such a combination were possible) could be harnessed to mount a successful transoceanic invasion. A few nuclear weapons are probably sufficient to deter any imaginable approaching armada, but even prior to their invention few serious strategists considered invasion to be a realistic possibility. “Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow?” wondered Abraham Lincoln in 1838. “Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.”43 Harold and Margaret Sprout spoke for many security analysts when they argued that by the time the United States entered World War I, “it was manifest, both from indisputable

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data publicly available at that time and from inferences easily and fairly deductible therefrom” that a transoceanic invasion “simply could not occur.”44 If indeed major war is obsolete, the idea of invasion and conquest would move from the remarkably unlikely to the completely absurd. As was pointed out in chapter 4, today survival is all but assured for even the smallest of polities. For the first time in history, modern states are safe from complete political annihilation. The stronger countries are even safer; the strongest is the safest. Although today the United States is the most secure country in the history of the world, it often does not act that way. More than one scholar has noted that the United States seems to display a level of threat perception that is not only out of proportion to actual danger, but that is also far higher than that of the other great powers.45 This high level of threat that many Americans harbor is one of the strongest forces acting against the recognition of the obsolescence of major war and for internationalist grand strategies. Conventional attack, much less outright conquest, is obviously not the leading security challenge facing the United States in the minds of most analysts. President Bush has not been alone in his belief that terrorism represents an “existential threat” to the United States, especially if weapons of mass destruction were ever employed. It should not take long to demonstrate that such claims are unsustainable. While terrorists can certainly kill people and scare many more, the damage they cause is always localized and temporary. No terrorist attack of any severity can by itself threaten the long-term independence, prosperity, or basic nature of any modern industrialized society.46 The dangers that terrorists pose are more psychological than physical, and they can neither threaten the survival of any state nor change the character of Western civilization. Only the people of the West, largely through their own overreaction, can accomplish that. Far from being an existential threat to the existence of the United States, terrorists are at best nuisances, albeit dangerous and occasionally deadly nuisances, to the powerful countries of the world. Even the oft-expressed “ultimate nightmare” of nuclear terrorism, which is exceptionally unlikely to begin with, could not cause damage that would prove fatal to any state.47 It should not take long to dispel the notion that Islamic fundamentalists rate with the great enemies of the past, from the Nazis to the Communists. Threat is a function of capabilities and intent; even if Al Qaeda has the intent to cripple or destroy the United States, it certainly does not have the capability to do so. As always, little analytical insight is gained from misplaced historical analogies. Obviously, Islamic fundamentalist terrorists pose a danger to the United States, and no policymaker would ever “let down his guard,” as President Bush worried about his successor. However, a rational United States would keep the threat they pose in perspective. Terrorism is a law enforcement challenge of the first order, not an existential strategic threat.

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Overall, international terrorism is not on the rise, hype and fear notwithstanding. The number of worldwide terrorist incidents is shrinking and is currently far smaller than it was during the Cold War. Assuming that the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are (correctly) classified as guerrilla wars rather than sustained terrorist campaigns, the incidence of terrorist attacks has been steadily declining for two decades. There were three hundred terrorist incidents in 1991, for instance, and fifty-eight in 2005.48 An unprecedented level of multilateral cooperation, coordination, and intelligence sharing has occurred since September 11; there is no meaningful disagreement in the industrialized world about the nature of the threat posed by terrorism, and police action to reduce its violence is in the interest of every state. Great power interests are similarly aligned concerning the other transnational threats of the twenty-first century, such as weapons proliferation, human trafficking, drug smuggling, and piracy. It is perhaps worth pausing for a moment to realize that the diplomats of any prior age would have been quite happy to exchange their problems for ours. Terrorism and the other irregular threats of the early twenty-first century are in reality quite minor in comparison to those of eras that came before and certainly do not threaten the existence of even the weakest state, much less the great powers. Today’s security debate often seems driven less by actual threats than by vague, unnamed dangers. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld warned about “unknown unknowns,” which are the threats that “we don’t know we don’t know,” which “tend to be the difficult ones.”49 Kagan and Kristol worry that if the United States fails to remain highly engaged, the system “is likely to yield very real external dangers, as threatening in their own way as the Soviet Union was a quarter century ago.”50 What exactly these dangers would be is left open to interpretation. In the absence of identifiable threats, the unknown can provide us with an enemy, one whose power and danger is limited only by the imagination. It is what Friedman and Sapolsky call “the threat of no threats” and is perhaps the most frightening of all.51 Even if, as everyone schooled in folk wisdom knows, “anything is possible,” it is not true that everything is plausible. There is no limit on the potential dangers that the human mind can manufacture, but there are very definite limits on the specific threats that the system contains. “To make anything very terrible, obscurity seems in general to be necessary,” noted Edmund Burke. “When we know the full extent of any danger, when we can accustom our eyes to it, a great deal of the apprehension vanishes.”52 The full extent of today’s dangers is not only knowable, but relatively minor. Threat exaggeration has been one of the favorite tools used by opponents of restraint, from Wilson to Roosevelt to Bush. Since self-defense is one of the few justifications for international activism that is uncomplicated by questions of morality, once foreign events are linked to the security of the United

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States intervention becomes an easier sell.53 Exaggerating threats is a traditional weapon in the domestic politics arsenal of the internationalists, inspiring a variety of actions conceived to address threats more imagined than real. When Robert Jervis noted that “security concerns are greatly reduced for the unipole,” he was guilty of understatement.54 If they were honest, those who actively or passively favor internationalism would admit that very few of our foreign adventures have been necessary to secure the country. The United States is no more and no less secure after having replaced Saddam with chaos, for instance. Simply put, the United States is not compelled to play an active role in world affairs in order to address its basic security, since that security is already all but assured. The benefits of activist strategies must therefore manifestly outweigh the costs, since the United States could easily survive inaction, no matter how dire the situation may appear. In U.S. foreign policy, necessity is an illusion. Choices always exist, especially for the strongest country in the history of the world.55 What are often sold to the public as necessary actions are almost always matters of choice; rather than emergency operations, U.S. interventions are in reality elective surgery. And elective surgery, as everyone knows, often makes problems worse. Thus both theoretical logic and evidence from the security environment suggest that the United States would run no risks if it decided to intervene far less in the affairs of others. The next section describes the key elements of what would be the most rational grand strategy in a world nearly free of warfare: that of strategic restraint.

Strategic Restraint A grand strategy based upon strategic restraint would shape foreign policy decisions along three dimensions, as crisply described by Nordlinger. Restraint would mean “minimally effortful national strategy in the security realm; moderately activist policies to advance our liberal ideas among and within states; and a fully activist economic diplomacy on behalf of free trade.”56 When these elements are properly explained, strategic restraint becomes far more complex and attractive than the straw man often constructed by internationalists.57 First, and most obvious, restraint would mean a drastic reduction of U.S. military and political commitments abroad. It would reject the notion that the United States has an obligation to use its considerable power to maintain stability elsewhere, or to spread its ideals where they may not be welcome. Military spending in particular would be brought into line with current threats to the vital national interests of the United States, which are far less serious than internationalists maintain. However, a strategically restrained United States would not necessarily withdraw from all its alliances or renege on its treaty obligations. As the next

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chapter will discuss in further detail, the traditional isolationist fondness for strategic flexibility is not as salient today because the United States is exceptionally unlikely to be dragged into foreign conflicts due to its prior commitments. The advantages of autonomy were far greater prior to the death of major war, as were those of a large, active military. Military power is often of limited utility for addressing many of the challenges in the twenty-first-century security environment.58 Much has been made of the increasing utility of “soft power” in foreign affairs, which Joseph Nye describes as “the ability to get what we want through attraction rather than coercion or payments.”59 The considerable economic and cultural power of the United States is often far more effective—and is certainly less expensive—than its military. Second, in another departure from strict isolationism, a strategically restrained United States would play its part—but only a part—in international humanitarian affairs. Today, the United States is the only country capable of providing post-disaster aid, or transportation for UN forces, or funding for regional peacekeepers. Consequently, the rest of the world rides freely on the back of the U.S. taxpayer. Restraint would not imply disregard for international obligations, only the insistence that such obligations be shared. It would not necessarily demand a withdrawal from international institutions. To the contrary, because such institutions facilitate cooperation and burden-sharing, they would be very useful to a restrained United States, which would cease playing the role of unilateral global problem-solver. International social work should not be Washington’s exclusive purview. Military power is hardly necessary to advance the ideals of the United States. Events of the last few years have made tragically clear that democracy and freedom are difficult to impose on the unwilling. The United States promotes liberty by example far better than it does by force. Strategic restraint need not imply abnegation of moral responsibility abroad or abandonment of any basic beliefs. Third, strategic restraint does not imply economic isolation, or some sort of complete withdrawal from the rapidly globalizing world.60 Isolationists have traditionally been agnostic about economic policy. “Isolationism has always been first and foremost a security strategy,” argued Tucker. “The infamous Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930 is the single exception.”61 Strict isolationists in the Pat Buchanan vein are suspicious of trade and argue that U.S. national interests are best served when its corporations and / or its labor force are protected from foreign competition. Strategic restraint begins with a different assumption: The United States as a whole benefits from trade and open markets, so both should be pursued with vigor. Neither, however, is in need of robust political or military engagement to be successful. Rather than economic isolation, restraint recommends “free commerce with all,” to borrow Jefferson’s phrase, and vigorous engagement around the world. Free commerce is in the interests of all nations and is today threatened

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by none. International trade no longer needs to be policed by the armed men from the public sector. Contrary to conventional internationalist wisdom, the European and Japanese experience proves that a large military presence abroad is not correlated to national wealth. Despite the pervasive belief left over from the days of mercantilism that one of the functions of the military is to look after the economic interests of the state, the prosperity of today’s great powers does not depend on active intervention abroad. Threats to trade still exist from a variety of criminal predators, but their solution hardly requires costly military action. While there surely was a time when the great powers engaged in economic warfare against one another, this is no longer the case. Free trade is in everyone’s interest, and is threatened by none. Multinational corporations today can generally access the entire world without much fear of undue harassment from host governments, who have strong incentives to provide a healthy, well-regulated atmosphere for trade and investment to flourish. If and when local law enforcement agencies prove incapable of providing protection for the businesses that operate within their borders, modern multinationals surely have the resources to either provide it for themselves, or move out. In other words, Microsoft does not need the Marine Corps. The United States no longer has to use force to protect its economic interests, since a market to which everyone belongs tends to take care of itself. Furthermore, intervention in foreign wars rarely carries economic gains for neutrals. It is almost always less expensive for states to remain aloof, even if trade partners are damaged, than it is to intervene. This is particularly true for minor wars, which are of course the only kind that are likely to occur in the twenty-first century. As Gholz and Press have demonstrated, “the costs that wars impose on neutral countries are usually greatly exaggerated; in fact, many neutrals profit slightly from the economic changes caused by war.” For the states of the global north, this means that intervention to maintain order is simply irrational from an economic perspective. The United States in particular “pays many times more dollars to increase global economic stability than it would stand to lose if there were more conflicts.”62 It is not clear that even the most vital of economic resources needs U.S. military protection. All internationalist strategies agree about the importance of keeping oil flowing out of the Persian Gulf and keeping it out of the hands of radicals and / or unfriendly hegemons. Many of the more restrained grand strategies also make an exception for the Gulf, which has been on the short list of vital national interests for the industrialized world for half a century.63 Does U.S. military presence really maintain the free flow of oil, or is that also an illusion? There are at least two reasons to believe that the United States would be better off were it to act as if the latter is closer to the truth.

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First, oil does no one any good in the ground; in order for any regime to profit from it, it must be sold. No matter who is in charge of Saudi Arabia, or Kuwait, or the UAE, there is every reason to believe that they will have strong incentives to sell their oil to the industrialized consumer states. Throughout the Cold War, the nature of Gulf regimes had little or no impact on who they traded with, or how much. In Shibley Telhami’s words, “a change in regime from moderate to radical in one state does not appear to alter the pattern of that state’s foreign trade.”64 Then as now, market forces had a greater impact than national policy in determining the flow of oil. Also, unlike a generation ago when boycotts could target individual countries, today the energy companies control distribution and will make whatever adjustments are necessary to keep their customers satisfied and protect their profits. The market will bring stability, perhaps better than that currently provided by the over-strapped U.S. taxpayer.65 The vulnerability of the industrialized world to energy warfare is far smaller than nonexperts tend to believe. The year 2010 is not 1973.66 As discussed in the previous chapter, cross-border warfare to control the territory that contains fossil fuels is exceptionally rare. It is surely not impossible, of course, as Saddam’s Kuwait misadventure demonstrated, and outright conquest is not the only way that the flow of oil can be disrupted. Sabotage, intimidation, terrorism, and other kinds of economic warfare all could interfere with the oil trade and cause steep fluctuations at the pump. However, instability in the region rarely results in supply diminutions. Even the 1980–88 war between Iran and Iraq failed to have much of an impact on oil production, despite the fact that much of the fighting occurred within artillery range of major oil terminals and facilities.67 In addition, surely a good case can be made that over the long term, the beneficial savings that would be produced by pulling the U.S. presence out of that region would outweigh the costs of rare and temporary reductions in supply. Disruptions are likely to be temporary, since all states of the region have a common interest in keeping the oil flowing. Would oil price volatility cost the United States more than $2 billion per week, which was the cost of the war in Iraq? And by now it should be painfully obvious that military intervention in oil-rich areas does not maintain price stability, since military action makes investors nervous. A barrel of oil sold for $29 on the eve of the Iraq war; five years later, the price had more than quadrupled, thanks in large part to the security premiums that the war in Iraq had imposed. The second reason the United States should reduce its presence in the Persian Gulf is that it would force the industrialized world to reduce its dependence on imported oil. Few events would spur more investment in both new exploration and alternative sources of energy, both of which are long overdue, than the prospect of a draw-down of U.S. hegemony in the region. Calls for energy

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independence for logical strategic, economic, and environmental reasons have been ubiquitous since September 11 (in fact since 1973), but little of substance has been accomplished.68 Perhaps a Cortez approach to energy security is the only thing that would motivate the West to change its ways. One may recall that Cortez the conquistador burned his ships in 1519 in order to motivate his men to move forward into the forbidding, frightening Mexican interior; if the United States were to effectively burn its ties to the Gulf, it would force the reluctant nation onto what might be a long road to energy independence. By leaving the Gulf States to fend for themselves, the United States would send a clear signal that there is no turning back from the mission at hand. As Cortez discovered, sometimes brazen acts are necessary to inspire progress. Thus restraint is hardly isolation. It deserves repeating that no serious analyst of foreign affairs thinks that the United States can or should cut itself off from the rest of the world, a la Tokugawa Japan. A restrained United States would continue to trade, participate in international organizations, and play a role in humanitarian relief efforts. But it would not assume that the security of the world is the responsibility of the American taxpayer. It would cut back on security commitments and military spending. It would define threats, interests, and obligations far more narrowly and logically, ensuring that catastrophic blunders like Iraq are never repeated. The best strategy is surely the one that produces maximum benefit for minimum cost. Future generations may be shocked at the extent to which cost— both real and opportunity—has been of secondary importance in grand strategic discussions. Since the price of international activism is simply staggering, basic economic rationality would suggest that the benefits ought to be similarly and demonstrably high. Rather than discuss what deserves to be a central issue, activist strategists often merely ignore cost altogether or make unsupportable counterfactual arguments about the exorbitant costs of not spending hundreds of billions on various adventures abroad. Unlike the other potential grand strategies, restraint remains logical in a world where the great powers are at peace. In fact, it is the only grand strategy that makes any sense at all. The next section defends that statement against the most common arguments raised by inveterate internationalists about the supposed risks associated with restraint.

Hegemonic Stability The primary attack on restraint, or justification for internationalism, posits that if the United States were to withdraw from the world, a variety of ills would sweep over key regions and eventually pose threats to U.S. security and / or prosperity. These problems might take three forms (besides the obvious, if remarkably un-

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likely, direct threats to the homeland): generalized chaos, hostile imbalances in Eurasia, and / or failed states. Historian Arthur Schlesinger was typical when he worried that restraint would mean “a chaotic, violent, and ever more dangerous planet.”69 All of these concerns either implicitly or explicitly assume that the presence of the United States is the primary reason for international stability, and if that presence were withdrawn chaos would ensue. In other words, they depend upon hegemonic-stability logic. Simply stated, the hegemonic stability theory proposes that international peace is only possible when there is one country strong enough to make and enforce a set of rules. At the height of Pax Romana between 27 BC and 180 AD, for example, Rome was able to bring unprecedented peace and security to the Mediterranean. The Pax Britannica of the nineteenth century brought a level of stability to the high seas. Perhaps the current era is peaceful because the United States has established a de facto Pax Americana where no power is strong enough to challenge its dominance, and because it has established a set of rules that are generally in the interests of all countries to follow. Without a benevolent hegemon, some strategists fear, instability may break out around the globe.70 Unchecked conflicts could cause humanitarian disaster and, in today’s interconnected world, economic turmoil that would ripple throughout global financial markets. If the United States were to abandon its commitments abroad, argued Art, the world would “become a more dangerous place” and, sooner or later, that would “redound to America’s detriment.”71 If the massive spending that the United States engages in actually provides stability in the international political and economic systems, then perhaps internationalism is worthwhile. There are good theoretical and empirical reasons, however, to believe that U.S hegemony is not the primary cause of the current era of stability. First of all, the hegemonic-stability argument overstates the role that the United States plays in the system. No country is strong enough to police the world on its own. The only way there can be stability in the community of great powers is if self-policing occurs, if states have decided that their interests are served by peace. If no pacific normative shift had occurred among the great powers that was filtering down through the system, then no amount of international constabulary work by the United States could maintain stability. Likewise, if it is true that such a shift has occurred, then most of what the hegemon spends to bring stability would be wasted. The 5 percent of the world’s population that live in the United States simply could not force peace upon an unwilling 95. At the risk of beating the metaphor to death, the United States may be patrolling a neighborhood that has already rid itself of crime. Stability and unipolarity may be simply coincidental. In order for U.S. hegemony to be the reason for global stability, the rest of the world would have to expect reward for good behavior and fear punishment for

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bad. Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has not always proven to be especially eager to engage in humanitarian interventions abroad. Even rather incontrovertible evidence of genocide has not been sufficient to inspire action. Hegemonic stability can only take credit for influencing those decisions that would have ended in war without the presence, whether physical or psychological, of the United States. Ethiopia and Eritrea are hardly the only states that could go to war without the slightest threat of U.S. intervention. Since most of the world today is free to fight without U.S. involvement, something else must be at work. Stability exists in many places where no hegemony is present. Second, the limited empirical evidence we have suggests that there is little connection between the relative level of U.S. activism and international stability. During the 1990s the United States cut back on its defense spending fairly substantially. By 1998 the United States was spending $100 billion less on defense in real terms than it had in 1990.72 To internationalists, defense hawks, and other believers in hegemonic stability, this irresponsible “peace dividend” endangered both national and global security. “No serious analyst of American military capabilities,” argued Kristol and Kagan, “doubts that the defense budget has been cut much too far to meet America’s responsibilities to itself and to world peace.”73 If the pacific trends were due not to U.S. hegemony but a strengthening norm against interstate war, however, one would not have expected an increase in global instability and violence. The verdict from the past two decades is fairly plain: The world grew more peaceful while the United States cut its forces. No state seemed to believe that its security was endangered by a less-capable Pentagon, or at least none took any action that would suggest such a belief. No militaries were enhanced to address power vacuums; no security dilemmas drove mistrust and arms races; no regional balancing occurred once the stabilizing presence of the U.S. military was diminished. The rest of the world acted as if the threat of international war was not a pressing concern, despite the reduction in U.S. capabilities. The incidence and magnitude of global conflict declined while the United States cut its military spending under President Clinton, and it kept declining as the Bush Administration ramped spending back up. No complex statistical analysis should be necessary to reach the conclusion that the two are unrelated. It is also worth noting for our purposes that the United States was no less safe. Military spending figures by themselves are insufficient to disprove a connection between overall U.S. actions and international stability. One could presumably argue that spending is not the only, or even the best, indication of hegemony, and that it is instead U.S. foreign political and security commitments that maintain stability. Since neither was significantly altered during this period, increased conflict should not have been expected. Alternately, advocates of heg-

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emonic stability could believe that relative rather than absolute spending is decisive in bringing peace. Although the United States cut back on its spending during the 1990s, its relative advantage never wavered. However, even if it were true that either U.S. commitments or relative spending accounts for international pacific trends, the 1990s make it obvious that stability can be sustained at drastically lower levels. In other words, even if one believes that there is a level of engagement below which the United States cannot drop without imperiling global stability, a rational grand strategist would still cut back on engagement (and spending) until that level is determined. As of now, we have no idea how cheap hegemonic stability could be, or if a low point exists at all. Since the United States ought to spend the minimum amount of its blood and treasure while seeking the maximum return on its investment, engagement should be scaled back until that level is determined. Grand strategic decisions are never final; continual adjustments can and must be made as time goes on. And if the constructivist interpretation of events is correct and the global peace is inherently stable, no increase in conflict would ever occur, irrespective of U.S. spending, which would save untold trillions for an increasingly debt-ridden nation. It is also perhaps worth noting that if opposite trends had unfolded, if other states had reacted to news of cuts in U.S. defense spending with more aggressive or insecure behavior, then internationalists would surely argue that their expectations had been fulfilled. If increases in conflict would have been interpreted as evidence for the wisdom of internationalist strategies, then logical consistency demands that the lack thereof should at least pose a problem. As it stands, the only data we have regarding the likely systemic reaction to a more restrained United States suggests that current peaceful trends are unrelated to U.S. military spending. Evidently the rest of the world can operate quite effectively without the presence of a global policeman. Those who think otherwise base their view on faith alone. If the only thing standing between the world and chaos is the U.S. military presence, then an adjustment in grand strategy would be exceptionally counterproductive. But it is worth recalling that none of the other explanations for the decline of war—nuclear weapons, complex economic interdependence, international and domestic political institutions, evolution in ideas and norms— necessitate an activist America to maintain their validity. Were America to become more restrained, nuclear weapons would still affect the calculations of the would-be aggressor; the process of globalization would continue, deepening the complexity of economic interdependence; the United Nations could still deploy peacekeepers where necessary; and democracy would not shrivel where it currently exists. Most importantly, the idea that war is a worthwhile way to resolve conflict would have no reason to return. As was argued in chapter 2, normative

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evolution is typically unidirectional. Strategic restraint in such a world would be virtually risk-free. Finally, some analysts have worried that a de facto surrender of U.S. hegemony would lead to a rise of Chinese influence. Indeed, China is the only other major power that has increased its military spending since the end of the Cold War, even if it is still a rather low 2 percent of its GDP. Such levels of effort do not suggest a desire to compete with, much less supplant, the United States. The much-ballyhooed decade-long military buildup has brought Chinese spending up to approximately one-tenth the level of that of the United States. It is hardly clear that restraint on the part of the United States would invite Chinese global dominance. Bradley Thayer worries that Chinese would become “the language of diplomacy, trade and commerce, transportation and navigation, the internet, world sport, and global culture,” and that Beijing would come to “dominate science and technology, in all its forms” to the extent that soon the world would witness a Chinese astronaut who not only travels to the Moon, but “plants the communist flag on Mars, and perhaps other planets in the future.”74 Fortunately one need not ponder for too long the horrible specter of a red flag on Venus, since on the planet Earth, where war is no longer the dominant form of conflict resolution, the threats posed by even a rising China would not be terribly dire. The dangers contained in the terrestrial security environment are less frightening than ever before, no matter which country is strongest. Hegemony’s Psychological Appeal Raison d’etat cannot entirely account for the anathematic status of strategic restraint. Many people simply prefer internationalism and enjoy the prestige it appears to confer. It is human to desire greatness, to want to belong to the best team, political party, or state. While all people everywhere take pride in their country or their culture, Americans have long been exceptional in their exceptionalism.75 The pleasure and pride that the citizens of Rome felt toward their empire is similar to that which Americans hold toward their republic. Like all people, they do not readily accept being second-best in anything, from math scores to basketball to automobile quality. “Americans love a winner,” Patton told his troops on the eve of D-Day, “and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win, all the time. . . . The very thought of losing is hateful to an American.”76 Being “number one” has a cachet that will not soon weaken as long as people are competitive by nature. We all like to bask in the reflected glory of national greatness. Triumphalism extends beyond the masses into the halls of government and ivory towers of academia. Some of the more strident internationalists clearly feel

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hostility toward the idea of sharing the stage with other powers not so much because of actual threats such a situation might pose (since they know better than anyone that such threats are minimal), but rather because they recoil from the notion that the United States should relinquish its title as de facto champion of the world without a struggle. Strategic restraint to some people would herald the end of the American Century, and all the glory and prestige that accompanies it. Schlesinger wistfully implored his restraint-minded countrymen to “recognize, as we return to the womb, that we are surrendering a magnificent dream.”77 Few people make international affairs their chosen profession in order to recommend that the United States withdraw from most international affairs. Strategists are professionally predisposed to favor internationalism, if for no other reason than that it is more interesting and appealing than restraint. The national honor, after all, is at stake. The desire to be the best is of course not entirely irrational, since with great power has traditionally come great security and safety. As classical realists have argued for millennia, the psychological need for security is deeply rooted in every community, and security comes with power. Some analysts have suggested that this need appears to be stronger in the United States, and that American history can be read as a nearly unique, if quixotic, quest for absolute security.78 Perhaps what is needed is merely more time for the public to come to believe that the ultimate security of the United States is assured in a world without major war. It is, after all, the perception of insecurity that drives internationalism more than any other single force. Perceptions sometimes take a while to catch up with reality. The desire to be “the best” is perhaps the most important factor preventing the implementation of restraint. Surely it is worth asking ourselves just how valuable being the world political and military champion is, since defending that title entails substantial costs. There is obviously a long list of national projects that lay unaddressed while we hemorrhage blood and treasure abroad. One might deem it to be rather important to upgrade our transportation infrastructure, for instance, to prevent the occasional catastrophic bridge collapse. The hundreds of billions slated for Iraq might well be better devoted to any number of domestic projects, from job training to cancer research to tax cuts, or even (heaven forbid) to paying down the debt. Warnings from economists about the danger posed by the booming deficits often seem to fall on deaf ears in policy-making circles. As Ambassador Kirkpatrick—who was a Cold War hawk—memorably argued: A good society is defined not by its foreign policy but its internal qualities. . . . Foreign policy becomes a major aspect of society only if its government is expansionist, imperial, aggressive, or when it is threatened by aggression. One of

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the most important consequences of the half century of war and Cold War has been to give foreign affairs an unnatural importance. . . . America’s chief collective purpose should be to make a good society better.79 Internationalism gives a priority to imagined threats abroad instead of real problems at home. The nation remains criminally unprepared for predictable disasters, as Hurricane Katrina made painfully clear, and little slack exists in a health care system that is unprepared to face any major emergency. Vice President Joe Biden has said that his father taught him a lesson about priorities: “Don’t tell me what you value,” the elder Biden used to say, “show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” We need not look long at current federal spending to see what Washington has valued and what it has not. One wonders why the American people have not yet risen as one and demanded restraint. Robert Art argues that since his selective engagement would prevent warfare in Eurasia, it would eventually pay for itself.80 Were the United States to follow his recommendations throughout the twenty-first century, his prediction would certainly appear to come true. In fact, no matter what strategy is implemented, one thing would be certain: Its advocates will give it credit for keeping the peace. Any strategy will present the illusion of creating miraculous stability and preventing major war. If the analysis in the first part of this volume is correct, the odds of the United States becoming embroiled in wars that are not of its own choosing are small and will shrink over time. Virtually no path the United States chooses will lead to global conflagration; perhaps then Washington should consider paying the smallest cost possible. In a world without major war, restraint would provide the cheapest route to complete security. On that basis alone it deserves serious consideration. When making foreign policy decisions, U.S. leaders would do well to keep in mind some sage advice of the father of medicine. The doctor’s first obligation, according to Hippocrates, is to do no harm. The United States has far too often fallen short of that minimum goal in its decisions, and flawed grand strategy is to blame. Strategic restraint would do no harm, and at a reduced cost. All criticisms of restraint assume that there is a continuing possibility—indeed even a probability—that instability, conflict, and eventually war would follow any decrease in U.S commitments abroad. If Mueller is right, however, no such string of catastrophes would occur. The risks of implementing a disengaged grand strategy would be minimal in a world where major war has become obsolete and minor wars rare. One can hope that generalized (and justified) discontent with the strategy of the Bush Administration will lead to a reexamination of the proper role of the United States in the world. The public may indeed be a bit more open to

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restraint, now that they have seen the consequences of its opposite. Like an alcoholic, sometimes a nation must hit rock bottom before it sees the need to make drastic changes. Perhaps Iraq could be that rock bottom. The next chapter begins a discussion of exactly what such changes might look like if the United States decided to implement a grand strategy of strategic restraint. Notes 1. See, for instance, Murphy, Are We Rome? 2. Until recently, this was not a very controversial point. See Gilbert, To the Farewell Address; and Tucker and Hendrickson, Empire of Liberty. 3. Quoted in Kupchan, The End of the American Era, 202. 4. From a letter to Elbridge Gerry in 1799. Bergh and Lipscomb, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 77. 5. Quoted in Dunn, “Isolationism Revisited,” 253. 6. Kirkpatrick, “A Normal Country in a Normal Time,” 44. 7. See especially Kagan, Dangerous Nation, and “Neocon Nation”; Lind, The American Way of Strategy; and Gaddis, Surprise, Security, and the American Experience, and “Ending Tyranny: The Past and Future of an Idea.” 8. For a response to the new revisionism, see Fettweis, “Dangerous Revisionism.” 9. Hart, Strategy, 321–22. 10. Kennedy, Grand Strategies in War and Peace, 4. 11. A very useful review of the various extant definitions of grand strategy can be found in Dueck, Reluctant Crusaders, 9–13. 12. Similar arguments are made by Morgenthau, “Another ‘Great Debate’”; Walt, “Alliances, Threats, and U.S. Grand Strategy”; and Jervis, “International Primacy.” 13. “The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.” Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, 383. 14. The best analysis of containment as a strategy remains Gaddis, Strategies of Containment. 15. Krauthammer, “The Unipolar Moment.” 16. For useful reviews of the grand strategy debate, see Nacht, “U.S. Foreign Policy Strategies”; Posen and Ross, “Competing Visions for U.S. Grand Strategy”; Art, A Grand Strategy for America; and Dueck, “Ideas and Alternatives in American Grand Strategy, 2000–2004.” Art identifies and evaluates seven basic grand strategies; the rest, four.

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17. The most extreme modern isolationist—and most convenient straw man, given his propensity for xenophobia and anti-Semitism—is Buchanan: “America First: And Second and Third.” 18. Tucker, “Isolation and Intervention.” 19. Nordlinger, Isolationism Reconfigured, 8–9. 20. Tucker, A New Isolationism, 11. 21. Dunn, “Isolationism Revisited,” 243. 22. This logic is similar to that recommended by Deibel in Foreign Affairs Strategy. 23. Walt, “The Case for Finite Containment,” 6. 24. Mastanduno, “Preserving the Unipolar Moment: Realist Theories and U.S. Grand Strategy after the Cold War.” 25. See Huntington, “Why International Primacy Matters”; Gray, The Sheriff; Ferguson, Colossus; and Mandelbaum, The Case for Goliath. 26. On selective engagement, see Art, A Grand Strategy for America. For offshore balancing, see Layne, “From Preponderance to Offshore Balancing,” and The Peace of Illusions. Other advocates include Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics; and Walt, Taming American Power. 27. Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics; Waltz, Theory of International Politics. 28. Gray, Modern Strategy, 1. 29. Ikenberry, “American Grand Strategy in the Age of Terror”; Smith, “A Wilsonian World”; and Kupchan and Kupchan, “The Promise of Collective Security.” 30. Kristol and Kagan, “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy”; Kagan, “The Benevolent Empire”; Lefever, America’s Imperial Burden; Krauthammer, “In Defense of Democratic Realism”; Lieber, The American Era; and Owens, “The Bush Doctrine.” 31. On hegemonic stability theory, see Kindleberger, The World in Depression, 1929–1939; Keohane, After Hegemony; and Lake, “Leadership, Hegemony, and the International Economy.” 32. There are some exceptions. See Campbell, Writing Security. 33. Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” 38. 34. Wendt, “Anarchy Is What States Make of It.” 35. There are also those who harbor a disconnect between their arguments about international politics and recommendations for grand strategy. Mandelbaum, for instance, has argued that major war has become obsolete due to a change in ideas, but also believes that without an active United States, global security will unravel. See the contrast between his The Ideas That Conquered the World: Peace Democracy and Free Markets in the Twenty-First Century and The Case for Goliath. 36. Liberal hegemonic arguments are not the exclusive purview of neoconservatives. See Feinstein and Slaughter, “A Duty to Prevent.” 37. Anger over the war caused Robert Gilpin in particular to lose historical perspective. Without evident concern for hyperbole, he wrote that the invasion represented “the greatest threat to the security and wellbeing of the United States since the US Civil War,” and that it has “significantly exacerbated dangerous social, cultural, and regional

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fissures in US society.” The war has “let loose forces that threaten the entire global political and economic system. . . . Every citizen of the United States and millions of others around the globe have been placed at serious risk for the foreseeable future.” See “War Is Too Important to Be Left to Ideological Amateurs,” 5. 38. For a discussion of both neoconservative grand strategy and their exceptionally high level of threat, see Halper and Clarke, America Alone. 39. Kagan and Kagan, While America Sleeps, 1. 40. For information about earlier incarnations of the Committee, see Tyroler, Alerting America; and Sanders, Peddlers of Crisis. For the post–September 11 version, see Kirchick, “Cold Warriors Return for a War on Terrorism.” 41. Kagan and Kristol, Present Dangers; Podhoretz, World War IV; Ledeen, The War against the Terror Masters; Frum and Perle, An End to Evil; Bennett, Why We Fight; and Bolton, Surrender Is Not an Option. 42. Gingrich, “Bush and Lincoln.” 43. Basler, Abraham Lincoln. 44. Sprout and Sprout, The Rise of American Naval Power, 1776–1918, pp. 26–28; see also Thompson, “The Exaggeration of American Vulnerability,” 25. Russett makes perhaps the most convincing case in No Clear and Present Danger. 45. Mueller, Overblown; Johnson, Improbable Dangers; and Fitzgerald, Way Out There in the Blue. 46. See Mueller, Overblown. 47. Mueller, Atomic Obsession. 48. Terrorist incidents are tracked in the Global Terrorism Database by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland. 49. Rumsfeld, “DoD News Briefing.” 50. Kagan and Kristol, Present Dangers, 4. 51. Friedman and Sapolsky, “You Never Know(ism).” 52. Quoted by Robin in Fear, 72. 53. Thompson, “The Exaggeration of American Vulnerability,” 38–39. 54. Jervis, “Unipolarity,” 194. 55. Raymond, “Necessity in Foreign Policy.” 56. Nordlinger, Isolationism Reconfigured, 4. 57. Some of the best post–Cold War discussions include Nordlinger, Isolationism Reconfigured; Gholz, Press, and Sapolsky, “Come Home America”; Posen, “The Case for Restraint”; and Olsen, U.S. National Defense for the Twenty-First Century. 58. See Baldwin, Paradoxes of Power; and Luard, The Blunted Sword. For a counterargument, see Art, “American Foreign Policy and the Fungibility of Force.” 59. Nye, Soft Power, x. 60. Ruggie makes the case that there are strategic and economic isolationists. Strategic restraint is an example of the former. Winning the Peace, 157–73. 61. Nordlinger, Isolationism Reconfigured, 6.

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62. Gholz and Press, “The Effects of Wars on Neutral Countries,” 3. 63. The Gulf is one of the few areas where Layne thinks the United States must play an active balancing role, if from afar; see The Peace of Illusions. Gholz, Press and Sapolski, who otherwise call for restraint, make an exception for the Gulf. See their “Come Home America.” 64. Telhami, Power and Leadership in International Bargaining, 72–73. 65. For a good, if a bit dated, discussion of the power of market forces in the oil industry, see Verleger, Adjusting to Volatile Energy Prices. 66. For more, see Gholz and Press, “Energy Alarmism.” 67. Campbell, “Running Out of Gas,” 48. 68. Among the most vocal and consistent proponents of a national energy strategy to reduce U.S. reliance on Gulf oil has been Friedman of the New York Times. See his Longitudes and Attitudes. 69. Schlesinger, “Back to the Womb?” 8. 70. Kagan and Kristol, “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy”; Ferguson, Colossus; and Mandelbaum, The Case for Goliath. 71. Art, A Grand Strategy for America, 11. 72. O’Hanlon, “America’s Military, Cut to the Quick.” 73. Kristol and Kagan, “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy,” 24. 74. Layne and Thayer, American Empire, 117. 75. On exceptionalism, see Lipset, American Exceptionalism; and Madsen, American Exceptionalism. 76. Patton and Martin, The Patton Papers, 457. 77. Schlesinger, “Back to the Womb?” 8. 78. Chace and Carr, America Invulnerable. 79. Kirkpatrick, “A Normal Country in a Normal Time,” 40. 80. Art, A Grand Strategy for America, 198.

8 Foreign Policy and Great Power Peace Restraint in Practice There is an eternal dispute between those who imagine the world to suit their policy, and those who correct their policy to suit the realities of the world. Albert Sorel NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to give an ad-

dress on September 11, 2001, at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. The speech, which of course was never delivered, was to have been a broad discussion of the threats posed by rogue states and of the need for missile defense.1 “Why put deadbolt locks on your doors and stock up on cans of mace and then decide to leave your windows open?” Dr. Rice was to have said. “At the end of the day, do we really want to choose a course of action that gambles with America’s security by choosing not to explore the additional measure of security that limited missile defenses could provide?”2 The stark contrast between real and imagined threats, and the failure of the United States to recognize the changing nature of the international system, could hardly have been made more tragically apparent. The debate over grand strategy is not merely an academic exercise carried out in the various arcane journals that emanate from insulated ivory towers. The decisions made by strategists have very real, sometimes tragic effects on real-world politics. Identifying the correct grand strategy may be the most important and difficult task, but none has value unless properly implemented. The first step of grand strategic thinking is to identify and prioritize goals, challenges and interests (ends); the second arranges national resources (means) in pursuit of these goals. If strategic restraint is indeed the best option for all industrialized powers in the twenty-first century, what would such a strategy look like in practice? This chapter examines the foreign-policy and force-planning implications of the obsolescence of major war. Ideally, both are guided by grand strategy, even though in practice exogenous, astrategic factors—congressional parochialism, domestic politics, bureaucratic rivalry, and so forth—always play important

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roles.3 Without a clear strategic vision, these astrategic factors can become decisive, pulling foreign policy in directions that are not always in the national interest. Pure strategic restraint, prior to being watered down by inevitable bureaucratic and political battles, would look a good deal like what is outlined in these pages. The three central guidelines for strategic restraint discussed in the previous chapter will provide the foundation for the following guidance to twenty-firstcentury policymakers. They rest on empirically demonstrable levels of threat that are far lower than proponents of other strategies currently perceive, and they do not assume that international opportunities or obligations compel deep expenditure of U.S. blood and treasure. To review, a restrained United States would be: 1. Much less involved in international political and military affairs; 2. Aggressively involved in international economic affairs; and 3. Moderately involved in humanitarian operations. The United States can soon become a normal country in a normal time, even if to some the post-bellic world is not likely to appear normal. But to the degree that it is different, it is better: more stable, less dangerous, and more prosperous. At the very least, the new era demands a new approach to foreign policy.

Restrained Foreign Policy Diplomacy would take on a much greater importance for a country following a restrained grand strategy, often supplanting military force in pursuit of national goals. Getting that diplomacy correct is therefore vitally important. The following section discusses a number of foreign policy concepts and topics that would be in need of reexamination should the United States make the wise choice to follow a restrained grand strategy in a world without major war. Conventional wisdoms regarding allies, rivals, terrorism, democracy, credibility, the balance of power, and foreign aid are in need of particular attention. Alliances The founding fathers warned against entangling alliances because they feared that the United States could become drawn into the wars of the old world. In a world all but free of such wars, alliances are not so much dangerous as pointless. While it is certainly true that in times past states were dragged into wars in order to maintain the credibility of their commitments, many modern alliances do not

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seem to have that potential. A wise, restrained foreign policy would reexamine the structure of international alignments on a regular basis to determine which partnerships are worth maintaining and which are not.4 The overall utility of alliances is certainly limited today—even if major war were not obsolete, it would be hard to argue that any current alliance makes the United States more secure— but not all are dangerous. NATO, which is still the most prominent alliance in which the United States participates, is no longer much of a security arrangement since the security of most of its member countries is already all but assured. What was once an organization designed to keep the Soviets out of Western Europe served its purpose and today lingers on primarily for symbolic reasons, as a demonstration of member commitments to a liberal future. To the extent that NATO contributes to the cementing of the antiwar norm at low cost, it is a tolerable organization. The United States need not pull out, since in a war-averse era the famous Article Five that binds its states together in common defense is unlikely to ever be enacted in any meaningful way. The United States does not have to leave military forces in Europe to demonstrate its commitment to peace, but nonentangling alliances are harmless enough. NATO no longer threatens to restrict U.S. freedom of action; it lingers on due to inertia, not threat. A case can be made that its costs may be outweighed by the symbolic and diplomatic benefits it bestows, as long as those costs remain limited. Not all alliances are benign, however. Many of the bilateral relationships the United States currently upholds are profoundly unequal: Their costs outweigh any conceivable monetary or strategic benefit to the United States. A coherent grand strategy of restraint would also revisit the wisdom of the U.S. alliance with Israel, to cite the most obvious example. Walt and Mearsheimer, in an important but overlooked part of their controversial work, argued that the relationship is far more of a strategic liability than asset for the United States.5 As the hubbub that followed the publication of that book made clear, aid to Israel—economic, strategic, and symbolic—is the third rail of U.S. foreign policy, which leaders approach at their peril. Questioning the wisdom of making Israel the cornerstone of U.S. policy in the Middle East is a quick way to lose one’s job. But the alliance is unnecessary from a security perspective, since Israel does nothing to make the United States safer and can take care of itself, and counterproductive diplomatically, since the close friendship so clearly complicates relations with the rest of the region. A restrained United States would never allow Israel to be conquered; however, since that outcome is nearly unimaginable, neutrality in the various regional disputes would serve its security needs far more directly. As it stands today, Washington sees very little return on its multibillion dollar annual investment.

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The alliance with Israel is a prominent profoundly unequal relationship, but it is not the only one. Bilateral security guarantees for Japan and South Korea drain the U.S. treasury while granting de facto tax rebates for Pacific Rim corporations.6 The idea that these relationships reinforce stability in the region is merely a plausible illusion in a world where major war is all but obsolete. The forward presence of the United States is simply unnecessary. No country is contemplating an assault on Japan, and for years analysts have been aware that North Korea would have a tough time conquering South Korea, which towers over its rather pathetic neighbor in every imaginable measure of power.7 There have been few signs, apart from Pyonyang’s incessant rhetoric, that the North has any illusions about its prospects to unify the peninsula by force. Alliances have utility beyond increasing the security of their members. Throughout history, states have often entered into such agreements in part to exert some control on the choices made by their allies.8 A case might be made, therefore, that alliances with states like Israel and Japan can be useful because they allow Washington to influence, if never fully to dictate, the choices that these countries make. There are at least three reasons to doubt that this constitutes a reason sufficiently compelling to continue these anachronistic relationships. First, there is little evidence that such efforts to control the behavior of other allies actually work to the benefit of the would-be controller. At least as often, alliances with a stronger power embolden weaker states to consider actions they otherwise might not have had the courage to undertake. If the United States were to invite Georgia into NATO, for instance, which is an action that many neoconservatives and hawkish liberals believe necessary to check Russian expansion, Tblisi would be far more likely to attempt to recapture its breakaway regions in the belief that Moscow would pull back rather than confront the entire Atlantic alliance. Instead of restraining smaller powers, alliances can just as easily encourage bad choices. It is important to recall that Paul Schroeder concluded his influential piece on this issue by pointing out that “many efforts to use alliances as instruments of management and control have proved futile, foolish, and even disastrous.”9 U.S. interests would not necessarily be served by continuing such relationships. Second, it is not clear that our perceptions of control match reality. The United States rarely attempts to exert serious influence over Israel in the post– Cold War era, for example. During the Cold War there were times, as in 1956, when the United States was able to restrain Israeli actions; today it is not at all clear that the alliance affords Washington any influence at all, much less control, over its smaller ally. Settlements have been built in the West Bank, for example, over the objections of four presidents. In Europe and the Pacific, the evidence that the United States is controlling its allies is even less clear, for somewhat different reasons. In order for our alliances to be constraining our allies, after all,

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they would have to want to do things that our relationships are stopping them from doing. In what ways, precisely, does the United States restrain Japan? Is South Korea eager to have a more expansionist foreign policy and is kept from doing so only by its alliance with the United States? One could make a good case that if these two countries did exert themselves more, it would not necessarily be threatening to U.S. interests; but more important, there is little reason to believe that the only thing standing in the way of Japanese aggression is the alliance with the United States. Restraining allies is not necessary in a post–major war era. Finally, formal alliances are hardly necessary to influence other countries. If there comes a time when the United States needs to restrain the actions of friendly states, it will always have substantial diplomatic and economic tools at its disposal. If those fail, then Washington can decide whether any potential conflict is actually worth a greater expenditure of U.S. treasure. The United States need not enter into formal security relationships in order to be able to affect the decision of other states. Ronald Steel argued some time ago that “unlike Rome, we have not exploited our empire. On the contrary, our empire has exploited us, making enormous drains on our resources and energies.”10 The current alliance structure allows minor powers to manipulate U.S. decisions, making their problems ours. A restrained grand strategy would force minor powers to demonstrate the value of their relationship. Small states with whom the United States is unequally allied would not be able to rely on its unquestioned support; they would instead have to demonstrate their strategic value to Washington and earn its friendship. No longer should the United States cede control over its own foreign policy decisions to weak friends on the periphery. Skeptics may warn that the consequences to national credibility of reneging on commitments would be catastrophic. However, in a world free of major war, credibility, that most precious of national resources, would be far less important. During the Cold War, conventional wisdom held that credible commitments were vital to national security, since they discouraged rival adventurism, assured allies, and attracted neutrals toward the cause.11 Experienced practitioners and scholars of foreign policy took for granted the notion that actions taken during crises today could affect (and perhaps prevent) the crises of tomorrow. In a world where major war is obsolete and minor wars rare, such concerns would be anachronistic. No rival would be lurking, ready to take advantage of any signs of weakness; allies would not be discouraged by apparent lack of resolve, since they would not be in danger anyway; and neutrals would have little reason to bandwagon with the United States in the first place. Current scholarship on the importance of credibility echoes this skepticism about its importance. Over the last decade, the Cold War conventional wisdom has effectively been turned on its head.12 Policymakers do not yet share this skepticism; scholars and practitioners, especially those more focused on protecting the nation’s honor than its interests,

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seem to be drifting apart on this issue. A restrained United States would side with the evidence and refuse to believe that its reputation is worth paying much to preserve. Balancing Power The balance-of-power concept has had a number of different meanings over the years. For scholars of international relations, the term refers to outcomes, to aggregate state behavior; for those of foreign policy, it refers to choices made by individual states, or a strategy to maintain the peace.13 It is perhaps worth noting that in practice, few states have ever actually sought to be part of a true “balance” of power. In a perfectly balanced world, a state could expect a fifty-fifty chance of success during an outbreak of hostilities, which is not altogether comforting in systems marked by near-constant war (or at least the threat of war) such as Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In reality states seek favorable balances of power, or, more precisely, imbalances of power in which they are advantaged.14 As Angell noted prior to World War I, “neither side, in fact, desires a balance; each desires to have the balance tilted in its favour.”15 Six decades later, Kissinger might have spoken obsessively of balance, but in practice he always sought an imbalance in his country’s favor.16 If leaders actually ever believed that a balance of power was in their interests, they would have followed Waltz’s advice when he noted that “it behooves the state that desires peace as well as safety to become neither too strong nor too weak.”17 There is little evidence that this kind of thinking ever became state policy anywhere. The phrase “balance of power that favors freedom,” which appears five times in the thirty-one-page 2002 Bush Administration National Security Strategy, is a more honest use of the term.18 The desire to maintain a balance of power among others, though, has been a central concern of many states throughout the years. Throughout most of history, unbalanced power did pose a considerable threat to those on the short end of the imbalance. The long-standing British goal of encouraging division in continental Europe was designed not only to maintain peace but also to prevent the emergence of a rival who, by marshalling the combined resources of the entire continent, might have been able to challenge the Royal Navy and threaten England itself. No single power was strong enough to conquer Great Britain alone, but a hostile hegemonic power or coalition theoretically might have been able to. Therefore, preserving a balanced, divided Europe was the most important of the eternal and perpetual interests from the oft-quoted Palmerston remark, and England intervened on the side of the smaller continental powers again and again for three centuries.19

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Many American strategists adapted the age-old British fear of a united Europe to American realities, advising Washington to beware of unbalanced power in Eurasia. The United States seems to have inherited a great deal of strategic responsibility with the erosion of British puissance. It became the leader in maintaining stability on the high seas, in financial markets, and in the Persian Gulf; it assumed leadership of the free world in the struggle against tyranny, especially of the communist variety; and it also became the guardian of the balance of power on the Eurasian landmass. These are roles that sagacious leaders today should reject. Nicholas Spykman echoed Englishmen of the nineteenth century when he argued that if the “Old World” were to become united, “the New World will be encircled and, depending on its powers of resistance, may have to submit to the dictates of the Old.”20 Colin Gray noted that by the 1940s “the British role as most critical ‘balancer’ devolved upon the continental-sized, but also off-shore (Eurasia) United States.”21 The United States can no longer hide behind its oceans, the argument goes, and has to understand that, like Britain a century ago, it is an island off the most strategic landmass of the world, home to the majority of its people and resources. Many prominent scholars believe that an activist United States effectively maintains the balance of power in Eurasia, and that without its stabilizing presence rising states or hostile coalitions would be encouraged to pursue regional hegemony. Christopher Layne has argued that “the only American strategic interest at stake in Eurasia is preventing the emergence of a Eurasian hegemon.”22 A Defense Department analysis leaked to the press in 1992 suggested that preventing the rise of a Eurasian power should be on the short list of American vital national interests.23 U.S. policymakers would do well to recall that the primary eternal interest of Palmerston’s Great Britain has long been obsolete. Today England has nothing to fear from a united Europe, and it does not entertain the notion of intervening on behalf of smaller continental powers. Similarly, today any lingering U.S. fears of imbalanced power in Eurasia would be anachronistic if major war has become a thing of the past. In the twenty-first century, imbalanced power is not threatening, and neither is balanced power an asset. The balance-of-power concept has little utility in a world where potential military power is unlikely to turn kinetic. If indeed major war is obsolete, it is not clear how a hegemon could emerge in Eurasia. Further, there is no impetus for a hostile coalition to form if states do not feel threatened by the power of the United States. Just as the industrialized nations of Eurasia do not seem overly concerned about the overwhelming power of the United States, Washington should not attempt to play the role of balancer in Eurasia. Over the long run, it would be very difficult for the United States to maintain a balance of power in the Old World if its states seemed to be concerned with

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their security. Relative power would always be in a state of flux. Fortunately, Eurasian states do not act as if this is the case. The preservation of balance, therefore, need not be a priority for modern-day island powers like the United States. Terrorism A restrained grand strategy would keep terrorism in perspective, treating it as a potentially damaging criminal act but hardly an existential or strategic threat to the nation. No “war” against it is necessary. The best way to combat terrorism is traditional law enforcement cooperation, which would of course continue unabated no matter what grand strategy the United States chooses to follow. A robust military presence is rarely necessary to aid that enforcement, since preventing terrorist acts is in the interest of all nations. The suggestion that a strong military is necessary to fight terrorism is based upon three specious assumptions: first, that occasionally state sponsors of terrorism will need to be overthrown; second, that direct military action is needed to find and kill the terrorists themselves; and third, that coercive power is necessary to encourage the cooperation of reluctant (read: Arab) states. The first and second arguments overestimate the level of military capability needed to fight the small battles of the war on terror. As sections below will make clear, restraint does not counsel a complete dismantling of the U.S. military establishment. But if killing Al Qaeda fighters in caves is the goal, surely eleven carrier strike groups are not necessary. The overthrow of the Taliban was accomplished primarily with the use of special forces and local allies, which are exactly the kind of capabilities that a restrained United States would be wise to maintain. In other words, the likely clashes in the war on terror, whether they be against terrorist cells or failing states, do not require the level of military power that the United States currently possesses. Killing terrorists is not difficult; finding them, however, is. A grand strategy of strategic restraint, if properly implemented, would continue to prepare for and execute both kinds of missions. The third assumption—that the United States needs to maintain a large military force to coerce other countries into cooperation against terrorists—is not particularly relevant in the struggle against Islamic extremism. It is true that in some cases negotiation cannot be successful absent a clear and credible threat of force, but this is not one of those cases. There is rarely a need to threaten states in order to make them cooperate in the struggle against terrorists, since almost all governments are their targets. Often such pressure can prove to be self-defeating, in addition to being expensive. Internationalists are fond of asserting that Saudi Arabia did not fully cooperate in the struggle against Al Qaeda until 2004, after the invasion of Iraq.24 In reality, one had little to do with the other. The Saudis were not convinced by

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the overthrow of Saddam to cooperate more with the United States, since they had no reason to fear U.S. strikes on their assets. We know now that it was the increase in Al Qaeda activity in the kingdom, and the manifest threat to their government that it posed, which made them begin to share more information with the United States.25 Mutual interest drove cooperation, not the presence of the U.S. military. Terrorism is just one of a host of twenty-first-century security threats best thought of as law enforcement challenges about which, as noted in the previous chapter, there is no meaningful disagreement in the industrialized world. Cooperation and burden-sharing are in the interest of every state. Weapons proliferation, human trafficking, drug smuggling, and piracy are other such concerns, none of which are particularly susceptible to military solutions. A strategically restrained United States would still be quite active in international law enforcement, and perhaps would be even more so once these threats were properly classified and resources freed to address such matters. Intelligence sharing and police action against terrorism are much less expensive than war, and they are likely to be far more productive as well. A post–major war world is not without its dangers, of course, but it is without the biggest one. Terrorism is a problem, without doubt, but it must be kept in proportion. Military action to confront terrorism is not only counterproductive, but it is also presumably the kind of overreaction that Osama sought to inspire. Democracy The vigor with which post–Cold War American administrations have pursued the promotion of democracy might make one believe that, without a strong ally, liberty and freedom are powerless and doomed. In fact, waves of democracy have at times swept over the world with very little direct aid from the United States.26 This is not to say that the promotion of democracy should cease to be a goal of U.S. foreign policy, merely that the means to pursue that goal would not be those of the internationalist. As the Iraq experience ought to make perfectly clear, America aids democracy more by inspiration than imposition, by providing its example rather than its army. “The best way for a larger country to help smaller ones,” argued George Kennan, “is surely by the power of example.”27 While it is sometimes possible for an idea to be imposed on others, surely it is easier when those others choose to accept it. At the very least, it is cheaper. The founding fathers certainly believed that U.S. ideals are best promoted by example, not by force; they understood that the United States was as much an idea as a country, a political theory as much as a reality. The “shining city on the hill” of the Puritan imagination provided a beacon of light and inspiration for aspiring democrats everywhere.28 Its military did not need to come down off that

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hill for it to be a strong ally of freedom and justice throughout the world. In a letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington wrote that his politics were “plain and simple.” He thought that “every nation has a right to establish that form of Government under which it conceives it shall live most happy; provided it infracts no right or is not dangerous to others. And that no governments ought to interfere with the internal concerns of another, except for the security of what is due themselves.”29 Wishing freedom well might not only be more morally defensible than imposing it on others, but it might prove to be more effective as well. Humanitarian Intervention Some liberal international relations theorists worry that the United States would be ignoring a host of moral and humanitarian obligations if it retreated behind secure walls. America is after all the “indispensable nation,” the benign hegemon, the leading force for morality around the world.30 Were the United States to abandon its commitment to humanity, it would not only be committing a sin of omission, but it would also be forfeiting an unprecedented chance to make the world into a better place. “America has the capacity to contain or destroy many of the world’s monsters,” argued Kristol and Kagan. “A policy of sitting atop a hill and leading by example becomes in practice a policy of cowardice and dishonor.”31 As always, honor counsels belligerence. Only the most restrictive definition of restraint would preclude Washington from shouldering its fair share of the various humanitarian burdens that arise. Restrainers should not be confused with ardent isolationists like former Senator Jesse Helms, who considered all nonstrategic foreign aid to be money thrown “down foreign rat holes.”32 Helms was no strategist of restraint, none of whom have argued that the United States has any excuse to shirk its international responsibilities. Nordlinger argued that in the post–Cold War United States it is difficult to find “serious supporters of the know-nothing, red-neck, xenophobic strain found in provincial nooks of pre-war American policies that were labeled isolationism” from the founding to the present.33 Jefferson was “willing to hope, as long as anybody will hope with me, that free institutions would peacefully establish a foothold even in the most highly fortified footholds of despotic power.”34 Even the most prominent postwar isolationist, Robert A. Taft, wrote that “I don’t mean to say that, as responsible citizens of the world, we should not gladly extend charity or assistance to those in need. I do not mean to say that we should not align ourselves with the advocates of freedom everywhere. We did this kind of thing for many years, and we were respected as the most disinterested and charitable nation in the world.”35 Restraint does not necessarily imply indifference to the world’s problems any more than internationalism automatically implies concern.

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Strategic restraint merely rejects the notion that the United States has the sole responsibility to police the world, a national noblesse oblige that it alone can address. It is logical and reasonable that the United States, as the world’s richest country, should be called upon to make the largest contributions to multilateral institutions. Restraint merely provides two counsels about humanitarian and developmental assistance: first, that their (usually fairly modest) burdens should be shared and performed in conjunction with the rest of the industrialized world; and second, that they should not be conflated with security or political aid. Foreign humanitarian assistance is cheap, relatively speaking, and often carries benefits for both the donor and recipient alike. The entire operation in Somalia, during which as many as a quarter million lives were saved, cost U.S. taxpayers less than two billion dollars.36 More is spent every week in Iraq. The benefits— up to a quarter million lives saved—clearly outweighed the costs. Overall, strategic restraint would signal the end not of U.S. influence in the world, but of its primary reliance upon hard power to accomplish its objectives. It would not represent an abnegation of normative ends for the United States, merely an alteration of the means used to pursue them. And in many cases, such an alteration would make the attainment of our moral goals more likely than the heavy-handed, preachy, arrogant, counterproductive approach that primacy recommends.

The Lessons of History One cannot discuss restraint without being interrupted about the lessons of history. Many scholars and laymen alike are convinced that historical experience somehow demonstrates that the United States cannot remain disengaged from the world for long, or that when restraint rears its ugly head the rest of the world deteriorates into anarchy.37 The key historical lessons were learned during three twentieth-century events: the world wars, which somehow prove that the United States cannot stay insulated from world affairs, and the Cold War, during which international activism was necessary to defeat the communist threat. The world wars supposedly taught future American grand strategists two lessons: first, that without active U.S. involvement, the Old World will descend into chaos; and second, that it is an illusion to believe that the United States can remain aloof from such chaos.38 Therefore, this defense of internationalism goes, it is in the interest of the United States to remain actively engaged with Eurasia in order to prevent the kind of major conflagration in which it will inevitably become involved. The United States should only embark upon a restrained path if it is “prepared to risk redoing World War I and World War II.”39 While it is not clear that either of these supposed “lessons” were ever valuable, they certainly have nothing to teach a world without major war.

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If generals often err by preparing to fight the last war, strategists err by trying to prevent it. It is quite a stretch to believe that a more internationalist grand strategy would have prevented either the Japanese or German quest for empire, or that the United States could somehow have preserved a stable balance. In fact the entire premise is a bit puzzling, since the depression-era United States was hardly in a position to intervene and stiffen French and British backbones at Munich. But even if the United States had demanded a seat at that conference and refused to cede Czechoslovakia to Hitler, would that have somehow ended his desire for power and revenge against the allies? Perhaps it should have intervened earlier and tried to influence the German election of 1933 that brought the Nazis to power? Or should it have poured money into the Weimar Republic to prevent its economic implosion? Precisely how, in other words, could the United States have prevented the rise of Hitler, or tempered his unappeasable and undeterrable ambitions? There is probably little need to repeat the well-known arguments about the effects that the conference at Munich has had on two generations of American policymakers.40 Few single events have had a more deleterious impact on international politics, or have created such incorrect impressions about how states behave. Munich has become the enemy of compromise, an emotional weapon hawks trudge out every time the nation considers dishonoring itself by negotiating with, rather than fighting against, various international evils. That it is incorrectly remembered matters little; today appeasement is a powerful, loaded term, one that warns against compromise and concession. For the purposes of this discussion, perhaps it is sufficient to point out that it is preposterous to argue that Munich somehow fatally discredits twenty-first-century strategic restraint, especially since in a world free of major war, no unappeasable Hitlers will be looking to attack their neighbors. In the Pacific, the lessons are even less clear. The road to Pearl Harbor was not paved by American inattention or restraint but by its active opposition to Japanese expansion. Isolationism can hardly be blamed for dragging the United States into the war in the Pacific, since the United States was steadily taking a more consistent pro-China stance, and acting accordingly.41 Presumably Tokyo would have had no reason to strike a genuinely neutral United States. Admiral James O. Richardson, who was commander-in-chief of the U.S. fleet when it was first permanently stationed at Pearl Harbor in May 1940, was relieved of his command for his staunch opposition to what he saw as an unnecessarily provocative, not restrained, action.42 The experience of the Second World War ought to teach a different lesson. The great powers of the Old World fought each other to the point of exhaustion, but because the United States had the wisdom to remain neutral for more than two years, it escaped the worst of the suffering. Although nearly 300,000 Ameri-

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cans lost their lives in combat, the United States was the only major participant that emerged from the war stronger, in both relative and absolute terms. During the war the U.S. economy boomed; wages increased 68 percent, while the cost of living increased only 23.43 Living standards rose across the country.44 A good case can be made that restraint in the 1930s once again served the nation quite well, or as well as could be hoped amid that great tragedy. None of this is meant to argue that the United States should have stayed out of World War II, which was after all the “good” war, a clear moral crusade that did rid the world of a powerful evil. However, it is important to note two things: Such wars are unlikely to ever be repeated, and even if they were, the United States could stay out if it chose to do so. Even if Mueller turns out to be wrong and major war does return to Eurasia at some point in the future, the United States would be free to decide whether or not to get involved. Wilson brought America into World War I out of choice, not necessity; it was at the time and is in retrospect a controversial decision to say the least. Eurasian instability would not automatically involve the United States, since, as Layne has pointed out, “wars are not forces of nature that magnetically draw states into conflicts against their will.”45 History has many examples of states bordering great powers at war that seem to manage to remain on the sidelines; it is presumably even easier to do so when there is an ocean in the middle. Wars are rational choices of state, not forest fires that engulf both willing and unwilling bystanders alike. During the Cold War there was an identifiable threat to U.S. interests. Soviet global hegemony, should that have come to pass, would have posed at least three serious problems for the United States. The first of these, the military threat, was probably the least dire, since as long as the United States maintained its nuclear arsenal, conquest was all but impossible no matter how strong any enemy had become. The other two threats—political and economic—were more realistic. Walt Rostow, who was the head of policy planning in Kennedy’s State Department, argued that if totalitarian dictatorships were to come to power across the world, the survival of democracy in the United States would be in peril.46 The precarious balance that any country faces between liberty and security may well have tilted decisively toward the latter if the United States were left alone in a hostile world. It was difficult for Rostow to imagine how, under modern conditions, American democracy could have long survived as an island in a totalitarian sea. It was therefore imperative for the United States to oppose the spread of communism in Eurasia, for the future of liberty might have been at stake. Prosperity would also have been imperiled if the rest of the world had been swept into the communist camp. Presumably, a united and hostile communist Eurasia could have restricted trade and severely affected the U.S. standard of living. Internationalist grand strategies thus made some limited sense during the Cold War, when domination of Eurasia by an unfriendly power could have

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resulted in very real political and economic consequences for the West. It is understandable why restraint was not a very popular option while the Soviet Union was actively attempting to undermine the security, liberty, and prosperity of the United States. The collapse of communist authoritarianism may not have brought history to an end, but it certainly removed any viable political challenger to democracy and economic alternative to free markets.47 No political ideology exists around which to rally a hostile coalition of states against the major democratic powers. Communism and fascism, while perhaps not completely dead, are relegated to the background. Although totalitarianism persists in some regions of the world, political legitimacy in today’s international society comes from a mandate from the masses. Even if democracy does not soon sweep across these last bastions of illiberalism (and it might), it is certainly not losing ground to other forms of government. In addition, although the flavors may differ, free market capitalism is today almost universally recognized as the fastest route to prosperity and wealth. Were a group of unfriendly governments to come to power in Eurasia, they would still find it in their interest to maintain trade relations with the United States. No state would benefit from cutting ties with the world’s largest market and producer of goods. Economic interdependence is, after all, a two-way street; the major trading partners of the United States are all more dependent upon the U.S. market than vice versa.48 As long as capitalism remains the dominant form of economic organization on earth (and there is not much evidence suggesting that any change is on the horizon), the economic danger from even a hostile coalition on the Eurasian landmass will be extremely low. The Cold War came to a merciful end nearly two decades ago, but for some reason high levels of international engagement continued. One need not be convinced that the United States should have been restrained at all times in its history to be convinced that it is the wisest course now. As noted in the previous chapter, in Washington’s famous warning about entangling alliances he acknowledged that temporary alliances would sometimes need to be forged during emergencies.49 The Cold War was just such an emergency, and now that it has ended, so too should our high levels of military and political engagement. It is time to become a normal country again. Islamic fundamentalism hardly poses an equivalent threat, despite irresponsible attempts to tie Al Qaeda together with the great ideological movements of the twentieth century (“islamo-fascism,” which in the view of former CIA Director James Woolsey does not go far enough—he prefers “islamo-Nazism”50). The Islamic fundamentalist movement is not about to take on either the power or the broad appeal of either communism or fascism, and, if anything, is materially weaker than it was on September 11. While Americans fighting the “long war” worry that the goal of Al Qaeda’s grand strategy is to reestablish the fourteenth-

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century caliphate, few seem to have noticed that the movement is even further away from that impossible goal than it was just a few years ago. One might be hard-pressed to explain exactly what kind of threat a caliphate would pose in the first place; however, for now it should be sufficient to note that it is an extraordinarily unlikely outcome. To the extent that they can be considered strategists at all, Al Qaeda’s leadership is extremely poor at matching ends with means. Von Moltke they are not. Surge Capacity and a Strategy of Mobilization The extraordinary capacity of the United States to respond to emergencies is the most important and overlooked lesson from twentieth-century history, not misplaced and anachronistic analogies to unique crises. Prior to both world wars, the United States maintained a small standing military; by their end, it had produced the best the world had to offer. Some of the remarkable numbers can be found in table 8.1. This was done with a U.S. population of about 133 million; there are over 300 million today. Surging in the modern era might be a bit more difficult, since the weapons systems employed are more complex and the globalized economy might not be able to respond as rapidly. By the end of the 1930s there were many underused production lines ready to be transformed to churn out materiel and a large pool of labor ready to man (and woman) them. But the capacity of the United States to respond to threats—and the ingenuity of the entrepreneur—should not be underestimated. If the outpouring of patriotism that followed September 11 is indicative of the American spirit, only the exceptionally unwise adversary would pose a serious challenge. Although the United States retains a considerable surge potential at the beginning of the twenty-first century, it surely could be improved as a hedge against future crises. Richard Betts advocates relying on what he calls a “mobilization strategy,” which would hedge against the rise of a peer competitor by “developing plans and organizing resources now so that military capabilities can be expanded Table 8.1 Surge Capacity of the United States, 1939–45

U.S. Army U.S. Navy U.S. Marine Corps

1939

1945

175,000 150,000 28,000

8,300,000 3,320,000 470,000

Population statistics from the U.S. census; military statistics are compiled from official histories of World War II. See also Murray and Millett, A War to Be Won.

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quickly later if necessary.”51 By concentrating on the maintenance and improvement of its surge capacity, the United States could mitigate risk without spending itself into oblivion addressing threats that currently do not exist. Internationalists seem curiously unwilling to place trust in the ability of the United States to respond rapidly if and when future contingencies arise, as if restraint would permanently neuter the country and leave it vulnerable to any number of barbarians from the east. This need not be the case. The complexity of twenty-first-century military systems hardly raises insurmountable barriers for rapid mobilization. The innovation that occurred in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks is instructive: On September 12 a Pentagon task force identified over a hundred technologies that could be fast-tracked to the battlefield, including nuclear quadrapole resonance, Joint Direct Attack Munition, and the thermobaric bomb, the latter of which went from drawing board to the battlefield in just ninety days. As Vice Admiral Arthur Cebrowski said at the time, “nobody learns faster than someone being shot at.”52 So while it might be a greater challenge to reorient U.S. industry to a wartime footing in 2020 than it was in 1940, it would still be very possible to do so without incurring significant risk. No country is going to be able to do irreparable harm to the interests of the United States while it mobilized—and, to risk being repetitive, none is likely to want to do so in the first place. By insisting on remaining prepared for both plausible and implausible contingencies, the United States squanders the greatest gift bestowed by geography: time. Not only is a major sneak attack impossible outside of science fiction, but today no large-scale, undetected hostile military buildup is plausible. Should there come a time when a great power or coalition of powers decides to make atavistic strategic choices, the United States would be able to react in due course. Security challenges rarely need to be met immediately. Given current trends in twenty-first-century international security, major threatening contingencies are extremely unlikely; since minor ones often burn themselves out, given enough time, delay can often be advantageous. If those highly unlikely worst-case scenarios of the neoconservative imagination were ever to come to pass, the United States would have plenty of time to react and adjust its strategy and forces accordingly. The oft-demonstrated ability of this country to rise to meet serious challenges is the ultimate insurance policy against national catastrophe. Instead of having faith in that insurance, however, Washington has chosen to invest heavily in what it feels to be preventive measures. Sometimes this can be prudent policy; however, when catastrophes are extraordinarily unlikely, preventive policies create an illusion, one that fundamentally misunderstands the causes of great power stability. This illusion encourages activist policies that may not always be harmful in themselves, since they do not make great power war more likely, but that are merely expensive ventures in pointlessness. .

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In 1803 Jefferson wrote that “we should be most unwise, indeed, were we to cast away the singular blessings of the position in which nature has placed us, the opportunity she has endowed us with of pursuing, at a distance from foreign contentions, the paths of industry, peace and happiness.”53 History hardly proves that the United States cannot remain apart from the political events of Eurasia. If anything, experience from the twentieth century suggests that America usually runs no great risk by allowing the Old World to fend for itself.

A Restrained Military Prudent force planning is based upon series of implicit predictions and expectations about the shape of the future security environment, not fictionalized worst-case scenarios. Since doctrine and weapon systems can take years to get from the drawing board to the field in peacetime, the Pentagon must make decisions based upon a vision of the most likely future challenges the United States will face. Good force structure flows logically from, and is designed to support, a nation’s grand strategy; mismatches between ends, ways, and means raise the risk of national disaster. The structure of military forces has therefore always been a crucial part of the various debates on grand strategy. A restrained grand strategy would recommend three major changes to the current U.S. military, and a series of alterations in its force structure, to better prepare the nation for the comparatively limited challenges in a world free of major war. First, the current organization of U.S. forces abroad—the combatant commands, or COCOMs—would be abolished. Second, the bulk of its troops would be redeployed back to bases inside the United States. The third change would be in the forces themselves, beginning with the dominant mindset with which the Pentagon currently plans its future structure. Rather than the current “capabilities-based planning” that serves as an impediment to any rational assessment of the security environment, future forces would be chosen with a more traditional “threat-based” model. Since the threats of the twenty-first century have receded, so too would the U.S. military. All three of these recommendations would constitute fairly substantial departures from the way force planners currently operate. Reorganization, Redeployment The Unified Command Plan (UCP) organizes the armed forces of the United States by region and function.54 First signed by Harry Truman in 1946, the UCP divides the world into regions and specifies a unified commander for all U.S. forces in each. The UCP and its Combatant Commands have served their primary function quite well to this point: They have instituted cooperation or “jointness” across all of the branches of the military, and they have coordinated

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the implementation of internationalist grand strategies very efficiently. The system was developed to fight the spread of communism during the Cold War and, like many other institutions and practices, it has lingered on into the post–Cold War world despite its lost mission, due as much to inertia as rational calculation. The role of the COCOM today is underexamined; in a world free of major war, they are surely unnecessary. The Combatant Command is a tool of primacy, or at least of internationalism, not strategic restraint. The establishment of regional COCOMs has had two unfortunate strategic consequences. First, their existence has tended to broaden the definition of U.S. interests. The wise combatant commander must consider everything that happens in the region to be his responsibility, and plan accordingly.55 The newly developed Africa Command, for example, will automatically increase the amount of time, effort, and resources the United States devotes to Africa’s many problems. The general understanding of what constitutes the business of the United States will inevitably expand over time as well. Second, the mission of the regional commanders has greatly expanded over time. In the 1990s, as a number of observers have argued, they began to take on the role as de facto regional ambassadors for the United States.56 Although theoretically subordinate to ambassadors, the combatant commanders have far more resources at their disposal, including the constant threat of force. When a coup in Pakistan brought General Perez Musharraf to power in 1999, he chose to inform Washington with a phone call to the combatant commander, who at the time was General Anthony Zinni, rather than to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright or the American ambassador in Islamabad.57 The combatant commander is often the most visible representative of the United States in the regional “area of responsibility.” The inevitable consequence of having these officers be so influential in the direction of U.S. foreign policy is that the policy becomes somewhat militarized.58 By their nature and training, combatant commanders see problems in military terms, and they tend to recommend military solutions. As the old saying goes, if the only tool one has is a hammer, every problem will look like a nail. For example, since the Southern Command played a large role in developing and acquiring funding for U.S. drug control policy toward Central and South America, it has a heavier military component than it otherwise might have if the Department of State had taken the lead. This is not necessarily a value judgment—after all, many aspects of foreign policy are primarily military challenges that are best addressed by the Department of Defense—but the nation ought to be aware of the fact that there is a direct and unavoidable relationship between the power of the combatant commanders and the militarization of U.S. foreign policy. As their influence grows, the circle of U.S. interests and commitments expands apace. Were there no such commands, the scope of U.S. interests would automatically shrink. The ability of the United States to respond immediately to many

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types of crises would be severely reduced, which would have the added benefit of taking pressure off policymakers and allow time for contemplation. Patience would become policy. As conservative Democratic Senator Richard Russell noted in 1967 when he was Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, “if it is easy for us to go anywhere and do anything, we will always be going somewhere and doing something.”59 The first step toward restriction of U.S. internationalism would be to increase the cost and hassle of doing so, and elimination of the regional COCOMs would accomplish both of those goals. Two concluding observations about the combatant commands are in order. First, since they have been around as long as most people can remember, there is a temptation to think that COCOMs have always existed. In fact, their creation coincided with the rise of internationalism in America; in some senses, they have made that internationalism possible. The UCP has been updated and revised more than twenty times in the sixty years of its existence, and commands have come and gone.60 Today’s most active, the Central Command, was not established until 1983. Two (the Northern Command and Africa Command) are new to the twenty-first century. Other COCOMs have been eliminated as the years have gone by, including the Alaska, Caribbean, Northeast, Atlantic, and Far East commands.61 The UCP is a living document; like all living things, it can be allowed to die. Second, the United States is alone in the manner with which it organizes its forces worldwide. No other country has established regional commands to deal with far-flung problems that creative analysts can imagine to be of importance. Jerome Slater has argued that “it does not occur to ordinary states to imagine that their ‘vital interests’ are integrally linked to outcomes of local wars in tiny countries thousands of miles away from their borders.”62 A major reassessment of the UCP would allow the United States to begin to resemble what most people around the world think of as a normal country. Eliminating, or at the very least deemphasizing, the COCOMs would not necessarily suggest a complete withdrawal from the affairs of the world, but rather a demilitarization of U.S. foreign policy. Diplomacy could be returned to where it belongs: with the diplomats, rather than the war fighters, who could be freed to return to their primary task of protecting vital national interests. The United States would still have a wide variety of tools with which to influence the decisions of other countries, from the stick and carrots of its substantial economy to a robust, if smaller, defense force. Without the COCOMs, there would be no unified command for the U.S. forces stationed outside the continental United States. The next logical step, therefore, would be to redeploy the majority of U.S. military forces to bases inside the United States. The most obvious and oft-repeated recommendation of virtually all discussions of strategic restraint is the removal of military forces

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from their bases abroad. The need for forward-deployed troops is directly related to the extent of internationalism in the grand strategy. The most active strategies demand the greatest forward presence; restraint requires the least.63 As of September 2007, the Department of Defense maintained 761 overseas sites in 39 nations abroad.64 Long before Afghanistan, its Special Operations Forces were operating in about 125 countries.65 Such far-flung bases and operations are exceptionally expensive, obviously, and the vast majority serves little purpose if indeed major war is on the wane. Their presence is not neutral, since they also tend to make U.S involvement in the affairs of others more likely. One analysis from the CATO Institute estimated that as much as 70 percent of the U.S. defense budget goes to fund operations overseas.66 While that number is perhaps a bit hyperbolic, there is no doubt that the United States spends billions every year assuring the security of states that are already quite safe. Redeployment would mean that the United States would not be able to respond to international crises with the speed it can today, which does not pose much risk in a world where the crises are not likely to be as severe as in times past. But it is also important to remember that distance is not as daunting today as it used to be. A restrained U.S. military would also be more mobile, able to deploy faster if and when national emergencies arise in the future. No major overseas presence is necessary to perform the variety of small constabulary operations that are the most likely use of force in the foreseeable future.

Restrained Force Planning Muscular, interventionist, internationalist strategies require enormous military capabilities. Mackubin Owens, one of primacy’s most eloquent defenders, has argued that proper implementation of such a grand strategy, which is favored by most of the so-called neoconservatives, would require a far larger military than the United States currently possesses.67 He recommends increasing military spending to at least 4.5 percent of GDP, which is still below what the United States spent during the Cold War. It is worth noting that using the percentage of GDP devoted to defense as a guide to proper levels of spending, while widespread, is mind-bogglingly astrategic. At the very least, it implies that security spending should be tied to economic performance rather than to national ends or to threats and opportunities in the international system. It is a meaningless statistic, usually thrown about by neoconservatives and other internationalists to support their contention that the United States is somehow not spending enough to address its security needs. As a broad rule of thumb, irrespective of the percent of GDP devoted to defense, the United States is currently spending at least three or four times what it needs to be safe.

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In a mostly war-averse world, military spending is rapidly affected by the law of diminishing marginal returns: At some point, money spent to address defense ceases to increase the security of the United States. Security is not arithmetical; more spending does not necessarily translate into more security. As Earl Ravenal put it some years ago, “it is meaningless to have ‘more security’ than we need. We can spend more, but security is finite: Either we are safe or we are not.”68 Today the United States is, by all reasonable definitions, safe. Security is relative, not absolute. It is not related to the percentage of its GDP that any state devotes to its defense, but rather to the extant threats and actions of potential rivals. And it does not take long to determine that the United States is not only outspending all potential competitors, but wasting its resources along the way. By way of comparison, at the height of its power Great Britain famously maintained a “two navy standard,” which kept the Royal Navy at least as big as that of the next two biggest competitors combined. It was the tail end of a nautically active era: “During the 16th through 18th centuries,” points out Barrett Tillman, “conflict at sea was more or less constant.” Naval engagements occurred in seventy-nine of the seventeenth century’s years, and twenty-seven of the next sixty-five.69 Today the U.S. Navy is effectively maintaining a seventeen navy standard, with even greater capability than the number would imply, despite the fact that combat at sea has become exceptionally rare.70 The U.S. Navy has not been involved in a meaningful naval engagement since Okinawa. While most of the rest of the world seems to have realized that major wars are unlikely, the United States races ahead, alone. Neorealists would have us believe that the decision made by most of the world’s richest states to not build large militaries—in effect, to decline to become great powers—is gravely mistaken and bound to be punished.71 When this decision is being made by a majority of the largest actors, however, the sagacious analyst should begin to wonder whether all these anomalies are in fact signs of the emergence of a new set of rules for the international system. Far from being the exceptions to a realist rule, almost all potential great powers have chosen to “Hollandize,” to use Mueller’s term, and have refused to devote significant resources to their militaries since the end of the Cold War.72 In fact the list of potential great powers that seem to be preparing to fight future major wars is down to one. The United States is a heavyweight surrounded by (mostly friendly) featherweights—and that heavyweight is taking steroids. A “Capabilities-Based” Military In the summer of 2002 the U.S. military conducted one of the biggest training exercises in its history. Code-named “Millennium Challenge,” the exercise gave all the services a chance to test a variety of new technologies that had rolled off

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the high-tech assembly line in the preceding years. Given the date, one might assume that the enemy in Millennium Challenge would have been Iraq, or one of the other members of the “Axis of Evil,” or perhaps even China or Russia. However, since none of these potential enemies would have given U.S. capabilities the correct kind of test, the enemy chosen was the country with the second most technologically sophisticated military: Israel.73 The United States spent $250 million simulating a war against the Israelis. That war against Israel was completely implausible did not matter to the architects of Millennium Challenge. Much more important were the capabilities that Israel possesses, for it is the only country that could theoretically pose a high-tech problem for the U.S. military. Millennium Challenge might seem a bit illogical to outsiders, but it made perfect sense in the wider context of capabilities-based force planning, which has become one of the hallmarks of the twenty-first-century Pentagon. As part of his much-debated “transformation” of the military, Secretary Rumsfeld wrote that a new approach was necessary, one that “focuses less on who might threaten us, or where, and more on how we might be threatened and what is needed to deter and defend against such threats.”74 In other words, the actual threats posed by the outside world are not as important for purposes of planning as the vulnerabilities that U.S. strategists can identify in their own armor. Wise planning should proceed as if there were peer competitors continually probing the U.S. armor for weakness, even if no such competitor exists. Capabilities-based planning encourages the United States to continue to run as fast as it can, even if it is running the race by itself. It is natural and right for the U.S. military to want to remain the best that it possibly can be no matter what other states are doing. After all, a high jumper does not stop trying to achieve greater heights just because the competition cannot keep pace. The task of the political leader, therefore, is to assess realistic risks and allocate scarce resources according to most likely threats of the future. Capabilities-based planning has thus far resulted in a series of bizarre decisions, focusing not upon the probable small wars of the future but rather on a Third World War, fought against a mirror image of itself. It does not take into account the most likely future uses of those forces, and as a result entails enormous costs, both actual and opportunity, for the United States. There is an alternative. For most of the post–World War II era, the United States relied on threat-based planning, which took the capabilities of actual enemies (like the Soviet Union, or rogue states under the Clinton Administration) into account. Capabilities-based planning is a logical method with which to assemble a military to support a grand strategy of primacy; threat-based planning, to which the United States would be wise to return, is the method that almost all other grand strategies, especially restraint, would recommend. Because today’s threats are low—lower than they have ever been—so too can be our spending.

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Defense planning is necessarily a worst-case-scenario business. While prudence dictates that the United States would be wise to keep ahead of potential competitors, going beyond research and development of futuristic weapons systems is not only wasteful but risks creating a false sense of security. And it obviously diverts money away from more worthwhile projects.

Dominance and Risk U.S. force planning priorities no longer reflect realistic international threats. However, a critic might ask, does the dominance that the United States now possesses on nearly every conceivable battlefield serve to deter potential peers from rising? Might the cost of maintaining that dominance be worth paying, if it discourages the rise of dangerous competition? William Wohlforth and others have argued that the American edge is so overwhelming that no other country dare rise to challenge, or balance, its power.75 The Pentagon currently puts a premium on dissuasion, or the power to affect the strategic decisions of other countries, which is always accomplished through an overwhelming military superiority (and is therefore a strategic tool primarily of primacy).76 Perhaps U.S. dominance is almost a necessary condition for international stability, and if it were to wane the world would be far more likely to descend into chaos. This objection arises every time the subject of fundamental force transformation is raised in strategic circles. How can one be sure that the vision of Mueller and Jervis will survive the turbulence that a scaled-down U.S. military might cause in the international system? Can the United States afford to be unprepared for the unexpected rise of other powers? Should defense planners not prepare for the possibility of a less peaceful future? Surely September 11 ought to be enough to demonstrate that the world is dangerous and the future unpredictable. This argument, which is based upon what could be thought of as the logic of dominance, often wins post–Cold War force-planning debates, preventing a recognition of new systemic realities. Such victories should not be celebrated, however, because the logic suffers from a severe flaw, namely, a version of the abstraction fallacy. The United States must develop nearly every weapon system it can, so the logic goes, since one can never be sure who the enemies of the future will be. But the world does not contain an infinite number of states that rise and fall in unpredictable ways; in fact, there are only a handful of states that possess the potential power necessary to ever be a threat to vital U.S. interests. Most of those are U.S. allies, and they will remain so barring nearly unimaginable seismic shifts in international politics. Membership in that small group also tends to be relatively stable from generation to generation, with addition or subtraction a fairly rare phenomenon. It is simply not true that we have no way of knowing what states may pose threats to

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U.S. interests in the future. We actually are well aware of who they are, and they are fairly easy to watch. If and when they begin to act belligerently, military forces can be adjusted accordingly. The variety of intelligence-gathering options available to U.S. policymakers today renders absurd the notion that any massive arsenal could be surreptitiously built. If at some point in future decades it becomes prudent to build the F-22 to counter a new generation of Chinese air-dominance fighters, for instance, presumably the United States could do so. To build the plane now—to spend billions in the absence of a realistic mission or threat—would be the height of irresponsible policymaking. There are dozens of similarly pointless weapons systems ready to roll off the assembly lines, all of which are designed to fight the next major war, including the Navy’s Virginia-Class attack submarine, the Army’s Future Combat System and astonishingly expensive space weaponry of all kinds. Dust will collect on such weapons, just as it collected on Cold War ICBMs, and America will be no safer because of their existence. Dominance logic helps create a political atmosphere that makes global hegemony sound like the only responsible policy choice. For those seeking the best possible foreign policy for the United States, however, the opportunity cost of full-spectrum dominance is far too high to pay for a marginal, untestable, and quite possibly net negative benefit. If the retreat-from-doomsday vision is correct, then these places would be fairly stable no matter what the United States does. Our belief that we control what they do through our dominance is likely mistaken. Mitigating Risks Although recommendations for strategic adjustments typically caution policymakers to implement changes slowly in order to minimize the chances of dangerous destabilization, in today’s stable zone of peace such destabilization is an extremely low probability event. There is little need to fear that even rapid implementation would result in unpleasant consequences—in other words, the strategic risk of these force-structure changes is fairly small, if the theory driving their implementation is correct. The real risks are in the political sphere, since such broad, sweeping adjustments will be opposed in many circles. They can be mitigated in a number of ways. First, to make demobilization politically palatable, weapons could be mothballed, not destroyed. Were major war to return, they could be brought back into service. Former CIA Director Stansfield Turner has recommended the creation of a “strategic escrow,” where nuclear weapons could be stored rather than dismantled, in the unlikely event that they are ever needed.77 Such escrow

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would likely ease fears of those not yet convinced by the evidence that war is on the wane. Second, funding increases should be targeted at those areas that help reduce the possibility of strategic surprise—specifically intelligence, research, and development. Clearly the priority this country currently puts on its intelligence gathering is inadequate, given the series of high profile recent failures. It would be particularly important for a restrained United States to avoid unpleasant surprises, since its smaller military posture would theoretically be more vulnerable to aggressors. The knowledge that their government is keeping close tabs on any potential enemies would therefore allow Americans to sleep well at night, safe behind the security of the oceans. Potential rivals would also know that they could not plot in secrecy. In addition, a restrained military would still spend a great deal of time researching and developing new classes of weapons systems, if perhaps with a greater emphasis on the R of R & D. Restraint need not imply scientific and technological stasis. Should normative development reverse itself and major war return, the United States would be ready to respond, thanks to its scientific base and surge capacity. Insurance need not take the form of the production of new classes of weapons, but rather the knowledge of how they can be produced if ever needed. A mobilization strategy could help reassure those who still see enemies all around. In sum, a world free from the danger of major war would require a radically different force structure than one where a superpower clash was a realistic possibility. Force planning should address the most realistic threats, not every contingency that the human imagination can devise. Eventually, U.S. grand strategists will come to grips with the need to address the real dangers that exist in the zone of peace, rather than the extremely unlikely event of a major clash of arms. Instead, the United States today prepares for imaginary wars against largely abstract foes. If China does not cooperate and develop into a realistic peer competitor—and if major war is obsolete, it probably will not—the raison d’etre for the transformation agenda will cease to exist. The preceding examination of the pathological influence of capabilities-based planning is merely the tip of the opportunity-cost iceberg. A restrained military would not only continue to be the finest the world has ever known, but it would also be unchallenged.

The United States: Strategic Laggard? Finally, it is worth noting that the rest of the industrialized world seems to have internalized the post-bellic norm and adjusted its grand strategies accordingly. No European or Pacific Rim state acts as if it fears for its very survival. As discussed

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Table 8.2 The British Military, 2007 Total size of UK armed forces, 1990: 305,800 Total size of UK armed forces, 2007: 195,900 British Army: 107,000 soldiers U.S. Marine Corps: 175,000 Royal Navy, 2010: 25–31 ships U.S. Navy, 2007: 313 ships World Rank of Size of UK Armed Forces: 28 World Rank of Size of Burmese Armed Forces: 26 World Rank of Size of Eritrean Armed Forces: 27 Figures compiled from open sources by Boot, “Going It Alone Because We Have To.” Boot argues that this is evidence not of the outlier status of the United States, but of the strategic irresponsibility of the rest of the world.

previously, although these countries are all quite rich and capable of producing large militaries, they generally choose not to do so. Since the end of the Cold War, their defense budgets have been slashed drastically. Table 7.2 shows the current state of the British military, which in many ways is the second-most capable fighting force in the world after that of the United States, along with some numbers that offer useful comparisons. Great Britain maintains a military sufficient to ensure its basic national security and to participate in international humanitarian affairs abroad. It relies on free trade to enhance its prosperity, and encourages its corporations to compete in global markets. In other words, along with all of the other major industrialized states, Great Britain is already practicing strategic restraint, and it appears to be no worse off for doing so. The European powers—many of which certainly have the potential to be great—already follow Nordlinger’s three tiers of engagement. They put very little effort into assuring their national security, since they feel secure a priori.78 They are modestly active in humanitarian causes around the world and are willing to contribute to peacekeeping and relief missions as long as the burden of doing so is shared. And finally, all European nations engage the world aggressively in trade and finance, proving that restraint need not be accompanied by isolation or protectionism. The rest of the global north spends far less on defense than it could and pumps those savings back into its societies. Skeptics might argue that these free riders can afford to cut back on their international commitments and military spending as long as the United States guarantees their security. Were those guarantees to wane, distrust and arms races might well return to parts of the world that otherwise seem to have left such warlike behavior behind. In other words, the apparent strategic restraint of the

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European powers and the Pacific Rim is in fact an illusion, one that would come crumbling down if the United States were to withdraw its commitments. If the peaceful status quo is provided by U.S. spending, why, more than a few strategists have asked, would anyone wish to rock the boat? Why take the risk that withdrawing our commitments to the peaceful parts of the world would undermine the stability that is of course very much in our interest as well? “Contemplating the removal of American forces from Eurasia,” argued Art, “can be compared to deciding whether to maintain a fire insurance policy on one’s own home. Having carried coverage for a half-century, does one now cancel the policy simply because no fire has occurred?”79 Let us assume for a moment that these assumptions are tenable. Let us assume that the classical realists are correct and mistrust, insecurity, and war are permanent parts of the international system, and that major war will never be obsolete. Let us further assume away the many logical problems with both the logic of dominance and the hegemonic stability theory. Even if it is true that the United States is the only thing standing between the world and chaos, is it fair for the U.S. taxpayer to shoulder the burden of the entire world’s security? The United States would be playing the role of the sucker in game-theory terms by paying to insure the safety of some of the world’s richest countries, spending its resources at an ultimately unsustainable rate. If it is true that the world is moving into a post-bellic era, and there is much reason to believe that it is, then the United States could relieve its beleaguered taxpayers and withdraw its presence from Eurasian affairs without risking catastrophe. The danger of instability filling vacuums left in the wake of a U.S. withdrawal is exceptionally small. To return to Art’s metaphor, insurance is only necessary if it provides coverage for plausible events; the Detroit resident who buys hurricane insurance is wasting money. Likewise, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the United States is wasting money by insuring the world against remarkably unlikely events. Perhaps the United States is alone in comprehending the dangers that still exist in the international system; perhaps, however, it could learn something from the behavior of the other members. The conclusion of the many is probably more accurate than the conclusion of the one. Since the logical default option of the United States should always be to spend less, to get the maximum amount of security at the minimum cost, surely it is worth at least attempting to see whether the Europeans are right. Although great insecurity has traditionally accompanied great power, this need not be the case; presumably, better policy would arise from a rational, realistic assessment of threat. Insecurity, whether real or imagined, leads to expansive, internationalist, interventionist grand strategies. The more danger a state perceives, the greater its willingness to go abroad in search of monsters to

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destroy. The “preventive” war in Iraq is the most obvious consequence of the inflated U.S. perception of threat, but it is hardly the only one. This particularly American pathology is in need of diagnosis and cure, lest Iraq be not a singular debacle, as Barry Posen has warned, but “a harbinger of costs to come.”80 The United States will have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reassess its grand strategy in the aftermath of the Iraq disaster. At the very least, the postmortem discussions should make clear the abject bankruptcy of primacy. While advocates of aggressive internationalism devise a host of excuses for why the war has not gone as planned, they miss the most obvious explanation: The Iraq disaster was the result of policies that flowed logically from a flawed grand strategy, not of poor implementation by subordinates. All the mistakes that have been made can be traced back to fundamental assumptions of the theory under which they were operating. Primacists—or liberal nationalists, or democratic realists, or neoconservatives, or whatever they would like to be called—assumed the desire for liberty burned hot in the breast of every person, and once it was unleashed democracy would rapidly emerge, which would allow the United States to withdraw its troops. Pro-American feeling would spread across the region. Support for terrorism would be undercut. A liberal world order would emerge. All of the major decisions surrounding the war that have come under such scrutiny since its inception were logical for those harboring the assumptions of primacy. If the grand strategy had been correct, if it had been based upon valid assumptions, then all would have been vindicated. It was not, and disaster has ensued. The choices leading up to and during the war were made by people who held in common a very specific theoretical approach to international relations, a coherent vision of the future and a corresponding grand strategy. Primacy got the United States into the Iraq war; perhaps restraint can get it out, and prevent such tragedies from ever happening again. The specter of restraint seems to hang over the internationalist community, like a ghost from the past that might rear its powerful, ugly head at any moment. Warnings about its potential resurrection have appeared periodically since World War II, especially following the periodic disasters that inevitably accompany internationalism.81 Since the end of the Cold War, a number of pollsters and analysts have reassured themselves that the American people do not support restrained policies.82 One might be forgiven for reacting to such poll parsing with a certain degree of skepticism, since the analysts involved tend to be ardent internationalists. It is unarguably true that a proud element of traditional restrained sentiment exists in the American polity, which suggests that any leader seeking to lead a change in strategy would have more natural allies than he or she might at first assume.83 The debacle in Iraq has increased their numbers: Forty-nine percent of Americans told Pew pollsters in December 2009 that the United States

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should “mind its own business and let others get along on their own,” which was the highest number since the question was first asked in the 1960s.84 Michael Mandelbaum worries that it may soon be necessary to keep his preferred strategy a secret. The fate of American internationalism, he wrote, “may depend in part on Americans not scrutinizing it too closely.”85 Democracy at home can apparently be a handicap to those who would promote it most fiercely abroad. Within the next couple of years, restraint may well have the two crucial elements necessary for any grand strategy to be implemented: strategic logic and political possibility. The most powerful state may finally recognize the titanic shifts that have occurred in world politics and adjust its policies accordingly. Notes 1. Wright, “Top Focus Before 9 / 11 Wasn’t on Terrorism.” 2. Washington Post, “Excerpts from Rice’s Speeches.” 3. See the essays in Rosecrance and Stein, The Domestic Bases of Grand Strategy. 4. An interesting discussion of the wisdom of withdrawal from alliances can be found in Menon, The End of Alliances. That Menon feels the need to state repeatedly how opposed to isolationism he is can be read as a testament to just how poisonous the label has become in contemporary strategic debates. 5. Mearsheimer and Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. 6. Gholz, Press, and Sapolsky, “Come Home America,” 20. 7. Kang, “International Relations Theory and the Second Korean War”; and O’Hanlon, “Stopping a North Korean Invasion.” 8. Schroeder, “Alliances, 1815–1945”; and Pressman, Warring Friends. 9. Schroeder, “Alliances, 1815–1945,” 256. 10. Steel, Pax Americana, 17. 11. For traditional discussions of the effect of credibility on policy, see Snyder, Deterrence and Defense; Schelling, Arms and Influence; and George and Smoke, Deterrence in American Foreign Policy. 12. McMahon, “Credibility and World Power”; Jervis and Snyder, Dominoes and Bandwagons; Hopf, Peripheral Visions; Mercer, Reputation and International Politics; Tang, “Reputation, the Cult of Reputation, and International Conflict”; Press, Calculating Credibility; and Fettweis, “Credibility and the War on Terror.” 13. Haas, “The Balance of Power.” 14. Spykman, “Geographic Objectives in Foreign Policy I.” Discussed further by Furniss in “The Contribution of Nicholas John Spykman to the Study of International Politics,” 391. 15. Angell, America and the New World-State, 32. Discussed by de Wilde in “Norman Angell.” 16. Kissinger’s views on the importance of balanced power are made quite clear in Diplomacy.

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17. Waltz, Man, the State, and War, 222. 18. White House, National Security Strategy of the United States of America, 3, 5, 7, 28, 32. 19. “We have no eternal allies and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.” Lord Palmerston, 1848. 20. Spykman, America’s Strategy in World Politics, 132. Art called Spykman “one of the most rigorous of the American foreign policy analysts at that time” and discussed some of his ideas in “A Defensible Defense,” 15–18. 21. Gray, “Back to the Future,” 46. 22. Layne, The Peace of Illusions, 160, emphasis in original. See also Brzezinksi, The Grand Chessboard; Art, A Grand Strategy for America; and Kissinger, Diplomacy. 23. See Gellman, “Keeping the U.S. First,” A1. 24. Frum and Perle, An End to Evil. 25. See Suskind, The One Percent Doctrine. 26. Huntington, The Third Wave. 27. Kennan, “On American Principles,” 125. 28. See Davis and Lynn-Jones, “City upon a Hill.” See also Tucker, “Exemplar or Crusader?” 29. Lind, The American Way of Strategy, 28. 30. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright seems to have first uttered that phrase in the fall of 1996. Sciolino, “The Foreign Policy Race,” 63. 31. Kristol and Kagan, “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy,” 31. 32. Quoted by Greenhouse, “Republicans Plan to Guide Foreign Policy by Purse String,” 12. 33. Olsen, U.S. National Defense for the Twenty-First Century, 37. 34. Quoted in Tucker and Hendrickson, The Imperial Temptation, 173. 35. Taft, A Foreign Policy for Americans, 14. 36. Mueller, “Policy Principles for Unthreatened Wealth-Seekers,” 30. 37. Art, A Grand Strategy for America, 178–97. 38. See Van Evera, “Why Europe Matters, Why the Third World Doesn’t,” 9; and Art, A Grand Strategy for America, 192–93. 39. Art, A Grand Strategy for America, 206. 40. Richardson, “New Perspectives on Appeasement”; Rock, Appeasement in International Politics; Khong, Analogies at War; Record, Making War, Thinking History, and The Specter of Munich. 41. See Sagan, “The Origins of the Pacific War.” 42. Richardson, On the Treadmill to Pearl Harbor. 43. See Murray and Millett, A War to be Won, 545. 44. Sheehan, Where Have All the Soldiers Gone? 150. 45. Layne, The Peace of Illusions, 163; see also See Gholz, Press, and Sapolsky, “Come Home America,” 45.

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46. Rostow, The United States in the World Arena, 544. 47. Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man. 48. Nordlinger, Isolationism Reconfigured, 140. 49. Ibid., 13. 50. Woolsey, “The Elephant in the Middle East Living Room.” 51. Betts, “A Disciplined Defense.” 52. Remarks made for Nova’s “Battle Plan under Fire.” 53. Quoted in Tucker and Hendrickson, Empire of Liberty, 241. 54. Garbesi, “U.S. Unified Command Plan.” 55. The title Combatant Commander, or CCDR in the Pentagon’s acronymsaturated lexicon, replaced the former name of the officers that are in charge of COCOMs, “Commanders-in-Chief,” in 2000. 56. Priest, The Mission; and Reveron, America’s Viceroys. 57. Priest, The Mission, 112–14. 58. Fettweis, “Militarizing Diplomacy.” 59. Quoted by Olsen, U.S. National Defense for the Twenty-First Century, 55. 60. Garbesi, “U.S. Unified Command Plan,” 17–45. 61. For a full history of the UCP, see Cole, History of the Unified Command Plan, 1946–1999. 62. Slater, “The Domino Theory and International Politics,” 218. 63. Wolfowitz, one of the principle proponents of primacy, argues forcefully for a strong forwardly deployed force in “The New Defense Strategy.” 64. Department of Defense, Base Structure Report, Fiscal Year 2008 Baseline. 65. Priest, The Mission, 17. 66. Bandow, “Keeping the Troops and the Money at Home,” 10. 67. Owens, “A Balanced Force Structure to Achieve a Liberal World Order.” 68. Ravenal, Never Again, 15. 69. Tillman, “Fear and Loathing in the Post-Naval Era.” 70. On this, see Work, “Winning the Race.” 71. This point is further discussed in chapter 3. Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion,” 9; Waltz, “The Emerging Structure of International Politics,” 59. 72. Mueller, Retreat From Doomsday, 19–21. 73. Marine General Paul Van Riper discussed the exercise in “Wake-Up Call,” The Guardian. Details of the exercise are available from U.S. Joint Forces Command, “Millennium Challenge 2002.” The use of Israel as the primary enemy is analyzed in Nova’s “Battle Plan under Fire.” Gladwell discusses the exercise in a somewhat different context in Blink, 99–146. 74. Rumsfeld, “Transforming the Military,” 24. 75. As discussed in chapter 3, this argument is made by Wohlforth in “The Stability of a Unipolar World.” 76. Dissuasion is one of four strategic roles played by the military, as discussed in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review. The others are assure, deter, and defeat.

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77. Turner, Caging the Nuclear Genie. 78. Sheehan, Where Have All the Soldiers Gone? 79. Art, A Grand Strategy for America, 216. 80. Posen, “The Case for Restraint,” 13. 81. Pfaff worried that September11 would bring on restraint in “The War on Terrorism May Bring on a New U.S. Isolationism.” 82. See for instance Destler and Kull, Misreading the Public. 83. Evidence for the existence of a stable, popular sympathy for restraint can be found in Schneider, “The New Isolationism,” 26–38. Troglodytic political consultant Dick Morris reports in his memoir that throughout the 1990s, internal Clinton Administration polling revealed a consistent strain of about 40 percent of the public that was “really isolationist, opposed to having much a foreign policy at all.” Behind the Oval Office, 247. Discussed further in Ruggie, “The Past as Prologue?”, 91. 84. Pew Center for People and the Press, “U.S. Seen as Less Important, China as More Powerful.” 85. Mandelbaum, The Case for Goliath, 224.

Conclusion Angell, Honor, and the Proliferation of Peace

I wish it were not everlastingly necessary to reiterate the fact that the world has moved. Norman Angell, The Great Illusion IN A 1904 ESSAY TITLED “The Law of Acceleration,” historian and novelist Henry Adams became one of the first to observe that the pace of societal evolution was substantially increasing as time went on. Borrowing imagery from Newton, Adams explained how the revolutions in science and industrialization were rendering many aspects of traditional life obsolete at ever-increasing speeds. The law is as “definite and constant as any law of mechanics,” Adams argued, and it “cannot be supposed to relax its energy to suit the convenience of man.”1 The speed at which technology was changing all aspects of society could be disorienting and disconcerting. “The hunger for stability is entirely natural,” according to the philosopher William James. “Change is scary; uncharted change, demoralizing. If the law of acceleration is not to spin the world out of control, society must cherish its lifelines into the past.”2 But the speed of change would not wait for the anxious to adjust their expectations. By mid-century, Arnold Toynbee could note without controversy that it was “not an article of faith” but “a datum of observation and experience history” to note that history was accelerating, and “at an accelerating rate.”3 For better or for worse, the twentieth century witnessed greater transformation in humanity’s lot than all others that came before it combined. Fortunately, the vast majority of the changes turned out to be positive.4 Angell cited the Law of Acceleration too, hoping that it could account for a rather rapid change in the way humanity regarded war.5 Was Norman Angell a naïve utopian, or was he merely born a century too soon? Will war always be with us, like sex, death, and taxes? Perhaps it is too soon to pass any definitive judgment. But it is worth pausing a moment to ponder the profound changes that have taken place in international society over the course of the last couple of centuries. The world has indeed moved, and in remarkable, if sometimes underappreciated, ways.

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If history is the best guide to human nature, then the evidence seems overwhelming that skeptics are correct when they argue that our innate aggressions guarantee that war will always be a central feature of international politics. The extent to which aggression is innate or learned is a controversial question that cuts across many of the social sciences, from psychology to anthropology to sociology, and one that stands at the heart of the debate between the major schools of international relations theory.6 Realists tend to believe that human nature is not only bellicose but immutable, and that passions will, at least occasionally, overrule reason. Alexander Hamilton spoke for this perspective when he warned those who would believe in the “paradox of perpetual peace” to remember that people are “ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious.” Those who seek perpetual peace “disregard the uniform course of human events, and to set at defiance the accumulated experience of ages.”7 “The struggle that is history,” wrote Samuel Huntington, “began with the eating of the forbidden fruit and is rooted in human nature.”8 To him and many other classical realists, war, like murder, is an inevitable and fundamental aspect of the human experience. Mainstream international relations theory is guilty at times of assuming that nothing of consequence changes. Scholars search for eternal rules of state interaction, implicitly discounting the possibility that they aim at a moving target, that the rules they seek to describe could be in constant flux. Some have argued that extended stability gives only the temporary illusion of progress, since history goes through identifiable cycles between war and peace.9 Periods of calm are merely pauses between cataclysms, which give each new generation its own opportunity to learn lessons about the horrors of war. Colin Gray has argued on behalf of the conventional wisdom that “scholars who periodically discover accurately enough that military security appears not to matter very much today are akin to people who decide that because the weather now is fine the days of bad weather obviously have passed.”10 The climate cannot change, in Gray’s mind; weather patterns will always be the same.11 International politics, alone among human institutions, is evidently immune to the forces of evolution. Constructivists, many of whom have the classical liberal’s faith in the potential for humanity to learn and progress, generally argue that passions are controlled or at least affected by ideas. “If our instinctive pugnacities and hates are uncontrollable,” wrote Angell, “and they dictate our conduct, no more is to be said. We are the helpless victims of outside forces, and might as well surrender.”12 Human nature is not subject to change due to normative evolution, but human ideas and institutions presumably are. War is such an institution, a tradition of dispute resolution, a method states have chosen to employ when their interests diverge. Granted, it has been with us throughout history, but as Mueller noted, “unlike breathing, eating or sex, war is not something that is somehow required

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by the human psyche, by the human condition, or by the forces of history.”13 To argue that people can change their minds and think differently is not to propose that they can change their fundamental natures and somehow be different. To constructivists, intellect determines what will arouse our passions and shape our instincts; as ideas change, so do desires. War, since it is a product of reason rather than emotion, ought not be immune from evolution as people change their minds according to the intellectual development of international society. Although it may not always seem to be this way, as time goes by the world has been growing more liberal, and more reliant upon reason, logic, and science. As a consequence, honor no longer compels countries to fight one another at a moment’s notice. History seems to be unfolding as a line extending into the future—a halting, incomplete, inconsistent line perhaps, one with frequent temporary reversals, but a line nonetheless. If there are cycles in the history of ideas, to extend the mathematical metaphor, then their period is exceptionally long. Signs of this evolution are everywhere around us. Angell was fond of discussing the fate of witches in virtually all eras before his. Not much more than a hundred years before he wrote, “hundreds of judges in Europe—not ignorant men, but, on the contrary, exceedingly well educated men, trained to sift evidence— were condemning people to death by the hundreds for witchcraft. . . . A school boy to-day would scout the evidence which, on the judgment of very learned men, sent thousands of poor wretches to their doom in the 18th century.”14 Many practices that would seem ridiculous to the school children of today seemed perfectly rational to learned people of yesteryear. Throughout most of human history, state-of-the-art jurisprudence considered animals to be subject to the same legal processes as human beings, endowed with similar rights and responsibilities. In a book equal parts entertaining and disturbing, Edward P. Evans cited hundreds of serious trials of animals, many of which were followed by torture and / or execution.15 The distinguished sixteenth-century French jurist Bartholomew Chassennée made his name by providing a skillful criminal defense of a group of rats accused of “feloniously eating up” and wantonly destroying a barley crop. Over the years, the condemned included cows, sheep, horses, dogs, rats, locusts, weevils, caterpillars, asses, mules, worms, cocks, snails, “cockchafers,” oxen, bloodsuckers, moles, bulls, grasshoppers, and wolves. Although brought to rather remarkable heights during the Middle Ages (when animals, in the absence of human testimony, could sometimes bear witness), this practice cannot be written off as merely another example of medieval mindlessness: Plato had written on the subject, concluding eventually that guilty animals should be banished rather than executed.16 It was not uncommon for Romans to crucify animals, especially dogs during one of their feast days. The culpability of animals is mentioned in the Bible and Koran, at least in ways that provided arguments for

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medieval legal scholars, and animals were tried and executed in Europe, China, Central Africa, and Russia. The last incident Evans recorded was in Switzerland in 1906—the year of the book’s publication—where two men and a dog were put on trial for murder. The former pair was sentenced to life in prison; the dog was hanged. One of the central purposes of this brief volume is to underline what ought to be so obvious that it should not merit debate: The world changes. The rules of international politics, like all other instruments of human creation, constantly evolve. To paraphrase a rather hackneyed saying, the only thing constant about the rules of war is that they change. Yet no matter how much evidence accumulates, no matter how persuasive the logic of the argument, there will always be a segment of the international relations community that will remain unconvinced that major war could ever be a thing of the past. In most important ways, according to traditionalists, the rules of international politics are the same as those that Thucydides, Hobbes, and Clausewitz described. One can try to point out the differences between our world and theirs, but no amount of evidence can ever shake the faith of the truly devout. Nine years after the worst terrorist attacks in world history, a sense of pessimism about the future of international security and stability still pervades cultures in the United States and abroad. Those attacks, along with the subsequent bombings around the world and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, have created widespread distrust and anger on both sides of the oceans. The second theme that runs throughout every chapter of this book is that the current pessimism and despair is out of proportion to the actual threats posed by either international terrorism or U.S. unilateralism, which are the two most fashionable current bogeymen. All trends and empirical evidence overwhelmingly support the belief that a proliferation of peace is far more likely than chaos in the twenty-first century. The outlook for the future is hardly as bleak as it sometimes may seem. According to all measurable indicators, international stability is improving. As Al Qaeda and related groups generate widespread and understandable unease about the future of international stability, it is important to note that the trends of great power cooperation have strengthened since September 11, disagreements over Iraq notwithstanding. Despite the fact that the French, Germans, Russians, and others protested the Bush Administration’s Middle Eastern misadventures, they have neither taken preventative action nor reacted in ways that can realistically be interpreted as hostile. The spread of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism has only strengthened ties in the zone of peace and made war inside it even less likely. Accurately or not, many in the industrialized world see the struggles against Al Qaeda, Chechen rebels, Uigur separatists, Palestinian nationalists, Kashmiris, and other semirelated groups as different fronts of the same

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war. In June 2002, during his (in)famous speech first announcing the doctrine of preemption, President Bush also argued that We have our best chance since the rise of the nation state in the 17th century to build a world where great powers compete in peace rather than prepare for war. . . . Competition between great nations is inevitable, but armed conflict in our world is not. More and more, civilized nations find ourselves on the same side—united by common dangers of terrorist violence and chaos.17 Great power cooperation in the wake of September 11 has been unprecedented and underreported. Even pessimists have noted that more than ever before, a common enemy has united the global north: An otherwise gloomy analyst from London’s International Institute of Strategic Studies, for example, recently remarked that “the relations of Russia, China, and India with the U.S. have improved greatly since Sept. 11,” as if that trend was of no significance.18 While the immediate post–September 11 cooperation may prove to be short-lived, what seems to be part of a broader trend is the recognition that Al Qaeda and its allies represent a threat to the combined interests of the great powers. More and more, the zone of peace is presenting a united front, setting precedents for peaceful conflict resolution. Ours should be an age of unprecedented optimism, rather than one marked by tension created by a tiny cabal of terrorist sociopaths. After all, although the bin Ladens of the world (and the IRAs, the ETAs, the LTTEs, and so on) have demonstrated an ability to kill large numbers of people in horrifyingly dramatic ways, they cannot overthrow a government, or cause a state to collapse, or kill entire populations. And they most certainly cannot inject instability into the emerging zone of peace. To the contrary, their actions seem to have made major war even less likely than it would have been otherwise. Scholars are not alone in their curious underappreciation of the many positive trends of the current era. The message that major war has grown obsolete does not seemed to have penetrated those societies that can be expected to experience, for the first time in history, sustained peace. This puzzled Singer and Wildavsky more than a decade ago. “Why,” they wondered, is there “no joy that for the first time there is no prospect of war among the leading powers of the world?”19 We live in an era in which, by almost all measurable indicators, life is improving in every corner of the globe, yet as sociologist Barry Glassner has pointed out, “the more things improve, the more pessimistic we become.”20 Has the long era of near-invulnerability made Americans in particular nearly incapable of rendering coherent judgment about their security?21 Perhaps something in human nature prevents optimism. Perhaps on some deep level individuals and societies feel better when they have an enemy against whom to struggle or

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a cause that keeps them motivated; perhaps conflict and struggle help us in our life-long search for meaning.22 “Give us a happy ending,” wrote Glassner, “and we write a new disaster story.”23 Whatever the reason, sometimes people just do not seem to be hardwired to remain happy for long. The current global pessimism might be tempered by a bit of historical perspective: Today a far greater percentage of the world’s population lives in societies at peace than at any time before in history. That the number and intensity of all types of warfare have dropped steadily since the early 1990s is especially significant given the rapid increase in the number of both states and people over the last fifty years. The number of independent countries roughly tripled in the twentieth century. When World War Two began, the total world population was around 2.3 billion people, the majority of whom were touched in some way by the war. Over four billion souls have been added to the world since, including almost a billion in the 1990s alone. This unprecedented, exponential systemic growth has not resulted in Malthusian clashes for resources in most areas of the world, as many predicted. Despite the minor wars and terrorist attacks that have occurred since September 11, it seems as if more citizens of the twenty-first century— both in raw numbers and as a percentage of the overall global population—will lead mundane, peaceful lives than in any that came before, bothered perhaps by quiet desperation but not by the violence of war. This is a nontrivial statistic. War and conflict may grab the headlines, but conflict is not a daily fact of life for the vast majority of the people on this planet, and the percentage of those for whom it remains a reality is steadily shrinking. This underreported proliferation of peace is especially apparent for those fortunate citizens of the great powers, 100 percent of whom have been free of major war for a half-century. In addition, the percentage of people living without even the threat of war, especially major war, is higher today than at any time in the past. The populations of the great powers have been experiencing an unprecedented era of stability, despite the attempts of a small group of violent nonstate actors to disrupt their lives. Terrorists “win” only if Western society forgets the good news that the last two decades have brought. The coming century is likely to be a significant improvement over its predecessor for the vast majority of the world’s people. Just as the end of the duel did not spell the end of murder, the demise of war will not be followed by the solution of all the world’s problems.24 But surely warfare was one of the worst of these, and we ought to be somewhat encouraged by its absence. Mueller described the tendency of people to romanticize the past, elevating prior ages over the present. Human beings have a “tendency to look backward with misty eyes, to see the past as much more benign, simple, and innocent than it really was,” he observed. “No matter how much better the present gets, the past gets better in reflection, and we are, accordingly, always notably worse off than we used to be. Golden ages, thus, do happen, but we are never actually in them: they

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are always back there somewhere (or, sometimes, in the ungraspable future).”25 As big problems become resolved, Mueller continued, “we tend to elevate smaller ones, sometimes by redefinition or by raising standards, to take their place.”26 Today a golden age of peace may well be dawning, but human nature might make it impossible for both citizens and scholars alike to appreciate its benefits. “Here at the end of the twentieth century,” the historian Stephen Ambrose argued toward the end of his life, “we once again live in a time where it is possible to believe in progress, to believe that things will get better.”27 Things have indeed gotten better for the vast majority of the world’s people, a higher percentage of whom live in peace than at any time in history. Most important, none are experiencing major war. For the first time in history, it is possible to believe that they never will. Modern great powers are not obsessed with defending their honor in the same way that their predecessors were. In those few places where honor still outweighs rational evaluation of interest and drives national action—the Taiwan Strait, perhaps, or in the Arab world—war is still imaginable. But the behavior of great powers tends to trickle down to the lesser; if war is gone from Europe, historically the most honor-obsessed and therefore warlike of regions, then one can reasonably believe that its disappearance everywhere is only a matter of time. The scholarship on international relations is virtually silent on the importance of honor and glory as factors leading to war. They are unspoken dummy variables or constants; unmeasurable, therefore irrelevant. But it is simply not possible to explain state behavior without understanding the importance that previous generations have put on the preservation of their honor, and the value they put on glory. It is no exaggeration to suggest that honor and liberalism have opposite effects on the behavior of states. The historical progression toward the latter in the minds of people, more than any other single factor, explains the current golden age of peace and security. None of this is to suggest that today’s great powers are somehow dishonorable, or that they act dishonorably. Instead what international society considers to be honorable behavior has been irrevocably altered by liberalism; today it is just as if not more honorable to be a good global citizen, to follow laws and respect neighbors. Belligerence does not generate prestige or respect. Conquest brings no glory, and war is no longer a test of one society’s strength and value compared to another. The preservation of, and respect for, human life is simply more important than national or personal dishonor in the mind of the modern West. That change alone is sufficient to bring about the end of major war—and perhaps soon the end of all kinds of conflicts everywhere. The remnants of honor are still with us. While those remnants may no longer be powerful enough to inspire belligerence, there exists still a certain nostalgia for the days when men proved themselves most obviously through combat.

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Honor may be different now, less influential and less dangerous, but it can still rear its head on occasion if the forces of liberalism do not remain vigilant. Temporary setbacks along the road can be expected, but the overall movement toward liberalism and peace is probably irreversible, because normative evolution is almost always unidirectional. It will be the task of the people of the twenty-first century not to allow minor instabilities and tragedies to make them lose sight of the overall positive direction of international politics. Despite the obstinate contention of some of the most conservative elements of this field, the international system does seem to have the capacity for fundamental change, if for no other reason than that its most basic elements— people—can change the way they think and behave. The argument that the future of warfare will be like the past ignores the long record of development in every other area of human endeavor. It is hard to understand why stasis in international behavior often receives the benefit of the doubt. “International politics and the international system have over time unquestionably evolved in character,” historian Paul Schroeder argued eloquently not too long ago. “Nothing is more demonstrably wrong, more plain stupid, than the old saw that the only thing to be learned from history is that men do not learn from history. Men have learned, and they do learn—both individually and collectively.”28 Is this postwar trend irreversible? Could we be experiencing merely another pause between cataclysms? Perhaps normative recidivism cannot be completely ruled out. Perhaps history is cyclical, and the present peaceful era is merely an aberration in the long history of warfare. Perhaps slavery and dueling will also make strong comebacks at some point in this next century. After all, nothing is, strictly speaking, impossible. However, considering both the nature of normative evolution and the empirical record, for the first time in history the smart money seems to be on those who argue that the world has entered the era of permanent great power peace. Notes 1. Adams, The Education of Henry Adams, 477. 2. Quoted by Schlesinger in The Cycles of American History, xi. 3. Quoted by Tarnas in The Passion of the Western Mind, 411. 4. For a review of some of these changes, see Moore and Simon, It’s Getting Better All the Time. 5. Angell, The Great Illusion, 199 and 220. 6. For some starting points, see the essays in Bramson and Goethals, War; Lorenz, On Aggression; Weigle, “Decision-Making in an International Crisis: Some Biological Factors”; Montagu, The Nature of Human Aggression; and Schellenberg, The Science of Conflict.

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7. Hamilton, “Federalist Paper Number Six,” 104. 8. Huntington, “No Exit,” 10. See also Gray, Another Bloody Century; and Fox, “Fatal Attraction.” 9. Farrar, “Cycles of War”; Modelski, Long Cycles in World Politics; and Goldstein, Long Cycles. 10. Gray, “Clausewitz Rules, OK?” 179 11. This is somewhat ironic, because in a later work Gray expressed a strong belief in the coming of climate change and argued that it will inevitably lead to war. See Another Bloody Century, esp. 82–83. 12. Angell, The Fruits of Victory, xxxii. 13. Mueller, Quiet Cataclysm, 120. 14. Angell, The Great Illusion, 327 and 358. 15. Evans, The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals. The story of Chassennée begins on p. 18. A practical fifteenth century Burgundy law excepted oxen and horses from capital punishment for economic reasons, but not “other beasts or Jews,” who had to be “hanged by their hind feet” (164–65). 16. Evans, The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals, 173. 17. Quoted in, and discussed by, Daalder and Lindsay, America Unbound, 90. 18. Blanche, “Russia, with a Little Help from China, Tries to Outflank U.S. in Central Asia.” 19. Singer and Wildavsky, The Real World Order, 10. 20. Glassner, The Culture of Fear, xiv. 21. Thompson, “The Exaggeration of American Vulnerability,” 42. See also Easterbrook, The Progress Paradox. 22. On these issues, see Volkan, The Need to Have Enemies and Allies; and Hedges, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. 23. Glassner, The Culture of Fear, xi. 24. Brodie makes a similar point in War & Politics, 275. 25. Mueller, Quiet Cataclysm, 14. 26. Ibid., 8. 27. Comments made on the History Channel, 1999. 28. Schroeder, “Does Murphy’s Law Apply to History?” 93.

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Index Figures, notes, and tables are indicated with f, n, and t following the page number. abolitionist movements, 29 absolute vs. relative gains in war, 139–41 Adams, Henry, 215 Adams, John, 156 Adams, John Quincy, 156 Afghanistan: Russia’s cooperation on U.S. operations in, 98; Soviet invasion of, 124, 131n66; U.S. operations in, 88, 167 Africa Command, 200, 201 Albright, Madeleine, 200, 212n30 Alexander, Franz, 20 Algeria, conflict in, 86 alliances: and balance of power, 92, 141–42; and constructivist vision of future, 75; and foreign policy, 184–88; in Middle East, 125; and strategic restraint, 168–69, 211n4 Al Qaeda, 190–91, 196–97, 218 alternative energy, 171–72 Ambrose, Stephen, 221 Angell, Norman: and balance of power, 188; and constructivist theory, 3–6; on dueling, 31; on economic interdependence, 40, 41; on human nature, 216; on ideas, 25; on law of acceleration, 215; on war, 21; and World War I, 44 Angels in America (Kushner), 51 anti-terrorism policies. See terrorism and counterterrorism appeasement policies, 44–45 Argentina, nuclear program in, 102 arms races, 143

Aron, Raymond, 42 Art, Robert, 178, 212n20 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), 117 atomic weapons. See nuclear proliferation authoritarianism, 196 Axelrod, Robert, 25–26, 29 Azerbaijan and Caspian Sea oil reserves, 120, 130n41 “Bahamas Problem,” 24–25 Baku–Tblisi–Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, 120, 121 balance of power: and alliances, 141–42; alternatives to balancing, 96–97; in Caspian Sea region, 120, 121; and constructivist vision of future, 74; costs of balancing, 98–100; and foreign policy, 188–90; and internal problems, 100–101; in Middle East, 182n63; and neorealist vision of future, 69; in neorealist vision of future, 70; prediction-and-evaluation method applied to, 90–101; soft balancing, 97–98; unbalanced power explanations, 95–101 balance of threat, 141, 152n24 balking, 96 bandwagoning, 96, 142 behavioralist approaches to study of war, 144–46 Belarus and nuclear proliferation, 102 Belgium, internal conflict in, 48

264

Bell, Coral, 26, 45 Bell, Daniel, 63, 83 Bennett, D. Scott, 80n34 Betts, Richard, 197 Biden, Joseph, 178 binding, 96 bipolarity, stability of, 71, 81n66 Blank, Stephen, 107n51, 119 Bloch, Ivan, 38 Bosnia, peacekeeping operations in, 107n55 Brady, Matthew, 39–40 Brazil, nuclear program in, 102 Brodie, Bernard, 149 Brooks, Stephen G., 90, 98–99 Brzezinski, Zbigniew, 119, 147, 153n46 Buchanan, Pat, 169, 180n17 buck-passing, 96, 142 Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, 79n12 Burke, Edmund, 167 Burr, Aaron, 31 Bush, George W.: democratic peace theory in national security strategy of, 2; and Iraq War, 125; military spending increased by, 174; and national security strategy, 188; on preemption doctrine, 219; and war on terror, 166 Buzan, Barry, 28, 149 capabilities-based military planning, 199, 203–5 capitalism, 35n58, 196 Carr, E. H., 135 carrying capacity of Earth, 110 Carter, Jimmy, 124 Caspian Sea region, 118–22 CATO Institute, 202 Caucasus, 118–22 Cebrowski, Arthur, 198 Center for Defense Information, 94 Central African Republic, conflict in, 86 Central Asia, 118–22. See also specific countries Central Command, 201 chainganging, 96 Chassennée, Bartholomew, 217, 223n15

Index

China: and balance of power, 100; civil war in, 48; and Diaoyu Islands, 115–16; military spending by, 91–92, 107n47, 176; and nuclear proliferation, 89, 102; oil imports by, 114–15; and Opium Wars, 37; and petroleum politics, 117; population growth in, 126; as potential great power, 70, 141; and SCO, 92 The Choice (Brzezinski), 153n46 Christensen, Thomas, 118 civil-military relations, 149 “clash of civilizations,” 2, 66–67 Clausewitz, Carl von, 30, 218 Clay, Henry, 31 climate change, 127 Clinton, Bill: democratic peace theory in national security strategy of, 2; military spending cuts by, 174 Cold War International History Project (Woodrow Wilson Center), 131n66 collective action problem of balancing, 98–100 Colombia, civil war in, 85 colonial wars, 48, 49 combatant commands (COCOMs), 199–200 “coming anarchy” vision of future, 67, 70 Committee on the Present Danger, 165 Common Sense (Paine), 156 communications technology, 39–40, 43 communism, 196 competition, means of, 8 complex interdependence, 151n15 Concert of Europe era, 47–48, 77, 145 conflict: and constructivist vision of future, 74; magnitude of, 84; prediction-andevaluation method applied to, 83–87; UN role in resolution of, 43 conflict avoidance regime, 117 constructivism: Angell’s contribution to, 5; and end of Cold War, 58; and grand strategy, 163; and human nature, 216; and liberalism, 11; and norms, 21–22, 23, 27–28; and peace, 20–21; and testable propositions, 66; vision of future, 72–76, 78t

Index

containment policy, 159–60 cooperative security, 163, 167, 191 Copeland, Dale, 6 Correlates of War (COW) database, 144, 145, 146 Cortez the conquistador, 172 counterterrorism. See terrorism and counterterrorism credibility, 46, 187 Crimean War, 48 cult of irrelevance, 61 cult of violence, 42–43 Czechoslovakia, Soviet invasion of, 124 declinism, 87, 106n25 defensive realism, 69, 81n48, 86 democratic peace theory: and foreign policy, 191–92; in national security strategy, 2; and norms of war, 42–44; predictions from, 80n29; and strategic restraint, 175 demographic power, 137. See also population growth Desch, Michael, 149 deterrence: failure of, 49–53; realist views on, 52 Deudney, Daniel, 27, 51 developmental aid, 193 de Wilde, Jaap, 149 Diaoyu Islands and petroleum politics, 115–16 dictatorships, 195 diplomacy: as alternative to force, 8; and force planning, 201; and Iraq War, 125; and power, 148; and strategic restraint policy, 184; UN role in, 43 dissuasion power, 205 Dobrynin, Anatoly, 124 dominance: force planning for, 205–7; and grand strategy, 162; and unipolarity, 89 Donelan, Michael, 46, 48 drug smuggling, 167, 191 dueling, demise of, 5–6, 9, 30–33, 36n64 economic development: as alternative to force, 8; and globalization, 41; global trends

265

in, 88–89; and isolationism, 157; and petroleum politics, 115 economic interdependence: and norms of war, 40–42, 51; and obsolescence of war, 3; in post-bellicose world, 149; and strategic restraint, 175 economic power, 137–39 Ehrlich, Paul, 113, 128n1 Elman, Colin, 103 Elman, Miriam Fendius, 103 The End of Alliances (Menon), 211n4 Eritrea, conflict in, 86, 174 Ethiopia, conflict in, 86, 174 ethnic conflicts, 84 Europe and European Union: Concert of Europe era in, 47–48, 77, 145; defense of, 93; economic development in, 88–89, 89t, 170; military spending by, 91; and neorealist vision of future, 71; peacekeeping operations by, 93, 94, 107n55; potential vs. kinetic power in, 138. See also specific countries Evans, Edward P., 217, 218 expected utility model, 79n12 failed states, 150, 173 fascism, 196 feedback loops, 73 Ferguson, Niall, 89, 162 Finnemore, Martha, 21, 24, 25, 33 The First World War (Taylor), 15n16 Florini, Ann, 25 force planning, 202–5 forecasts vs. predictions, 62–63 foreign policy: and alliances, 184–88; and balance of power, 188–90; and democracy, 191–92; and dominance logic, 205–7; historical lessons for, 193–99; and humanitarian interventions, 192–93; implications of great power peace, 13, 183–214; militarization of, 200; and military forces, 199–205; and mobilization strategy, 197–99; restraint in, 184–93; and risk mitigation, 206–7; and surge capacity, 197–99, 197t; and terrorism, 190–91

266

Forgotten Victory (Sheffield), 15n16 founding fathers, 156–57, 191 Fox, Robin, 28 fragile states, 119 France: and constructivist vision of future, 75; internal conflict in, 48; Iraq War protests by, 125, 218; and nuclear proliferation, 102, 103; as potential great power, 71 Frederick the Great, 148 free trade, 169–70 Friedman, Benjamin, 167 Friedman, Thomas, 40, 182n68 Fukuyama, Francis, 73–74 Fuller, Graham, 130n41 Gaddis, John Lewis, 57–58 genocide, 84, 174 geo-economics, 41, 116 geopolitics, 146–48 Georgia: and Caspian Sea oil reserves, 130n41; Russo-Georgian conflict (2008), 86 geostrategic analysis, 146–48 Germany: and balance of power, 100; dueling in, 32; and grand strategy, 194; Iraq War protests by, 125, 218; norms of war in, 44, 45; as potential great power, 70; potential vs. kinetic power in, 138 Gholz, Eugene, 170 Gilpin, Robert, 28, 68, 106n25, 140, 145, 162, 180n37 Gingrich, Newt, 165 Glaser, Charles, 142 Glassner, Barry, 219–20 Global Balkans region, 153n46 globalization: and norms of war, 40–42; and strategic restraint, 175 Global Terrorism Database, 105n14, 181n48 Goldgeier, James M., 136–37 Gorbachev, Mikhail, 60 governance, 150 grand strategy, 154–82; defined, 158–59, 159f; future trends in, 150; and hegemonic stability, 172–79; and international relations theory, 162–64; in post-Cold War

Index

period, 161–64; and security environment assessment, 165–68; strategic restraint as, 168–72; of U.S., 156–61 Gray, Colin, 147, 162, 163, 189, 216, 223n11 Great Britain: antidueling laws in, 32; and balance of power in Europe, 188; and constructivist vision of future, 75; and hegemonic stability, 173; imperialism of, 37; military spending by, 203, 208, 208t; and nuclear proliferation, 102, 103; and offshore oil, 116; as potential great power, 71 The Great Illusion (Angell), 3–4 great power peace: and foreign policy, 13, 183–214; future of, 148–51; and geopolitics, 146–48; and grand strategy, 154–82; implications of, 12–13, 135–53 great powers: definitions of, 6–9; implications of peace for, 136–37 Greece, internal conflict in, 48 Gulf War (1991), 125 Gurr, Ted Robert, 105n2 Hamilton, Alexander, 156, 216 Hart, B. H. Liddell, 158 Hawking, Stephen J., 61 heartland thesis, 153n46 hegemony: and grand strategy, 163, 172–79; and neorealist vision of future, 70; and peace, 20; psychological appeal of, 176–79; and unipolarity, 89–90 Hellenic view of history, 51 Helms, Jesse, 192 Helsinki Communiqué (1999), 93 Hempel, Carl G., 61 Homer-Dixon, Thomas, 11, 67, 112, 127 honor: and dueling, 31, 32; and norms of war, 46–49, 217, 221–22 Hopton, Richard, 32 Howard, Michael, 51 humanitarian interventions: and foreign policy, 192–93; Great Britain’s role in, 208; and strategic restraint policy, 169; U.S. role in, 174 human nature, 216–17

Index

human rights abuses, 85 Human Security Centre, 85 human trafficking, 167, 191 Huntington, Samuel, 2, 11, 28, 67, 162, 216 ideas in normative development, 20–26 Ikenberry, G. John, 27, 35n47, 87, 95 imperialism: and colonial wars, 48, 49; and slavery, 29 India: and nuclear proliferation, 102; population growth in, 126 intelligence sharing, 167, 191 intentions of other states: as basic problem of statecraft, 151n13; in constructivist vision of future, 74; and security dilemma, 143 interdependence. See economic interdependence internalization of norms, 24, 33 internal problems: and balancing behaviors, 100–101; in pre-industrial societies, 19 international institutions, 42–44, 72–73. See also United Nations International Interactions (journal), 144 internationalism: and hegemonic stability, 172–73, 176–77; justifications for, 154, 167–68; price of, 172; in spectrum of intervention, 160; and threat perceptions, 178; by U.S., 157 international norms, 23–26. See also norms international relations: and grand strategy, 162–64; predictions in, 59–62 International Security journal and neorealism, 68 Iran: and Caspian Sea oil reserves, 120; nuclear program of, 102 Iran–Iraq War (1980–88), 171 Iraq: and Gulf War (1991), 125; invasion of Kuwait, 87, 171 Iraq War, 88, 97, 167, 210–11 Islamic fundamentalism, 92, 166, 190–91, 196–97 isolationism: as grand strategy, 157; public opinion on, 214n83; in spectrum of intervention, 160, 160f; and strategic restraint,

267

169; as U.S. policy, 161; and World War II, 194 Israel: conflict in, 86; military spending by, 91; and nuclear proliferation, 102; technologically sophisticated military of, 204; U.S. alliance with, 185–86 Italy, great power potential of, 71 Jackson, Andrew, 31 James, William, 215 Japan: and balance of power, 100; and Diaoyu Islands, 115–16; economic development in, 88–89, 89t, 170; and grand strategy, 194; norms of war in, 44, 45; and petroleum politics, 117; as potential great power, 70; potential vs. kinetic power in, 138; U.S. security guarantee with, 186 Jefferson, Thomas, 156, 192, 199 Jervis, Robert: on absence of major wars, 21; on constructivist vision of future, 74; on implications of obsolescence of war, 9, 42; on normative recidivism, 50; on predictions, 60; on security dilemma, 142; on unipolarity, 87, 168 Johnston, Alastair Iain, 117 Jones, Seth, 94 Jonson, Ben, 31 Journal of Conflict Resolution, 144 Journal of Peace Research, 144 Judaic view of history, 51 Kagan, Donald, 165 Kagan, Frederick W., 165 Kagan, Robert, 53n21, 167, 174, 192 Kahn, Herman, 54n29 Kant, Immanuel, 80n29 Kaplan, Robert, 11, 67, 127 Kazakhstan: and Caspian Sea oil reserves, 120, 130n41; and nuclear proliferation, 102; and SCO, 92 Keegan, John, 9, 85 Kegley, Charles, 103 Kennan, George, 191 Kennedy, Paul, 58

268

Keohane, Robert O., 64–65, 112, 151n15 Keynes, John Maynard, 1, 158, 179n13 kinetic power, 137–39, 189 King, Gary, 64–65, 112 Kirkpatrick, Jeanne, 157, 177–78 Kissinger, Henry, 54n29, 145, 148 Klare, Michael, 11, 67, 111–12, 127 kleptocracies, 150 Kosovo, bombing campaign in, 93, 98, 101 Kowert, Paul, 23 Krasner, Stephen, 112 Kratochwil, Friedrich, 3 Kristol, William, 167, 174, 192 Kugler, Jacek, 140 Kupchan, Charles A., 27, 35n47 Kushner, Tony, 51 Kuwait, Iraq’s invasion of, 87, 171 Kyrgyzstan: and SCO, 92; U.S. bases in, 97 Lakatos, Imre, 109n88 law enforcement, 166–67, 190–91 “The Law of Acceleration” (H. Adams), 215 Layne, Christopher: on balance of power, 90, 93, 100, 189; on Middle East balance of power, 182n63; on NATO, 101; on neorealist vision of future, 11, 68–70, 72, 78, 81n48; on offshore balancing, 164; on unipolarity, 89; on war, 195 leash-slipping, 96 Lebow, Richard Ned, 11 Legro, Jeffrey, 23 Lemke, Douglas, 86, 149 Levy, Jack, 6, 7 liberalism: and constructivism, 8, 11, 72; and dueling’s demise, 32; and grand strategy, 163; and norms of war, 46–49; optimism of, 51 The Limits of Safety (Sagan), 50 Lincoln, Abraham, 165 Lisbon Conference (1952), 93 Luard, Evan, 22, 48, 49, 145–46 Luttwak, Edward, 8, 33n14, 41 Mack, Andrew, 43 Mackinder, Halford, 140, 146–47

Index

Mahan, Alfred Thayer, 41–42, 146, 147 major powers. See great powers major war, defined, 6–9. See also war Mandelbaum, Michael, 6, 45, 162, 180n35 Manning, Robert, 66 masculinity and dueling, 31, 36n64 master variable for state behavior, 136 McAleer, Kevin, 32 McFaul, Michael, 136–37 Mearsheimer, John: on balance of power, 92, 94, 95; on constructivist vision of future, 73; on multipolarity, 89; on neorealist vision of future, 11, 68, 69, 71, 72; on nuclear proliferation, 102; on offensive realism, 76; on potential power, 137–38; on testing of war and peace theories, 83; on U.S. alliance with Israel, 185; on U.S. hegemony, 90 Menon, Rajan, 211n4 “metrics of anarchy,” 5 micro-foundations of states, 58 Middle East: balance of power in, 182n63; conflict in, 86; petroleum politics in, 122–26; and U.S.–Israel alliance, 185–86. See also specific countries Milburn, Thomas, 59 military forces: “capabilities-based,” 203–5; and civil-military relations, 149; of Europe, 93–94; and force planning, 202–5; and petroleum politics, 123; policy influence of, 117; reorganization and redeployment of, 199–202; and strategic restraint, 168, 169, 208, 208t; and surge capacity, 197–99, 197t; and terrorism, 190–91 military professionalism, 149 military spending: and balance of power, 91, 91t; in Europe, 94; global trends in, 85, 87–88, 88t; and hegemonic stability, 174–75; and potential vs. kinetic power, 138; and strategic restraint, 168, 203 Millennium Challenge training exercise, 203–5 Minorities at Risk project, 84 mobilization strategy, 197–99 modeling, 64, 79n12, 142 Morgenthau, Hans, 19–20

Index

Morris, Dick, 214n83 Mueller, John: constructivist theory of, 5–6, 74, 75; on dueling, 31; on economic interdependence, 41; on governance, 150; on great powers, 7; on human nature, 216–17; on norms, 22, 24; on romanticization of past, 220–21; on war, 8, 21; on World War I, 44 Mugabe, Robert, 86 multinational corporations, 170 multipolarity: in Concert of Europe era, 77; stability of, 71, 81n66 Murray, Williamson, 151n13 Musharraf, Perez, 200 Nadelmann, Ethan, 29, 34n33 Napoleon, 47 National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Responses to Terrorism (START), 105n14, 181n48 NATO. See North Atlantic Treaty Organization neo-classical realism, 69 neoconservativism: and grand strategy, 165, 202; and U.S. hegemony, 20 neoliberalism: and constructivism, 72; and economic interdependence, 40 neorealism: and end of Cold War, 58; and testable propositions, 66; and unbalanced power, 95; vision of future, 68–72, 78t nonevents and normative recidivism, 49–53 Nordlinger, Eric, 160, 168, 208 “norm cascade,” 24 norms: and constructivism, 21–22, 23; development of international norms, 23–26; in dueling’s demise, 30–33; evolution of, 19–36; normative change, 9, 26–28, 27f; normative recidivism, 49–53; and realists, 22; in slavery’s demise, 28–30; of war, 37–54 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO): in neorealist vision of future, 71; prediction-and-evaluation method applied to, 101; and strategic restraint policy, 185

269

Northern Command, 201 North Korea: military spending by, 91; nuclear program of, 102; and petroleum politics, 115; Russia’s cooperation on, 98; and U.S.– South Korea security agreement, 186 Norway and offshore oil, 116 nuclear proliferation: and constructivist vision of future, 74–75; and deterrence theory, 50; and neorealist vision of future, 71; and normative development, 39, 45, 54n29; prediction-and-evaluation method applied to, 101–3, 102t; and strategic restraint, 175 Nye, Joseph, 151n15, 169 offense-defense balance, 139, 142–44 offensive realism, 68–69, 76 offshore balancing strategies, 162, 164 offshore oil exploitation, 116 oil. See petroleum politics Olcott, Martha Brill, 121 On War (Clausewitz), 30 Opium Wars, 37 Oppenheim, Paul, 61 Organski, A. F. K., 140 Owens, Mackubin, 202 Pacific Rim: peace in, 86; petroleum politics in, 114–18; potential vs. kinetic power in, 138 Paine, Thomas, 156 Pakistan and nuclear proliferation, 102 Pape, Robert, 97, 98, 106n26 Patton, George S., 176 Pax Britannica, 173 Pax Romana, 173 peace: and honor, 47–49; ideas and norms in, 21–23; implications of great power peace, 135–53. See also great power peace peace dividend, 174 peacekeeping: and balance of power, 93, 94, 107n55; in post-bellicose world, 149; and strategic restraint, 169, 175; UN role in, 43 Peloponnesian War, 140 Persian Gulf. See Middle East

270

Persian Gulf War (1991), 125 petroleum politics: in Caspian Sea region, 118–22; in “coming anarchy” vision of future, 67; in Middle East, 122–26; in Pacific Rim, 114–18; stages of, 112–14; and strategic restraint, 170–71; and war, 126–28 Pfaff, William, 214n81 photography, 39–40 pipelines, 120, 121 piracy, 167, 191 Pirages, Dennis C., 113 Plato, 217 Poland, internal conflict in, 48 political economy, 149, 161 population growth, 67, 110, 111, 126, 127 Portugal, internal conflict in, 48 Posen, Barry, 210 postcolonial conflicts, 84 potential power, 137–39, 189 power: kinetic vs. potential, 137–39, 189; redefining, 148. See also great power peace power transition theory, 139–41 prediction-and-evaluation method, 83–109; balancing behaviors in, 90–101; conflict evaluations in, 83–87; introduction of, 63–66; and NATO, 101; and nuclear proliferation, 101–3; requirements for, 63–66; timing of, 76–78; unipolarity evaluation in, 87–90 predictions, 57–82; components of, 63; forecasts vs., 62–63; in international relations, 59–62; as testable propositions, 63–66; visions vs., 62–63 preemption doctrine, 219 pre-industrial societies, internal wars of, 19 Press, Daryl G., 170 prestige, 46. See also honor primacy in grand strategy, 162, 163, 164 process tracing, 50 psychological appeal of hegemony, 176–79 public opinion: in Concert of Europe era, 48–49; on Iraq War, 210–11; on isolationism, 214n83; on Spanish-American War, 53n21; on U.S. security, 14n2

Index

Pushkin, Alexander, 31 Putin, Vladimir, 97 Radford Plan (1956), 93 R&D (research and development), 88, 207 rational behavior of states, 4–5, 20, 79n12, 126 Ravenal, Earl, 203 Ray, James Lee, 30 realism: and balance of power, 97; and deterrence theory, 52; and grand strategy, 164; and military force, 137–38; and norms, 22; and state behavior, 8–9, 137. See also neorealism regionalism, 148–49 Reich, Bernard, 131n58 relative vs. absolute gains in war, 139–41 reputational virtues, 46, 47. See also honor research and development (R&D), 88, 207 resource wars, 11, 67, 110–32. See also petroleum politics restraint in foreign policy, 184–93. See also strategic restraint Retreat from Doomsday (Mueller), 5, 52 Rice, Condoleezza, 183 Richardson, James O., 194 risk mitigation, 206–7 Roman empire: and hegemonic stability, 173; U.S. comparisons to, 156 Roosevelt, Theodore, 46 Rosecrance, Richard, 74 Ross, Robert, 107n47 Rostow, Walt, 195 Ruggie, John Gerard, 181n60 Rumsfeld, Donald, 167, 204 Russell, Richard, 201 Russia: and balance of power, 100; and Caspian Sea oil reserves, 120; Iraq War protests by, 125, 218; military spending by, 91; and nuclear proliferation, 89, 102; as potential great power, 70; Russo-Georgian conflict (2008), 86; and SCO, 92. See also Soviet Union Russo-Georgian conflict (2008), 86 Russo-Turkish war (1828–29), 48

Index

Sagan, Scott, 50 Salameh, Mamdouh G., 129n16 Sapolsky, Harvey, 167 Saudi Arabia: and counterterrorism, 190–91; military spending by, 91 Schlesinger, Arthur, 173, 177 Schlesinger, James R., 131n60 Schroeder, Paul, 186, 222 science: evolution in, 26–27, 27f, 28; in international relations, 61; and norms of war, 38–40; and resource scarcity, 127; social sciences, 62 SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), 92, 107n51 security dilemma, 142–44, 150 security environment assessment, 165–68 selective engagement, 162 self-defense, 167–68 self-help imperative, 5, 70, 138 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), 92, 107n51 Sheffield, Gary, 15n16 Sikkink, Kathryn, 21, 24, 25, 33 Singer, J. David, 60 Singer, Max, 137, 219 Slater, Jerome, 201 slavery, demise of, 9, 28–30, 35n55, 35n58, 46 small wars, defined, 6 Smith, Adam, 29 The Smoke and the Fire (Terraine), 15n16 social debate, 23, 24 socialization, 27 social sciences, 62 socioeconomic development, 27, 27f, 28 soft balancing, 96, 97–98 soft power, 169 Somalia, conflict in, 86, 193 Sorel, Albert, 183 South Africa and nuclear proliferation, 102 Southern Command, 200 South Korea: and containment policy, 159; and petroleum politics, 115; U.S. security guarantee with, 186

271

Soviet Union: and Caspian Sea oil reserves, 119; invasion of Afghanistan, 124, 131n66; and nuclear proliferation, 102; and petroleum politics, 123–24, 132n72. See also Russia Spain, internal conflict in, 48 Spanish-American War, 53n21 spectrum of intervention, 160, 160f spiral model, 142 Sprout, Harold, 136, 165 Sprout, Margaret, 165 Spykman, Nicholas, 147, 189, 212n20 Sri Lanka, civil war in, 86 Stam, Allan C., 80n34 START (National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Responses to Terrorism), 105n14, 181n48 state behavior: assumptions of uniformity in, 146; deductive vs. inductive theories on, 64; and defensive realism, 86; master variable to, 136; and normative development, 45; rationality of, 4–5, 20; realist view of, 8–9; and resource scarcity, 112; and unbalanced power, 95–96; in zones of peace, 149 Steel, Ronald, 187 Steward, Dick, 31–32 “strategic escrow,” 206–7 strategic restraint, 157, 168–72 structural realism, 137 subrationally unthinkable choices, 6, 24, 50 surge capacity, 197–99, 197t Taft, Robert A., 192 Taiwan: and Diaoyu Islands, 115–16; and petroleum politics, 115 Tajikistan and SCO, 92 Taliban, 190 Tarnas, Richard, 51 Taylor, A. J. P., 15n16 technology: and dueling, 31–32; evolution in, 26–27, 27f, 28; and mobilization strategy, 198, 207; and norms of war, 38–40, 43; and slavery norms, 29–30 television technology, 40

272

Telhami, Shibley, 171 Terraine, John, 15n16 terrorism and counterterrorism: and alliances, 92; and foreign policy, 190–91; as law enforcement challenge, 166–67, 190–91; and military forces, 190–91; and security dilemma, 150; and threat perceptions, 166; trends in, 85, 105n14, 181n48 Tetlock, Philip, 57, 79n12 theories: and grand strategy, 165–68; and great power peace, 135–53; implications of great power peace, 136–37; introduction to, 9–10; prediction-and-evaluation method applied to, 83–109. See also specific theories Theory of International Politics (Waltz), 68, 162 third degree of socialization, 24 threat-based military planning, 199, 204 threat perceptions, 165–66, 178 Thucydides, 140, 218 Tillman, Barrett, 203 Tilly, Charles, 19 tipping point, 24 totalitarianism, 195, 196 Toynbee, Arnold, 215 trade, 41, 169–70 Transcaspian region, 118–22 trickle-down effect for peace, 75, 84 triumphalism, 176–77 Truman, Harry, 199 Tuchman, Barbara, 19 Tucker, Robert, 123, 131n64, 161, 169 Turkey and Iraq War, 97 Turkmenistan and Caspian Sea oil reserves, 120, 130n41 Turner, Stansfield, 206 Ukraine and nuclear proliferation, 102 “ultima ratio” of force, 151n9 unbalanced power, 95–101 undersea resources, 114, 116, 118 Unified Command Plan (UCP), 199, 201 unipolarity: and grand strategy, 155, 159–60; and neorealist vision of future, 69;

Index

prediction-and-evaluation method applied to, 87–90 United Nations: and Iraq War, 97; and norms of war, 42–44; and strategic restraint, 175 United States: antidueling laws in, 32; China’s relationship with, 117, 141; civil war in, 48; counterterrorism capabilities of, 190–91; economic development in, 88–89, 89t; foreign policy strategy of, 207–11; and grand strategy, 154–55, 156–61, 162, 194; isolationist policies in, 157; Israel alliance with, 185–86; in Middle East conflicts, 86; and military forces in Europe, 185; military spending by, 87–88, 88t; and neorealist vision of future, 69–70; and nuclear proliferation, 102; and peace, 20; and petroleum politics, 123, 131n60; in World War I, 46, 195 University of Maryland: Minorities at Risk project, 84; National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Responses to Terrorism (START), 105n14, 181n48 University of Michigan, 144 Uzbekistan: and Caspian Sea oil reserves, 130n41; and SCO, 92 Van Creveld, Martin, 87 Van Evera, Stephen, 143 Van Riper, Paul, 213n73 Vasquez, John, 69, 145, 146 Väyrynen, Raimo, 136, 141 Verba, Sidney, 64–65, 112 Victor, David, 127 Vietnam and containment policy, 159 visions: constructivist, 72–76; neorealist, 68–72; predictions vs., 62–63 Waever, Ole, 149 Walt, Stephen M., 99, 150, 152n24, 162, 185 Waltz, Kenneth: on balance of power, 90, 94–95, 99, 142; on grand strategy, 162; on great powers, 7; on international relations, 58, 64; on master variable for state

Index

behavior, 136; on multipolarity, 103; on neorealist vision of future, 11, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72; on norms, 22; on oil resources, 112; on potential vs. kinetic power, 138; on predictions, 60; on relative vs. absolute gains, 139; on “ultima ratio” of force, 151n9; on war, 8 war: and alliances, 141–42; and balance of power, 141–42; behavioralist approaches to study of, 144–46; and democratic peace theory, 42–44; and economic interdependence, 40–42; exogenous factors in, 38–44; and globalization, 40–42; and honor, 46–49; ideas and norms in, 21–23; and liberalism, 46–49; norms of, 37–54; and offense-defense balance, 142–44; and petroleum politics, 126–28; and power transitions, 139–41; relative vs. absolute gains in, 139–41; science and technology in, 38–40; and security dilemma, 142–44; structural explanations for, 139–44; and United Nations, 42–44. See also specific conflicts War and Change in World Politics (Gilpin), 162 War in International Society (Luard), 145 warlordism, 150 Washington, George, 156, 192 water scarcity conflicts, 126 weak states, 119, 150, 155

273

weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), 166. See also nuclear proliferation Wendt, Alexander, 22, 24, 61, 62–63, 101 Wildavsky, Aaron, 137, 219 Wilson, Woodrow, 195 Wohlforth, William, 90, 91, 95, 98–99, 120, 130n53, 205 Wolfers, Arnold, 28 Wolfowitz, Paul D., 213n63 Woodrow Wilson Center, 131n66 Woolsey, James, 196 World War I, 4, 44–46, 195 World War II, 44–46, 193–95 Wright, Quincy, 30–31, 32, 46, 149 Yemen, conflict in, 86 Zimbabwe, lack of conflict in, 86 Zinni, Anthony, 200 zones of peace: balancing in, 142; defined, 137; economic power in, 139; and potential vs. kinetic power, 138; relative vs. absolute gains in, 139; risk mitigation in, 206; security dilemma in, 143 zones of turmoil: balancing in, 142; and constructivist theory, 76; defined, 137; relative vs. absolute gains in, 139; security dilemma in, 143