CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1. AN ANALOGY
Today, more than 24 centuries since Thucydides created the scientific study of war, international conflict is still the single greatest threat to man’s survival. And, remaining still, is the one great incentive for preventing war — seeking a more complete understanding of why such conflicts occur. Admittedly, we are inundated with hypotheses concerning the causes of war. But anyone who searches for a single explanation is likely to meet with disappointment, despite the attention of such intellectual giants as Spinoza, Rousseau, Kant and Clausewitz. The failure of their efforts can be scrutinized through the prism of “The Blind Men and the Elephant” story as follows.
Once upon a time, six blind men came upon an elephant. Assuming a certain docility by the pachyderm, John G. Saxe (1882) tells, each man touched a different part of the beast. Each, therefore, came to a different conclusion about its disposition and character.
One of them, exploring the elephant’s huge flank, declared to the others that “the elephant is a wall!” Another, stroking the tail, decided that the elephant was a rope. And yet another, bumping into the mammoth mammal’s leg, said with certainty the elephant was a tree. The remaining trio of blind men also investigated separate parts of the pachyderm’s anatomy, with each arriving at an equally separate and distinct conclusion to its constitution and essence (John G. Saxe, 1882).
Political theorists, by and large, are eagle‑eyed when it comes to intellectual vision. But each intentionally wears the “blinders” of their own political persuasion or the value system of their particular field, which allow them to touch different parts of a political elephant just as did “the fabled blind men” of Saxes’ pen. And, each, of course, defends his political persuasion as staunchly as any colleague in that particular discipline.
So, if we are allowed to apply this assumption to political scientists, we can continue with the same metaphorical connection to the fabled blind men:
And so these “political theorists”
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong.
Though each was partly in the right
And all were in the wrong! (John G. Saxe, 1882).
Our political pachyderm exhibits a wide range of ideological and material attributes. Material attributes are the principal parts of the paragon that we call national power. Ideological attributes are secondary or supportive contributors, but nonetheless surface as much of the stuff of which a nation’s foreign policy is made. Whether they be material or ideological, some remain relatively stable and immutable throughout. Others change, whether it be with glacial certainty, trendy cycles, or with the rapidity or randomness of Russian Roulette.
2.1. THE IDEOLOGICAL CHARACTERIZATIONS
Now, if we narrow political theories ‑‑ or, political elephantism ‑‑ even further, particularly to the post‑World War II patterns of American foreign policy, the observer naturally arrives at a certain “blindness,” or parochialism, that expresses itself in four parts. Kegley and Wittkopf describe these parts of the elephant as counter-revolutionary, imperialistic, moralistic and realistic (1987: 68-78).
An inbred fear of communism ‑‑ for whatever reasons, ranging from emotional to economic ‑‑ has led many Americans to view revolution as the seed of Marxism and, therefore, to oppose the forces of change in order to maintain the status quo (Kegley and Wittkopf, 1987: 69-72). Those who adhere to counterrevolutionism concentrate on the interpretation of the elephant’s tusks. These “tusks,” they argue, must be used to ward off and/or destroy any and all “unwelcome” social revolutions.
Conversely and from an adverse standpoint, it is seen as a form of colonialism. This, coincidentally, is believed by many as the antithesis of communism. Colonialism, then, is the acceptable alternative to communism, under the counterrevolutionist viewpoint.
To other political theorists, profit ‑‑ not peace ‑‑ is the nation’s top priority. This is nothing more and nothing less than economic imperialism (Karl Marx, 1930: 670). This policy is the offspring of a capitalistic system and its needs. The policy protects American investments worldwide, and it sustains and expands American enterprise and its global reach through the use of “dollar diplomacy.”
This is the blind man who “sees” via the elephant’s “trunk.” This trunk stretches far and in all directions ‑‑ using foreign aid, embargoes, trade sanctions or restrictions, taxes or loans ‑‑ to claim or obtain anything necessary for its own well‑being.
Moral idealists are ethnocentrically disposed, and they assume that American values and institutions are unique and special. They also assume that America has a moral responsibility to engage in international missionary work ordained by God to convert the rest of the world to its principles, doctrines, and beliefs.
During the heyday of moralistic policy, its jingoism took form in such phrases as “fighting a war to end all wars,” “making the world in the American image,” and “making the world safe for democracy” (Kenneth W. Thompson, 1960: 91-173). These refrains sometimes were raised in haughty disdain, just as the circus elephant might raise its “tail” in contempt to the ringside crowd.
For those who adhere to the foreign policy of political realism, the focus of the process is the quest for power. Its goal is domination. Paramount to its success is the promotion of national self‑interest, as seen in terms of sacrificing others in the pursuit of amassing power. Cooperative or allied enterprises for the good of all are secondary pursuits (Morgenthau, 1985: 3-14).
For the United States, this philosophy has manifested itself in the thinking of American policymakers by the elevation and perpetuation of a global containment strategy. These blind men gather around the elephant’s “head,” speculating on the calculations in the beast’s mind to prevent other animals from encroaching on its authority.
In conclusion, with Integrative Elephantism, we can rename “Realism,” “Imperialism,” “Counterrevolutionism,” and “Idealism” to “Headism,” “Trunkism,” “Tuskism,” and “Tailism” respectively.
2.2. AN ENCOMPASSING VIEW
Traditional American foreign policy is the offspring, the sum, of these four parts: maintaining the status quo in an age of revolution; championing economic imperialism; promoting the tenets of moral idealism; and taking sustenance from the trough of raw self‑interest and power. Of the four, political realism is the guiding feature of American foreign policy ‑‑ just as the elephant’s head guides the rest of the elephant.
The elephant’s “head” decides where it wants to go and how to get there ‑‑ much in the same way a political realist decides how to achieve his goal; namely, through sheer might, though by acquiring military potency and other capabilities to manipulate or destroy all else. And, of course, the elephant’s and political realist’s self‑interests are best served by maintaining power.
How does it maintain this power? It uses its counter- revolutionary “tusks” to attack and destroy unwelcome societal usurpations in tension areas and power vacuums so it can maintain the status quo (Neal Houghton, 1968). For example, in the course of wielding these tusks, the United States has suppressed democratic elections (e.g., post‑World War II Germany), removed its own Declaration of Independence from American overseas libraries (again, after World War II), and supported dictatorships and ruthless tyrannies only because they were anti‑communists (Kegley and Wittkopf,1987: 70).
It uses its imperialist “trunk” to harvest economic spoils ‑‑ spoils that were sown and nurtured through NATO and Marshall Plan, foreign trade, and investments protected, in part, by military power. By responding to the needs of capitalism, and those of special economic interest groups, the United States promotes a global foreign policy to its own financial benefit, thereby rapidly acquiring massive wealth and enormous world influence (Ambrose, 1985).
It uses its moralistic “tail” to swat away the flies of criticism, as well as to hide the deeds of its foul‑smelling organ of excretion from world view. For instance, under the guise of teaching the meaning of democracy to upstart nations within its own hemisphere ‑‑ those nations nearby that potentially could cause the most geopolitical danger ‑‑ U.S. presidents have dispatched Marines to Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Nicaragua. The Mexican Expedition in 1916 was the logical result of the “make the world safe for democracy” philosophy. Ironically, this interventionist policy contradicted democratic ideals (James Chace and Caleb Carr, 1988: 75-80).
To justify these ideological characterizations, national security and national interests are evoked as pretexts for explaining leaders’ actions. The heart of every nation is its national security. How it achieves national security usually is immaterial as long as it is compatible with its national interests. And, usually, its “national interests” are best served during times of peace (Charles A. Beard, 1934). In the spring of 1985, George Shultz observed that “the American eagle holds arrows in one claw and the olive branch in the other, and his eyes look toward the olive branch.” In fact, though, the eagle’s eyes are no different from the “eyes” of a political elephant that seeks out and serves its own self-interests.
Power and self-interest, then, are all that are important. But the power and self-interest that is the lifeblood of “national security” comprise the Achilles heel of a nation, just as are the “ears” of the political elephant (wide open to the ants of special interest groups, which can drive it in the wrong direction — or, in some cases, crazy). National security is defined by Morgenthau in term of political survival as territorial integrity and national sovereignty, which motivates the foreign policy of all actors and is at the core of their national interests (Morgenthau, 1952: 961-68).
Global players, indeed, are motivated by more than simply their and their country’s own survival. If their existence is generally viewed as a safe bet, often they swiftly turn into a greedy lot, grabbing for anything of which they are deprived or fear they ultimately may lose, or that which they think they can grab or defend without going to war over it. They also hover,like vultures, over the generous and, most often, unregulated assistance projects of stronger countries to further their own national security, and try to achieve financial or economic gain by keeping available markets and natural resources ‑‑ and diplomatic hole cards ‑‑ by inflating their own prestige and, of course, power (Frank and Baird, 1975: 133‑167).
They also flex their military muscle with extravagant defense spending to develop new armaments. And, occasionally, they toss out the red herring of arms control as the basis of a national security policy, which, in reality, provides them only with a propagandistic foot‑in‑the‑door so that they can gain at least that advantage over their enemies.
If the goals of US political realism are achieved, its supporters then believe they are justified in their preoccupation with the East‑West standoff and all that it entails, including the balance of power and the sphere‑of‑influence logic of geopolitics (Harold Guetzkow, 1986: 82). To achieve the goals of political realism, power is paramount. What factors do nations consider to accumulate power?
- MATERIAL ATTRIBUTES
According to Hans J. Morgenthau (1985) and others, these factors include: territory, population, industrial capability, military capability, political capability, national character, and technology.
Territorial expansion is a source of great national power, and many conquerors were willing to use this two‑edged sword to slash their way to victory. Nevertheless, in some instances, as we know, it was a major cause of their doom. Overextending one’s borders militarily proved perilous, as, for example, Napoleon and Hitler can attest. As each ‑‑ more than a century apart ‑‑ simply plowed his way through western Russia, the invasion became more difficult with every step, as the intended conquerors had to keep a growing number of troops supplied over longer and longer lines of communication, deep in a hostile land. The size of the territory they tried to swallow instead swallowed them (Morgenthau, 1985: 106-108).
Nonetheless, modern‑day applications of the power that accompanies significant territorial possession begins to surface when the discussion turns to the potential for nuclear war. Any nation that seriously intends to make good on any nuclear threat not only must possess a nuclear capability, it also must possess a land mass large enough to disperse its industrial and population centers, as well as its nuclear installations in order to avoid the massive retaliatory destruction that accompanies a “countervalue” nuclear weapon strategy (Keeny and Panofsky, 1990: 128-133). Thus, it is the sheer size of a country ‑‑ nearly continental, in the case of the United States, the Soviet Union and China ‑‑ that helps allow them to play the role of major nuclear powers.
3.2. MILITARY CAPABILITY
The foundation of a successfully aggressive ‑‑ or at least “proactive” ‑‑ foreign policy is found, in large degree, in the quality of its military, particularly a military that is prepared, confident and more than competent.
This cuts across all lines of the military. A well‑trained army, mobile units from the navy and air force ‑‑ complemented by well‑armed, technologically advanced, specialized units and a battle‑ready reserve ‑‑ is an extremely intimidating factor that a potential opponent must take into consideration or risk extermination. From infantry to artillery, tanks to tankers, and jets to subs to ICBMs, military power is measured mostly by its quantity. Ultimately, though, its quality determines success or failure (Bernard Brodie, 1990: 99-102).
Size helps. The capabilities of a nation’s military must be proportionate to its size. The larger a nation, the larger must be its military establishment ‑‑ if not just simply to adequately defend so much ground. To a militarily weak nation, large land mass is a handicap to its defense ‑‑ or to its goals of aggressiveness. If we look at our elephant, its “left hind leg” ‑‑ “the military” ‑‑ must be sufficiently strong to carry its share of the massive weight of the “left half of its body” ‑‑ “the territory” ‑‑ if called upon to so act.
3.3. INDUSTRIAL CAPABILITY
The lifeblood of national power is the control of raw materials. More than a half‑century ago, the focal point of military power was a triad of basic minerals upon which most all industrial production revolved: coal, oil and iron.
In the 19th century, Great Britain was self‑sufficient in coal and iron, and thereby helped itself to a nearly unimpeachable global power base. Shortly after the turn of the century, especially following World War I, oil became the predominant ‑‑ and eventually, most essential ‑‑ national treasure for the successful advancement of industry, or pursuit of war. Most recently, the United States and the Soviet Union have achieved great power because they come nearest of any great modern nation to self- sufficiency (Brooke Hindle, 1981: 8-10).
Nevertheless, no great nation that maintains a high standard of living can be totally self‑sufficient. It must trade, its citizens must travel, and its population must enjoy all the conveniences that are the luxurious offspring of a new industrialization ‑‑ in this case, one that is dependent on oil. Problems of conflicting rights and interests inevitably, therefore, arise. That’s why both the United States and the Soviet Union have for some time now embarked upon an “oil diplomacy” policy in the petroleum‑ rich Near East. Each has struggled mightily to exert its influence in order to gain near exclusive access ‑‑ or at least control over access ‑‑ to the oil deposits of the region.
The new kid on the block is atomic energy. Access to, and the ability to refine, uranium has become a significant force in the fight over natural resources and the power they provide. Obviously, the problem for many Third World nations that aspire to the heights of global power is the incongruence between the abundance of the raw material and the paucity of their industrial capabilities. India is a prime example. It is rich in many raw materials, but it thus far has been able to attain only second‑rate status among industrial nations because it has a heinously low productive capacity (Morgenthau, 1985: 109-114).
For bottom‑liners, the conclusion is this: leading industrial nations usually are powerful politically and militarily, and a change in the latter status usually follows a change in the former status; accordingly, any change in its industrial rank likely will be accompanied by a corresponding change in the international pecking order of power.
It is axiomatic, thus far at least, that a nation cannot attain a power rank of the first order without a population that by sheer numbers can either match or overshadow its major competitors. For example, the United States, which possesses a land mass similar to that of Australia or Canada, never could have become a major force to reckon with had it shared with the two Commonwealth nations a similarity in population. By and large, then, nations that have imperialistic leanings also tend to nod approvingly at efforts that stimulate population growth, then later use that very issue as a pretext for imperialistic expansion (North, Ike and Triska, 1985: 183-190).
Let it also be noted, however, that the sheer magnitude of humanity in a country does not necessarily result in a proportionate amount of power. Look, for instance, at India (with a population of about 850 million) and China (with 1.2 billion). Going by the numbers, China would be the most powerful nation on earth, and India second. However, India’s population has outstripped its food supply, thereby placing it in the precarious position of an annual duel with mass starvation. And China, finally facing the reality of overpopulation, has taken upon itself a great effort to impose a Draconian birth control program. Both nations, then, are forced to divert precious resources from the development of their national power to the feeding and care of their people.
Just as land mass affects military capability, so too does a nation’s population have an undeniable impact on its industrial ability, particularly when the arrow points at its successful conduct of modern warfare. But the sheer massiveness of humanity wields a negative punch as well. Leaders of largely populated nations who fail to control or mollify the conduct of their own citizens do so at their own peril. “Industrial capability,” then, reminds us of our political elephant’s “right hind leg,” a limb that must be sufficiently strong to bear the burden of its own “population” ‑‑ “the right half of its body” ‑‑ if it is to successfully carry on its quest for power.
3.5. NATIONAL CHARACTER
National character goes hand‑in‑hand with the ability to become a national power. Let us look at it this way: John Dewey ‑‑ and many others ‑‑ have noted that Kant and Hegel are as typical of the philosophic tradition of Germany as Descartes and Voltaire are of the French mind. Locke and Burke, many believe, represent the political thought of Great Britain. The writings of William James ‑‑ and Dewey himself ‑‑ have come to symbolize, arguably, the American approach to intellectual problems (John Dewey, 1942).
The top‑level leaders of every nation bring with them the intellectual and moral baggages that mold, briefly or for longer stretches of time, a nation’s character. The proof of the pudding is evident. In China, for instance, “The ideological life of Chinese society was seen as a combination of various currents including patriarchal and feudal tendencies, petty bourgeois and bourgeois tendencies, anarchism and utopian socialism, and religious beliefs such as Buddhism and Confucianism,” and militant Great Han nationalist was “believed to have led to the belief that China was the center of the universe,” and that her institutions were of “heavenly” origin (Lawrence C. Katzenstein, 1987: 38).
In the case of Germany and the Soviet Union, militarism, compulsory military service, obedience to authority, and long held fears of whatever is foreign have made large, permanent military establishments acceptable — indeed, preferable — to the inhabitants of largely uninformed, undereducated parochial populations. It is no surprise, then, that the national character of pre-World War II Germany and the Soviet Union presaged their initial advantages in the struggle for power. It enabled Germany to survive a crippling post-World War I economy and a near psychotic inferiority complex — fueled by the Allies’ suffocating restrictions as espoused in the Treaty of Versailles — to emerge as the strongest single military power in the world within the short span of two decades (Morgenthau, 1985: 122-131).
3.6. POLITICAL CAPABILITY
All politics — like all news — is all local. Power, whether provincial or prodigious, relies heavily upon the attractiveness of its political philosophy, its political institutions, and its political policies. An autocrat — and those who pronounce autocratic political thought as their own — automatically makes no room for the wishes of his own people. The kneejerk autocratic outlook also rarely considers any popular support for its foreign policies.
The inevitable result is this: little or no identification with (or even hatred of) the leadership, and little or no enthusiasm to fight for it. In general, the more closely identified a people are with the actions and objectives of their government, the more willing they are to go to march to hell and back for it. Free men fight more ferociously than mercenaries or slaves, and the power of a nation, in view of its national morale, resides in the quality of its government. A diplomat will conduct his nation’s foreign affairs in peace with the same vigor and vitality — whether honestly or otherwise — as will that nation’s military minds in war (Charles E. Merriam, 1934).
What would France have been without the statecraft of Richelieu, Mazarin and Talleyrand? Italy without Cavour’s? Germany without Bismarck’s? To marshal support behind a nation’s foreign policies, its leaders inevitably must struggle mightily for the minds of their people. Success means military supremacy and political domination.
Returning, then, to our Integrative Elephantism, we find that its brain represents the leader seeking national power; the brain controls the muscles of political capability, which control — and then consolidate — themselves into a national character. We can symbolize “national character” and “political capability” by the beast’s “two raised forelegs,” which supplement — but by no means supplant — the powerful “hind legs” of “industrial and military capability.”
Technology is the touchstone of national power. Technology has and always will embrace all other facets of a country’s struggle for strength and might, transforming them into a higher echelon of quality and sophistication. Historically, the effectiveness of warfare always has been dependent upon the technology of the time. Expansionist Europe, from the 15th through the 19th centuries, drove long and well a vehicle of superior technological warfare over the less blessed on other continents.
Though sometimes seen as trivial or obvious nowadays, the nonetheless simple additions of infantry, artillery and modern firearms to the more traditional maneuvers and weapons of the time spelled a momentous — and often murderous — shift in the distribution of power in favor of those who utilized those innovations before their enemies did. For instance, the battles of Morgarten in 1315 and the invasion of Italy in 1494 demonstrated that foot soldiers were superior to equestrians, and that artillery was a new and highly destructive technology of warfare that had to be reckoned with (Felix Gilbert, 1944: 8-9).
The 20th century brought four broad and indelible innovations in the technology of warfare: first, Germany’s submarine warfare against British ships in World War I; second, British tanks against German troops at the close of the same war; third, Japanese and German superiority in their creative ability to strategically and tactically coordinate their land, air naval forces during the initial stages of World War II (B.H. Liddell Hart, 1946); and fourth, the development of nuclear weapons — and most importantly, the ability to develop systems to deliver them. The sinews of technology weave their way through the industrial cloth of national power. And, a modern, well-developed industrial base is its indispensable foundation. A nation’s infrastructure — the number and quality of its highways, railroads, trucks, ships and airplanes — are the pillars of industrial capacity and, without doubt, the determining factors in just who produces bigger, better and more implements of war. Ultimately, though, the moxie of the working man, the unorthodox vision of the builder, the ingenuity of the scientist, the administrative adroitness of the manager — all these are the solid pillars of importance upon which the industrial capacity of a nation and, hence, its power, rest and depend.
Proven contemporary technology — by this we mean the telegraph, the telephone, the “fax” machine, the supersonic airplane, the space satellites, and the near instantaneous communicative abilities of the media — has shrunk the world. That is now. But back when the simple craft of shipbuilding sophisticated itself into a technocracy of its own, the world powers were transferred from land-locked countries to ones that had access to the sea, bringing unimagined wealth, glory, adventure and, unexpectedly, knowledge.
Countries such as England, France, Holland, Spain, Portugal and the like soon saw the world as their oyster. Nowadays — at least from the perspective of post-World War II — similar advances, and the ability to stay ahead, in the art of building and powering the tools of exploration (which ultimately wind up as the tools of war, such as supersonic aircraft and intercontinental ballistic missiles), have helped shape the power dimensions of the Big Two: the United States and (until very recently) the Soviet Union (Bernard Brodie, 1941).
In the past decade and up to and including the present, we are witnessing a tilt in that balance, based heavily on the economic weight placed upon a nation’s electronic technology — most notably toward Japan and West Germany. “Technology,” therefore, is a pretty solid piece of “ground” upon which to build and develop other facets of national power. It is like the political elephant stepping up on a block of stone to reach for the high-up foliage it needs for nourishment. The better the technology, the better the probability it will reach beyond its opponent’s grasp for the power that nourishes it, too.
Overall, international politics is nothing more than a power struggle wrapped in the cloak of “political realism,” that often masquerades as “national security.” Survival in that struggle always comes back to a very few salient points: every country or state must exploit its own strengths if it is going to promote its own national self‑interest ‑‑ it must toot, loudly and strongly, its own chauvinistic horn when it comes to “industrial capability,” “military capability,” “population,” “territory,” “political capability” and “national character,” and pile them all uniformly on the foundation of “technology.”
So let us look primarily at international conflict and war to illustrate our arguments, because both have been ‑‑
and still are ‑‑ the crucial central concerns to the study of international relations.
CHAPTER 2: METHODOLOGY
Without question, many still view war as merely an irrational act of passion. However, to others ‑‑ such as Karl Von Clausewitz (1968) ‑‑ war is diplomacy by other means. No matter, most will concur at turning point, where nations firmly believe they can force their will on one another more effectively through violence than by peaceful methods.
Looking at it all from the mountaintop, war has a very slippery number of characteristics. For instance, Quincy Wright (1948) views war as a special “legal state” that exists between countries. Rummel sees “war as a process” ‑‑ that is, stages of conflict that get hotter with coercion, hotter still with the threat of violence, and which finally boil over when violence actually comes into play (Rummel 1979: part 4). Another viewpoint discusses war as a set of “consequences” ‑‑ the violence, the death and the destruction (Richardson, 1960).
And, too, we can take Gochman’s definition of war as “hostilities between armed forces involving at least one member of the interstate system on each side, or hostilities between the armed forces of a member state directed against the territory and people of another member state” (Gochman, 1975: 5). In fact, hundreds of different factors have been suggested as sources of hostility among humanity. Coser sees it as “a particularly brutal form of conflict over status,
power and scarce resources during which an attendant attempt to eliminate the opponent occurs” (Coser, 1968).
Pick whichever definition you may, but for the sake of clarity, international war in this dissertation is defined by Singer and Small (1972) as that which involves at least one sovereign member of the global community, and those leading to at least 1,000 battle‑connected deaths among combatants. (During the 145‑year span covered by this study, there were 91 such wars, of which 49 involved at least one sovereign member on each side.)
So, why do major wars begin? What are the conditions that provoke the most powerful nations in the world to fight with one another or to use surrogates to fight for them?
- LITERATURE REVIEW
While each war and each generation of warfare has unusual or unique characteristics, familiar factors predominate. Some researchers of war have tended to be more concerned with the merits of quantification and non‑quantification rather than the merits of the hypotheses under examination. They are more concerned with methodology ‑‑ whether quantification or non‑quantification provides greater precision, validity, replication and generalization. It is ironic that so much attention is being given to the debate over methodology while so little is spent on the rigorous construction of testable propositions that are necessary in the first place. Theories must be either logically true or logically false. If the logic is flawed, the theory is false.
Just as reality rarely falls exactly into place with theoretical assumptions, so too it is then that wars do not occur under the precise conditions assumed by the theorists. Therefore, it is incumbent ‑‑ nay, crucial ‑‑ that practical experience should ultimately reveal which logical deductions are the true (and useful) explanations of reality and which are merely banal and trivial gymnastics of theory.
Many analysts have lost their perspective, perhaps as a consequence of their abandonment of the view from the
mountaintop, to a concentration on just one of the categories, where they explain the incidence of war almost exclusively in terms of a single cluster of variables. Adding to the confusion, as Singer says, is the fact that the academics among us usually tend to select the variables of their own discipline (Singer, 1970: 532).
Along this same vein, many contemporary analysts who boast of “understanding conceptual relationships” say that salvation is likely only if we wear intellectual horse blinders ‑‑ focus narrowly, concentrate on a given empirical phenomenon, and study it in isolation to the point where one is dealing with one’s own “island.” Most and Starr say that “researchers may be led astray if they narrowly focus their research on only one type of empirical foreign policy behavior, define problems or potential islands in terms of such concrete phenomena, search exclusively for empirical‑ level generalizations, and equate laws with universal truths” (Most and Starr, 1989: 102).
Sure, many scholars argue that their ultimate concern is understanding why states do what they do. But these same scholars deliver this concern without the clarity, concept or examination of grand theory. In fact, more often than not, they go in the opposite direction by specializing their research, with some of them becoming arms race experts, others alliance theorists or war analysts or students of arms transfers or specialists on the uses of foreign economic policy or experts on international negotiation/ conflict resolution processes and so on and so on.
But let these political scientists also consider how many times increases in defense ‑‑ translate, “nuclear arms” ‑‑ spending by one power leads to similar responses by others. Maybe the alliance theorist would discover that in one case, pumping up defense spending is necessary for the formation of a treaty, but that in another case similar
military outlays cause the breakup of an alliance (William L. Langer, 1931). Las Vegas probably would lay odds that your war theorists and arms transfer experts would face similar difficulties.
So why do scholars fall into this trap of specializing on one phenomenon or type of event? There is Hobson’s theory of imperialism and the Leninist interpretation that inevitably follows; there is Morgenthau’s and Gulick’s (and others’) interpretations of others on the balance of power; there’s Organski’s power transition theory; studies of bipolarity and multipolarity by Waltz, Deutsch, Singer and Rosecrance, and others; and Galtung’s analysis of status inconsistency (Hobson, 1938; Morgenthau, 1985; Gulick, 1967; Organski, 1968; Waltz, 1959; Deutsch and Singer, 1964; Rosecrance, 1966). We shall concede, however, that though all are specialists, most of them nevertheless represent some of the efforts to provide general explanations of the causes of wars.
Toynbee believed in a century‑long cycle of war and peace ‑‑ a general war was followed in neat sequence by a breathing space of peace, a cluster of supplementary wars, a pause of peace, and finally another general war (1945: 7). This generally holds true up to the end of World War II. Singer, a longtime proponent of the view that foreign policy decision makers may at least initially be presumed to be rather homogeneous, comes close to this point in reviewing the realpolitik, the arms race, power transition, economic development and imperialism models. Waltz, Kaplan (1957) and others debate which type of system ‑‑ “unipolar,” “bipolar,” “multipolar” and so on ‑‑ is the most stable and less conducive to war. Others talk nowadays about the impact of nuclear proliferation.
And, for those who favor the strictly intellectual wavelength, there are the analyses of the so‑called “power parity” and “power preponderance” hypotheses ‑‑ which get into diametrically opposite predications on the effects of the distribution of power in war. Gochman argues that in a war bubble consisting of status, capability and resources, each of the trio competes and each has many areas of overlap. What distinguishes one from the other is the motivating force that drives the whole toward war (Gochman, 1975: 86-87).
So, entering another sublevel of examination, we ask (perhaps with some trepidation), just what is this motivating force? The first is “inequity.” According to Gochman, when a state does not receive its “fair share” of benefits, war occurs.
The second is “capability,” whose followers are realists who “think and act in terms of interest defined as power” (Morgenthau, 1960: 5). Morgenthau tells us that “powerful states become engaged in conflict because they attempt to expand regions where they exercise control, or because their own reputation for power makes them the target of other expansionist states.” In short, nations usually try to grab as much as they can. The more powerful they are, the more likely they are to threaten or use military force.
The third explanation might be labeled the “necessity” model, wherein the engine that chugs toward war is one of need ‑‑ for raw materials, overseas markets, investment opportunities, living space, or a host of other possibilities. Under such pressure, a nation’s leaders may well turn to the threat ‑‑ or use ‑‑ of military force to feed the need. Ergo, countries with the most critical needs are those most likely to gamble on war. Japan is an example. Finally, there’s the fourth explanation ‑‑ “opportunity.” This model assumes that nations always lean toward getting involved in war, and whether they do or not depends on certain circumstances (Gochman, 1975).
Each of these four models has some predictability built into it. The inequity model, for example, does moderately well in accounting for the conflict behavior of Austria‑ Hungary in the 19th century, and for the United States and China ‑‑ and particularly Japan ‑‑ in the 20th century. The capability model somewhat mirrors 19th century British and Austro‑Hungarian ‑‑ as well as 20th century German and Soviet ‑‑ conflict behavior (Singer 1980:105‑106).
The problem is that it is not yet evident why one model should apply to one set of nations and the other model to another set. Why is it, for example, that some of the same variables are active ingredients in the onset of war in the 19th century and inactive ingredients in the 20th century ‑‑ or vice‑versa? (Singer and Bouxsein, 1975; Singer, 1977). In more recent times, it has become the rigor to take the stance that any overall conclusions about global politics based on the analysis of conflicts before 1945 are now useless. The main line to this argument is the glaring differences in pre‑nuclear and post‑nuclear politics ‑‑ i.e., that was then, this is now.
Why is it that Wallace (1973) can locate a link between status upheaval and the occurrence of war, whereas neither Ray (1974) nor Gochman (1975) find no obvious road map when the individual nations are examined? Perhaps it is because even though it is easy to predict the results of a war, it does not necessarily lessen the odds of it occurring. Quite the opposite, in fact. The less intelligence ‑‑ military or otherwise ‑‑ available to a nation, the more likely it is to come down on the side of caution and prudence and, therefore, to a decreased danger of war.
Let us also note that although many observers do, in fact, report specific findings (say, outcomes true of one century but not the next, or those applicable to the big players but not the little ones), a salient point to keep in mind is that the majority of these analysts start out by looking for general relationships; they begin with no preconceived notions that their hypothesis applies only to a specific circumstance or condition.
So now let us ask an even more intriguing question: Are the causes of war economic or ideological, imperialist, religious or nationalist?
Most certainly a case can be made for how the differences in Hinduism and Islam have been an obvious source of conflict between India and Pakistan, or how Protestantism and Catholicism separate Belfast and Dublin. So, too, can the same case be made for the cultural differences between France and England, or, much closer to home, between Ontario and Quebec.
But when we turn to the enormous dynamic of a rapidly growing population that has more reason than any to pursue international economic conquest, we nonetheless must conclude that the weak, the hungry, and the overpopulated nations can count only on inheriting the earth ‑‑ mainly because they are truly the meek and they rarely, if ever, attack anybody (North et al., 1985). Sure, political assassinations, phoney telegrams, military mobilizations and the like may sometimes trigger wars. But, as Lenin observes, it is the sophisticated capitalist countries that most often have gone to war to win markets, colonies, monopolies, profits and loot (Lenin, 1939).
So what, then, of peace? Although some see war as inherent to man’s nature, others find the olive branch teetering in an ultimate international balance of power ‑‑ or reliant upon an end to the arms race, or by resolving injustices under which aggression and frustration ferment, or simply by ensuring peace in our own streets.
Gochman turns to the social sciences, and suggests four items that sue for peace: a continuing drop in a nation’s capabilities; the memory of prior wars that were costly, financially and otherwise; pressures brought to bear by competing agreements or treaties; and potential pressures that accompany multipolarity (Gochman, 1976: 539-560).
How then, with such a wide variety of logical but contradictory hypotheses about the causes of war, can one not help but suggest a general explanation of its origins? To some extent, puzzling and contradictory findings are easily explained away by pointing out that different minds use different research designs, different analytical procedures and different data sets.
- DATA ANALYSIS
During the 150 years, 1816-1965, the overall number of wars has remained about constant in the international system, averaging about one war beginning every 18 months (Small and Singer, 1970: 191). But, although the average number of wars per decade has not changed, the number of nations in the international system has grown more than fivefold, from 23 states in 1816 to 124 in 1965 (Singer and Small, 1972: 27-30). Relative to the size of the system, wars thus have become about five times as rare as they were 150 years ago. It may be legitimate to discover what constraints, external and internal, have limited the number of outbreaks of war in recent decades.
No data about military, industrial and demographic capabilities can be obtained when I undertook this research; therefore, due to the limits of time that should be devoted to a doctoral dissertation and the impossibility of directly observing the multifarious actions of nations and other international actors, I am obliged to rely upon the data drawn from Singer and Small’s “The Wages of War” (1972), which has created a data base for research on war and peace, reaching back in time over more than the last 150 years covering the period 1816-1965 and the entire international system of politically relevant states. We use regression analysis to search for the relationship between war initiation and other factors available in their data set such as population, armed forces, and major powers. The results of regression analysis ranging from R2 = .082 for interstate wars, R2 = .076 for colonial wars, and R2 =.269 for imperial wars, and the results of the highest explanatory power are reported in Table 2.1.
Table 2.1 Regression Analysis’s Results For Imperial Wars
Correlation Partial Correlation Armed Forces .170 .317
Population .277 .384
Major Powers .061 .408
Outcome .062 .145
Multiple R = .519 R Square = .269
These results demonstrate that large population, large armed forces, powerful countries, and the war’s outcome have something to do with war initiation. The coefficient of determination for the regression is .269, reflecting that almost 30 percent of the variance in the war initiation is “explained” by variables such as armed forces, population, major powers, and war’s outcome.
R2 never can reach 1.00; that means, we never can “explain” one hundred percent why war occurs. Researchers are often satisfied with the strength of R2 from .30 to .50, although R2 or coefficient of determination, according to Professor John K. Wildgen (University of New Orleans), has nothing to do with “explanation” or “influence.” This view agrees with what Gary King (1986: 675) argued in “How Not to Lie with Statistics: Avoiding Common Mistakes in Quantitative Political Science.” R2 ,King stresses, “is a measure of the spread of points around a regression line,” and it is poor measure of even that (Achen, 1982).
The Wages of War data are large but variables needed for our argument such as classification of leaders and their governments, and the composite index of national capability for each country in the system are lacking. However, thanks to these data, we can have other informations about different levels of hostility reached by first initiators and first targets in 961 international disputes as shown in Table 2.2.
Table 2.2 LEVELS OF HOSTILITY
79 Threat to use force 389 Non-codable action 190 Display of force 35 Threat to use force
606 Use of force 448 Display/use of force
91 Outbreak of war 94 Outbreak of war
This list demonstrates that in 966 international disputes, only 94 percent in the case of initiator and 97 percent in the case of victim (or less than 10 percent of them) reached the highest level of hostility: the outbreak of Singer-Small war.
- THE GRAND THEORY
If we incorporate enough variables in a model, we can get closer and closer to accounting for all the variance in the outcome. We do so, however, at the cost not only of parsimony and elegance, but the ability to make theoretical sense of the results. The leader’s “willingness” to exercise power and the “opportunity” that constrains him at national, dyadic, and system levels are critical (Most and Starr, 1989); therefore, other factors which are supplementary to or so highly correlated with them can be merged in major factors of our calculation. In keeping with the exploratory nature of this study, the analyses employ the simplest possible statistical techniques which will be explained later.
We submit that there is, then, a need to re‑examine some of the “grand” theoretical approaches now found in our “traditional” literatures. The same can be said of what we
like to call grand, middle, and narrow‑range theory. There is a definite need to link all of the islands of the middle‑range archipelago, thereby providing a more overarching understanding of foreign policy and international behavior. Then maybe analysts could develop a model that explains a given phenomenon under different conditions, simply because they have learned not to reject out of hand a solution that is only sometimes true.
The researcher is on shaky ground when the goal is to provide a one‑answer‑fits‑all response to all cases through time and space, because the logic is temporally bounded while the future is not. This makes it more incumbent upon the scholar to merge the rigor and the axiomatic of scientific inquiry with the broader and grander concepts of traditional thought. Unfortunately, there have been precious few attempts to provide conceptually useful devices for what scholars call “cumulation” ‑‑ organizing and integrating the literature of war. Many of them, in fact, discuss cumulative thinking in the same terms that others speak of progress. For example, Dryzek (1986: 301-302) defines progress as “an increasing ability to explain and connect complex phenomena.”
Cumulative thinking combines the past, the present and the future. It is an integrative cumulation with its stress on theory, its development, evolution and change ‑‑ the clearest indicator of progress or the maturation of a discipline. It becomes manifest when new data sets begin to exit, scholars cite one another, analytical techniques improve and the analyst’s descriptive sense of international politics substantially expands in quantity and quality. However, this integrative cumulation, as Zinnes (1968) calls it, has no impressive record of which it can boast. In fact, the refrain of some scholars has been, “Where have all the theories gone?” (e.g., Phillips, 1974).
My purpose in writing this dissertation is to present a general theory of foreign conflict initiation. My theory and analysis are aimed at helping to make broader statements and deduce more general relationships, processes and dynamics, mainly because the conceptual and theoretical limitations of “middle-range theory” and the renewed efforts to construct “grand theory” are needed. Using war and international conflicts as illustrations, we will discuss logic, theory and the designs of research, then question the various levels of analysis, the application of a rational model, and critically review what our real abilities may be when we put contradictory theories to the test.
Let us agree from the outset that scholars trying to develop VRG — verifiable, replicable and generalizable — explanations of international conflict are concerned mainly with the conditions that precede the onset of war. By this we refer to the axiomatic “if X, then Y” logic of many research projects. This is the stuff that delineates sufficiency, that X always leads to Y. Other approach “only if X, then Y” analyzes only those cases when Y actually occurs (war, crisis, etc.), and ultimately reveals only that Y is always preceded by X — a premise that this necessary relationship exists. In terms of Integrative Elephantism, we do not discard this premise, but instead include them among the theoretical tools that provide linkages among all the various findings, concepts and models to come up with “if and only if X, then Y;” that means, X is both necessary and sufficient for Y.
So then, what conditions are necessary and sufficient for the initiation of wars? The question is critical to research design — and to the search for “subgeneral” laws. Caparaso states: “A recent overview of the comparative study of foreign policy reviews continuing problems, such as ad hoc hypothesis testing, the absence of theory, and the need to move beyond monadic state-centered attributes” (Caporaso et al., 1989). If we agree that good theory is required for integrative cumulation, then we must too agree that it should be broad enough to accommodate meaningful concepts and phenomena. The purpose of theory is not to replicate reality, but rather to provide a coherent and organized understanding of real events.
With that in mind, I therefore begin my analysis by first assuming that war entry is considered as such only when a country first undertakes large-scale military activity against another. Let us also assume that these war-initiators tend to expect to derive a rational calculated reaction from their actions. Other ingredients in this recipe include (1) a predisposition toward war and (2) certain factors that constrain them from it. However, the proof of the pudding, in this case, consists of the “environmental” conditions — national, dyadic, or international — that come into play.
Thus, the analyses presented here should be extended to any decision within any set of “environments.” Essentially, then, involvement in war is a product of motivating and contextual factors: motivating factors that predispose national decisionmakers to threaten or use military force, and contextual factors that constrain this predisposition. Take, for instance, what the Sprouts (1956) call an ecological triad, composed of an entity, its environment, and the “entity-environment” relationship. From this triad springs such scholarly mind-benders as environmental possibilism, environmental probabilism, and cognitive behaviorism.
Environmental possibilism, according to Sprouts, returns the initiative to the decisionmaker. Environmental probabilism explains a person’s reaction to a given milieu. And cognitive behaviorism pronounces that a person reacts to his milieu as he perceives it (Sprouts, 1956: 39-50).
“Reductionist” theories of international politics, which concentrate on causes at the individual level, are based on an understanding of the whole that is possible only by understanding the intricacies of its parts (Waltz, 1979: 18-19). If war are viewed merely as aberrations resulting from the idiosyncracies of human nature, so the thinking goes, there is little point in seeking grander solutions or general explanations.
Most efforts to find the causes of war focus on the environmental circumstances that compel the leaders of nations to wage war. The caveat to this line of thinking, however, is that if we try to prove causal relationships between those environmental factors and the end result — war, naturally — then we are forced to jettison the role of those leaders and go merrily on our way, acting as though nations were no more than programmed robots (Bueno de Mesquita, 1981: 4-5).
Allison takes a “bureaucratic politics” viewpoint, with the focus entirely on the domestic environment, ignoring any input from the international side of things (Allison, 1971). Waltz, however, sees international environment as the overriding variable in the policymaking process (Waltz, 1979). Zinnes zeroes in on the “state level,” with the “state as actor” as her unit of analysis (Zinnes, 1968).
Although there is current debate over certain dyadic power relations and war, in any case the major approach to the study of war has been the use of levels of analysis. Waltz (1954) is credited with introducing a tri-level examination of war causes — human behavior, the makeup of states, and the inclinations of the global network. The crucial importance of the ecological trilogy of Harold and Margaret Sprout (1956) is viewed in terms of certain connections, or “linkages” ‑‑ they call them “micro‑macro” and “micro‑macro/process‑structure” linkages.
The Sprouts say that apparently Waltz (1979) has underestimated the known links between social items and the environment. They say he artificially separates the social item and the environment, and then flatly ignores the third leg of the Sprouts’ treatise: the entity‑environment relationship. Perhaps they are right. Perhaps Waltz’s rejection of micro‑level/analytical approaches is out of hand. Most and Starr tell us that such exclusivity denies development of a systematic comprehension of foreign policy or international goings-on (Most and Starr, 1989: 100). This is especially so when the decision as to whether to enter a war is based on a very large number of factors, each of which ‑‑ some say ‑‑ has only a small influence on the final outcome.
4.1. THE RATIONALITY ASSUMPTION
For those who are utility‑maximizers, one assumes that choosing between peace and war is based upon increasing the power of the leader’s office, as well as that of those who helped him gain and maintain power. Ergo, unless the leader is a warmonger, he would rationalize an attack against his enemy if he figured he could gain something from it that he couldn’t get through other means. He also would pay the price of a fight only as long as it is less than the expected benefits from fighting. Bueno de Mesquita generalizes about initiating serious conflicts, predicating the theory on the assumption that premiers and presidents behave as if they are rational‑thinking, expected‑utility maximizers. The main consequence of the theory is the expectation that wars will start only when those who start them are convinced the war will bring positive expected utility (Bueno de Mesquita, 1981).
The other view holds that the politics of one country are dissimilar to that of another, so cultural, social, or other differences influence greatly the decisions ‑‑ and the processes leading to those decisions ‑‑ in different countries. Such a view, of course, is diametrically opposed to Mesquita’s concept of conflict decision‑making.
Whether one examines war initiators and their opponents in Europe, Asia, the America, or the Middle East, evidence of his points to positive‑expected‑utility characterizing the initiators and negative‑expected‑utility being the basic characteristics of their opponents. But does that provide us with any more data, any more useful data, that we haven’t computed already?
Mesquita tells us that the focal assumptions are these: (a) decision‑making concerning war boils down to one strong leader; (b) that the one strong leader is rational, and what he has labeled an expected‑utility‑maximizer; (c) that leader’s various views about taking risks will influence the decisions he makes, (d) his ambiguity about the likely reactions of other countries to the initiation of war will have an impact on his decisions; and (e) a country’s power diminishes during a war as the locus of the fighting becomes geographically distant from the nation (Bueno de Mesquita, 1981: 29-32).
Those who back a “positive‑effects” position see war as an entree to (1) greater efficiency and protection of industry because of greater governmental power (Sombart, 1913; Foch, 1918; Schumpeter, 1939; Borton, 1941); (2) improvement in financial institutions (Hansen, 1941; C. Wright, 1942); (3) advances in technology that wouldn’t have happened without war (Herring, 1941); (4) the potential for discovering and exploiting new resources (Kaempffert, 1941); (5) the potential for improving transportation and communications (Fontaine, 1926); (6) magnifying managerial and organizational skills (Dorn, 1940; Dulles, 1942); and (7) an overall economic stimulus.
Kaempffert (1941) concisely captures the “positive‑ effects” position when he says: “War may conceivably destroy civilization, but the greatest social, cultural, political, industrial, technological and economic blossoming has occurred when belligerency was high.” Kuznets (1964) also alludes to war as benefitting nations because of the technological innovations that spring from it. All things considered, Kuznets might suggest, positive‑expected utility is necessary ‑‑ but, admittedly, maybe not sufficient ‑‑ to start a war.
We have well‑noted here that deciding to go to war depends on an accurate assessment of an enemy’s might, as well as a close estimate of the costs and benefits of fighting as opposed to negotiating. But what is gained and what is lost ‑‑ in terms of power ‑‑ by war? A bellicose nation’s future rests entirely on victory or defeat. Most of those who start wars apparently figured on reasonable expectations of success, while most of their opponents did not. Clearly, nearly 75 percent of all wars fought since Wellington’s victory at Waterloo were won by the side that started the war. We may correctly assume, then, that planning and preparing by the initiators during peacetime is crucial when it comes to successfully waging war.
Mesquita’s theory limits itself to analyzing the rational actor on the global stage ‑‑ the “expected‑utility” maximizer. This guy usually is “Micro‑Level Man” in terms of participation, where decision making is focused on expected‑utility calculations and an interactive foreign policy. Mesquita’s war trap is wrought with “over- prediction” ‑‑ that is, nations have a positive‑expected utility much more often than when they actually start a war. Mesquita looks more to necessary conditions ‑‑ rather than sufficient conditions ‑‑ of war.
Waltz’s “first image” centers on human nature. The image assumes that a proclivity toward war is omnipresent, and that when one views man realistically he is naturally aggressive. Therefore, willingness is ever present, and we always should be alert to situations that set off this willingness. It is of no consequence how leaders perceive their world or their environment, the bone of contention is with that image, particularly when it comes to creating policy, planning or decision making (Waltz, 1979).
4.2. WILLINGNESS AND OPPORTUNITY
The logic of the inquiry approach outlined here focuses on process ‑‑ clarified by the light of opportunity and willingness ‑‑ and forces the observer to cut across all levels of analysis. Global occurrences, then, must be
digested in multiple levels of analysis, with the logic of inquiry guiding our observer into the relevant level or levels, rather than deciding beforehand in which level to park his hypothesis. “Opportunity and willingness,” then, are the predominant frames of reference for macro and micro approaches to the study of international relations. But whether macro or micro, environment or decisionmaker, there also are certain decisionmaking processes that emerge to play important roles in the birth of war.
If we argue that scholars must acknowledge the research trio of method, theory and logic (Most and Starr, 1989), so too we then must ask under what condition does war occur at the system level, at the dyadic level and at the nation level? Well, let us put forth the assumption that micro and macro must interact; let us also venture the existence of a mix of environmental structures and environed entities; and, finally, let us leave room for differences in perspective.
Ultimately, decisionmakers who ignore self‑help do so at their own peril; in the long run, only those who attend to their environmental demands will survive. We therefore embark on developing the argument that a grasp of “levels” ‑‑ one, environmental/structural level and the other decisionmaking/ choice level ‑‑ allows for a full description and explanation of international relations phenomena. If we emphasize only those issues regarding the cumulative, the conceptual and the analytical, we then must identify (1) the factors that change the chances that a country will go to war, and (2) just where in the escalation and de‑escalation process they come into play.
However, the opportunity‑and‑willingness explanations of Most and Starr are most powerful. Opportunity, according to Most and Starr, is political shorthand for the war possibilities available in any one environment; and, in like manner, willingness is shorthand for the choice among behavioral alternatives (Most and Starr, 1989: 29-35). The willingness of leaders to use force usually is critical in the understanding and explanation of war. Even Mesquita agrees that willingness is crucial to how a leader estimates a war’s good points and bad points, costs and benefits ‑‑ whether consciously or otherwise (Mesquita 1981, 1983, 1985). Then, too, we also must face questions about leaders and how they interact with their environments, how that environment corralled their actions, and, of course, how those leaders even perceive their environment.
It is incumbent upon an effective leader to anticipate and keenly estimate the reactions of others, to say nothing of the ability to see their own behavior when it is bordered by a particular range of opportunities an environment presents, be it domestic, governmental or international. Even for leaders who lust for power and would jump willingly and headlong into conflict, whether they actually do so depends on other factors.
The point to remember about these particular discussions is not that willingness predominates over opportunity. A leader’s willingness to use the forces available to him is more important than the kinds of opportunities open to him to implement that force ‑‑ even though both are important. The actors usually operate within well‑defined boundaries, and they know that how they act ‑‑ what they do or do not do ‑‑ also can be important.
Others argue that leaders will always avail themselves of the option to initiate whenever it is comes up, so it is perilous to accept explanations of war that center on ambitions while ignoring just how they intend to implement those ambitions. Opportunity and ambition ‑‑ aims and arms ‑‑ interact with each other to the point where they are virtually inseparable. Opportunity and willingness should be viewed as co‑equal and necessary and sufficient conditions; neither alone can cut it. Any time a nation has a chance to attack ‑‑ and its leaders are willing to exploit that chance ‑‑ an attack actually occurs.
The stages of conflict, developed from Singer’s argument (1980), are these: (1) rivalry, marked by an imbalance between competitive and cooperative interactions; (2) mild dispute, when one or both sides resort to non‑military measures to thwart, resist or damage the other; (3) serious dispute, when one or the other resorts to military threats, displays or actual use of force short of war; (4) brink of war, marked by both parties’ deployments of military forces that will be very costly to reverse unless the opponent back down; and (5) onset of war, or reciprocal and sustained military combat by armed forces (Singer, 1980: xix ‑ xxx).
The scientists also are most likely to agree that wars do not occur so suddenly that they take their initiator completely by surprise. Such, in fact, is rarely the case. The particular event triggering war may be a surprise or even an accident, but it occurs in a context of prior planning and preparation. We can reasonably believe, then, that wars are purposive rather then unintentional.
Occasionally a war is both begun and continued in defiance of the government of one of the fighting nations. For example, the Japanese took over the city of Mukden in September 1931 and then snatched the remainder of Manchuria from China. Nevertheless, the war, which may not have been intended by the Japanese government, was fully intended by the Japanese Kwangtung army (Alfred Vagts, 1937). Guerrilla warfare frequently begins and continues without the sanction of the home government, but is certainly intentional warfare. Therefore, the idea of unintentional war or accidental war seems misleading.
Let us consider, too, that if nations stumble into wars rather than plan them, there is no reason to expect the aggressor to have a military advantage. However, we know
that the initiators of most wars during the past 160 years do appear to have enjoyed an advantage. The logic of it all then leads us to deduce this: Because the initiation of war is intentional, the decision to do so is controlled by a key leader.
When one focuses on the decisions of an individual rather than those by consensus, there’s less danger of falling victim to Arrow’s paradox. If one carefully combines theorizing about key leaders ‑‑ with a sensitivity to the conditions under which their choices are made ‑‑ we may in fact find the most direct route to meaningful generalizations about war (Bueno de Mesquita, 1981: 15).
So let us now turn our attention to the individual as a source of foreign policy; the leaders themselves, the people who occupy the decision‑making roles at the highest echelons of government and who thereby act for the nation. We start with the leadership, which identifies a country’s course of action with the aims and ideals of its highest official or officials.
Admittedly, we may be taking one step too many when we assume the plural “officials,” when it is ultimately the responsibility of a single leader to decide what to do and how to do it. This is why: If we are to find scientific generalizations about war, we must make some assumptions that allow us to examine decisions to wage war within a logically meaningful framework. And by that we mean that the ultimate responsibility rests in the hands of a single policymaker charged with the final duty of approving a decision to wage war (John A. Vasquez, 1986: 28-31).
Bird (1920: 28) noted that “when moral qualities, discipline, training and armaments are approximately equal, superiority of numbers is likely to prove victorious even against superior leadership.” But on the other hand, Henderson (1916: 169) argues just the opposite just as convincingly ‑‑ that a small army with superior leaders is more likely to beat the tar out of a large army led by dunces.
The issue of leadership is a contentious one, as detractors note that it not always has a sure focus on reality. As evidence they turn to the 18th century, where the king or queen could, quite legitimately in those days, surround himself with sycophants and brown‑nosers who would purr in his presence. Later, in the 20th century, we see time and again a military dictator or an elected leader succumbing to his yes‑men and others pandering to his pride and prejudices.
In a word, Lester Grinspoon (1973) argues, every leader eventually feels the shackles of his own power and position, as the commentary, data, advice and intelligence offered up to the dominant leader more often than not are tinged with that particular adviser’s own biases and orientation toward risk. The main problem for the leader is, the final decision still is his ‑‑ good commentary, data, advice and intelligence or no.
These characters may initiate wars whenever they want to. They may stop policies leading to war if they want to. In our scenario, the approval of the dominant leader is necessary for war, just as is his disapproval sufficient grounds to prevent his nation from starting a war. For the sake of argument, then, let us assume that the selection of war or peace is a choice that is initiated, conducted and concluded by individuals who must accept responsibility for their decision. Pigeonholing certain personality traits is important, we will concede, just as we will note that the categories provide some reasons for explaining a leader’s behavior ‑‑ and for making predictions, because personality traits can operate as a prime determinant of foreign policy attitudes.
Even though many, many studies of war focus on the causes and conditions of these phenomena ‑‑ and the attending research offers little support for the often popular impression that aggressiveness is rooted in human nature ‑‑ there nevertheless is much to lead the thinker to believe that one’s predisposition toward aggressiveness is a learned trait (Light and Keller, 1985: 91-92).
Are innate driven and personal predispositions sometimes the all‑powerful determinants of foreign policy behavior? We know that no two individuals are identical, that every person differs in some significant way from every other. So, we ask then, how important are nature and nurture in this particular scheme of things? The nature‑nurture argument is an old one among social scientists. Until Pavlov’s experiment with dogs demonstrated that much behavior is learned, many people believed that it was basically biological. The nature‑nurture debate continues today, although most scientists agree that both biology and social environment influence development (Light and Keller, 1985: 92-95).
What impact do a leader’s particular traits have on his foreign policy decisions? If one is a student of their psychobiographies, the invariable assumption is that the personalities of leaders are cast into stone by childhood experiences, relationships with parents and peers, and how they view life. These intangibles are presumed to shape personality, belief systems, and decisionmaking ability, as well as substantially influencing their eventual adult and policy making behavior. Freud, were he still around, would have a field day.
The next logical step, then, is to assume that the actions of a country are the offspring of the idiosyncracies of these movers and shakers. Their ambitions, their convictions, their anxieties and their experiences and their memories thus influence a nation’s conduct. What occurs in a decision maker’s head is therefore extremely important to what ultimately may occur outside it (Boulding, 1959).
Given the great sway of the person in charge of foreign policymaking process, it is tempting to think of a nation’s behavior overseas as being caused by the whim and caprice of a powerful leadership (Wendzel, 1980). In fact, the influence of personality on those in charge has been found to be particularly substantial when the use of force is one of the players in the game (Etheredge, 1978).
What conditions favor the outbreak of war? There can be little doubt that some of the more inflammatory factors are cemented in the culture of these elite folks, their belief systems, their skill in negotiation, their ability to decipher signals from other leaders, as well as in the constraints and opportunities imposed by the institutions in which they must operate.
James David Barber (1985) classifies categories of leadership in a two‑dimensional scheme, according to personality traits and leadership styles. Specifically, Barber suggests that a nation’s managers are understood best by examining how much energy they put into the job (active or passive) and the personal satisfaction they derive from it (negative or positive). Active‑positive leaders are hell‑bent on results. Active‑negatives aim to get and keep power. Passive‑positives are after love. Passive‑negatives sing the song of their own civic virtue (Barber, 1985: 10). John Stoessinger (1985) takes a look at the link between the personalities of leaders and their foreign policy behavior. He believes there are two fundamental personality types among decision makers in the 20th century ‑‑ crusaders and pragmatists.
Do the personal qualities of the dominant leaders make
any difference in how a country decides its destiny in foreign affairs? Or would others in similar positions in similar times act similarly? The personality differences are often simply a matter of degree and may, in fact, mask important similarities, some evidence gatherers say.
The caveat here, however, is that the strategy might only make sense if decision‑makers worldwide responded identically to identical stimuli. World leaders are alike, presumably, mostly in personality and their need and quest for power. Only certain people seek positions of power. Consequently, they share certain characteristics and attitudes. Moreover, once in office, their behavior is shaped significantly by their office, and more often than not they fall into place with the same behavioral habits and beliefs of their co‑workers and predecessors.
The result: different people often espouse the same sort of policies as their predecessors, and their answers to international questions are similarly consistent and predictable. Ultimately, then, the leader is imprisoned by powerful political and psychological forces. “Names and faces may change, interests and policies do not” (Holsti, 1973). So if we accept the fact that governments and their leaders, when faced with certain global possibilities, will behave in generally similar ways, the question that arises is this: What degree of control they have left is available to them?
Most researchers looking for the causes of war examine “compelling” environmental circumstances that force policymakers to wage it, either ignoring the leadership role and/or looking at a country as no more than a robotic device that automatically react to certain stimuli. Thus, these same researchers who decide to examine only one or a few of the behaviors are doomed, in most cases, to eternal scientific wandering.
There is nothing new in the phenomenon of a single audacious individual grabbing humanity by throat. But Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, Genghis Khan and Napoleon all started near the center of the world they set out to conquer. Historians and political scientists debate whether great forces or great men move the world; and today, by unleashing the forces of democracy, Gorbachev and Yeltsin gave new luster to the leadership theory. They may not be able to control those forces themselves. They could even sweep them away, but no matter what happens next in the great Eurasian land mass where 1.8 billion people live under communism in the past — and no matter what happens to Gorbachev and Yeltsin themselves — they have established their places in history as the catalyst of a new European reality.
Yet, we are told, each and every leader is also assumed to have a certain bent toward risk and uncertainty. Different dominant leaders react differently to these compulsions, despite the consequences. And, let us not forget that different dominant leaders may ascribe to the same options for different reasons, or sometimes use the same means to pursue different ends.
And let us remember, too, that new leaders are presumed to make a difference. The themes of American foreign policy, for example, is little more than what the policy makers want it to be. Truman’s “doctrine,” Eisenhower’s “massive retaliation,” Kennedy’s “frontiersmanship,” Nixon’s “detente,” and Carter’s “human rights initiative” were simply products of the leaders whose name they bear.
No matter what created the window of opportunity for the start of war, the leaders have not availed themselves of all the opportunities available, mainly because we expect all of them, everywhere, to pursue the same goals. If the behavior of leaders in different states could, in fact, take a variety of forms, then there would be no reason to expect or predict a specific foreign policy response.
I shall posit that a nation’s leaders are actors who act according to their perception of their environment, and whose behaviors occur only under specific conditions. My first stage of the process here refers to how decision makers in different states choose from among the alternatives their minions present to them. My second use of process refers to a certain interdependent result born of the interaction of the deciders in different states. It is necessary to consider both uses and apply them to how the dominant elites chooses goals, and how he chooses certain options over others in pursuit of those ends. This suggests adherence to Bueno de Mesquita’s utility approach, or the Sprouts’ cognitive behaviorism.
Let us examine this: One country gets itself entangled in a war while another country with the same resume does not. Conversely, but similarly, different countries with different leaders may both engage in war. Certainly some, such as Jesus, Buddha and Gandhi are remembered for their resistance to violence. But there are so many more memorialized for perfecting violence: Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Hitler.
A country’s dominant elites are ‑‑ or can be treated as ‑‑ what some call “unified” and “value‑maximizing” actors who understand all the input and realize all the options and their consequences. Acting rationally simply means that they strategize in terms of how best to achieve their goals. The framework of circumstances becomes the condition that must be met before they will go to war (Bueno de Mesquita, 1981). Of course, if an initiator is bound and determined to initiate a war, there is little his opponent can do to stop him under these conditions.
CHAPTER 3: LEVELS OF ANALYSIS
Now let’s take a look at “levels of analysis,” where we will examine the decision‑making process on four levels: the individual level, the national level, the dyadic level, and the systems level.
- THE INDIVIDUAL LEVEL
There are three personality types that generally are recognized in foreign policy‑making circles as “important.”
1.1. THE PACIFIST
Knowing leaders, their goals and what they perceive are crucial to explaining how war starts. An astute observer with 20/20 hindsight also might note that understanding the portfolio of peace as well as war is the prologue to a successful study of conflict processes. If one is a non‑utilitarian, one simply explains that some leaders under some conditions view violence, e.g., wars, as immoral. These are the true pacifists, and they will never fight. They are
conservative, pessimistic, and see inequality between nations as an inevitable aspect of international affairs. To them, foreigners are outsiders, threats, and suspicious; thus the best way to deal with other nations is to avoid them via isolationism.
They also share some of Bueno de Mesquita’s “risk‑averse” characteristics, or those leaders who must continually satisfy condition after condition before they consider getting into any kind of conflict. In America “risk aversion” is better known as isolationism, or when its leaders are unwilling to put their nation in economic or military jeopardy just to enhance the interests of some other power, allied or otherwise. Although Sweden is seen now as a nation perpetually hitching itself to the halo of peace, it once held the horns of a feared aggressor. The United States once was peacefully isolationist. Not so today. Of course, there may be instances in which the pacifist dominant leader is not motivated by those “essential” concerns; or to pursue other goals linking his nation to the aorta of national security (Bueno de Mesquita, 1981: 34).
If a leader has no intention whatsoever of engaging in war, then, regardless of other factors, he will avoid at all costs participating in, let alone initiating, a war. Pacifist dominant leaders virtually never initiate a war. They go about their maneuvering peacefully, attempt to achieve their goals by extending the peacepipe, or even by allowing some of those goals to languish in the name of peace. Usually, though, this point of view, when used against violent people, often leads to the destruction of the pacifist.
Pragmatists ask for information, ask for advice, are open to critics, evaluate options and accept criticism, consider alternatives and aim at adaptability (Stoessinger, 1985). The determining factors in picking peace or war evolve from their approximations of profits and losses, and just how they view good and evil, right and wrong.
Pragmatists can be lumped into the same league with Mesquita’s “risk-neutral” leaders. Some may expect them to seek justifications of war more than “risk-averse” leaders, but these people also often feel the reins of restraint when contemplating war than do the “risk-takers.” They roll the dice of war only to beat the odds of turmoil at home. So at this juncture, let us use the risk- neutralists to conveniently segue to the link between civil conflict and international strife as an opportunity to introduce the “scapegoat theory” that tries to explain that link.
Though not the first, Kinglake (1969) astutely observed certain wars as diversionary tactics aimed specifically at troublesome groups protesting back home. Quincy Wright (1948) was another who put forth the possibility that a major and frequent cause of conflict was the proclivity toward war to divert the madding crowds from their own woes. Wright also wondered aloud whether dictators could hold their own without finding a scapegoat for their country’s problems. Leonard Woolf (1953) echoes the propositions of Kinglake and Wright — when war is couched in terms of a “crusade,” it can remoralize a fractured nation and reshape it to complement the various preconceived notions of the war itself.
And, as a psychological chimney, the same reasoning continues: create an enemy as a vent for the anxieties of domestic dissatisfaction. Margaret Mead observes that a war can falsely paint a bull’s-eye on one country when the real target should be the disturbance from within.
In the last 125 years, some 31 international conflicts came immediately after critical upheavals in one of the quarreling countries. Kinglake, in fact, says that one of the main contributors to the onset of the Crimean War was the chaos within the French government. Invading Crimea was a scapegoat strategy concocted to divert the eyes of France from the diseases that were eating away at its own insides. In 1904, when Russian and Japan had at it militarily, the Russian minister of the interior noted: “We need a little victorious war to stem the tide of revolution ” (Blainey, 1973: 68-85). Civil strife, of course, is only one of the threads that lead to war, but that lone strand often is a strong one and often laced with cordite.
1.3. THE MILITARIST
One very popular argument among political scientists maintains that certain generations are dominated by certain aims. The argument gains credence by the main causes ‑‑ or, aims ‑‑ of war in the 16th century, which were religious; the dynasty‑building or merchant‑driven phases in the 18th century; and the nationalistic and money‑minded struggles that peppered the 19th century.
In the 18th century, many philosophers were convinced that the personal ambitions of kings and queens were the underlying causes of war. That line of thought changed by the end of that century, when the men of money and their pursuit of markets or investment outlets became a popular villain. By the time World War I arrived, observers were convinced that military regimes, armament races and arms merchants were the main catalysts in the disruption of peace.
Logic would have it, then, that by eliminating dictators, capitalists, militarists and arms makers, peace would stand a chance of survival. That is, of course, if one assumes that ambition and motive dominate the cause of war. The bench mark of these interpretations describe ambitions ‑‑ whether for prestige, ideology, market share or empire ‑‑ as the basic, deep‑seated long‑term powder keg that requires only the provocatory farmer’s match of minor events to ignite war.
But these tenets are basic to the realist’s school; they have surfaced from as far back as Thucydides’ own account of the Peloponnesian War; and they have been elaborated upon by great minds, ranging from Machiavelli to Clausewitz. This realist viewpoint also has been linked strongly with views and practices espoused by such renowned globalists as Metternich, Bismarck, Stalin, and Kissinger, to name a few.
If one is a realist, one is motivated by “national interest measured in terms of power.” Morgenthau also proposes that understanding politics is best accomplished by observing human nature (Morgenthau, 1973: 4). In fact, he echoes Hobbes in espousing the assertion that man is “born to seek power” and then buttresses his case by telling us that the drive for power is the overriding factor in examining the link between political relationships. “Politics,” he says, “is a struggle for power” (Hobbes, 1946: 168).
The realpolitik outlook is one that expects conflict between countries, not cooperation; it allows for a nation’s need to increase its power in proportion to that of its adversaries; it views moralism as bankrupt; and it distrusts intensely the motives of others. They tend to ask not “what is right and what is wrong?” but “who is strong and who is weak?” They envision conquest and glory, and are motivated by the usual suspects that accompany this vision ‑‑ occupying, exploiting and repressing beaten people.
Power is the main point in explaining war and peace, as well defining the type of leader a nation has ‑‑ notwithstanding the continual critical barrage aimed at the ambiguity, imprecision and illogic of this particular power concept. It is commonly assumed that prestige and power are prerequisites to respect and honor, and therefore are the main attractions to anyone considering a career in politics. The upshot of this assumption, however, is that even the politicos themselves are enslaved to the drive to acquire influence over others.
Some will argue that power is the salve that heals the hurt of low esteem (Lasswell, 1974). They say that politicians grasp for the seats of power admittedly to garner attention, respect and status ‑‑ but mostly to overcome their own inadequacies and insecurities. The lust for power, they add, finds its roots in weakness, not strength ‑‑ thereby making it obvious to detect a bulls‑eye of opportunism in international affairs, defined by certain leaders, such as Napoleon, or maybe Hitler. It also is just as easy to single out certain leaders as great peacemakers or villainous warmongers ‑‑ but let us look now mostly at those who prefer fighting to bargaining, even if they know they benefit better by bargaining.
Frederick the Great of Prussia, for instance, attached great value to waging war as an end in itself. In fact, he once forthrightly observed that “the ox must plow the furrow, the nightingale must sing, the dolphin must swim, and I, I must make war.” Germany, as we know, owed its most recent military power to the evil genius of Bismarck and Hitler (Thomas Carlyle, 1882). For instance, German diplomatic victories from 1933 to 1940 were the victories of one man’s mind ‑‑ Hitler’s. Later, of course, the disintegration of that mind resulted in the horrors of the Nazi regime.
“Militarism is an attitude syndrome defining the individual’s orientation toward aggressive behavior. The militarist accepts a view that leads to hostility and to the use of force as the means to an end” (Kegley and Wittkopf, 1987: 526). Other types of personalities that may be classified in the same category of the militarist include the Machiavellian, the nationalist, and, yes, even the paranoid.
The Machiavellian mind is one in desperate need of power acquisition, and then, once attaining it, uses it with devastating effect by emphasizing strategies and manipulating the weakness of others’ proclivities toward principle and sentiment. Machiavellians are motivated by the uncompromising desire to win, and a similar fear of losing. Indeed, they strive to exercise influence for the mere satisfaction and prestige of it. Because the cold exploitation of others is their primary motive, the Machiavellian encourages, or even provokes, competitions and will make it his risky business to create opportunities he can seize to his own advantage (Christie and Geis, 1970). The trait is strongly associated with the psychological need for power (McClelland, 1975).
The nationalist, according to Keley and Wittkopf, is into glorifying his country and exaggerating its virtues, while simultaneously belittling others. The nationalistic mind leans more often than not toward getting involved in foreign conflict. And the nationalist leader is likely to view foreigners with hate, hostility or loathing; they also often look at diplomatic conflict and global competition as correct and inevitable.
The paranoid ‑‑ remember, this is a person who actually is the victim of a psychoneurotic disorder ‑‑ lives a life dominated by excessive suspicion, fear and distrust of others. To make matters worse, these traits almost always are accompanied by a sense of certainty, superiority and self‑confidence ‑‑ a la Hitler and Stalin (Kegley and Wittkopf, 1987: 527-528). Whether a war initiator is a Machiavellian, a pragmatist or a neurotic, he must prepare to enter the fray by expecting to win ‑‑ or, at the very least, to lose only as much as he would without war.
Let us, then, boil down this analytical admixture to just a certain few propositions:
PROPOSITION 1 : A pacifist never initiates a war.
PROPOSITION 2 : A pragmatist initiates a war only to divert attention from domestic ills.
PROPOSITION 3 : A militarist is always willing to initiate a war.
If we create a horizontal “war probability” scale, peace is on the far left with 0 points and war is on the far right with 100 points. In between are the different levels of the war process ‑‑ ranging from rivalry to mild dispute, then to serious dispute and brink of war. Each is arbitrarily assigned 20 points apart from each other and is based upon the confluence of certain conditions, mainly those of willingness and opportunity.
Mild Serious Brink
Peace Rivalry Dispute Dispute Of War War
0 20 40 60 80 100
Generally speaking, if the war initiator is either the pragmatist with problems in the streets, or a militarist, the situation bumps up 20 points on the chart, putting the two sides into the second phase, rivalry. In the Bull’s‑eye of Integrative Elephantism, this is the 20‑point circle.
- NATIONAL LEVEL
Analysis on a national level must take into consideration the conditions ‑‑ domestic, governmental and otherwise ‑‑ that influence willingness because of the way they corral and then cull out the available options. A great many of the highly espoused theories of war put the blame on individuals with vested interests in the outcome ‑‑ the men who want the markets or the money, the dictators who want the power, or the monarchs driven by their bloated egos. Even today’s versions of “wars of religion” more often than not pit the ideologies of socialism against those professing allegiance with a capitalist economy.
It therefore is natural to ask if variances in a country’s political system are critical in the way that country gets things done. Mussolini was able to make good on his promise to get Italy’s trains to run on time, but does it matter, for instance, whether a country is democratic or totalitarian when the issue is whether or not to initiate a war?
Most scholars believe it does matter. Obviously, the major advantage offered by democracy is the quality of life it allows free men and women to enjoy. However, its major disadvantage is the difficulty in getting these same free men and women to pull together for the common good. Totalitarian states merely order it done. Whereas in democracies the masses have some control over the ruling classes, the situation is precisely the reverse in totalitarian countries.
Until the recent disintegration of the U.S.S.R., the American and Soviet systems have been seen as complete opposites. American presidents exercise little or no control over large parts of the political spectrum in their country, allowing their opponents to join forces and fill the vacuum of control over certain resources. In the Soviet Union, control has moved conversely, from the top down. The leader of the Communist Party is, for all intents and purposes, a dictator who controls the political apparatus that controls public enterprises. For the past three‑quarters of a century, the two systems have boasted of pronounced differences in the way they accomplish their goals and, in particular, in matters of control.
Democratic nations view autocratic states as those most likely to go to war. By the same token, autocrats believe democracies as vulnerable to the popular whims and caprices of the day, thereby undermining cool‑headed diplomatic negotiating. Republican countries, in contrast, are likely to adhere to restraint from initiating war.
A nation’s ability to pinpoint, cull out and conserve resources is critical to the growth and maintenance of its power structure. Considered important too, are intangibles such as support of a war by the masses, the quality of a country’s military, and other more practical variables such as climate and terrain. Undoubtedly, though, the threshold of a country’s citizens for suffering (Rosen 1972), and the ability of a nation to convert its resources into tangible
support of its policies (Organski, Lamborn, and Bueno de Mesquita 1973) are basic factors in winning a war.
2.1. UNDEMOCRATIC REGIME
Certain dynasties prop up themselves by exploiting their human resources and playing them off any potential opposition. Prussia is a good example. The monarchs of this eastern European nation were able to control the nobles ‑‑ and the rest of the masses ‑‑ by making them part and parcel of their armies, which, in turn, provided the power behind their right to rule. Other tactics (many of which became “art forms” in Soviet hands) include social ostracism, indoctrination and group conformity pressures ‑‑ psychological tools of control, really ‑‑ that give the impression of law and order (Thomas Carlyle, 1882).
Of course, no governing body will admit ‑‑ to others or, in some cases, even to itself ‑‑ that it keeps itself in power by keeping to itself the tools of coercion. Every form of government will claim its power flows from the font of public popularity, and that force is used only against “criminals,” “subversive” minorities, and outsiders whose aim is to overthrow the insiders. In fact, many observers agree that the more non‑democratic the political system, the more likely it is to handle complainants violently.
Without question, even the most cruel and coercive dictator must muster some internal or external support to successfully wage a war. This does not mean the support is contingent on truth and knowledge ‑‑ the autocratic ruler
may want war, but in order to engage in it he has no second thoughts about duping the rank and file into supporting it and fighting it. This may be achieved by any number of methods, ranging from emotion‑manipulation to legislating maddening regulations that only war can resolve. Once again, the best example to proffer here is the Soviet Union, which, up until its recent political demise, has always opted for involvement in conflict, and a military or paramilitary response to crisis.
2.2. DEMOCRATIC REGIME
From the outset, defining a democratic regime is more inclusionary than exclusionary. It is not so much that every nation is ruled by an iron‑fisted dictator type as it is by a lone person who has the power to steer that nation on a course away from war. John Stoessinger notes that during wartime, even “most democracies have managed to fashion a temporary ‘constitutional dictatorship’ which quickly balanced the initial advantages of the aggressive dictator” (1973: 19).
Even though the implementation of the political threat long has been the touchstone of tyrannies, a democratic country also must keep in reserve the same threat‑and‑force political ammunition, though obviously much more veiled and intermittent than in an autocracy. Democratic politics, as in all other politics, is a struggle for power over other people ‑‑ and, in a democracy, nothing is more important than the next election and the consent of the governed.
Waltz’s (1979) “second image” also paints us a picture of the state as containing elements of opportunity and willingness. Mobilizing internal entities crops up, just as it does elsewhere ‑‑ a country’s citizens have got to be convinced that it is in their best interests to bear the costs of mobilization and sacrifice for the sake of the decision makers’ foreign policy goals. Also entering and affecting the scenario of willingness are questions of a government’s and a leader’s legitimacy, political culture and public opinion.
Then, too, one cannot dismiss the importance of key people such as advisers, cabinet members and foreign ministers. Consider also, certain constitutional provisions or legislative actions, as well as ‑‑ once again ‑‑ public opinion. These and other influences and sources of information help the main leader decide whether to pursue a certain course of action over another.
Decision making usually reflects the manipulative skills of the dominant leader, and so from a historical perspective it is important to review his or her decisions of that time under the light of public opinion, media and the leadership, and how they connect with a country’s current environment. Remember also that peaceniks and peace movements can, in fact, chill a leader’s willingness to turn to war. Interest groups and PACs also have demonstrated their significant impact on foreign policy decision‑making. But when one gets down to the nitty‑gritty, it is simply more a matter of, say, a Great Britain and her ability during World War II to mobilize more resources faster and longer than Japan and Germany, her totalitarian enemies (J.A.S.Grenville, 1980: 528-530).
One caveat: when decision‑making becomes bound to the bureaucracy, it is more likely that in the search for political compromise there will be little or no agreement between the leader’s policies and his intentions or purposes. Galtung (1968) says that when there are many groups competing for attention in a country, they can create cross‑pressures that neutralize aggressive behavior and, thereby, reduce the likelihood of war. Thus, from Gochman (1975) we are told, the more cross‑pressured a country, the less likely it will get itself involved in conflict.
If leaders of democratic nations hope to gain the backing of those they govern when attempting to initiate a military conflict, they must bring into line the majority of the populace, the majority of the media, and a majority of their congresses, legislatures or parliaments.
2.21. THE MASS MEDIA
Television, radio and the press are vital components in making and shaping public opinion, and therefore foreign policy. The mass media hold sway over the mood of the people because of the information they choose to disseminate. The media serve as loudspeakers, and because of this influence
they hold great non‑elected, (and in a democracy) non‑governmental power.
The media can drive a stake, or breathe life, into a political leader’s national agenda. They are true gate‑keepers of information, based on how they disseminate and report events or opinions. Their only drawback is the diversity of their own opinions, whims and caprices, which leaves them spouting varying points of view in varying voices.
Unquestionably, the impact of public opinion and the media not only serves as an influential shaper of policy‑making ‑‑ foreign or otherwise ‑‑ but it also poses potential problems throughout that creative process. Nonetheless, as many clever and/or unscrupulous leaders know, news is a manageable entity, and what is reported often is the result of an “innocent” government leak aimed at determining the temperature of the public body, rather than what actually occurred behind closed doors. This is but one of the many tools employed by the inveterate political man to manipulate and shape public attitudes to his own design (William J. Keefe, 1984: 152-3).
2.22. PUBLIC OPINION
“The masses are asses,” said Nietzche; and the president, therefore I think, is a herdsman. In the United States, according to Kegley and Wittkopf (1987), the opinions shared by a majority of the public about political and global affairs usually are misinformed or uninformed, most observers tend to agree. Despite a plethora of new information and access points to data, a majority of Americans fail to impress political scientists as having even the most primitive well of knowledge about the external affairs that affect them directly or indirectly. This, they agree, is due to ignorance and/or an alarming lack of interest in such matters. Poll after poll shows that, sadly, their apathy and blindness to public issues create an inflexibility in attitudes toward international goings‑on.
The views of the masses concerning the right international role of the United States, they say, undergo periodic and predictable shifts every quarter‑century or so, ranging from interventionist on the one hand to isolationist on the other. The “guns‑versus‑butter” trade‑off issue most often comes into play during these gradual, but seismic, shifts in popular opinion.
One contributing factor over a period of time usually is a decline in leadership support, the offspring of dissatisfaction and impatience over unfulfilled or ignored campaign promises. But that comes with the job, as the global politic arena usually is interpreted as one of intrigue, secrecy and a minefield of complexity that is wide open to manipulation (Stephen J. Wayne, 1984: 169).
The madding crowd may put down some nebulous limitations within which its own government may play, but then the leader of that country is forced into a position of not only informing that country, but also shaping its public opinion, seeking its blessing, and then leading it as well.
Quite often the largely populated middle and lower classes are the stimuli to change in government policy, particularly in single‑issue areas and when they are quickly and easily mobilized. Generally it goes without saying that unity in public opinion, in a democracy, strengthens the hand of that nation’s leader during his, or her, negotiations with other countries (Kegley and Wittkopf, 1987: 268-314).
“In recent years, Congresses have tended to try to curb and take away from the presidency some of the prerogatives that belong there,” President Reagan said, and the war in the Persian Gulf has, for the most part, proven him right. For example, the ebb and flow of the relationship between the executive and congressional branches of government in the United States most can be observed most easily through the microscope of American politics and some of the relatively distinct phases it bore during the post‑World War II years.
Accommodation took place during the time the U.S. goals were globalism, anticommunism, and containment of Soviet expansionism. Fast upon the scene after the war came a time of antagonism, due mostly to China’s detour into communism, the limitations of the U.S. military in the Korean War, the fears and injustices bred by McCarthyism, and Harry Truman’s troop commitment in Europe. For the next decade, Congress allowed itself to move into a partnership with the executive branch, giving its support and imprimatur to presidential positions in order to continue the policy of communist containment. Then, a period of congressional uncertainty and ambiguity came close on the heels of the troop buildup in Vietnam circa 1965. Senators and representatives felt uncomfortable as the president’s lapdog, but they still had not mustered the moxie to oppose executive aggressiveness (Stephen E. Ambrose, 1991: 129-135).
The turning point, however, came at about the time when U.S. troops invaded Cambodia. Congressional hostility and bitterness reached a zenith with the War Powers Act, which took aim at taking away some of the authorities expressly earmarked for the president under the two‑century‑old Constitution. Giddy with its own successes against the Nixon administration, congressional activism continued its quest to curtail presidential prerogatives throughout the Ford, Carter and Reagan years.
Be that as it may, the president has many of his own institutional weapons to combat Congress, one of the most effective of which is the technical expertise at his beck and call, and his tight grip on the flow of information. From there it is but an easy exercise in convenient executive agreement in order to avoid the cumbersome, media circus inherent in securing, say, the advice and consent of the Senate.
The Constitution tells us that Congress alone has the power to declare war, while the chief executive is commander‑in‑chief of the nation’s military. Of the two provisions, though, command of the military has shown itself to be more noteworthy. The president has been able to escalate American involvement in wars by circumventing Congress, although the legislative branch has been ultimately effective in putting the skids on some presidential actions and ambitions.
Let us now consider some of the more conventional justifications, or pretexts, for turning to war. Historically, the conflict was non‑accidental, out‑of‑the‑ordinary but not extraordinary, and directed by the government in power, thereby eliminating such standardized criterion as inadvertent actions by subordinates or activities by malcontents over which the governing body had no command or control.
Historically, too, off‑and‑on international flashpoints were doused quickly by the waters of fast apology or quick clarification of an obvious misunderstanding. Nevertheless, the fears of accidental war most recently have been fired by the notion of a nuclear holocaust. The commonly held fear that a lone coded signal could result in the unintentional pressing of a nuclear panic button has become a frightful and terrifying possibility. A popular national nightmare is one of atomic bombs bursting because of a stupid misunderstanding or some nitwit electronic malfunction.
The scenario is not so far removed if one remembers the Maine and the dubious activities that swirled around its sinking to precipitate the Spanish‑American War, or of Bismarck’s telegrams and the message that came of it ‑‑ the Franco‑Prussian War. By the same token, though, consider how the travails of the Liberty and the Pueblo so quickly receded from the public’s anger bank, and how, unlike the sinking of the Maine or the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, they did not come close to creating enough heat to ignite the fires of war (James Lee Ray, 1983: 103).
Responsible leaders tend to seek public backing for military incursions by hammering away at “way of life.” A nation in discord is more predisposed to try to purchase harmony with the currency of war ‑‑ nuclear or otherwise. It is an age‑old tactic: rally a rebellious nation with the notion of war as a crusade for the country, shaping and molding the crusade (of course) as circumstances demand. This indirect call to arms is an appeal to myth and legend, where heroism and sacrifice in combat continually come into play. And, this camouflage of courage blinds its participants to ideologies or propaganda, creating hatred and dehumanization in the name of religion or social causes or ethical stands, all of which ultimately try to justify killing.
The justification of the killing almost always is the offspring of a well planned strategy. “The world must be made safe for democracy” is one common example of the refrain to which American leaders resort, an artificial emotional stimulus laid on as thickly as molasses in an attempt to make the “medicine” of war go down.
To be sure, America is not alone in turning on this emotional mixmaster as a means of promoting its own particular “way of life.” Witness, too, the violence practiced by the Catholic Irish Republican Army in predominantly Protestant Northern Ireland, to say nothing of the sheer chaos and violence that stalked the streets of Iran in the name of the Ayatollah Khomeini during the eventually successful attempt to remove the Shah.
Proclaiming the legitimacy of violence to protect or promote certain values ‑‑ political, cultural or religious ‑‑ sometimes steers a nation’s leadership into power‑play positions against obviously vulnerable opponents that are just as obviously unloseable. U.S. President Gerald Ford and his foreign policy guru Henry Kissinger were swept into the swirl of this emotional tidal wave when they sent the Marines to rescue the Mayaguez crewmen from communist Cambodia in 1975. History has shown that it was nothing more than a brandishment of bravado, quite conveniently ignoring the fact that Cambodia already had announced its intentions to release the crew.
Ronald Reagan went to school on Ford and Kissinger, and eight years later ‑‑ when he was president ‑‑ used a similar psychological ploy to successfully (though probably unnecessarily) invade the Caribbean nation of Grenada. Reagan also had no reluctance in playing the cards of American pride, honor and national catharsis when he ordered the attack on Libya in April of 1980.
Later on, Reagan’s buddy in Great Britain, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, invoked similar sentiments of national pride and resolve ‑‑ masked as a means of resurrecting past glories ‑‑ when she sent her military might to the South Atlantic to retake the Falkland Islands (Maldives) from Argentina (Brown, 1987: 50‑52).
So, then, let us tie together all this analysis with an analogy of national leadership as applied to Integrative Elephantism. To move its leg, an elephant’s brain sends a nerve impulse through a motor neuron, which transmits the message to a muscle fiber that, in turn, makes the elephant’s leg move.
In today’s democratic nations, a leader sends his foreign policy agenda to a congress or parliament, which in turn either sends it on in the form of an enacted or amended law or resolution, or rebuffs it. If the agenda is rebuffed, the leader usually “makes the elephant’s leg move” by taking his case over the head of the congress or parliament and appealing directly to the people ‑‑ via the media.
Senators, representatives, legislators and members of parliament survive only by satisfying their constituencies. They know it, their opponents know it, and the media know it. Nevertheless, that knowledge thus far never has stood in the way of manipulation of public attitudes through ‑‑ or by ‑‑ the mass media, whether the effort is to strengthen or weaken the influence of lawmakers and, in America particularly, their power of the purse.
In non‑democratic nations, however, quite the contrary is true, as those rulers may act with impunity and push forth their full powers to initiate a war. For instance, in the Vietnamese and Chinese languages the word “king” even translates into “son of god” ‑‑ in fact, the actions of the king have that god’s blessing, and the king’s people serve that god through the king. The intervention of a divine being is unnecessary in a dictatorship, as all the top‑ranking officials in the dictator’s government are his henchmen. Under the iron fist of communism, party heads control the government apparatus, including the media, allowing the totalitarians the means by which to put forth their own policies without fear of opposition from minor parties or the population at large.
So, we therefore can deduce a few propositions from this analysis thus far:
PROPOSITION 4: The leaders of undemocratic nations have total power to initiate a war, whether for legitimate reasons or to satisfy their own whims and/or caprice.
PROPOSITION 5: In order to initiate a war, leaders of democratic nations must obtain the backing of their
legislative branches, their public and the media.
If we apply these propositions to our war‑peace scale,
when the war‑initiator is either a dictator, a tyrant or a totalitarian, or a democratic leader who rightly can claim the backing of his people, the scale automatically ratchets up 20 points. That puts them in the third‑stage range ‑‑ mild dispute ‑‑ or the 40‑point circle in the Bull’s-Eye of Integrative Elephantism.
- THE DYADIC LEVEL
Let us turn now to a theory of war initiation that includes rational thinking by a key leader about decisions concerning war and peace; a variety of ingredients involving uncertainty and risk; and a sliding scale of adjustments that result from geographic distance and natural resources at hand. Let us assume, too, that the process occurs in the vacuum of dyadic conflict, even though few such incidents truly are dyadic.
At this point, we can divide states into two categories, so that the president, premier or chairman who is thinking of initiating a war must weigh not only the strengths and relative utility of his own country, but also those of his targeted opponent. The aims and ambitions of the president‑premier‑chairman are obviously important in justifying war to those who seek justification. But conflict justification cannot hold a candle to actual implementation of aims and ambitions, and ignoring the means of implementation is ignoring the distinct possibility of quick and cruel defeat.
3.1. MATERIAL CAPABILITY
In “a world where power counts,” we are told, the “supreme virtue” is prudence ‑‑ in other words, taking a cold and calculating look at the advantages and disadvantages of all courses of action. Such cold and calculating looks demand the dispassionate judgment of an opponent’s power, along with a razor sharp ability to influence the decisions and actions of that opponent. But when all is said and done, what is absolutely crucial is the ability to estimate with precision and accuracy the effectiveness of the military force at the disposal of the war instigator ‑‑ as well as that of his opponent (Morgenthau 1973: 10 and 27).
The study of international politics as it relates to war long has held one alluring and fascinating factor ‑‑ raw power. Conceptually, a nation’s power consists of many dimensions, though most observers agree that one of the most important consists of industrial output and growth ‑‑ mainly because it has an immutable and undeniable impact on the degree of a nation’s military might. This is due mostly to the limitations it places on its own country’s ability to successfully wage war, the resources upon which it can rely so the nation can confidently exercise its power, to say nothing of the problems inherent in accurately measuring those resources.
But let us briefly cast off such complexities with a simple definition of national power, at least from Organski’s eyes: the ability of one nation to control the behavior of another for its own ends (Organski, 1968: 104). This definition of course takes into account that national capability and military might are two distinct quantities ‑‑ it also recognizes that the strength of a country is measured in terms that go much farther than mere military might.
A nation’s strength, according to Organski and Kugler (1980), includes (1) the number of people a country has available to work and wage war, (2) the skills and productivity of the populace, and (3) the ability of its bureaucracy to mobilize the human and material resources available to it, and to use them wisely and efficiently in achieving the country’s aims.
Mao has told us that power grows out of the barrel of a gun (or, more recently, a missile launcher). But Organski and Kugler contend that the true source of power is politico‑economic and demographic development ‑‑ as long as the war‑making capability of the country’s military interacts successfully with the willingness of that military to make war. In simple terms, this is being willing and able to fight, and conflict usually will not occur unless both sides are willing and both sides are able.
Unquestionably, the leader contemplating war must consider even the thinnest of advantages and disadvantages of conflict with the potential opponent, as well as the capabilities of any other country that could become involved in that war. Analyzing participation in war over the last 150 years shows that most nations fight few wars, while only a few nations fight in most of the wars (Singer and Small, 1972).
Does that mean that the most powerful countries are the most likely to become involved in military conflicts? Well, the major powers initiate more than 80 percent of the conflicts in which they participate ‑‑ perhaps due to the fact that, with their far‑reaching economic and national defense concerns, they have more to win or lose by entering the fray. The capabilities of a country ‑‑ military, industrial or otherwise ‑‑ are slow to change, so accurate estimates of those capabilities should be relatively easy to make, except in instances of technological breakthroughs.
Why are some nations war prone? “International violence is probably not the result of special conditions but rather the consequences of certain attributes of nations. It must be the case that an attribute of these nations ‑‑ e.g., their power ‑‑ makes them more prone to engage in territorial conflict … ” (Zinnes, 1980: 327).
Ever since Napoleon, nations disposed to war most often have been those closely linked to material needs and materials potential ‑‑ Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Austria‑Hungary, China, Japan, Germany and the United States. They constituted only a bit more than 6 percent of the nations of the world, yet they accounted for 101 involvements ‑‑ 42 percent ‑‑ in war. Thus, the major powers were nearly seven times more likely to get ensnared in a war than their littler brothers and sisters (Singer and Small, 1972: 275‑279).
In Bremer’s (1972) paper, a country’s disposition toward war is not so much a function of its own peculiarities than its place on the capabilities scale ‑‑ whether it be the frequency of its entrance into wars or the number of times it initiates them. Bremer argues that the greater a nation’s capability to wage war, the better the chance it will become involved in that war. It also is more likely to initiate the war, and thereby sacrifice more of its people than nations of lesser war capabilities. Gochman, on the other hand, maintains that neither a nation’s global status nor its material capabilities are, in and of themselves, sufficient explanation for why a major power gets itself into a war (Gochman, 1980: 102). Gochman tells us that the link between capabilities and predisposition to war is not necessarily peculiar to countries at the high end of the power ladder.
Overall, increases in capabilities, war experience and pressure from the military‑industrial complex also have tended to heighten the odds of involvement in war ‑‑ more so for Eurocentric nations during the 20th century but less so for Asian states. But if Bremer shows us a viable connection between national capabilities and involvement in war, why then are Gochman’s arguments in apparent opposition? Probably because he chose a smaller contingent of countries ‑‑ with dissimilar populations ‑‑ that show a high degree of homogeneity.
Organski and Davis argue that one measurement device to plumb the depth of a country’s war‑making abilities is its gross national product and/or national income. Meanwhile, Singer, Bremer and Stuckey advise their followers to keep an eye on three items in order to calculate capabilities: military, industrial, and demographic capacities.
For our purposes in delineating the magnitude of national power, we will use war research widely relied upon (Singer, Bremer, Stuckey 1972; Wallace 1972; Bueno de Mesquita 1975; Gochman 1975; Altfeld and Bueno de Mesquita 1979; Ray 1979), which focuses on the three dimensions noted immediately above and combining them to form what is called a composite‑capability index that rates each country’s “horse” in the arms “race.”
3.11. ARMS RACE
The arms race, historically and contemporarily, continues to be no more than a means of improving a nation’s war‑making capabilities ‑‑ raising and training armies and navies; researching, developing and manufacturing weapons; motivating and mobilizing the populace. Even the most zealous and fanatical of leaders know they face doom unless they can successfully train and mobilize for war all the resources available to them. Nations do not sign up to run in the arms race unless they are willing to fight and win it.
Standing back a step or two to look at the arms race process overall, one first discovers the willingness to get into the race most often is driven by security fears (real or unreal, it makes no difference). This leads leaders to the creation of conditions that enhance the chances of war, which eventually entangle them in the dynamics of the conflict spiral (North, Brody and Holsti, 1964) “Fear works to accelerate arms races involving ever-more horrible forms of warfare” (Robert S. Jordan, 1990 : 11), which compels one or another decisionmaker either to initiate a war as the last means of escalating the spiral or to capitulate. This whirlwind of arms race ‑‑ or arms control ‑‑ still smacks of willingness.
War through misperception often occurs because one or more of the contenders mistakenly believes that the other side has opted for an actor-destruction strategy, a belief that stimulates arms races, as well as preemptive and preventive wars. Here, fear and insecurity play key roles in the conflict helix. In such an atmosphere, “decisionmakers worry about the most implausible threats,” and their efforts to achieve security avail them little because “most means of self-protection simultaneously menace other” (Jervis, 1976: 62-3).
Each member of the dyad must keep pace with the development of its adversary’s arsenal. Hence one must compete and race with one’s opponent. Nations build armaments almost in a Pavlovian response to the building of arms by their adversaries. The action-reaction process exists between two countries in conflict process with the action by the initiator in its arms-building program and reaction by its victim. In the studies that do discover interaction, the focus is not exclusively on armaments, but rather on overall interaction patterns which are based on a wide range of hostile/cooperative events. Rather than asking why countries arm, form alliances, import arms, negotiate, attack, and so on, they should begin by asking themselves what each behavior does or represent (Lewis Richardson, 1983: 217-222).
A war was the culmination of an armaments race. Rival nations had expanded their armaments to match those of a rival, and the competition progressively fomented fear and hatred. Since the preparations which each state made for its defense, Howard (1965) argued, were “seen by its neighbor as a threat to their own security, the great powers found themselves involved in a apparently inescapable competition which born increasingly heavily upon public finance, inflamed mutual fear and suspicion, and was to play a considerable part in preparing the catastrophe of the First World War.”
It affirms that each step in the race provokes a retaliatory step from opposing nations, until at last they stumble into the war. Perhaps there are at least two kinds of armaments rivalry. The first is more the result of radical military innovations, the changing nature of warfare, higher government revenue, and a variety of other changes. For such rivalry the phrase “armaments race” is misleading. The second kind of armaments race, however, is essentially spurred by intense rivalry between specific groups of nations (Blainey, 1973: 140).
The distorted operationalization of the term “arms race” itself and data manipulations to fit researchers’ assumptions are the way of post hoc rationalizations. “The War Ledger” is an example. By focusing only on expenditures on strategic system as a percentage of the total defense expenditure, as a percentage of total product of the country, and as a fraction of the per capita product of each country each year without comparing the total strategic nuclear arsenal of both countries, Organski and Kugler wrongly concluded that there was no nuclear arms race between the two superpowers, although on the very day Gorbachev resigned from the presidency of the Soviet Union, he had to admit that the major cause of the Soviet collapse is its arms race with the United States.
When a nuclear parity or nuclear gap is to be judged, one must take the whole stock of strategic nuclear weapons into account, not only a nuclear development in a specific year. The strategic offensive forces in Table 3.1 is an example.
The large distance (a nuclear gap) between the two lines in 1965 and the USSR line crossing over (a nuclear parity) in the late 1975 can explain their question: why the US expenditure on strategic capabilities was very low during the Vietnamese conflict, while the decline in tension following the end of conflict in Vietnam was followed by an increase in strategic expenditures, especially in the Reagan Administration? Trotting when being far ahead and sprinting when being caught up are a logical way of arms race.
Let us also touch on another, less obvious, means of improving national war‑making capabilities: alliances, or adherence to the adage that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.” There are three basic scenarios that usually result in conflict initiation: (1) one country fights alone against its adversary; (b) fighting with a third party or parties helping one of the sides; and (c) fighting with parties helping both of the sides. For the most part, a country can compound its strength by adding its allies’ strength to its own. The converse is just as true: cut the power of an adversary by cutting it away ‑‑ by force, deceit, bribery or persuasion ‑‑ from its allies.
Franklin Roosevelt utilized the alliance option during World War II by aligning his nation with the Soviet Union against a perceived greater evil: the Nazi Germany of Adolf Hitler ‑‑ despite the fact that Hitler was democratically
elected and anti‑communist. In more recent times, Jimmy Carter turned to the back door of alliance by cutting off diplomatic relations with the anti‑communist Taiwanese government in order to get on with the bigger business of establishing formal U.S. ties with the People’s Republic of China, a communist regime.
But what does a nation really expect from an alliance? Overall, a country ties its fortunes to another for a variety of reasons (Fedder, 1968: 67; Osgood, 1968: 21‑22), but mostly to accomplish two goals: (1) to deter its adversary or enemy from waging war against it or its ally, and (2) to commit the resources of the alliance partners to aid each other if deterrence fails.
Siverson and King, in their 1980 effort, say that “a nation having an alliance with a belligerent is five times more likely to become involved in a war” (1979: 44). The simplest scenario concerns only the attacker and the defender where the likelihood of victories or defeats comes about mainly based on the strengths and weaknesses of the two sides. It becomes a bit more complicated, though, when the aggressor must ponder its strategy with a third nation in mind.
If we take a close look at the Correlates of War, we see that Mesquita defines a trio of military‑type treaties: (a) defense pacts, where the parties say they will throw in with the other if one of them comes under attack; (b) neutrality or non‑aggression deals, where the pact partners promise they will not go to war against each other if a third country declares war against one of them; and (c) ententes, which are understandings between nations where they promise to consult with one another about a combined response in case one of them is attacked by yet another aggressor (Singer and Small, 1966).
Some of these treaties are formed for aggressive or offensive reasons that complement their war‑deterring purposes. Nevertheless, expressly offensive alliances are rare ‑‑ governments do not often commit their resources or their future just to wage war against another country unless one of the treaty partners already is engaged in a war.
Now, of these wartime alliances, some offensive in nature fall into two categories: (1) pacts agreed to between two countries already doing battle side by side against a common enemy that are aimed at strengthening an existing treaty and (2) pacts with a specific attack addendum that try to ally with a fighting nation a country that still is neutral. We can count some 16 of these specifically offensive alliances in five specific wars: the Crimean War had four such pacts, the Seven Weeks’ War had one, World War I had four, World War II had five, and the Korean War two (Sabrosky, 1980: 172).
One key caveat to remember, though, is that unlike the slow changing resources and capabilities of which a country boasts, a nation’s concerns and commitments can change at the drop of a hat, e.g., the Balkan states in the First Balkan War and World War I, to say nothing of the main players during World War II. Savvy leaders know that countries that cross or double‑cross their commitments to other nations always must calculate the probabilities of gain or loss inherent in those deals with friendly nations, as well as those where they are opposed by countries that link themselves to one’s enemy.
Nations that align themselves with other nations usually can figure on more help than those that do not ink a deal with another country. Most often, when enemies have a go at each other, the reserve backing of an ally or allies is a critical consideration in trying to determine the damages ‑‑ or even the outcome ‑‑ of the war. That is not to say that the signatories to an alliance always keep their word. Some countries, history shows us, either have not helped or have, in fact, even turned against their treaty partner or partners (Aron, 1968: 28). A country’s predominant worry during war always is whether its ally is reliable. When push comes to shove, will it go into battle with its partner, against it, or stick its head in the sands of neutrality?
Alliances present those who sign them with a two‑edged sword: on the one hand they deter war and help to maintain a global balance of power. On the other hand, some say they have the odds of getting pulled into a war or, worse, increasing the intensity of an existing war. “Feeling of loyalty to a long-time ally may limit one’s bargaining flexibility,” Professor Katzenstein argued (Lawrence C. Katzenstein, 1987: 6). Some foreign affairs experts even go so far as to suggest that when one major power decides to get itself into war, another powerhouse is moved also to enter it instead of backing away.
In any case, it is wise for the national leader to remember that being part of an international military partnership holds no absolute guarantees that one partner will come to the defense of the other should war break out. In fact, so volatile are world perceptions that if leaders of nations reinforce the intentions of their alliances, others may take it as a precursor to war. Of course, easing the terms of the treaties also may have just the opposite effect.
In most cases, it is not the degree of tightness or discreetness in the alliance system but the shifts in these arrangements that are critical. Any change, real or perceived, will cause re‑estimation by an adversary of the resources available to it and to its enemy in the event of war. This re‑estimation also is likely to be more accurate than what it replaces.
3.13. LONG DISTANCE
Whether the adversary estimates or re‑estimates a country’s capabilities, it must consider the “long‑distance” factor, which is measured as the area between countries that just exceeds the range within which Bueno de Mesquita assumed they could bring to bear their full resources and capabilities. From 1816 to the end of World War I, this range was 680 miles. Between world wars it increased to 1,020 miles; since 1945 the space has expanded to 1,360 miles (1981: 102-3).
Measuring the potential loss of power a country might sustain when it throws its military weight over greater and greater distances is an extremely inexact science that is vulnerable to error from every side. Nonetheless, it almost is axiomatic that as the distance grows between a nation’s power point and where it intends to focus the absolute destructiveness of that power in a war, the smaller will become the capability of that nation to deliver that destructiveness.
Because a country’s ability to deliver the military goods diminishes with distance, a strong nation can become weaker than its enemy if the attacker is fighting far from home. This leaves us to conclude, then, that countries initiating long‑distance conflicts more often than not have power inventories greater than those who initiate wars on, say, the neighborhood level.
Kenneth Boulding (1962) is one of those who maintains that the degree of a nation’s power that can be wrought upon any particular part of the world depends on the distance between the power mover and the power receiver. Four factors come into play: command and organization difficulties, military morale, dissension within domestic ranks, and enervation of personnel and material.
Although under attack, the power receiver does entertain distinct advantages over the power mover: knowledge and familiarity of ground, weather, culture, language ‑‑ to say nothing of the emotional and psychological forces that come with protecting home and family. The aggressor, on the other hand, faces all the opposite foibles of attack. In addition, attempts to diminish the effects of distance by using modern, long‑range aircraft that can carry men and equipment quickly and efficiently still are open to anti‑aircraft missiles and closed to many smaller landing fields.
A nation’s power to wage war, then, disintegrates the farther it gets from home ‑‑ though less so the more powerful a nation, but faster in the past. So, overall, power loss over expanding distance can be determined as a rational means of cutting war possibilities. (But let us not forget that other factors may enter the quotient a nation considers as it decides to back out of a conflict: a flat‑out superior enemy, a war plan that falls flat, an ally that cannot carry its own weight, along with any number of other factors.)
Distance is definitely a determinant in the ability to wage war successfully, so let us digress momentarily to examine how a trio of considerations must come under adjustment when judging geographical factors. First, a nation’s power capability declines in proportion to distance. Second, the weaker an attacking nation is at home, the greater the rate of power decline as distance increases. And third, that rate of decline will diminish as major technological breakthroughs occur (Boulding, 1962).
Technology, then, begins to rear its computer‑driven head as another determinant of waging war, enabling nations to move data and/or equipment across mountainous or oceanic barriers never before imagined. Technology diminishes distance and affects the transferability of a nation’s military might over the miles.
But by how much, in terms of time and space? According to Bueno de Mesquita, the transport range from 1516 to 1918 was 250 miles a day. From 1919 through 1945 it grew to 375 miles per day, while after 1945 it jumped to 502 miles in one day (1981: 102‑105). That leads us to the next logical question: What, then, is the main difference between a long‑distance war and a neighborhood war? The answer is this: The might of the attacker. The reason is this: Powerful nations start a disproportionate number of long‑distance wars (89 percent, compared to only 40 percent of those in the neighborhood).
Consider risk, too. Some leaders are more likely to be seduced to chance a war if the ultimate benefits look tempting enough, and if winning appears at least plausible. More cautious leaders, of course, hold to a different risk‑benefit ratio when contemplating war.
A potential war initiator is thought to be self‑assured about his estimate of his own capabilities as well as that of his potential adversary. What he cannot be absolutely sure of, however, is how other nations will respond to his act of aggression. Change happens, especially in commitments. They can change from lily‑livered to bulldog strong ‑‑ or the reverse.
Of course, no decision maker has a crystal ball, thereby usually leaving him with insufficient information to confidently estimate the strengths and weaknesses of his opponent. This is a leader’s Achilles heel, as accurately determining the odds of success is crucial to the war path that leader takes. Nevertheless, no matter how hard that leader tries, uncertainty ‑‑ the degree to which the probability of success of a certain action is unknown ‑‑ is always, shall we say, uncertain (Bueno de Mesquita, 1981: 33).
Most often, of course, whether the leader makes his decision based more on risk than uncertainty boils down to the speculative genius of the leader himself. In some, gambler’s blood courses through their veins, and they take to risk like blood suckers to blood. In others, savings bonds offer little more financial safety than bingo. When alliances are rock‑solid secure, the uncertainty factor decreases to a theoretical point of zero, or total assuredness. But when the tightness of the alliance eases up ‑‑ usually over a two‑year period ‑‑ accuracy estimates begin to falter, and become especially critical when it is time to choose whether to wage a war.
Besides a variety of political vagaries, there is also a wide range of technical anxieties that are spawned by deficient intelligence data about the quantity and quality of the enemy’s armaments. This opens an arena of error, a space where military strength ‑‑ one’s own as well as one’s enemy’s ‑‑ becomes an exercise in contradiction (look to Hitler and Tojo for instances of reckless risk‑taking, and to Stalin, Franco, Daladier, and especially Chamberlain, for excessive caution) (Hamilton Fish Armstrong, 1947).
A leader’s attitude toward risk is psychological, social scientists tell us, and examined best by closely evaluating the leader’s personality and his environment ‑‑ the kind of analysis that is impossible here. What we can
analyze, though, is the division of power between war adversaries and, though unequal, it usually is best for the war initiator if his military, industrial and demographic capacity is on a par with the enemy coalition (or at least as strong or stronger than the most powerful member of the coalition).
An analysis of this nature usually bears the fruit of a proposition such as:
PROPOSITION 6: An initiator, who counts on material capability as national power, must possess a strength at least equal or superior than that of the victim.
Whenever this condition is met, the chances the war initiator will attack increases 20 percent, thereby placing the two sides into “serious dispute,” or, in the Bull’s-Eye of Integrative Elephantism, the 60‑point circle.
3.2. POLITICAL CAPABILITY
Let us see what the view is like from the other side, where a weaker nation tries to determine the specific circumstances under which it might attack a stronger nation. Inevitably there are many instances where the weaker potential war initiator expects to harvest certain rewards, despite their inferior status in the fray. In fact, about one‑fifth of wars are initiated by the equal and weaker party (Charles E. Merriam, 1934). No national leader knows from the get‑go whether he will win or lose a war, but unless he is suicidal he at least expects ultimate victory before initiating a war. The weak will initiate conflict if they think they can win, or if they think defeat is highly unlikely. Otherwise, they will not attack.
Cases of the weak attacking the strong are rare exceptions. Due to the twilight of power struggles among powerful countries in the system, the weak with its own belief and perception decides that better tactics, strategy, and leadership can overcome its “material” weakness to undo its enemy. In this case, one has to examine the “political” capability instead of “material” capability of each country and its relationship to the system as a whole under the perception and image of the weak attacker. “People do not monitor, collect, screen, and interpret information in a like manner, their perceptions of their environment are apt to differ” (Jervis, 1976); therefore, important differences exist in “the perceptions, beliefs, memories, rules of decision choice, and management styles of each individual” (Sylvan and Chan, 1984: 11). Researchers must take pain to diagnose the motives, utilities, and perceptions of specific actors in concrete situation.
Assessing a nation’s power does not require clairvoyance, but it does require consideration of any number of varying factors, not the least of which is developing its own particular political polity. This is a calculation of no small measure, and any error in divining it can result in unexpected consequences ‑‑ the likelimost being failure. Leaders, therefore, must realize the strength that can come from nurturing a political network that mobilizes either its bourgeoisie or its peasant classes. China and North Vietnam are perfect examples. Neither their populations nor their productivity had altered significantly, what had changed was their political systems, and they started beating the big guys.
And, just as leaders lean on the time‑tested configurations of national capability to see if their military, economy and demography outdistance those of their targeted adversaries, other calculations also figure into the overall equation: the ease or difficulty in luring allies; how to pay for a war; estimating accurately domestic tranquility, stability and morale; determining the quality of civilian leadership and how well they have performed during wartime. Undoubtedly these are important factors, but because they vary so much in analysis and importance ‑‑ depending on the analyst or the influence of the leader ‑‑ the same factors could legitimately buttress opposing arguments.
Measuring national capabilities usually fails because of one fatal flaw ‑‑ they are fairly accurate when dealing with developed countries, but suffer precision problems when a developing and a developed nation take issue with one another, or when the adversaries are two developing countries. This is when “political capacity” becomes an important part of the program.
3.21. RESOURCE EXTRACTION
Just how a political system grows into a political powerhouse has been a major point of theoretical study by political scientists since the middle of the 1950s, peaking in the 1960s. Noteworthy deviations from the early waves of studies included studies by Adelman, Inkeles, Deutsch, Rokkan, Gurr and Cutright, whose conclusions rely on behavior linked to economics (Unrisd, 1972).
Throughout history, governments continually have sought support for their policies by turning to the well of resources of their own masses ‑‑ consider, if you will, Louis XII, Louis XIII, and Louis XIV of France, the Tudors of Great Britain, Peter the Great of Russia and Frederick the Great of Prussia. Successful development of their own internal political networks has brought victory ‑‑ or at least a victorious standstill ‑‑ to the “weak sister” in a number of post‑World War II altercations. That unpredictable strength, we contend, is due to the fact that they could exploit a political system that could quickly extract its resources and mold them into an effective support system for its military, so much better than their opponents.
Serious political observers therefore always are on the lookout for that direct line ‑‑ better yet, a wire tap ‑‑ that identifies the missing ingredient that takes an accurate measure of a nation’s power in order to compensate for other discernable inaccuracies. Some who have taken the time to calculate political development (in terms of resource extraction) have met with successful results (Organski and Kugler, 1980: 101), especially when the divining rod they use is drawn by the magnetic waters of socioeconomic utilization and performance.
The question, of course, is whether the big shooters leading a nation can convincingly extract the necessary resources ‑‑ human and material ‑‑ from their country, combine them with the impressive or seemingly insignificant contributions of individual citizens, and turn this admixture into a razor‑sharp and, if necessary, deadly fighting instrument.
Past pronouncements have held tightly to the Siamese twin theory of economic and political development ‑‑ that is, high economic productivity equals a high level of political capacity which, in turn, translates into a high‑powered ability to mobilize men and material (Organski, 1972). However, within say, the last three decades, the world has witnessed instance after instance of nations showing supercharged political mobilization that far overshadows their economic development abilities. Stars in this show include North Vietnam (vs. the United States), the Chinese in Korea, and Israel (vs. the Arab nations).
Organski and Kugler look at political development as an entity that reacts to three forces: those imposed upon it by its leaders, those defined by other big hitters in the political arena, or those that bubble from the heat of the international pressure‑cooker. In fact, whether a political system is free, democratic, stable, orderly, representative or participatory is consequential but not paramount to
Kugler and Organski in the overall political development scenario (1980: 72).
Although political performance depends greatly on the ability of a government to control its citizens and to mine its resources successfully, we nevertheless should keep in mind a nation’s portfolio of popular support. One cannot dismiss the fact that government can garner good marks for effectiveness but still score scandalously low in the popular support its people give its leaders.
The What‑Came‑First‑The‑Chicken‑Or‑The‑Egg argument most bandied about at the cafeteria tables of intelligence agency spooks is basically this: Is inside information about an enemy’s capabilities more important than inside information about what that enemy intends to do? The results have been, and still are, quite scrambled, as the one piece of data without the other cannot provide the overall explanatory scenario of how and why one country wars against another.
Why exactly, then, is there a winner on one side and a loser on the other? The answer is obvious ‑‑ and it is an admixture of everything we have just mentioned: clever military leaders; the number of the troops in the trenches (including, without doubt, their mettle and self‑sacrifice); weapons quality and quantity. As examples, we can cite the United States and how it won the Mexican‑American War in 1846 ‑‑ with its superiority in numbers, leadership and morale (Singletary, 1960) ‑‑ or the Turks in 1919 against the Greeks. Strategies employed by the Japanese, combined with their historical advancements in industry and technology, have been the benchmark of their success (or lack thereof) during more contemporary times of that country.
North Vietnam not only resisted American intervention, it successfully waged a full‑scale war because of its flexible political capacity and its inflexible will, leadership and war‑waging technique (guerrilla). Prussian might in the 18th century was due mostly to the superior military intellect and inventiveness of Frederick the Great (Thomas Carlyle, 1882), and the strategic and tactical innovations he introduced. He was one of the first of his time not only to recognize but also to exploit the strategic advantages that come part and parcel with advancing civilization, greater wealth and technological breakthroughs in communication.
Viewed from the aerie of omniscience, strategy selection depends mostly, again, on the leader himself and the values and levels of importance he puts on his own beliefs, his own view of the outcome of a particular war, and how he thinks the enemy will react to the strategies he selects. It is not a simple thing; the foreign policies of countries are not all cut from the same bolt of cloth. And, for the most part, adversaries do not decide uniformly to risk factors, political context or to time or geography changes.
Astute nations hold the technological advances of the day tightly to their bosom, and when it comes to the military, breakthroughs in communication and mechanized transportation are its mother’s milk. The morality of its decisions notwithstanding, Germany’s general staff during World War II walked with the stride of genius when it saw the strategic potential of super‑charged mechanized warfare and planned its campaigns accordingly (T.A.Palmer, 1967).
Nations that cannot focus sharply on technological innovation in warfare will find themselves with military leaders blurred by tactics and strategies of the past. Let us look at some examples of strategic innovation in warfare.
Before he retired, Alfred von Schlieffen foresaw a certain segment of the German army holding Russian forces at bay on the eastern front while the main German military thrust made a lightning attack into the western front ‑‑ Luxemburg, Belgium, northern France. About a quarter‑century later, Israel became the model of the devastatingly swift and conclusive attack, through air and land, against its Arab opponents (J.A.S. Grenville, 1980: 461-470).
In the Neuchatel affair, a weak and non‑aligned Switzerland emerged victorious against a stronger, allied nation ‑‑ mainly because of the ability of Britain, France and Austria‑Hungary to convince King Frederick William IV to give up his claim to Neuchatel. The three nations picked Swiss interests over Prussian interests for various reasons ‑‑ Britain had its own political and economic policies at the forefront, while the French had no intention of allowing a Prussian army on their vulnerable southeast border. The Swiss, knowing this, successfully manipulated their larger and more powerful colleagues into resisting Prussia’s demands (Bueno de Mesquita, 1981: 146‑149). Weaker countries, whether through guile or imaginative alliances, therefore can create walls of security that are just as thick as those of great and powerful nations.
But not always. Imagine if you will, the capitals of every nation in Europe at the start of World War I. In each war room, leaders there were faced with the prospect of trying to predict whether they could depend on their allies, whether their enemy’s allies would get into the war, whether uncommitted countries had the moxie to mix it up militarily, or offer economic aid, or stay above the fray. These were, without doubt, weighty decisions. With 20‑20 hindsight, the war’s end revealed that Poland’s decision to go up against the Soviet Union, and Greece’s decision to fight Turkey, were partially influenced by an expectation ‑‑ rightly or wrongly ‑‑ of allied aid.
The Crimean War also provides a very dramatic example. In October of 1853, the much weaker Turks declared war on Russia. Within three months, the British and French had set sail with troops to protect the Turks. Later, they took the decisive step of even declaring war on Russia. Why? Because they were afraid Russia would move into the Balkans and take over the warm water ports there. They helped the Turks, not out of any love for that Moslem nation, but because they wanted to prevent Russian territorial gains that might jeopardize their own interests (A.W.Kinglake, 1863).
Japan went to war in 1937 honestly assuming no nation would gallop up on a white horse to help China. Poland, in 1939, warred with a much more powerful Germany ‑‑ and quickly went to its grave thinking aid from Britain and France was just around the corner. The decidedly inaccurate anticipations of just how other nations would react turned out to be critical determinants in the initiation and conclusion of both the Suez War and the Hungarian uprising of 1956.
Ethics and morality aside, the surprise attack is one of the most outstandingly successful tactics in the art of waging war. But how does a country get to the point where it strikes another without warning? In some cases national paranoia is highly prevalent, and one country is convinced that another is about to attack it. So, it decides to seize the initiative and run in with the bombs before any opposition can materialize.
A sudden strike can provide substantial advantage to the aggressor, even to the point where it determines the outcome of the war ‑‑ a viewpoint held by the Japanese in 1904 when they attacked Russia and in 1941 when they attacked Pearl Harbor, as well as by the Balkan League, which attacked Turkey in 1912. In each case, deciding to initiate the war was not so much a matter of defensive preparedness or an unshakable conviction of ultimate victory than on the belief ‑‑ mistaken or otherwise ‑‑ that the other country was unfriendly and on the verge of wreaking havoc on it.
Historians long have studied the surprise attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor, and most concur that the strategy was a gamble, and a long shot at that. Japanese leaders were betting on the overwhelming destructiveness of the attack to deal a mortal wound to the American Pacific fleet. After that, they theorized, a demoralized American public would be unwilling to wage war ‑‑ incapable of doing so, in fact, if GIs had to fight on two fronts. In any case, the Japanese truly believed they were the main might in the Pacific, if only a short term main might, and took on the Pearl Harbor target in part before America could start its Atlantic‑ Pacific naval buildup authorized by the U.S. government in 1939 (Huntington, 1958:61‑83).
In the end, an attack without an official declaration of war usually is the weapon wielded by a country that wants boundaries to change. And, almost as conclusively, the element of surprise has been found to succeed more often than not because, like the Russians at Port Arthur and the Americans at Pearl Harbor, the bulls‑eyes were naively confident that surprise was inconceivable. This unfortunate miscalculation in security was, actually, an Achilles heel that was boldly exploited by Japanese tactics.
World history shows the bright red thread of opportunism weaving its way throughout international affairs, especially among what may be considered the traditional European powers that fairly jumped at war whenever the conditions for conflict looked favorable, if fleeting at best. If a king succumbed, if domestic strife reached a flashpoint observable to a rival nation, or if a “waterbird” situation arose, a recognizably weaker nation would be much more than willing to throw the first blow at a stronger one, Blainey (1973) tells us.
So often, the death of a king was the death knell of peace ‑‑ as in the war of the Spanish succession, the war of the Polish succession, the war of the Austrian succession, the war of the Bavarian succession, and so on and so on. As the titles of these wars indicate, the vacant throne was the motivating force for these conflicts. Overall, deaths of monarchs in the 18th century resulted in eight interstate hostilities ‑‑ and the march into the 19th century certainly put no end to such death‑watch wars. For instance, the deaths of Danish kings account for two wars between Prussia and Denmark, America’s Civil War came quickly after the departure of a president (James Buchanan), and, of course, World War I materialized quite quickly after the Austrian heir, Archduke Ferdinand, was assassinated.
How does a political scientist logically explain the dynamics of death‑watch wars? First, one must remember that during times marked by strong monarchies, the death of royalty had a profound impact on power distribution among nations. Strong kings replaced by weak ones sent seismic power shifts throughout the international community. Territories became vulnerable, alliances came under review. Often, a nation in mourning found itself under ignominious attack by some two‑bit, tinhorn upstart that previously was considered to possess little more firepower than a firefly (William L. Langer, 1931).
But then, if an attack from the outside did not come, attack from the inside usually did. Revolutions ran rampant, especially in the last 25 years of the 18th century, for any number of socio‑economic factors, contributing directly to a minimum of four wars between nations. The domestic intranquility that came on the heels of the funerals of kings was very indicative of a disintegration of established authority, which, in turn, was very indicative of the coincidental disintegrating perceptions of power.
Once the perception of power was questioned, civil strife became the answer, mostly because a nation tilts toward peace or war based on how it sees its own internal strengths and weaknesses and how it thinks it sees the strengths and weaknesses of its enemies, real or imagined. Domestic disturbances become dangerous when an internal special interest group has significant ties to another country, whether through race, religion or ideology. Then, whenever the government cannot maintain free social intercourse between races, religions or ideologies ‑‑ or at least prevent their disintegration ‑‑ these groups will tend to tear into the fabric of the community by becoming warring forces (Blainey, 1973: 83‑86).
Then there is the example of the waterbirds and the fishman. This scenario metaphorically involves two warring nations as two waterbirds fighting over a fish ‑‑ with the fisherman standing warily aside, ready to snatch the fish away while the two combatants go after each other. Aritomo, an adviser of the Emperor of Japan at the beginning of World War I, used the parable to compare the United States with the fisherman. “America,” he said, “was stealing the catch while the waterbirds of the world were quarreling” (Blainey, 1973: 57-67). The waterbird situation is uncommon, but not rare ‑‑ Serbian troops crossed the Pragoman Pass in 1885 and marched against an undefended Bulgarian capital, met little or no opposition along the way, because the Bulgarians were too preoccupied with greater conflicts elsewhere involving the Turks. The Serbian fisherman intervened while the Turkish and Bulgarian waterbirds fought.
So, we arrive now at a proposition, and return to our
Bull’s-Eye of Integrative Elephantism.
PROPOSITION 6: Where a nation counts on political capability as a source of power, it can rationally attack a stronger adversary.
This conflict initiation bumps up by 20 points the chances of war on the peace‑war scale. This means the two
sides now are within the fourth phase ‑‑ the 60‑point circle, or serious dispute ‑‑ of the Bull’s-Eye of Integrative Elephantism.
- SYSTEM LEVEL
4.1. LITERATURE REVIEW
In our observations here, we have listed certain variables within the structure that is the international system, as well as the roles and relationships of the players and other impact entities. By “system,” we mean a conglomerate of social factors that share a common fate (Campbell, 1958), or are so interlinked that when one itches, all scratch (Ray in Singer: 37).
By the structure of the system, we mean the way in which relationships are arranged. We emphasize two relationships: those based on comparisons between and among nations, and those based on the bonds between them. Although many researchers emphasize the attributes of a nation, the dyadic relationships, and international intercourse as explanations of the causes of war, few examine the global dynamics of the system in which they all exist.
As we know, what is real is not always the ideal. Nations shrink and grow, existing countries cease to exist, new ones materialize. War defines how each will measure its own power ‑‑ war sets down a new set of weights and measures. Just as many periods of peace have occurred as a result of the overwhelmingly preponderance of power in one nation’s hands as have occurred as a result of a balance of power (Edward Vose Gulick, 1943). Conversely, preventing world war sometimes comes about by a balance of terror, as exemplified by the (now former) Soviet‑American arms race. But just as obviously, there are other times when wars follow arms competition.
When everything is in place within the global structure, just one variation ‑‑ if even by just a single nation ‑‑ can have an extraordinary impact on the probability of war. The outbreak of war, it is believed, is linked to changes in power within the international community. The Ray (1980: 36-54) essay includes debate about system structure and the part it plays in the creation of war. Mostly, though, we can assume that major conflicts occur because a power structure changes, and because the people in charge are willing to fight in order to hasten those changes or to prevent them.
Just as all snowflakes are different, the blizzard that is global politics contains so much diversity that no two interactions are ever precisely the same. Whenever a nation has a chance to shape relationships with other nations, and it seizes that opportunity, that move determines the destiny of events of the other countries. Scholars who focus their study on social systems and how they operate have long been convinced of their importance, but it has been until only just recently that appreciation has come due for this erudite observation of the workings of international politics.
One rather recent fundamental finding indicates that certain war patterns of the 19th century are contrary to those of the 20th century. Singer, Bremer and Stuckey (1972), for instance, in a widely cited study, suggest that the emphasis in the 19th century on power parity most often resulted in war, while in the 20th century it is because of power preponderance. Gochman says it is fair to figure that neither inequities nor capabilities are the predominant factors in determining major power involvement in war. Each may involve extenuating circumstances. And each may apply to different nations or different times, but there apparently is no simple, single pattern that accompanies any one of them. Waltz, though, tells us we can categorize global systems and studies (Kaplan, 1957; Rosecrance, 1963) and power patterns (Mesquita, 1975; Sabrosky, 1985) as matters of opportunity. In fact, literature on alliances and power balance (Liska, 1962; Claude, 1962; Siverson and King, 1979; Wayman, 1984), on bi‑polar and multi‑polar systems (Rosenau, 1969; Morgan and Levy, 1986) and certain geopolitical studies (Spykman, 1944) all concern themselves with opportunity, its makeup and how it affects the behavior of nations.
Waltz, too, offers many poignant comments on the subject ‑‑ which he labels “third image” ‑‑ and on how he sees certain aspects of the global community embroiled in anarchy, and thereby leaving its participants in a dilemma over their own security. Because these countries always must deal with the ever‑present reality of war, so too they also must deal continually with the factors that make a country want to exploit the opportunities war presents. Waltz’s contention could well be correct that the world community ‑‑ or, in just a couple of words, the anarchic/self‑help international system ‑‑ grows in importance with the constraints it imposes on the power seekers, or the path of survival it points out to other nations (Waltz, 1979: 69, 72).
Looking at all the evidence at hand, Sabrosky came to the conclusion that, during this century, the big power players are (1) odds‑on favorites to jump into an ongoing war and (2) more than likely to think twice about their own war fever, depending on what the other big guys do. On the other hand, during the last century, the major powers did not appear to follow the same pattern, shying away from debilitating conflicts and basing those decisions only rarely on the influence of their high‑powered peers. That observation alone leaves little doubt that this century is hands‑down more dangerous than the one that preceded it (Sabrosky, 1980: 195‑198).
With danger also came the fires of political and technological change, fueled in the white‑hot forges of World War I and the Russian Revolution. The changes, though unique unto themselves, nonetheless shared certain impact similarities that altered the basic nature of global politics, just as the French Revolution, Napoleon and the Industrial Revolution revamped the rules of world politics a century before.
Two items constantly arise that are contrary to the idea that when international war is possible it generally follows a theoretical lawlike and predictable pattern. The first points to historical actions that change global politics to such an extent that trends and other guideposts of that period are not extant in others. The second item zeroes in on temporary fluctuations in culture, national character and other similar constituent parts.
A companion to the finale of World War I was also the end of monarchs and their dynasties in Europe. This was, in fact, much more than an unprecedented break with the past ‑‑ it also was an end to war as a mere chauvinistic jousting
event among nobles. It became, unfortunately, more of a duel between the working classes and the technicians of war.
Suddenly, soldiers of the past, who had seen the whites of each others’ eyes in combat while determining the destinies of nations, found themselves facing modern, “impersonal” weapons of unimaginable destruction. Not only was the simple matter of life and death in battle a consequence requiring re‑estimation, so too was the inestimable psychological factor of modern war technology, as increasingly long‑range artillery batteries, and highly proficient aircraft and watercraft depersonalized war. At the same time it was multiplying casualties a thousandfold.
We look now at three levels of history that illustrate the most demonstrative changes in global relations that had the greatest ripple (or, perhaps, wave) effect on the international community.
The first time period extends from 1850 to 1918. It was an era of rational diplomacy, when tact and compromise and discussion worked most successfully (Morgenthau, 1973: 525). Then came the second span, 1919 to 1945, reaching from the post‑World War I period and the League of Nations through World War II. This was a time of burgeoning change, but of the genre that hastened the doom of rational diplomacy ‑‑ increasing disappointment with back‑room international deal‑making, democratization, ideological growth and institutional, “parliamentary diplomacy” as exhibited by the League of Nations (Morgenthau, 1973: 528‑529).
The final time period, 1946 to 1965, comes under separate consideration, mainly because it is the beginning of the nuclear era, when atomic weaponry came into being and reproduced in exponential dimensions. The distinctiveness of this time is significant to those who strategized about or over war, because the risks of annihilation expanded proportionately to the destructiveness of the weapons, and because it gave birth to tactical, strategic and diplomatic “brinkmanship” (Schelling, 1966).
For the most part, even though allies remained neutral in about two‑thirds of their war‑involvement opportunities between 1899 and 1916 ‑‑ and if they joined a cause they stuck to it ‑‑ one still can consider the strength and commitment of alliances from 1900‑1945 as more or less confused and disorderly, and the time from 1946‑1965 as less confusing and disorderly but confusing and disorderly nonetheless. In comparison, the 19th century comes off as a laconic, lackadaisical period of “law and order.”
From this we can conclude, then, that differences in (1) alliance class, (2) signatory status, and (3) time period are the factors forcing or creating weaknesses, changes or variations in the strength or reliability of wartime alliances (Sabrosky, 1980: 177).
Alliances can be considered polar (one center of power), bipolar (two centers of power) ‑‑ which often crowd
out three to 10 smaller though still significant “multipolar” blocs of power ‑‑ or polyarchic (10 or more) agreements, where many competing inter‑relationships are legitimately considered. In the 19th century, a bipolar arrangement tended to fuel major power participation in war, while a multipolar agreement tended to inhibit it. Gochman goes along with this point of view, noting that bipolarity intensifies the likelihood that a single incident will ignite conflict, but that multipolarity reduces that likelihood (Gochman, 1980: 102).
Historians and political scientists by‑and‑large concede many, many significant differences between 19th and 20th century warfare, and consider World War I as a turning point in military tactics and strategy. Given that, let us re‑examine individually the three time spans of 1816‑1913, 1914‑1945, and 1946‑1965, and analyze the differing aspects of an international environment that make up the mix conducive to war.
A hint of what we are likely to discover? Well, as the constituent parts of the international community change, so too do the ingredients that create war. One of our tasks is to account for the changes and the ingredients, as well as the differences in space‑and‑time compatibilities of nations around the globe. We present three different models to aid in this analysis: balance of power, power transition and collective security.
4.2. BALANCE OF POWER, 1816‑1913
Turning back the clock, we return to the cliches and general concepts of “response to threat” or “response to uncertainty” that traditionally were relied upon when there was a need to rationalize national security, national interest or balance of power (Edward Vose Gulick, 1943). One of the most popular theories of international relations is that a balance of power makes war more probable, because power itself is the crux of war and peace. Many parties will argue the point that a nation that is too powerful is powerfully likely to threaten peace. A few, Clausewitz among them, will proffer the proposition that a powerful country can keep the peace simply by keeping less powerful countries in line.
Let us also concede up‑front that the word “balance” does not always mean what we think it does. Conventional thinking about “balance” conjures up a set of scales signifying either equality or inequality. Unconventional thinking makes “balance” more of an indicator of equality and equilibrium. Many balance‑of‑power believers see a world filled with powerful countries as a world tending toward peace. It is a place where the aggression of one is blunted by strengths of other combined countries, and where the absence of this “balance” in fact even tempts a nation into aggressive activities (David Hume, 1986: 281-284).
Adherents of power‑balance believe nations must line up with one another if they are to successfully inhibit or wage war against countries with expansionist intentions, or those that even hint of tipping the balance of power to their own advantage. This way, when international equilibrium is disturbed, the system’s theoretical gyroscope automatically readjusts it to a point of equilibrium that keeps the world order peaceful and secure.
This is particularly important in cases where stronger nations tend to initiate wars, while those who are weaker tend to be the victims (Kissinger, 1979; Organski and Kugler, 1980). Those who seriously analyze this point of view emphasize power politics more than utilitarian politics, even though both views have a lot in common. Alliances can limit or expand a nation’s international activities and/or capabilities, but in most cases alliances augment a nation’s power.
We theorize that alliances may both enhance or diminish security, depending on the context in which they are created or concluded ‑‑ but in any case, an alliance, or lack thereof, will always play some kind of role. It is a predominant determinant of who is likely to fight whom ‑‑ when, where, and how ‑‑ and consistently figures into the calculations of a war’s outcome, cost and risk. Some point to the greater frequency of alliances, more ideological bonding, or the tendency of nations of unequal resources to form treaties as having the ability to neutralize the importance of the power factor in conflict situations (Midlarsky 1979). Whatever, power still is the proven predictor of the predilection to initiate a war.
In a classical sense, power balance is determined by nations making precise decisions based on their judgments of the capabilities of all the other nations. If they err and the balance is lost, the subsequent absence of clarity in the overall system usually leads to confusion and, hence, war. Obviously, many believe that treaties and deals and alliances trap countries into undesirable commitments where they heighten the risk of becoming a target of aggression. Others, just as obviously, argue the opposite, seeing alliances as the main means by which a country can sharpen its power and enable it to repel outside threats to its military, economy or way of life. To them, alliances are a source of security.
The logic of my theory addresses the question of whether alliances enhance or diminish national capability by increasing uncertainty. Defense agreements, for instance, are promises that one nation will be prepared to defend another in the event of an attack. The offensive or defensive credibility of that promise is substantially influenced by the number of distracting commitments the signatories may have with other states. These distractions may lead a country into a delusionary quicksand of support, where it is not certain if it has the power ‑‑ or interstate reinforcement ‑‑ to initiate a war. So, without precise knowledge of all the specifics of all the interstate promises among all parties, a nation simply cannot know whether the new alignment will yield a net increase or decrease in expected support.
The academic model of power balance more or less follows an equal distribution pattern, thereby guaranteeing peace. But, as power distribution becomes increasingly out of balance, war probabilities also increase. This, then, leaves us with a trio of axiomatic hypotheses: (1) power equality leads to peace; (2) power imbalance leads to war; (3) the stronger member is probably the aggressor (Carr, 1974: Chap. 8).
It should come as no surprise then, that just as theoretical economists talk about “economic man” as one who is energized by increased profits, so too do those who espouse power balance become excited by those nations motivated by their desire to maximize their power. This, of course, leaves countries of little power no choice but to ally themselves with nations in comparable positions who are ducking it out with stronger countries that are trying to gain an advantage by attacking the weaker ones.
There is a noticeable drop in the reliability of 20th century wartime alliances, and it is coincidental with the disintegration of power balance during the same time frame
(Singer and Small, 1968; Singer, Bremer and Stuckey, 1972). The thinking man will unerringly conclude, though, that because balance is maintained by these alliances (Gulick,
1967:61), it is no surprise that the luck of the allianc
draw, and power equilibrium, go hand‑in‑hand.
This begs the next question: how much power is necessary to shift one side to the other before one party strikes the match of war, and how much time is necessary to avoid it? And, as an almost incalculable aside, what about the leader of a country who sees political capacity as national power, one who belittles the importance of the latter over the former? How does one deal with the way in which national leaders “think” about power?
4.3. POWER TRANSITION (1914‑1945)
So, then, let us start with a power‑balance system started by the Congress of Vienna, but which disintegrated within a European order that had, overall, kept the peace among the main power players from 1815 onward to the great political earthquake of 20th century politics. There is no doubt that the onset of the 20th millennium carried with it what appeared to be the cessation of traditional balances of power and the initiation of a revolutionary push‑and‑pull that left wide‑eyed any who saw the (comparably docile) changes of the revolutions of 1848, or anything similar up to the Bolsheviks’ success in 1917.
With the new century also came the ascendancy of new nations such as Japan and the United States, each of which was, ironically, worlds away from the words and deeds that gave birth to so many of the problems and conflicts that
spawned these upstarts. Coincidental to the emergence of these nouveau riche powers, the Austro‑Hungarian Empire was just beginning its slide into extinction, as too was Great Britain about to enter its decade of decline. Unbeknownst to itself, France, of course, already had begun its own nosedive in 1870.
Theories about power transitions go to McKinder and Carr; and the research of Organski, Kugler, Gilpin and Kennedy, among others. The essence of their arguments is this: differences in growth rates allow some countries to rise in power and others to fall. When the major power broker finds itself running neck‑and‑neck with a rival unhappy with the international status quo, the risk of war is great. This is when wars restructure the world order around the leadership of the newly emergent national nova (Mackinder, 1962; Carr, 1951; Organski and Kugler, 1980; Gilpin, 1981; Kennedy, 1987).
At the heart of every historical or theoretical examination of power relationships come the questions: who fights in these wars and why are they fought? Such disparate intellects as Organski and Kugler, Gilpin and Kennedy provide some remarkably similar responses to these not‑so‑subtle inquiries. Organski and Kugler (1980; 23) say that conflicts coming out of changes in power erupt because mighty states “desire to re‑draft the rules by which relations among nations work.” From Gilpin (1981: 198), “the war determines who will govern the international system and whose interest will be primarily served by the new international order. The war leads to a redistribution of territory among the states in the system, a new set of rules of the system, a revised international division of labor, etc.”
Organski and Kugler (1980: 19‑23) tell us that, in the main, aggressors in conflicts of power transition “will come from a small group of dissatisfied strong countries” and that “it is a general dissatisfaction with its position in the system, and a desire to redraft the rules by which relations among nations work, that move a country to begin a major war.”
Gilpin also says that “the most important consequence of a hegemonic war is that it changes the system in accordance with the new international distribution of power” (Gilpin, 1981: 186‑87), while Organski and Kugler come back with the observation that these conflicts are dubious unless the opposing participants include the high and the mighty, and that they are compelled to conduct “an all‑out effort to win” so that “the number of battle deaths reaches higher levels than in any previous war” (Organski and Kugler, 1980: 46).
In our global laboratory, what might be termed “the inequity model” comes to the fore when, once again, a country of status is unhappy with the existing international lineup; ergo, major powers likely are more apt than others of lesser might to delude themselves into thinking they have the capability to change this lineup to their liking, and to change it via war. The umbilical cord that connects power and war is one that is very short and very complex, and in some cases even the slightest tremor of international power distribution can lead to the most trenchant and devastating war.
Back in the laboratory, an examination of the power transition model shows us an admixture of three critical elements: (1) one nation overtaking another; (2) in terms of growth rate, the challenger overtaking the dominant nation, and (3) alliances having no marked impact in the initiation of a war (Mackinder, 1962). This turns the focus to just how, and just how fast, the mixmaster of national growth and development change the resource pool open to countries creating the culture in which war takes place. The war once won, winners usually stay on a straight and narrow path of predictable resource growth. Losers, however, push their rate of recovery until they overtake their conquerors in the 16th postwar year.
Certain other ingredients in this scenario are worthy of mention as recovery accelerants, particularly any diversity in occupations that are distributed beneficially to the population, the replacement of out‑of‑date factories and equipment, and attitude. A positive attitude can become a dynamic force in the bloodstream of a defeated population
because it exerts a greater effort to recover on the defeated than it does on the victorious.
Status quo and national ego also play a part. Upstart nations that are growing in power and dissatisfaction quite often have an angry view of the existing international order, with its full entitlements and benefits solidly established and allocated. These challengers are trying to elbow their way into new domains, areas in which they feel their increasing power entitles them. So, it can make a significant difference to a nation’s power tote board whether its development begins ‑‑ and continues ‑‑ with a quick jump‑start in economic productivity, or swift political mobilization, or with eye‑opening increases in social and geographic mobility. Whenever a country gets no respect for its material capabilities, usually the result is a demonstration of its dissatisfaction of some noticeable degree ‑‑ lashing out with military force (Kennedy, 1987).
The inequity model, then, is one of left‑handed fairness: failure to garner a fair share of the fruits of non‑military power will eventually result in the threat, or use, of that power or of that military to get them. It goes without saying, however, that any country that already is leaning toward war will become more likely to initiate or engage in war if its power is on the rise than if the opposite is true (Houweling & Siccama, 1988: 7-102).
Examining again our model of power transition, we come upon this postulation: the quicker modernization occurs in larger nations, the greater the disturbance in the equation of power. Fundamental issues that creep a nation closer to war include differences in growth rates between the main players, and particularly between a stronger nation and its challenger, where it might allow the weaker to overtake the stronger.
This kind of “leapfrogging” rocks the establishment’s boat, mainly because a nation superior to another is likely to war with it whenever the subordinate country pulls even, or ahead. The faster one country overtakes the other, then, the greater the risk of war.
So, the crux of power-transition model is that even power distribution increases the probability of war; where there is a distinct imbalance in national capabilities between advantaged and disadvantaged countries, peace is best preserved; the main push toward war will come from a rather small circle of strong, dissatisfied nations; weaker, not stronger, countries are most likely to push the button of war; but wars, according to Organski and Kugler’s testing results, almost always will occur when an imbalance of power is prevalent ‑‑ if, and only if, one force is trying to overtake another (1980: 50‑51). For example, Germany started both world wars as a means of forcing the rest of Europe to acknowledge its growing superiority ‑‑ a perfect case of an established leader (Europe) fighting to maintain control and a challenger (Germany) fighting to gain what it believes its own by right of strength.
Recent history paints a repetitive picture in this instance. Twenty years before World War I, the United Kingdom had a distinct strength advantage over Germany, although Germany caught up by 1905. By 1913 ‑‑ the beginning of the war ‑‑ Germany had surpassed its Anglo opponent. The cycle began again after the war: Germany behind the United Kingdom in 1919, catching up in the 1920s, hanging even or marginally ahead for a decade, and then Germany showing a big advantage over the United Kingdom at the start of the second world conflict (Bueno de Mesquita, 1990).
So, clearly, the dissatisfied challenger quite often finds the temptation irresistible to risk its own welfare in order to overcome and defeat a peaceful but dominant neighbor. More recently, major North American and Asian powers have seemed more likely to mix in war, especially when their national egos far outsized their material capabilities.
Organski’s (1968) power‑change hypothesis is based, in part, on the idea that if the challenger can beat the consensus heavyweight, it will become the Rank 1 king of the hill in the power hierarchy. When placed in a power strata, “Rank 2” nations show the greatest tendency to initiate a war ‑‑ almost 50 percent of the time. “Rank 1” nations have the lowest rate of war initiation, about 11 percent.
Because there is a certain international status quo of power to which rivals adhere, with its own order of rules and practices, if the weaker “challenger” is ascending to meet and surpass the declining hegemon, one of the basic conditions for a power transition war has been met. However, in his studies, Mesquita (1990: 41) shows that although the critical difference in growth rates was satisfied as a war initiator ingredient, the required disagreement over the international status quo was not ‑‑ even if the war changed history, overturned that status quo, and reordered the global system.
This concept of the once weaker overtaking the once
powerful is an important “rogue” or independent variable in the international war initiator equation. The few who offer a truly viable explanation of some wars do not include many other variables. Their studies and hypotheses are plausible, but the pieces they pick do not fit into the puzzle that forms a guiding map of analysis extending over the time period of the last two world wars.
4.3. COLLECTIVE SECURITY (1946-present)
As always, times ‑‑ and the patterns and precedents that lead political thought ‑‑ change. In fact, many theorists of high standing say that change has made these same tried but true axioms irrelevant nowadays. The main reason: the atomic bomb.
The dropping of the first atomic bombs on Japan in 1945, followed about a decade later by sophisticated nuclear warhead delivery systems, altered forever the impact of military power over war and peace. Old, smoothly worn concepts about the balance of power have been shoved aside by a more raw and ugly balance of terror, they believe. Hiroshima and Nagasaki forced the world to play an old game by new rules. “Nuclear weapons,” Donald Snow points out, “do not fall neatly into the widely-accepted Clausewitzian framework of war serving as a political instrument intended to achieve political ends” (Robert S. Jordan, 1990: 6).
Nuclear weapons have made a significant difference in the conduct of international conflict, particularly after 1950, when the Soviet Union joined the United States in obtaining a nuclear capability. The possession of such destructive potential, as President John Kennedy said, not only “changes the problem … It changes all the answers and all the questions” (Sorenson, 1965: 512). It also made complete the emergence of the post‑war “superpowers.”
Many theorists assert that this mutually assured destruction is an effective deterrent to nuclear war, citing the Soviet reluctance to invade western Europe immediately after World War II because of the American nuclear arsenal; U.S.‑Soviet disagreements that did not grow into atomic warfare; and simply by the absence of World War III.
Organski and Kugler note, however, that nuclear powers confronting other nations do not always come out as the big winners, and that nuclear weapons do not always smother conflict at every level. “There is no deterrence, or nuclear arms races, or a balance of terror,” they concluded. “Non‑nuclear powers have fought one another and nuclear countries as well” (Organski and Kugler, 1980: 162‑163).
Still, the big hitters in the nuclear club have fashioned their tools of destruction by checking out what the other guy is doing, with a copy‑cat reaction the most likely. But even with arms proliferation, the theory is that power‑hungry men will be intimidated by the terrifying and punishing might of The Bomb, to the point where they limit or cease their own aggressive behavior. This is the essence of deterrence. If we examine deterrence, we see it consists of three elements: its unbelievable potential for destruction, the amazing quickness with which it can destroy, and the long distances over which nuclear weaponry remains potent. Sheer terror is the core of the theory of deterrence, but it is The Bomb itself that produces that terror.
Since World War II, weapons technology has evolved in three distinct stages. The first occurred with the arrival of The Bomb, which operated on the principle of fission. The second came with thermonuclear weapons, which were based on the fusion principle. The third was the creation of mind‑boggling delivery vehicles that could travel faster than the speed of sound, carrying multiple warheads of immense power that could hit different targets at the same time.
These continuing scientific and technological breakthroughs advance the armaments argument to an even higher and deeper level. Now military analysts must
recognize other considerations, such as first and second strike capability. First strike capability refers to the nuclear weaponry and delivery systems a country has if it wants to attack first. Second strike capability is best explained as that part of a nation’s nuclear arsenal, and its delivery systems, that survive the initial attack of an opponent and can be used to fight back. This leads to the conclusion that the nation with the best second‑strike capability is the one that will guarantee the peace (Harold Brown, 1982: 38-43). Between the United States and the Soviet Union, for example, the minimum amount of destruction to make nuclear warfare a questionable endeavor would have the U.S. surviving the worst the Soviets could initially throw at it and still have enough nuclear punch to obliterate at least one‑fourth of the Soviet populace and one‑third of its industry.
Some maintain that the true effectiveness of these awesome yet dreadful weapons is not in their use, but in the threat of their use. That threat ‑‑ making aggressors think twice about any untoward action that might displease the reigning nuclear king of the hill ‑‑ becomes the deterrent function of the weapons themselves (Brodie, 1978). And so, the absence of nuclear war depends dearly on a relative balance in distribution of nuclear strength.
Possessing that kind of destructive power also means having the power to fundamentally change the way leaders of nations think and the influence it has on the decisions they make. Certainly, that power strikes fear in the hearts of the potential victims. But it also can frighten the possessor of nuclear power, particularly because of the possible consequences if he uses the destructive potential at his fingertips. “The grand irony is that in order to prevent a horrible holocaust — strategic nuclear war between the superpowers in their struggle for post-World War II advantage and preference — the antagonists have had to co-exist with a war-making doctrine based on fear of mutual annihilation (Robert S. Jordan, 1990: 4). The danger of a nuclear holocaust can make even the most aggressive and hard‑bitten leader a much more cautious fellow when he is dealing with someone who has The Bomb in his bag of military tricks.
Some thinkers fall prey to the easy conclusion that the nuclear arms race is merely the precursor to a definite doomsday somewhere in the near future. However, other evidence might suggest that it is no coincidence that the time span covering the arms race also has been a period of peace. Since 1945, with the United States and the Soviet Union building and stockpiling mountains of nuclear weapons, no state of war has existed between them.
Unquestionably, nuclear technology has had a major, nearly indelible impact on foreign policy in the case of the collective security system where all the major powers align themselves on one side. Then, each repudiates the use or threatened use of force as part of its foreign policy ‑‑ but creates cooperative provisos to control and/or chasten any
nation that attacks another, and also agrees to help its partners carry out any security measures deemed necessary.
The collective security arrangement dealt with some rather unique revelations about the kind of power necessary to keep the peace after World War II, when “all-against-one” was the name of the game. Power distribution between opposing parties then had to be unusually off kilter. And, if one of the peaceful countries did not live up to the expectations of the provisos in the pact, the odds of war occurring became greater.
When power distribution greatly favors the defender instead of the attacker, peace usually results. Equal or nearly equal division of power between two nations usually would result in war, were it not for the attacker being weaker than the coalition (Inis Claude, 1962: 114‑15 and Chap. 4). Even though peace is highly valued, usually it is not the intended result of all the machinations in the balance‑of‑power system. However, in the collective security system, peace is the main and major outright goal of all its partners.
Countries will go to war if they think it is all right to do so. And particularly during the post‑World War II era, with the globe sliced up into spheres of influence, there is implicit assent for the major powers to react severely with rebel nations seen as subject to their control. For instance, by its inaction the world legitimized the Soviet Union’s military intervention into the domestic affairs of its allies with its invasions of Hungary in 1956, and Afghanistan in 1979. Since 1945, continual Soviet intercession has prevented the growth of freedoms throughout eastern Europe. Especially during the Soviet and Warsaw Pact intervention in Czechoslovakia, “the American leaders followed a policy of silence which could be construed as a type of ‘neutrality’ aimed at avoiding confrontation with the USSR in her own backyard sphere of influence,” Professor Alan T. Leonhard (1988: 2) argued.
Such interference is not the sole domain of the Soviet Union. A similar course of action has been used by the United States to keep all of its allied ducks in a row, especially in Latin American after losing Cuba. Nicaragua, Panama and El Salvador are familiar names, not because of their geographic proximity, but because of recent American involvement in the domestic affairs of those nations. Most recently the United States invaded Grenada rather than tolerate a breach of American interests in the Caribbean. “Military interventions throughout the world were seen to be ‘abuses’ or ‘arrogance’ of power exercised by the President as Commander-in-Chief” (Draper, 1967). In fact, during the post‑World War II years, the United States has not limited its intervention to the Western Hemisphere. It has sallied forth into conflicts in the faraway lands of the Far East ‑‑ Vietnam and Korea ‑‑ as well as the Middle Eastern nations of Lebanon, Kuwait and Iraq (Walter LaFeber, 1989: 265-267). Although it has been highly irregular for the major powers to clash directly, in the case of the Korean War such was not the case. Their involvement was clear and direct, with the United States and China not only by providing their respective Korean allies with economic, military ordnance and political aid, but also offering up their own troops to
do battle. The Soviets sat on the sidelines, but still supported the Chinese and North Koreans. Boiled down, all of this was merely a case of the great powers acting as “world policemen” to enforce the so‑called “international law” in their spheres of influence.
Two years after the end of World War II, in the summer of 1947, George Kennan raised political eyebrows with an article in the journal “Foreign Affairs” called “The Sources of Soviet Conduct.” Kennan claimed the Soviet world revolved around two basic beliefs: first, the inborn animosity between socialism and capitalism and, secondly, an infallible Kremlin (Ambrose, Stephen E., 1985: 99).
Because conquering the globe was the Soviets’ goal, they tried to achieve it by using their satellites ‑‑ some Middle East nations, North Vietnam, Ethiopia, Angola, Cuba, et al ‑‑ to fight surrogate wars. The Untied States, for its part, thus was forced into a containment policy, “building up the military strength of America and her allies, and a willingness to stand up to the Russians wherever they applied pressure” (1985: 100). Therefore, even though these two superpowers never got to the point where they found themselves ensnared in a nuclear war, they nonetheless were the direct cause of instability and conflicts that spanned the globe. The collective security system, albeit preventing World War III, has allowed all‑against‑one wars (such as the Persian Gulf War in 1991), surrogate wars (between satellites of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.), and superpower intervention in their spheres of influence.
In conclusion, in the balance of power model, leaders of the stronger nation will push for expansion and greater individual utility while the objects of their intentions huddle together in an attempt to fend off any aggression. In the collective security system, leaders are motivated by aggression prevention, and push for greater system utility. The power transition model, on the other hand, is not motivated by maximizing power or security. It is moved, instead, by its discontent with its place in the international system, causing it to seek changes in how international relations are conducted. This, then, can lead to war.
Changes in power are due to alliances, according to adherents of the collective security and balance of power models. A nation strengthens its place on the ladder of power by adding its might to that of its allies, or by breaking up the alliances of its enemies (William Riker, 1962). The power transition model, however, argues that a nation’s predominant wellspring of power is through its own political and socioeconomic growth, and not a particular configuration or reconfiguration of coalitions. There is much to be said for this argument, as students of international relations have found the power transition model to be an accurate augury of war even though it does not factor in alliances.
The collective security and power transition models maintain that for the preservation of peace, the distribution of power must be overwhelmingly on the side of those defending the system, not with those attacking it. Preserving the peace via the balance‑of‑power model requires just the opposite ‑‑ an equal distribution of power between the major players ‑‑ because the odds of war occurring go up substantially when one of the opponents achieves a sizeable advantage over the other.
What should be redressed is the strength of the initiator compared to that of his victim. In “The War Ledger,” Organski and Kugler have summed up that “Balance-of Power predicts that the stronger will attack, collective-security posits that the aggressor will be weaker than the coalition, while power-transition argues that the attacker will be the weaker party” (1980: 27).
In the balance-of-power model, no one confuses the superiority of the initiator, but in the power-transition model, Organski and Kugler’s testing has come to a different conclusion; that means, “The challenger had leapfrogged over the dominant nation prior to the eruption of the conflict,” and “The challenger is stronger than any single nation clearly ranged against it” (1980: 59,61).
In the case of collective-security model, one must distinguish two different stages of war. In the first stage, the aggressor attacks its victim — North Korea attacked South Korea on June 25, 1950 and Iraq attacked Kuwait on August 2, 1990, for example. And in the second stage, the “coalition” wages war to punish the aggressor — the US-led coalition attacked North Korea on September 15, 1950 and Iraq on January 16, 1991. All in all, 75 percent of the initiators were stronger than their victims. The remaining has been discussed in the “political capability” section. The key that opens the door to each of them is the distribution of power. It seems, too, that certain systemic‑level phenomena ‑‑ polarity, preponderance and parity ‑‑ put limits on how much dyadic conflict is possible. Distribution of power at the international level (effects of polarity, for instance) as well as on the state dyad level (the power preponderance and parity hypothesis, for example) comprise a prominent part in the initiation of global conflict.
In some ways, these three models complement one another, and each is correct only if it is applied to the proper time period ‑‑ the balance of power model for 1816‑1913, the power transition model for 1916‑1945, and the collective security model for 1946 to the present.
With that accepted, we can therefore deduce the following propositions from this analysis thus far:
PROPOSITION 8: In the 1816‑1913 period, nations become aggressors whenever they gain a power advantage, as espoused in the balance‑of‑power model.
PROPOSITION 9: In the 1914‑1945 period, wars occur only when a dissatisfied nation begins to overtake and perhaps
leap-frog the dominant nation, as espoused in the power transitional model.
PROPOSITION 10: In the 1946-present period, fear of
nuclear annihilation prevents direct conflict between superpowers, leaving only all-against-one war, surrogate war, or intervention, as espoused in the collective security model.
If we apply these propositions to our war-peace scale, we can see that when conditions are satisfied for the three models, the scale automatically ratchets up 20 points. That puts us in the fourth stage — the brink of war — or into the 80-point circle in the Bull’s-Eye of Integrative Elephantism.
- INDIVIDUAL LEVEL/VICTIM
Why are some disagreements settled before they ignite into full‑fledged warfare, while others are not? Some countries ‑‑ Sweden and Switzerland are the first to come to mind ‑‑ have not engaged in war at all since 1816 (Singer and Small 1972). Other countries, however, have strongly tended to jump into the hellfires of war: Britain and France each have taken the plunge 19 times since 1816; Turkey, 17 times; Russia, 15; Italy/Sardina, 12; Austria‑Hungary and China, eight times each; Japan, seven; and Germany/Prussia and the United States, six times each (Bremer, 1980: 25). As one can see, only a very minor number of countries and regions are responsible for a very large number of wars during the 1816‑present time period. Most nations have been involved in only a few wars, or none at all. So, then, if just one of the adversaries strongly prefers conflict over diplomacy, is war likely to occur? Up to now, the act of initiating war has been viewed as the sole domain of the aggressor, that it is his decision and his decision alone. However, it is fatal to forget the possibility that the aggressor’s prey can defuse the situation. How? By forfeiting whatever the victim thinks will appease the aggressor’s appetite.
We also must remember that being prepared for war does not necessarily mean actual war initiation will occur ‑‑ the possibility of war occurs only when both are able to wage it. When either nation cannot or will not fight, then war is not even a logical possibility. Only when two countries favor war over peace will there be a war.
Although realists maintain that a statesman best serves his state when he accurately estimates his opponent’s strength, they are more convincing with their descriptions of how this achievement is likely unlikely (Morgenthau, 1973: 1954). Differences in confidence levels and outlook on risk between aggressor and prey can produce wide variations in what the former expects to gain and what the latter estimates it will lose.
For some, both the guiding light and the handcuffs of foreign policy are the data gathered on capabilities of likely opponents and whether the threats they pose can be believed. Every participant can calculate the expected consequences of conflict, and for the object of the attacker the options include paying reparations, paying ransom, giving up land, conceding economic concerns, evacuating an area, returning military equipment and/or strategic weapons, surrendering, annexation, attack, or occupation.
Intangible ingredients that are included in this admixture of gains and losses may involve matters of prestige, principle and honor. Toss in, too, knowledge gained from earlier war experiences, and one finds that decisions definitely can be made, shaped or discarded by remembrances of prior rewards and/or punishments (Berkowitz, 1962).
Presidents, premiers and dictators must always take into account not only the cost of earlier wars, but also the willingness of their populace to support any new military forays that might lead to war. They must keep in mind, too, that if war is waged for reasons other than economic gain, it could result in a crippling or permanent injury to their own economic growth, national capability, and ‑‑ ultimately ‑‑ power.
A dangerous dispute between countries does not always mean that war is the inevitable result. It could take other forms, such as cutting off diplomatic relations; the peaceful intervention of a powerful outside nation; an economic blockade; a large spending increase on weapons; imposing tariffs; a bloodless invasion; lining up allies; or even finding a meeting of the minds at a successful summit meeting (Mowrer, 1960).
Before war, there also is another alternative: influence. For the war initiator, he must find a way to persuade, coerce, or even seduce his opponent into agreeing to his demands. An “influence attempt” presumably is the focal point of the communication process between the two opponents, when one of them tells the other what it wants and what is expected of the other in order to get it. Influence attempts can take one of four paths: modification, reinforcement, persuasion, or dissuasion. Singer also offers us four kinds of inducements ‑‑ threat, promise, reward and punishment ‑‑ which let the target country know what will happen to it if it does not agree to the aggressor’s demands (Russell J. Leng, 1980).
In terms of power, there also are three broad categories of “influence attempts”: strong to weak, evenly matched, and weak to strong. We find, in the face of a believable threat from a stronger aggressor, that the victim nation almost always must accede to it, but that it almost always must hold firm when the threat comes from an adversary relatively equal in power. When the threat, or “request action,” comes, it usually comes in a certain form and is accompanied by a deadline ‑‑ if it is an ultimatum ‑‑ and specific terms of acquiescence.
Those who make such decisions can opt for out‑and‑out force, or any of a wide range of other responses ‑‑ including certain “almost war” behaviors. These include escalating the disagreement even further with the use of force, or they can try to defuse the crisis with an offer of negotiation. The defending opponent can give in to the aggressor’s requests and cut its war losses, or it can fight back ‑‑ and fuel the fire even more until is escalates into a full‑fledged war. Once again, a leader’s perceptions of hostility, fear, revenge, and the like, can have a decisive impact on his image of his opponent. For the victim nation, it may mean bumping up military appropriations, making new alliances, quitting others, importing armaments, initiating negotiations, or attacking.
Boulding gives us five types of compliance that reveal the degree of response: flat‑out agreement with the demand; placating the aggressor with an alternate response, ignoring the demand, defiance and a return threat, or a more complex combination of defiance and placation with a carrot‑and‑stick response (Boulding, 1970). Part of the overall scenario, too, is how a one‑on‑one interaction affects a nation’s decision as to whether it should pick war or peace. That decision, then, will come to a head in one of five basic outcomes: status quo, acquiescence to the aggressor’s demands, negotiation, surrender to an attacker, or war that is initiated by the aggressor.
What is it that turns one serious dispute into war but not another? What is it that makes a victim nation comply, seek compromise, ignore the demand, or respond belligerently? In “Influence Strategies and Interstate Conflict,” Russell J. Leng (1980) supports the realists’ theory, who suggest that in the influence‑attempt realm, victim nations are more likely to respond to threats than if they are required only to promise compliance.
It is incumbent upon victim, or target, nation to accurately determine the costs of its compliance in relation to the aggressor’s influence attempts ‑‑ and power. Quite often, the higher the cost of compliance to the victim nation the less likely it is to comply. Whenever a target nation can gain more or lose less by giving in instead of pressing the issue, war is less likely to occur, the aggressor will win what it wants and its opponent will cut any expected losses ‑‑ a left‑handed form of mutual benefit to both parties.
It also stands to reason that the greater the credibility of any inducements by the aggressor nation, the more likely the victim nation is to comply (Leng 1980: 129).
Any aggressor that utilizes the influence attempt must convince its target nation that it will follow through on any threats and/or promises. Credibility depends not only on the aggressor nation’s ability to reward and punish, but also on its commitment to do so.
A nation’s leader never will pick a policy that is likely to produce less value ‑‑ or utility ‑‑ than another. He will not wage war if he thinks he can gain more by staying at peace or by surrendering. Foreseeing significant war casualties, it may be more prudent for the leader to accede to his opponent’s demands before war occurs. If both the aggressor nation and the victim nation benefit by negotiating, they are likely to refrain from war and turn, instead, to concessions. When statesmen can provide both parties with better benefits than they would receive by fighting a war, there is no incentive for either to fight.
War most often is what happens when diplomacy can not stand up to conflicting estimates of bargaining power by the two opponents in the global ring. War is at the core of international relations, where the language of force ‑‑ who gets what, when and how ‑‑ is universally understood. Often war occurs when negotiations sour because of excessive demands on the part of one side, or because each side swaggers in the belief it is invulnerable. Such inflexibility may result during war/peace talks if one nation firmly believes the other will not step over the line and into conflict, or if its collective national ego is swollen out of proportion to its military might, or because succumbing would weaken its control over its own domestic affairs (Arnold Wolfers, 1983: 9-12).
War can be the offspring of forceful, unswerving bargaining, when the demands of one side are unconditional and immediate, but totally unacceptable to the other side. A perfect example of this fervid interchange is the Arab‑Israeli War of 1973. War also usually results from compelling situations in which the nation making the demands misjudges the other side, erroneously ‑‑ and sometimes fatally ‑‑ thinking that even though its opponent claims the terms are unacceptable, the ploy is merely a bluff. This kind of thinking usually occurs when countries enter the phase of serious conflict, when the way each behaves is examined so closely that what is demanded becomes subordinate to how it is demanded.
Counterrealists, in fact, tell us that national leaders do not always act and react in a calm and level‑headed manner when looking out for their country’s best interests, and that they also face significant internal social and psychological elements that demand eye‑for‑an‑eye responses to belligerent behavior. The upshot, of course, is an even swifter trip toward war (Carr, 1939).
History shows instances when the victim state was no less eager, and no less blameless, for the war than was the initiator. In cases where nations misjudge the worth of their own bargaining chips or those of their enemy ‑‑ and whenever two countries cannot correctly assess their own military might ‑‑ war will occur if the bone of contention between them is vital to both sides. Put simply: demand too much, concede too little, war will occur.
Looking more closely at the dynamics of bargaining, the two sides usually deal with “carrots” (the come‑on, promises or inducements) and “sticks” (the punishments or enforcement devices). When one side can see that sticks will accomplish the task or achieve the goal faster and with greater efficiency than carrots, it is likely bargaining will stop and blows will begin. When two countries think they can gain more by fighting than by bargaining, they will go to war. Just as true is when opposing leaders, victim and initiator, think they can easily win a war ‑‑ then war it will be. However, if neither leader thinks he can win, or if they think victory will come only at a very high price, then war is less likely.
It naturally stands to reason, whether dealing with a backyard bully or an international tyrant, when the would‑be victim believes that the would‑be attacker will gain more from the war than the aggressor believes will be gained, the would‑be victim is likely to sue for peace and surrender his possessions without a fight. The reverse also is true: whenever a would‑be victim believes he must lose less (or gain more) than the aggressor believes the victim must lose, war will result. The lesson is this: the greater the gap between what the initiator believes it can gain and what the victim believes it must lose, the greater the difficultly in striking a deal. Not only is war most likely, it also will likely be more costly (Bueno de Mesquita, 1981: 155-165).
Unfortunately, most major powers believe that their war casualties would not be heavy enough to get in the way of any gains they might achieve by going to war. Indeed, conflict may reinforce their reliance on military force to gain one’s goals. Only nations that have been to the mountain, so to speak ‑‑ those that have experienced calamitous casualties in war ‑‑ shy away from taking on war once more.
Governments often enter a conflict when they think they have no viable political alternative to it. This position allows the “I‑had‑no‑other‑choice” justification for war. Nonetheless, war cannot take place unless opportunity and
willingness are present at some threshold level. This threshold can vary from nation to nation, across historical periods and in magnitude ‑‑ but once nations go beyond the threshold, it is war.
Looking again into the laboratory of war, one can observe a wide range of elements that interact to cause or prevent conflict. Victim nations sometimes can protect themselves from some aggressors if they can find another nation able and willing to take it under a protective wing. We have seen how third‑party counter‑threats can deter or defuse some disputes before they ignite into full‑scale combat. Sometimes the third party can make a believable threat against the would‑be initiator and make it back off in the face of a superior force. But if the victim nation has no intentions of surrendering or allowing any concessions, and if it cannot find a friend to back‑stop it, the final phase of one‑on‑one confrontation between the initiator and the victim is then brinkmanship.
In brinkmanship, one side is the threatening party, looking for the other side to make concessions through some type of negotiations. Meanwhile, the other side pushes back with a cautious show of force. This exercise ‑‑ colloquially known as a game of “chicken” ‑‑ brings each side just to the brink of war. In this game, one side forces the other into a corner, tending to eliminate all options save war (Seyom Brown, 1987: 79-86). Such is the outcome when the demanding nation erroneously believes its opponent will eventually back off even when the opponent deems the demands unacceptable. One such case of defiance‑deemed‑bluff led to war in 1914, when Germany invaded Belgium in spite of Great Britain’s repeated guarantees of Belgium’s neutrality. Germany grossly erred in its estimates of British resolve.
In the global game of chicken, opponents confront one another with “zero‑sum” terms: your gain is my loss, and vice versa. With their horns thusly locked, neither can remove itself from an impending war ‑‑ unless it is willing to suffer extreme humiliation. This was the case in July of 1914, when Germany and Russia squared off against each other with threats and counter‑threats on behalf of their respective allies, Austria and Serbia, and then by strutting out their military forces (Lebow, 1981: 142).
The global game of chicken takes into consideration any number of variables, the most crucial of which include: the military capacity of the players, the importance of the demands being made, the degree and balance of other outside military entities, ancillary international or domestic crises, and the quality of statesmanship on each side. The classic case of a successful game of chicken was when the United States forced the Soviet Union to back down during the Cuban missile crisis. President John F. Kennedy was unswerving in his objective and, facing a U.S. naval blockade ‑‑ along with threatening moves by the American military machine all across the globe ‑‑ Khrushchev had to remove his thermonuclear missiles from Cuba (Kennedy, 1969).
Recent scholars of international crises ‑‑ among them Schelling (1966), Snyder and Diesing (1977), Blechman and Kaplan (1978), and George and Smoke (1974) ‑‑ say that in order to succeed in the game of chicken, the following variables must be manifest and must be seriously considered: a review of past reactions by both sides to similar situations; obligations to other countries; a true and honest calculation of gains, costs, opportunities and resources; an assessment of risk‑taking tendencies of both sides; intelligence‑gathering capabilities and the ability to recognize and respond to misperception; and diplomatic and crisis‑management skill in manipulating these variables.
To play the game with any degree of success, a leader also must be able to back up his threats, but still leave some space to maneuver if he needs to modify them. Some leaders of aggressor nations have made the mistake of deciding on war well before the crisis commences. In such instances, the purpose of the crisis was not to create a compromise but to create a cause for war. According to Lebow, Austria’s ultimatum to Serbia on July 23, 1914, was a “justification of hostility crisis.” These kinds of diplomatic encounters are, in actuality, power plays aimed at weakening the will of the target country to repel an imminent assault. They also are highly effective in generating domestic backing in the aggressor nation for military action, and to create the global underpinning it needs before it resorts to utilizing force (Lebow, 1981: 25).
Scholars such as North, Brody and Holsti (1964), and Hoole and Zinnes (1975) tell us that intensifying threats and hostilities tend to create conflicts that can fly out of control. The “tit‑for‑tat” pattern of threats and counterthreats that are at the core of an ultimately uncontrollable chain of events are linked to a certain “lock‑in” effect associated with World War I (North, 1967) and the Vietnam War. Leng and Gochman take a look at why some games of chicken end up in war while others do not, focusing on four basic behavioral characteristics: fight, resistance, standoff, and put‑down.
“Fight” is, of course, the most war‑prone characteristic of the four. This is where both parties use browbeating influence strategies, or where one browbeats while the other responds tit‑for‑tat (Jervis, 1976; Leng and Goodsell, 1974). “Resistance” is where one side tries to bully the other into submission, but the side being bullied tries to be conciliatory without backing down (George and Smoke, 1974). In a “standoff,” the two sides go eyeball to eyeball, threatening military force against each other. Neither is willing to back off, yet neither is willing to actually take the big step into hostility. And in “put‑down,” one side attempts to induce its adversary to capitulate by utilizing threats, displays of power, and uses of military force. When the adversary does not respond in kind, there is a tendency toward acquiescence or compromise (Snyder and Diesing, 1977).
In their studies of 21 disputes, Leng and Gochman found that 11 ended in war. When the disputes were in the “fight” category, 83 percent resulted in war; in the “resistance” category, half ended in war; in the “standoff,” 40 percent; and in the “put‑down,” just 25 percent (Leng and Gochman, 1982: 676‑677). This can be illustrated on a conflict continuum, with 0 on the left (the dispute does not end in war) and 100 on the right (the dispute ends in war), thereby showing the least war‑prone to the most war‑prone types.
0 25 40 50 83 100 ‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑No‑war Put‑down Standoff Resistance Fight War
Upon close review of these examples, certain new variables arise ‑‑ most noteworthy being the opponents’ capabilities, their determination in achieving their goals, and the willingness of superior nations to get involved in or mediate the disputes. These variables can push forward some leaders who have grand designs, or cause others to become swept up by popular pressures. What emerges from this collection of shrillness and violence and threats, however, is a scenario of unseemingly sensible decision making that
may not be able to lay claim to the high moral ground but is nonetheless realistic. These new variables also confirm the need for a kind of “Integrative Elephantism” to systematically integrate all the major factors that are both necessary and sufficient for war. At this point the progression of war moves up the conflict ladder from rivalry to war.
Let us also pause now to examine the other party to the dispute ‑‑ the victim nations. As with initiators, victims are assumed to be classified into three categories: pacifist, pragmatist, and militarist. Blainey (1973) argues that the war or peace preferences of a country are always affected, at least partially, by how it views the reliability of its own internal unity and that of its opponent. “Civil strife in the weaker of two nations was more likely to preserve the peace,” he said, “because it confirmed the accepted assessment of their relative power.”
Therefore, propositions derived from these arguments are:
PROPOSITION 11: The pacifist tends toward capitulation or to make concessions while under attack.
PROPOSITION 12: The pragmatist tends to capitulate or to make concessions while under attack only if he has domestic difficulties, which can threaten the existence of his government.
PROPOSITION 13: The militarist tends to fight back.
At this last phase, if the victim nation is a militarist or a pragmatist who has a full support of his people, he is likely to enter a self‑defense war against the attacker. That means he reaches the right end of the peace‑war scale or he hits a 100‑point circle of the Bull’s‑Eye after accumulating 20 points more for each stage of the war progress. The result can be calculated in the following equation:
Y = 20a + 20b or (20c+20d+20e/3) + 20f or 20g + 20h + 20i
(Levels of Analysis)
I II III IV V
where a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, and i each equals “1” if the answer is “yes” to these questions:
- Is a key leader/initiator (a) a militarist? Or does he, a pragmatist, want to divert internal troubles?
- Is he an undemocratic leader (b) who has a full authority? Or does he, a democratic leader, win support from media (c), public opinion (d), and Congress (e) to initiate a war?
- Is the initiator’s nation “materially” (f) or “politically” (g) stronger than the victim nation’s?
- Is the international system (h) (either balance of power, power transition, or collective security) favorable to international conflict?
- And is a key leader/victim (i) a militarist? Or does he, a pragmatist, win support from his people to stand up against the attacker?
On the flip side, a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, and i each equals “0” if the answer to these questions is “no,” meaning each of the factors is not in favor of war initiation. If the total score is 100, or Y = 100, war is inevitable. If the total score is 0 or Y = 0, this dyad will experience a tranquil and peaceful period. For example:
IN THE CASE OF WAR
Y = 20×1+20×1 or (20×1+20×1+20×1/3) + 20×1 or 20×1+20×1+20×1
Y = 100
IN THE CASE OF PEACE
Y = 20×0+20×0 or (20×0+20×0+20×0/3) + 20×0 or 20×0+20×0+20×0
Y = 0
The peace‑war process also is described in Table 3.5 and Figure 3.9.
If anything, this also suggests the goodness of fit between evidence and theory, and that when willingness is present in a decision maker, he is likely to grasp any
OPPORTUNITY AND WILLINGNESS BY LEVELS OF ANALYSIS
00 00 00 00 00 00 (01)
00 20 00 00 00 20 (02)
00 20 20 00 00 40 (03)
00 20 20 20 00 60 (04)
00 20 20 20 20 80 (05)
20 00 00 00 00 20 (06)
20 00 20 00 00 40 (07)
20 00 20 20 00 60 (08)
20 00 20 20 20 80 (09)
20 20 00 00 00 40 (10)
20 20 00 20 20 80 (11)
20 20 00 20 20 80 (12)
20 20 20 00 00 60 (13)
20 20 20 00 20 80 (14)
20 20 20 20 00 80 (15)
20 20 20 20 20 100 (16)
* All variables are coded dichotomously with 0 denoting
unwillingness or lack of opportunity and 20 signifying
willingness or opportunity at each level of analysis.
* War is initiated only in the situation described by the
sixteenth path on which both initiator and victim possess
the prescribed levels of opportunity and willingness to
available opportunity to prepare for war and to decide to
initiate a war.
The actions of decision makers in the 19th and 20th centuries appear to have been consistent with the theory,
whether their nations were aligned or non‑aligned, powerful or weak, fighting at home or far away. It also appears that the deductions examined here do indeed provide general, logical statements about war initiation when all the conditions stipulated in the theory are satisfied.
In fact, all questions concerning war and peace can be explained by Integrative Elephantism. The pacifist example and the pragmatist example (without internal troubles) can be used to explain why many strong nations do not attack weaker ones, and why the overwhelming majority of those dyads are at peace ‑‑ despite the presumed warlike nature of the system and regardless of whether power is distributed between adversaries in roughly equal or dramatically unequal portions. One can use the political capability model to explain why some weak nations attack stronger ones; and most other national‑, dyadic‑ and system‑level variables are available to explain why some disputes end in war while others do not.
To those who question the efficacy of the balance‑of‑ power model by complaining it does not clearly explain why one nation should be exempt from the otherwise universal rule of wanting to take advantage of utilizing its superiority to expand its power at the expense of other; or to those who question the power‑transition model by arguing that a challenger may also surpass the dominant nation without fighting it ‑‑ to them we say, you are the blind men who do not see the other parts of the elephant, let alone their applications in different time periods, which is compatible with Singer and Small dividing the historical epoch into the 19th and 20th centuries (1968: 282).
Objective and perceived conditions and events at every stage of the war‑peace continuum affect decisions to intensify, de‑escalate, or maintain a status quo of activity. At the threshold that separates each stage from the next, all five classes of variables are capable of reining in the conflict at the given stage, taking it down to a lower stage, or pushing it up to a higher stage of conflict.
It is important to view these activities as a continuous and/or simultaneous set of clusters, with constant interaction ‑‑ a cyclic entity with no definite beginning or ending. We also must conclude that it is the decision maker who is the major player, the one who plans, controls, and manipulates according to his own calculations, by anticipating the reaction and behavior of others, and by keeping his own behavior within a range of “opportunity” presented by the environment. To accurately describe, explain and predict the causes of war, then, one always must examine closely each step of the conflict ladder and each level of analysis, as well as the question of “who did what and why?”
CHAPTER 4: PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH AND THE GULF WAR
- LITERATURE REVIEW
The involvement of the U.S. military in the Persian Gulf dates from World War II, when President Franklin Roosevelt met with Saudi Arabia’s king in 1945 to discuss their mutual concerns. The involvement continued with the Truman Doctrine, announced during the president’s speech to Congress on March 12, 1947. Truman committed his nation to the containment of communism worldwide by guaranteeing aid to nations seeking help in fending off Soviet expansionism and by “demanding that the Russians withdraw their troops from the oil-rich northern Iranian territory” (Alan T. Leonhard, 1988: 2). The initial reaction to the speech by Congress was approval of military assistance packages to both Greece and Turkey. Thus began an American naval presence in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, which was institutionalized two years later with the creation of the Middle East Force, and the sharing of British airfields and ports.
The Eisenhower Doctrine, too, dealt specifically with the Middle East. In 1957, Congress granted President Dwight D. Eisenhower authority to use American armed forces in the Middle East “if the president determines the necessity … to assist any nation … requesting assistance against armed aggression from any country controlled by international communism.” Eisenhower took advantage of this authorization power in 1958, implementing it in Lebanon with a small ‑‑ albeit precedent‑setting ‑‑ military incursion.
A little more than a decade later, in 1969, the Nixon Doctrine deputized friendly regional strongmen, notably the Shah of Iran, to protect the area against Soviet aggression. Another 10 years later, the fall of the Shah and the Kremlin’s invasion of Afghanistan prompted the Carter Doctrine: Soviet encroachments would be considered an attack on vital American interests. President Jimmy Carter declared, without congressional approval, that the United States is willing to “use military force to keep open the Persian Gulf waterways to international sea-going traffic…” and to “prevent outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region” (Alan T. Leonhard, 1988: 7).
Through the Carter Doctrine, he was able to achieve some solid foreign policy successes ‑‑ most notably the negotiation of the Camp David Accords in 1979, the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab state, Egypt. However, his Middle East intervention also forced certain failures, particularly the Iranian Revolution and the taking of American hostages. Carter responded with blunder upon blunder, and it eventually cost him the election in 1980.
Reagan’s intervention in Lebanon in the early ’80s, his air strike against Libya in 1986, and his failed attempt to trade arms for hostages made him a full‑fledged participant in Middle Eastern affairs, although he was busy elsewhere, particularly through an arms buildup that caused the retreat of communism from Central and Eastern Europe. Attempts by the Soviets to maintain parity with the United States bankrupted them, although Reagan’s critics may argue that the fall of communism was due more to the fact that it already was decaying and collapsing on itself.
In fact, post‑Truman doctrines regarding interests in the Middle East have met with little success. It was President Anwar Sadat of Egypt who expelled the Soviets, not American foreign policy. Reagan’s intervention in Lebanon in 1982 was disastrous. And if there were ever any danger of the Soviets moving into the Persian Gulf, it no longer exists ‑‑ again, not because any specific American doctrine came to fruition, but because of Soviet domestic woes.
One quite evident factor in the more recent failures of American foreign policy in the Middle East is a seismic shift in the world economy and America’s role in it. Under Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower, the United States was a big time exporter of steel, oil, autos and other big‑ticket items. America was by far the world’s biggest creditor country, and it enjoyed a highly favorable balance of trade (Chace and Carr, 1988: 218-230).
By 1965, however, the situation was undergoing dramatic change, and by 1975 the United States had become a major importer of oil; by 1985, the country’s balance of trade was far out of balance and, more importantly, it had become a debtor nation. This was important because it hindered America in its attempts to influence international affairs, thereby leading to inconsistent policies and the decline of the so‑called Imperial Presidency.
For instance, Eisenhower successfully bounced the British and French out of the Suez, and Israel out of the
Sinai, by threatening an oil boycott and other economic sanctions. But in 1973, Nixon had no similar economic “big stick” when he tried to persuade the Europeans to aid Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The gap between a president’s rhetoric and promises on the one hand, and his performance on the other, obviously had become too wide to guarantee an effective Middle East policy.
American policy in the Persian Gulf can be divided into two periods: 1971‑79, and 1979 to the present. From 1971‑79 the United States adhered to a “twin pillars” policy, whereby in the hopes of maintaining stability in the region, America promoted the military development of its two closest allies there ‑‑ Iran and Saudi Arabia. But in 1979, the fall of the Shah of Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan forced the United States to re‑evaluate that policy.
The result ‑‑ the “Carter Doctrine” ‑‑ reinforced U.S. resolve to defend Western interests in the Gulf, this time manifesting itself in the creation of the Rapid Deployment Force (later to become U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, which gained fame in the Persian Gulf War) and the continuation of military aid for Saudi Arabia and other friendly Arab gulf states (Stephen E. Ambrose, 1991: 128-130).
U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf has for more than four decades mirrored America’s strategic, economic, and political interests ‑‑ its own national security in particular, as well as those of its allies in general. U.S. policy takes the basic position that because the Persian Gulf and its vital economic and political fortunes are tied to the lifeline of the free world, America must ensure its safety from domination by a hostile power. Most recently, Iraq’s expansionist policy placed that safety in jeopardy.
By invading Kuwait, Iraq caused instability of major proportions in the Persian Gulf that could have proved catastrophic to U.S. interests. The United States reacted first by seeking settlement of the conflict, mainly via the United Nations Security Council, and took additional military steps to guarantee freedom of navigation in the area, thereby preventing the spread of the aggression to other vulnerable Middle East nations.
From an economic standpoint, the United States was able to successfully plead its U.N. case by noting its longtime efforts to maintain an unimpeded flow of oil through the Persian Gulf to all Western nations. Because the Persian Gulf region supplies 25 percent of all oil moving in world trade, and because it lays claim to 63 percent of the world’s known petroleum reserves, any significant disruption in that supply can cause oil prices to skyrocket. That, in turn, would create severe economic repercussions not unlike those during the 1973‑74 and 1978‑79 oil crises.
Politically, the United States attempted to maintain stability in the Persian Gulf by carefully and quietly balancing diplomacy and security assistance. It relied on friendly relations with Arab moderates, helping them resist Soviet influence and the terrorist policies adhered to by
Arab extremists. With the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein, the United States faced a radical alteration in the balance of power in the Persian Gulf that threatened its Arab allies, its strategic interests and ‑‑ most importantly ‑‑ Western access to gulf oil.
2.1. CASE STUDY
It should be noted that, in this paper, we do apply the Integrative Elephantism model to the United States in the Gulf War as a case study. Some may argue that a simple study design cannot show a causal pattern because a single case study cannot say anything about necessity or sufficiency. Others may maintain that if each war is a unique event with its own idiosyncratic causes, the scientific study of war‑in‑general is pointless or invalid and offer no hope of providing insights into future wars. Events of past wars, they say, along with the eccentricities of the relevant world leaders, and the mood and climate of past international relations will never again recur.
Such is not the situation here, as Integrative Elephantism will be implemented in the explanation of all the different instances in which war initiation occurs. We turn to the case study here, first in an attempt to apply this model to a war with images still alive in our memory to best see how Integrative Elephantism works; and, secondly, because a case study focuses on a large number of variables at a single point in time as required by this model.
We will attempt to be as explicit and as particular as possible (thus avoiding problems of aggregation and lack of detail often associated with quantitative methodologies), as well as show care in maintaining the temporal precedence of the factors that might have caused war initiation (so that we can talk in causal terms and not simply correlational ones).
And, although multiple sources help to eliminate some of the bias and distortion that one might expect in the media of a given nation, in this investigation only weekly newsmagazines have been used as constant sources for each event ‑‑ not only because the Persian Gulf War is so recent that the imprimatur of academic historical perspective is still aborning, but also because weekly newsmagazines lay claim to some reliability and are published weekly, which can reduce the speculative nature of the information often characteristic of daily newspapers.
2.2. THE PRAGMATIST
Looking at Bush’s past can offer some clues to his current pragmatic outlook. Even from his earliest days in politics, he rose through the ranks by loyally attaching himself to the coattails of powerful patrons, rearranging his point of view in a chameleon‑like fashion so it always coincided with that of the man at the top. As a candidate, he alternately proclaimed himself a Goldwater conservative,
a moderate mainstream Republican, an outspoken critic and then strong supporter of Reaganomics.
In 1962, Bush espoused the moderate GOP line on state’s rights, civil rights, and most social issues of the day, much to the distress and dismay of the ultra‑right bloc of the Republican party. Two years later, he grabbed for the brass ring of a U.S. Senate seat and took a different tack, challenging liberal Democrat with his own shift to the right. He labeled himself a solid Goldwater man, attacking the 1963 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and Big Labor (Michael Duffy, 1991: 28-29).
But in 1966, Bush went back to his moderate line and ran for Congress from Houston, once again taking on ultra‑right wing of his own party. The strategy ‑‑ though successful ‑‑ led to some hard feelings, with some Republicans profaning him as a liberal and then turning their backs on him to support his conservative Democratic opponent. In 1970, when he relinquished his House seat to run for the Senate against Lloyd Bentson, he faced boos and catcalls because of his support in 1968 of a fair‑housing law (Bob Cohn, 1991: 23).
A decade later, during a run for the presidency, Bush distinguished himself first by criticizing party opponent Ronald Reagan on economic and foreign policy matters, and then making a turnabout and embracing those same views once Reagan added him to the GOP ticket. Bush swept under the rug his ridicule of “voodoo economics” and withdrew his backing
for the Equal Rights Amendment. By 1986, when he began his own race for the White House, Bush had managed to maneuver himself closer to the right ‑‑ another move for which he was roundly criticized.
In 1988, he packaged his presidential campaign on a pledge of “no new taxes” and the furlough of convicted murderer Willie Horton, wrapping it all in the openly emotional appeal of the American flag. Upon assuming the presidency, he mollified conservatives even more by picking one of their own ‑‑ New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu ‑‑ as his chief of staff (Hays Gorey, 1990: 50).
After that, Bush’s political contortionism became manifest with his attempts to convince his countrymen that he was a kinder, gentler incarnation of his predecessor, while at the same time he gave the conservatives their due by opposing gun‑control and backing a constitutional amendment against flag burning. Bush’s attempts to move in two directions at once left his presidency handcuffed to a schizophrenic merry‑go‑round.
From the very beginning of his presidency, Bush based his strategy on pollster Robert Teeter’s tea leaf interpretations of surveys and focus groups, which indicated that drugs, education and the environment were prominent concerns of Americans, but that they also didn’t trust the federal government to resolve those problems.
This evolved into Bush’s promises to become the “education president” but then appointing a powerless
Secretary of Education. He retreated from his longtime support for black colleges when he gave nodding assent to an Education Department legal challenge of public support for minority scholarship. He avoided politically harmful decisions regarding substantive domestic issues such as transportation, energy and housing, opting instead for style, symbolism and television sound bites by flying cross‑country to plant a tree in the name of environmentalism (Nancy Gibbs, 1991: 32-33).
Following a debilitating budget battle with Congress during his first term, conservatives ‑‑ such as Patrick Buchanan ‑‑ became more strident in their call for a challenge to Bush in 1992. Most loathsome of all to the right wing was Bush’s retreat on his “no new taxes” pledge, all of which merely verified their long‑held suspicions that the president was actually a moderate masquerading as a politically expedient conservative.
Bush’s uninterrupted waffling on domestic issues, among them the deficit and opportunities to minorities, provided ample ammunition to those portraying him as buckling under to indecision and fear of the right wing. Whether or not the bullets of accusation were true, they nonetheless knee‑ capped much of his political credibility and effectiveness.
Bush has been ‑‑ and remains ‑‑ under pressure from the right to push it own political agenda, including tax cuts, congressional term limits, and an end to affirmative action
and liberal entitlement programs. If history is any indicator, Bush is likely to respond by coming out against everything and anything that can be labeled liberal or Democratic ‑‑ and may even return to the subtle but racially divisive themes that helped elect him in 1988.
Bush, a man who once said he will ultimately be judged “by deeds, not words,” fits well into the cloak of the “pragmatist” who “gets things done, even at the expense of ideals and morality,” and who “sacrifices higher principles and values by rationalizing the sacrifice with the classic excuse that ‘the ends justify the means'” (Kegley and Wittkopf, 1987: 527).
2.3. INTERNAL TROUBLES
Bush’s presidency has been scarred by three major internal fires of difficulty: the deficit, the recession, and Neil Bush’s problems in the savings and loan scandal.
By the Bush Administration’s own estimates in 1990, the national deficit burgeoned from $100 billion to at least $149 billion ‑‑ and that did not include $100 billion for the bailout of bankrupt savings and loans. The deficit faced an even worse scenario ‑‑ recession ‑‑ if an already teetering economy were pushed beyond the brink by surging oil prices from the Persian Gulf crisis (Marc Levinson, 1990: 53-54).
That prospect placed even greater importance on resolving the deficit dilemma. But during the entire
finger‑pointing drama that was fobbed off on the public as “negotiations,” both parties were far more concerned with scoring political points than in solving the problem. Posturing by Republicans and Democrats over Bush’s tax retreat caused the budget talks to collapse before new revenues or spending cuts could even be discussed (Michael Duffy, 1991: 14-16).
Renewed attempts by the White House and congressional leaders to hammer out a deal resulted only in agreement on a deficit‑reduction target of $50 billion. But the repercussions of the Persian Gulf crisis quickly mired that goal in the muck of obsolescence, while rising fuel costs left one new revenue source ‑‑ an energy tax ‑‑ as little more than political suicidal.
The deficit woes gave Reagan and Bush detractors ample opportunity to turn up the heat on the two major Republicans whom they blamed for orchestrating fraudulent, free‑lunch budgets that promised huge tax cuts, a social “safety net,” a “kinder, gentler” nation, improved education, a war on drugs, the greatest military buildup in peacetime history and a balanced budget. They saved most of their venom, however, for the Reagan‑Bush promise to reduce the deficit without raising taxes.
The onus, though, was shared by the critics to demonstrate just how they could succeed in reducing the deficit without resorting to the phony figures and rosy forecasts they said they were accustomed to using. Those critics, according to Ed Magnuson, were more likely to seek stopgap solutions, postponing the hard and painful choices until after elections for fear that spending cuts or new taxes push an already faltering economy deep into a recession. Such short‑term, squirt gun measures could not come close to extinguishing the flames of the deficit inferno that was burning up the American economy (Ed Magnuson, 1990: 42). The nation’s continued reliance on deficit spending ‑‑ which straightjacketed its ability to save, invest, and increase productivity ‑‑ only added fuel to the fire.
With the beginning of the 1990s, when democracy and free enterprise finally found victory over communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the United States also found itself paying the exorbitant price of capitalism run amuck. Crippled by the enormous eruption of debt from the 1980s, such structural burdens to this day give strength to predictions, particularly by John Greenwald, of a sickly economy for several years to come ‑‑ among them a record federal deficit approaching $285 billion (John Greenwald, 1990: 30-34).
Greenwald tells us that the fallout from the ’80s had left Americans in fear of layoffs as their employers retrench for lean times. The fears were well‑founded. Since the start of the recession in July 1990, more than 1.6 million jobs have been lost. The number of discouraged
workers, those no longer counted among the unemployed, Greenwald pegged at more than 1.1 million (1991 figures).
Many bankers saddled with bad loans and paralyzed by a regulatory bureaucracy found themselves unwilling ‑‑ or unable ‑‑ to lend. Many over‑leveraged consumers and companies were reluctant to borrow further. Overwhelmed by a crushing federal deficit, Washington no longer could turn to the old, reliable stimulants of business growth ‑‑ tax cuts or spending increases ‑‑ as it had in every other major economic crisis since World War II.
One vital victim: the middle class, and its historical ability to spend to end a recession. Why? Nearly 600,000 of the lost jobs belonged to middle managers and other white‑ collar workers, who faced the chopping block as their companies gutted their payrolls to compensate for sluggish sales, crushing interest charges, and exceedingly tougher and tougher competition from overseas.
Consumers went into shell‑shock as they discovered they had more to worry about than just losing their jobs. Faced with enormously heavy debts, the ugly specter of bankruptcy raised its head at a record annual rate of 880,000. Meanwhile, with increased levies by deficit‑ridden states and municipalities, and changes in federal tax laws, household tax burdens had become ‑‑ and still are ‑‑ crushing (Dan Goodgame, 1991: 22-24).
Not since the 1981‑82 recession had unemployment risen for three straight months and, aggravating the slump even
more, was a worldwide credit crunch whose impact was felt by everyone from burger flippers to Third World governments. Bush and his subordinates assiduously avoided using the “R” word ‑‑ recession ‑‑ which bean counters traditionally defined as a half‑year (two quarters) of economic shrinkage, despite the warnings by many that the United States was aiming itself squarely at a recession even before Iraq invaded Kuwait. Economists told their countrymen that any further significant drop in the money picture could snowball, as they saw the superfuel of 1980s debt suffocating an already frail financial system.
Lending credence to the woeful economic tidings, banks and insurance companies flat‑out admitted they were struggling mightily under the weight of mountainous portfolios of real estate mortgages gone bad. And then, of course, there was the commitment to a savings and loan bailout that stretched into the gauzy financial fog of $1 trillion, and an unimaginable national debt of $3 trillion (Lawrence I. Barrett, 1990: 35-39).
Problems indigenous to an economy full of hurt were the harmful effects that finally worked their way to a vital organ of democracy, small‑town America, which felt the full pain of a pocketbook lance more excruciating than the awful economic problem of the ’81‑’82 recession. Skewered by fear, prudence, and even trendiness, American consumers slowly but surely lost confidence in their government, the private sector and enterprise itself.
What remained was a great, wealthy, affluent nation that could not afford to rebuild so much as its highways or bridges. Nor could it pay the freight for a really serious war on drugs, or to significantly upgrade its educational system. The irony, then, was an initial triumphant demonstration of power‑capitalism to doubters overseas, overshadowed only by the apparent demise of an American brand of private enterprise still grappling with its own problems at home (Ann McDaniel, 1991: 25-27).
NEIL BUSH AND THE SAVING AND LOAN SCANDAL
The savings and loan debacle could cost Americans as much as $1 trillion, or some $30 a month for every household over the next four decades. In inflation‑adjusted dollars, that is nearly twice the cost of the Vietnam War and almost four times the cost of the Korean Conflict.
In 1991 numbers, the government seized some 500 insolvent thrifts ‑‑ nearly 20 percent of all savings and loans. Another 600 admitted they were in questionable condition and could fail. Continually feeding the bailout beast placed an enormous drain on the U.S. Treasury. Combined with the ominous specter of stalemated budget talks, negotiators from both parties shillyshallied on how to pare $50 billion from the 1991 deficit and $500 billion over the following five years (Greenwald, 1990: 34-35).
With courage in short supply on all sides, the budget talks of 1991 provided a pointed reminder of how Washington failed to keep the savings and loan crisis from rocketing
out of control in the unchaperoned ’80s. After the philosophical successes of deregulating the savings and loan industry at the start of the decade, politicians closed their eyes as shoot‑from‑the‑hip thrifts financed condo after condo and office tower after office tower ‑‑ most all of which now stand empty. In the meantime, many questionable ‑‑ and sometimes criminal ‑‑ business practices were allowed to flourish.
Some observers speculated that the savings and loan crisis could end up as the most burdensome of Bush’s presidency. In a mid‑summer 1990 TIME/CNN poll, 49 percent of the adults in the survey said Bush was doing a bad job of handling that problem. When asked which party they blamed most for the thrift mess, 36 percent pointed to the Republicans, while only 18 percent faulted the Democrats. Without question the main questions that faced the White House and Congress were ‑‑ and continue to be ‑‑ just exactly how to bring an end to the savings and loan crisis with speed, diligence and every prophylactic measure possible to prevent future financial fiascoes. Proposed remedies have ranged from a total overhaul of banking and thrift legislation to every variation on the soak‑the‑rich theme. Thus distracted, there came a $200 million lawsuit filed by federal regulators in Denver against the president’s son, Neil, and 10 other officials of the failed Silverado Savings and Loan (Beaty Jonathan, 1990: 36-40).
The lawsuit claimed the officials, and Neil Bush as a director, were guilty of “gross negligence” and of violating conflict‑of‑interest regulations, and should pay $200 million in restitution for contributing to the downfall of the Silverado. The 35‑year‑old Bush, an oilman, was pigeon‑ holed as more a pawn of manipulators bent on cultivating political protection from federal regulators. As such, federal regulators claimed, he nonetheless drew a $120,000 a year salary, earned undisclosed bonuses, and had a comfortable expense account.
The S&L scandal was emotionally crippling enough to bring tears to the eyes of the president. “What father wouldn’t express a certain confidence in the honor of his son?” George Bush asked during a press conference, as his voice cracked with emotion. “If the system finds he’s done something wrong, he will be the first to step up and do what’s right” (Margaret Carlson, 1990: 22-24).
Put it all together and George Bush had problems. There was his son, Neil Bush, perhaps the scapegoat that Democrats needed to attach blame for the S&L debacle, and thus chromosomally to the president. The problem obviously was compounded by the federal deficit and the recession, pushing the president to the point where he had to say “I’ll do what I have to do to be re‑elected.” Some have said he made good on his word by using the Persian Gulf War with Saddam Hussein to divert the American electorate from internal troubles, many of which were causing a significant slide in his Teeter‑administered approval rating polls.
Therefore, a true examination of President George Bush at the individual level for an initiator, one of the conditions for Proposition 2 ‑‑ “A pragmatist initiates a war only to divert attention from domestic troubles” ‑‑ is satisfied. Therefore on the peace‑war scale, Bush bumps everything up 20 points on the scale, putting the two sides in the rivalry phase.
In the Bull’s‑Eye of Integrative Elephantism, this is the 20‑point circle; and in the peace‑war equation “Y = 20a + 20b or (20c + 20d + 20e / 3) + 20f or 20g + 20h + 20i,” the answer to question 1 “Key leader” (a) is “yes.” That means:
Y = 20×1 = 20
This explanation is illustrated in Figure 4.2.
2.4. IDEOLOGICAL CHARACTERIZATIONS
Communism collapses and America declines. How can this be in a post‑Cold War era whipped by economic competition into a race as heated as the world has ever seen? Politicians and theorists have heard about a “new world order,” but little could they perhaps envision new economic superpowers like Japan and Germany challenge U.S. supremacy while an exhausted America, her bankroll nearly depleted after four decades of keeping Soviet expansionism contained, furiously fighting to maintain its global leadership into the next century.
Bush, who has continually fought off the domestic difficulties that have tried to eat his presidency alive, seized the Persian Gulf War as an opportunity to turn to his own political benefit. Heeding the advice of his advisers, Bush hammered at a central theme: “The single most important job of the president is the ‘national security’ of the United States. And the threat to ‘U.S. interests’ is not some distant danger. It is very real, and not only because of the region’s oil reserves.” What he was saying, of course, was that even the slightest rise in petroleum prices could deep‑six an American economy already severely crippled by weak demand, a massive deficit and a blistering savings and loan crisis (Michael Kramer, 1990: 20).
Many observers believe Iraq’s aggression was the defining moment of the presidency for George Bush, a man with a clear comprehension of evolving geopolitical realities and the knowledge of how to turn them to his advantage. Reagan relished America’s role as top international cop, a lone good guy fighting the bad guys. Bush the pragmatist, however, knows that in today’s world it’s better to go out and round up a posse beforehand.
Bush found a freedom to maneuver in the political arena of the Middle East because of America’s new detente with the Soviet Union. With Moscow salivating to show its cooperation to the world ‑‑ and cozying up to the U.S. because of its own desperate need for economic aid ‑‑ Bush was able to
mobilize international support to attempt to cap a regional war for the first time in many, many years.
Denouncing the “brutal and illegal” Iraqi attack, the Americans and Soviets asked all other countries to side with them in an arms embargo of Saddam Hussein. The many years Bush courted and cultivated relationships with foreign leaders paid handsome dividends, as other nations queued up behind the Americans to form an allied force. The manner in which Bush engineered sanctions against Iraq was impressive.
But the lineup against Saddam had to be perceived as more than just the rich West against a poor Arab. So, Bush immediately grasped for the high ground of the “moral idealist,” and trumpeted his call to stand up for freedom while condemning Iraq’s “naked aggression.” He called Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait the first fundamental challenge to a new world order, “where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind: peace and security, freedom and the rule of law.” Bush also said “aggression will meet collective resistance.” But “among nations of the world, only the United States of America has both the moral standing and the means to back it up” (Lance Morrow, 1991: 21).
The foundation of Bush’s new world order essentially keeps the U.S. as global policeman, but uses “counterrevolutionism” to halt the open power play of a
pompous, amoral despot such as Saddam, who saw the Cold War’s demise and the Soviets’ disunion as just the opening he needed to launch his army and his arsenal on an ambitious quest to rule the region, and eventually the world.
But because “political realism” is Bush’s guiding light, he knew that if a few events fell into place ‑‑ a spectacular military victory being one of them ‑‑ he could begin to draw up another battle plan: the one outlining his re‑election in 1992. He also could use an overwhelming popularity rating from the war to fuel Republican gains with a three‑pronged strategy: exploit the vote by most congressional Democrats against the war; use a growing national pride as ammunition to pull the economy out of recession, the only foreseeable barrier to Bush’s re‑election; and recruit potential Republican candidates from among the returning heroes of the Persian Gulf War (Dan Goodgame, 1991: 54).
In many ways ‑‑ and it should come as no surprise ‑‑ some observers believe Bush’s quest for power inside and outside the United States is the real goal of his presidency. Profit, they say, is his top priority, and they base that judgment on his economic “imperialism” during and after the war. Despite the backing by most nations of some kind of regional arms control, Washington is beginning to rearm its friends heavily. The White House already told Congress it plans to sell advanced weapons worth $1.6 billion to Egypt, including 46 F‑16 warplanes and 80 air‑to‑ground missiles. It also has informed Congress that it is considering more than $18 billion in new military sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel and Turkey. Saudi Arabia alone would get a $10 billion arsenal that includes 25 F‑15 fighters, 36 Apache attack helicopters, 2,400 Maverick missiles and 235 M1A1 tanks (Richard Lacayo, 1991c: 58).
Unquestionably, U.S. arms merchants are not the least bit hesitant to cash in on a war that came across on television each night as a sophisticated video game featuring smart‑bombs, Patriot missiles and F‑16s. Of course, with eager buyers and just as eager sellers, their commerce effectively puts the clamps on any chances for meaningful arms control.
These arguments confirm that Bush ‑‑ like any other pragmatist leader ‑‑ is concerned mainly about his political self‑preservation, which is best served by maintaining his power. And he has maintained that power by conducting his presidency under the guidance of “political realism.” When internal strife can cost him his presidency, he is not bothered by the prospect of going to war to divert the attention of the populace from their troubles.
And, by initiating war with Iraq, Bush can disguise certain of his “imperialist” objectives ‑‑ profit through arms sales, control of oil flow, and establishment and maintenance of an worldwide economic sphere of influence ‑‑
by speaking the language of “idealism” and freedom in a new world order, by preventing Saddam’s claim for a new status to maintain the “status quo” in which he is a powerful leader of a dominant nation, and by using “national interest” and “national security” as pretexts to punish Saddam for the assurance of his presidency.
- COLLECTIVE SECURITY MODEL
3.1. BUSH’S PLAN
The thrust of Bush’s new world order is that, with the end of the Cold War, the resulting international powers might be able to reconfigure themselves into positive forces of peace. It also would give the United Nations a chance to finally fulfill the hopes of its founders as a mechanism for collective security. A glimpse of this mechanism in action came out of the gulf crisis when, under Bush’s masterful touch, he created an extraordinary coalition of nations ‑‑ including the U.S., the Soviet Union, Egypt, Syria and 24 others ‑‑ to put the brakes on a runaway Iraq. Bush’s secretary of state, James Baker, spent a good deal of time and energy mobilizing support for a U.S. resolution authorizing the use of force to remove Iraq from Kuwait. The resolution accomplished a number of goals, not the least among them of allowing Bush a mandate to go to war even if the Democratically‑controlled U.S. Congress declined to give one (Margaret Garrard Warner, 1991: 14-18).
At the American Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin told his fellow delegates that “when you assemble a number of men, to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assume with those men all their prejudices,
their passions, their errors of opinion, their local
interests and their selfish views. From such an assembly, can a perfect production be expected?” (George J. Church, 1990: 50). Franklin’s question could apply to the global coalition put together by Bush and Baker, and the answer is the same: one cannot expect perfection ‑‑ but its absence is an acceptable price to pay for the might that is born of the support of an alliance composed of partners with significant dissimilarities. Although the price is acceptable, it is nevertheless most often high. U.S. and allied officials sometimes spent more time and energy soothing one another than plotting strategy against Saddam. In an alliance, just as in a marriage, unity can sometimes be preserved only by undesirable agreements that bode ill for the future.
In the case of the Persian Gulf, Bush tried to play both sides of the canal with two groups of allies. To soft‑liners such as France, the Soviets and some Arab states, Bush tried to show he was doing his best not to humiliate Saddam ‑‑ saving a way for him to withdraw from Kuwait. The well‑thought‑out strategy also was aimed at eventually garnering additional support if and when the U.S. went to war against Iraq, as Bush could truthfully argue he had first exhausted all possibilities for a peaceful solution. Simultaneously, though, Bush was telling the hard‑liners ‑‑ Britain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and a number of members of the U.S. Congress — that Saddam would not be rewarded for his aggression.
3.2. ARAB DEFECTION’S CAUSES
To most, Saddam Hussein is a blood‑thirsty terrorist, but to many he is quite the opposite, a living symbol of what Arab people yearn for: a defiant assertion of dignity, unity, self‑reliance and honor. He was ‑‑ and in many lands, still is ‑‑ the embodiment of emotions that many Arabs hold in the highest regard: an opponent of foreign domination who champions the realization of moral equality with the West, the fair distribution of Arab petroleum monies, and end to the plight of the Palestinians and the purity of Islam. These virtues made it quite easy for his admirers to conveniently ignore an otherwise evil performance ‑‑ his tyranny, which allows no freedom, his willingness to throw thousands into the gaping maw of death to advance his ambitions, and especially his use of chemical weaponry against his own people.
Saddam sees himself ‑‑ and through his propaganda machine, others have seen him ‑‑ portrayed either as a sort of Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king who destroyed Jerusalem in 587 B.C., or as Saladin, the Kurdish warrior who fought off the Crusaders. Saddam also looks upon himself as an Arab version of the German unifier Otto von Bismarck, as well as Gamel Abdel Nasser, a genuine Arab unifier in his own right. Saddam’s lofty goal has been to use Iraqi force to unify the Arab world and re‑create the vast Abbasid Empire, which lasted 500 years (Murrow, 1991: 64-66).
Centuries of subjugation to the interests of foreigners have left Arabs feeling violated and believing they are second‑class citizens in world affairs. Even after the breakup of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, their feelings of defenselessness deepened because they ended up losing longtime allies who had helped them maintain a balance of Israel’s ‑‑ and, therefore, America’s ‑‑ power (Christopher Dickey, 1991: 26-27).
The new world order put forth by George Bush did not appear to offer much to the Arab world, which still was a second banana to Israel, at least in a military sense. When Saddam defied the world’s only superpower, he therefore struck a responsive chord in the Arab psyche. Arabs long have wanted a jihad against America, Great Britain and the Jews. Jordan, with its large number of Palestinians and its strong fundamentalist wing, was Saddam’s biggest backer. Yemen and Sudan also demonstrated support for him, as did portions of the populations in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Mauritania. The common thread weaving its way through the Arab countries where Saddam picked up popular support was that they were poor and politically radical (George J. Church, 1990: 50-52).
In the Arab nations that backed the U.S.‑created coalition, sentiment ran tepid at best. Much of Syria showed support for Saddam, but extreme personal animosity toward the Iraqi leader moved President Hafez Assad to join the anti‑Saddam alliance. Egypt, too, has its Saddam fans, but enthusiasm for him is muted by his country’s mistreatment of thousands of Egyptian laborers ‑‑ hundreds of whom are believed to have been slain. More importantly, by backing the United States and Saudi Arabia, both nations erased billions in Egyptian debts.
Certain political dilemmas also had to be dealt with too, because the U.S. and its European allies could suffer mightily if there were significant public backlash against the war. What would Saddam do when attacked by the U.S.? Bomb or launch his own missile attack on Israel? If he did, would Israel counterattack? And would that, in turn, hasten an American military victory, or would it push other Arab governments and armies to Saddam’s side?
3.3. SOVIET DEFECTION’S CAUSE
Bush had 28 partners in his coalition, but his biggest worry was simply getting everybody to sign on, for he knew that support for military involvement in the Persian Gulf was at best soft ‑‑ even among some of his strongest allies. There were other problems, too. For instance, Turkey won praise from Washington for its support, but the zealous hawkishness of Prime Minister Turgut Ozad may have deceived the West into overestimating Turkey’s commitment. In fact, one poll showed that 72 percent of respondents opposed Turkish military involvement (Howard G‑Chua‑Eoan, 1990: 43).
And, French President Francois Mitterand, in his U.N. speech, hinted that Iraq might only have to promise to pull out of Kuwait ‑‑ not actually do it ‑‑ in order to win negotiations with Kuwait and head toward an Arab‑Israeli deal. When that spurred a quick response from Saddam for separate French‑Iraqi talks, the United States quickly intervened to quash the move.
Among allies, the Soviets proved to be a major factor in Bush’s decision to get the war going. The Soviets sided with the West right down the line in the United Nations to condemn Iraq and to impose tough sanctions as well. The proof of the pudding was the crucial vote authorizing force to back up the sanctions. Here, too, the Soviets came through for the United States.
But there were limits to Moscow’s cooperation with Washington. Moscow resisted removing its 500 to 1,000 military advisers from Iraq, and was vague on the question of some 9,000 Soviet citizens living there. Perhaps that was because its economic ties with Baghdad were an attractive source of hard currency for the cash‑strapped Soviet Union. And, even though they were willing to stick with the West, the Soviets let it be known that they wanted to give diplomacy, and economic and political pressure, time to take hold before any military action commenced (Steven Strasser, 1991: 44-45).
Essentially, the Kremlin was burning the candle at both ends, working with the coalition so it could win the political good will and economic rewards of being a team player without severing all of its links to Saddam. Moscow wanted to take the high diplomatic ground of mediator so that it could preserve some semblance of influence in the region and prevent the U.S. from becoming the predominant Persian Gulf force once the crisis was finished. Gorbachev proposed that Iraq withdraw, supposedly unconditionally, from Kuwait. In return, Moscow would try to protect Saddam from any punitive actions ‑‑ a war‑crime trial, for instance ‑‑ guarantee Iraq’s territorial integrity, work to lift any economic sanctions against Iraq, and promote a Middle East summit conference that would focus on the plight of the Palestinians, along with other Arab‑Israeli issues (Mark Whitaker, 1991: 51).
Gorbachev also set forth some strong conditions before he would send Soviet troops against Saddam: a U.N. resolution authorizing the use of force; the troops had to be designated U.N. troops fighting under a U.N. flag; and “the commander of the U.N. troops should not necessarily be American” (George J. Church, 1990: 51).
That, most assuredly, was not the message Washington wanted to send to Saddam, and it cast a shadow of apprehension over the main allied members. The Soviet plan did not set any withdrawal timetable or procedure, it was fuzzy about the timing for any release of prisoners of war, and it failed to address the restoration of the Kuwaiti government of Kuwait, one of the main points of U.N. resolutions. More than anything, though, the United States objected to what looked like a Soviet attempt to not only save Saddam from defeat, but also to position him for a claim to political victory. The Soviet plan would allow Saddam to brag that he had withstood the might of a coalition led by a superpower and not only survived it but also forced action on the Palestinian question.
Although the Soviets never did send troops to the Persian Gulf or contribute financially to the coalition, its assistance in solidifying that alliance was vital. Without a nod from the Soviets, the U.N. Security Council never could have demanded that Iraq leave Kuwait, organized a global embargo or authorized the use of force against Baghdad. Such U.S.‑Soviet cooperation was the precursor to any new world order, and the cornerstone upon which Bush hoped to construct this realignment of nations. A return by the Soviets to its former role as Iraq’s friend, protector and arms supplier would have devastated American hopes for its global reorganization.
So why was Moscow apparently trying to save Saddam? Domestically, Gorbachev had to appease his military, the KGB and the Communist hardliners ‑‑ all severely critical of his apparent subservience to Washington ‑‑ to whom he was increasingly turning to in order to maintain his own authority. Not only did he have to fend off separatists who threatened to split the Soviet Union into sovereign nation‑states, he also had to gingerly negotiate his way around the tens of millions of Muslims in the U.S.S.R.’s Central Asian and Transcaucasion republics who sympathized with Saddam (John Kohan, 1990: 24). Moreover, a Persian Gulf conclusion that disenfranchised Soviet influence there ‑‑ leaving the United States as the predominant power in a political flashpoint so close to the U.S.S.R.’s southern border ‑‑ was enough to make anyone in the Kremlin cringe.
The problem of elbowing one’s way into a favorable position for the post‑war order was, in fact, paramount. Bush feared that if Saddam were spared, certain allies ‑‑ especially Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia ‑‑ would find themselves in peril. Gorbachev, on the other hand, figured that if he could help Iraq avoid defeat, he would enhance Soviet standing in the eyes of certain nations, such as Pakistan where opposition to the anti-Saddam coalition is growing (Strobe Talbott, 1991: 28).
Bush must precipitate his war plan before the Kremlin not only defected but also returned to its deadly, intransigent policies of the past ‑‑ threatening to side with Saddam with its still strong arsenal; consequently, Kuwait might be a no‑man’s‑land and Bush would have been thwarted in his bid to initiate a war.
In conclusion, Bush initial enthusiastic lip service to sanctions against Iraq and his brilliant maneuvering in the United Nations were convincing arguments that economic pressure and threats of military action would save the day. But Bush knew all along he was working against the clock. Even though a lengthy blockade would weaken Saddam significantly, and perhaps even make him vulnerable to a coup, Bush knew the resolve of his allies was akin to a diplomatic house of cards.
France already was wandering out of line with its own deal‑making. Moscow’s support was becoming suspect, as Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze quit his post and the pro‑Iraq military was getting exceedingly pushy. And Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria were becoming more and more anxious about keeping so many American troops in their neighborhood indefinitely. Even his own troops, Bush knew, could not be expected to maintain a high level of combat readiness in such inhospitable terrain. In fact, Bush was well aware that his entire operation could come unraveled quickly if the situation remained static.
It was no wonder, then, that Bush felt compelled to issue an ultimatum to Saddam, that failure to withdraw from Kuwait by a specific date would result in war. Facing continued deterioration of his coalition, Bush had to initiate his war before his window of opportunity closed. Therefore, at the system level, a condition for Proposition 10, applied to the 1946‑present period, in the case of all‑against‑one war is satisfied; that means, a war is initiated due to allies’ members’ defection (or tendency of their defection). So, on the peace‑war scale, Bush bumps up 20 points, putting the two sides into Mild Dispute.
In the Bull’s‑eye of Integrative Elephantism, this is the 20‑point circle, and in the peace‑war equation “Y = 20a + 20b or (20c + 20d + 20e / 3) + 20f or 20g + 20h + 20i” the answer to question 4 “international system (h) is “yes,” which means:
Y = 20 + 20h with h = 1
Then Y= 20 + 20×1
Y = 40
This explanation can be illustrated in Figure 4.3 which symbolizes the Collective-Security Model.
- DYADIC LEVEL
4.1. MATERIAL CAPABILITY
Coupled with his consolidation of the coalition into a collective security model that would wage an all‑against‑one war, Bush went ahead with a massive military buildup to ensure the allies had a viable arms‑offensive option. The mighty arsenal the coalition came up with in the Persian Gulf ‑‑ a half‑million troops, high‑tech weapons like the Stealth fighter and the Patriot anti‑missile system (which became media stars of the conflict) ‑‑ gave it an awesome military advantage. The alliance enjoyed vast superiority in aircraft, tanks, training and logistics. Its weaponry was far, far more advanced than Iraq’s. For instance, American Tomahawk cruise missiles with advanced electronics and two-step guidance systems could pierce Iraqi radar and hit targets 700 miles away with a 1,000‑pound bomb (Charles Lane, 1991: 48).
The biggest technological edge, according to Elmer-Dewitt, enjoyed by the United States came from its Air Force, with its bombing capabilities enhanced a hundredfold with laser detectors on the nose of glide bombs. The F‑117A Stealth fighter led the strikes, followed closely by F‑4G Wild Weasel launched missiles that homed in on enemy radar signals to knock out the emitting facility. The Navy’s F/A‑18 Hornets delivered “smart” bombs to their targets, while F‑15Es sent deadly Sparrow and Sidewinter air‑to‑air missiles into the guts of the enemy (John Schwartz, 1991: 40-43).
The allies had Apache helicopters equipped with eight laser‑guided Hellfire anti‑tank missiles. Their Patriot anti‑missile missiles were guided by sophisticated phased-array radar consisting of more than 5,000 antenna elements that detect and track 100 targets at a time. Their infantry used night‑vision goggles and navigated on the ground by using satellites ‑‑ satellites that also provided radar reconnaissance, missile warning, photo reconnaissance and signal intelligence (Philip Elmer‑Dewitt, 1991: 46‑47). Also on the ground, nearly 1,000 M1A1 tanks with laser range finders, infrared sensors and digital computerized firing system easily could outrun and outgun the best Iraqi armor, Soviet‑made T‑72s. And the allies’ logistical superiority ‑‑ 100 transport ships, 2,500 trucks ‑‑ was available if such a decisive factor were necessary.
In troop numbers, about half the allied combatants were American. Some 38,500 Egyptians joined them, second in number only to Saudi Arabia’s 40,000, who brought along two‑division tank and paratroop contingents. The Syrians provided their 19,000‑man 9th Armored Division with its 270 Soviet‑made T‑62 tanks. Not to be left out were the smaller gulf sheikdoms ‑‑ including Kuwait’s government‑in‑exile ‑‑ fielded 11,500 troops with the Saudis, while lesser contingents from 17 other nations worked behind the lines. Most of the 28 coalition members performed noncombat roles or tried, as did Morocco’s 1,700 soldiers, to stay invisible. Sending them to Saudi Arabia was not a popular move back home (Bruce Van Voorst, 1991: 34‑35).
Be that as it may, the Pentagon’s grand strategy of fighting potentially superior numbers with superior technology ultimately was the correct tack to take (and after years of jokes, taxpayer complaints and congressional investigations, the success of their armaments had to be sweet vindication, indeed, for American military planners).
The financial cost was another matter. That would, of course, depend on the generosity of America’s allies. Initially, at least, Germany and Japan were taken to task for their pacificism. Despite their own strategic interests in the Persian Gulf, neither was contributing its fair share. Why? Probably because the winners of World War II insisted on a program of pacifism among their defeated enemies ‑‑ programs that remain manifest to this day. Stung by the criticism, Bonn and Tokyo decided to ante up considerably more aid and help cover America’s war costs.
Table 4.1 Defense Cooperation Account for U.S. Desert Storm
U.S. cost $36.4 billion
Allied pledges $43.8 billion
Where the pledges come from (in millions)
Saudi Arabia $13,500
Source: “A Partnership to Remember,” Time, 11 March, 1990:49.
Bush was no dummy when it came to conducting a war halfway across the globe, and he therefore did not ignore the factors ‑‑ organizational and command problems, military morale, domestic dissention, and debilitation of soldiers and their equipment ‑‑ that can lead to a diminution of power when military capabilities must be transported over large distances.
“Morale is the greatest single factor in a successful war,” Eisenhower once said. But American officers found that any initial worries about troop morale quickly faded. As an all‑volunteer force with the highest level of education and training in military history, American soldiers proved admirably adaptable, quickly solving many of the unique problems posed by desert warfare. And, ironically, without alcohol and other diversions ‑‑ prohibited in the conservative, Islamic nation of Saudi Arabia, where most troops were based ‑‑ the soldiers turned themselves into some very tough cookies. On the other side, relentless bombardment, weeks of hunger and Saddam’s arguing with the Kremlin about a withdrawal, caused Iraqi morale to evaporate (David H. Hack Worth, 1991: 32-33).
Although Iraq invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, the United States and its allies did not return in kind with its air war until Jan. 16, 1991, and with its ground war more than a month later, Feb. 23 ‑‑ all of which is very much in accordance with Bueno de Mesquita’s calculations concerning transported capabilities. A comparison of the two adversaries’ armed forces in the Gulf crisis is computed as thus in Table 4.2.
Table 4.2 Comparing Major Allied Ground Forces in the Area with Iraqi Forces, January 15, 1991.
Total Allied Forces in the Area
Troops Tanks Aircraft
U.S. 378,000 2,900 1,100
Egypt 35,500 600 20
Britain 25,000 168 55
Syria 20,000 300 ‑‑
Saudi Arabia 20,000 200 130
France 12,000 200 75
Total 490,500 4,368 1,380
TROOPS TANKS AIRCRAFT
Allied Forces 490,500 4,368 1,380
Iraqi Forces 450,000 3,600 500
Source: “If War Begins,” Time, 10 December 1990, p. 28.
However, calculating national capabilities by using the Singer‑Bremer‑Stuckey model ‑‑ total military expenditures and total military personnel of all the major allied forces ‑‑ is not the logical path to take. Only capabilities that have been deployed to the front lines, as Bueno de Mesquita argued, are the ones that are applicable.
4.2. POLITICAL CAPABILITY
The United States and its allies not only enjoyed superiority militarily and technologically, that also far outdistanced Iraqi leaders in strategies and tactics, too. The foundation of America’s military strategy in the desert is found in “Field Manual 100‑5,” laying out the principles of “Airland Battle,” which calls for air attacks behind the enemy’s lines to severe supply routes, destroy command‑ and‑control centers, and neutralize reinforcements so as to isolate the battlefront. The strategy focuses on messing with the enemy’s mind. Ground units make deep, rapid thrusts into and through enemy lines while artillery assaults, air support, naval bombardment and armored attacks pound and pound away at targets carefully chosen to throw the enemy off balance by spreading confusion, desperation, and flat‑ out fear (Philip Elmer‑Dewitt, 1991, 34‑35).
Conducting an airland battle is no easy feat. It requires intelligence, considerable long‑range planning, pinpoint accuracy, constant high‑speed maneuvering by ground forces, well‑executed logistics ‑‑ and courage. The allies decided their radar‑evading F‑117A Stealth fighter‑bombers and sea‑based Tomahawk cruise missiles would lead the initial attack against Iraq, taking out critical military facilities as well as important roads, bridges and other vital parts of the country’s infrastructure. In the second phase of air campaign, intimidating Air Force B‑52s, F‑111s and F‑15Es would join Navy F/A‑18s and A‑6s in round‑the‑ clock strikes at Iraqi ground installations, ranging from airfields to water‑purification plants (William Dowell, 1991: 24-25).
Allied strategists figured that if all went according to plan, the Iraqi Air Force would be a mere memory in little more than a few days, thereby allowing the intensification of the allied air attack. Steady, relentless bombing, they maintained, would at the very least soften Iraqi defenses sufficiently to minimize casualties among the attacking armor and infantry.
But what about Saddam himself? Under a 1981 executive order, the U.S. government is prohibited from participating in an assassination. But during a war, international law recognizes military commanders as legitimate targets, and Saddam was no exception (Bruce W. Nelan, 1991: 27). In hot pursuit by allied bombers, his presidential palace was hit, his command‑and‑control centers were hit, and most of the places allied intelligence thought Saddam might be were hit.
Unfortunately for Saddam, he was at a disadvantage from the get‑go. Without satellites or even aerial intelligence, his commanders had not even the slightest idea what was going on behind allied lines. Denied such crucial data, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf was able to flim‑flam Baghdad into massing its forces in all the wrong places until the very end. Saddam concentrated six of his 42 divisions along the Kuwaiti coast, preparing for a seaborne invasion he thought would come because of numerous diversionary tactics by a U.S. Marine contingent (Tom Post, 1991: 28-29).
Baghdad also figured the 138‑mile Saudi‑Kuwait border would be where the main allied attack would come, mostly because that is where most of the coalition’s troops were concentrated. Fooled again. In fact, allied forces circled around far to the west some 300 miles inland from the gulf, cutting off Iraqi retreat routes or slamming into vaunted
Republican Guard divisions on the Kuwait‑Iraq border, surprising them on their right flank. Traditional military thought maintains that an attacker should have a 3‑to‑1 superiority in numbers in order to bring victory into view, but allied troops had good reason to discount those odds in a battle against Iraq.
In conclusion, at the dyadic level, the condition for Proposition 6 “initiator’s country is ‘materially’ stronger than his victim’s” is satisfied ‑‑ as is “politically” stronger. Therefore, on the peace‑war scale, Bush bumps up another 20 points, putting the sides into Serious Dispute. In the Bull’s‑Eye of Integrative Elephantism, this is the 60‑point circle. In the peace‑war equation “Y = 20a + 20b or (20c + 20d + 20e / 3) + 20f or 20g + 20h + 20i” the answer to question 3 “material capability” (f) is “yes.” That means:
Y = 20 + 20 + 20f with f = 1
Then Y = 20 +20 + 20×1
Y = 60
These explanations can be illustrated in Figure 4.4.
- NATIONAL LEVEL
5.1. DEMOCRATIC REGIME
Democracy is a word that is highly overused substituted freely, though incorrectly, with other words such as peace, freedom and justice ‑‑ and a form of government that is highly favored but little examined. Though Americans have come to cherish democracy, most do not always know the true meaning of the word. Many likely would say it is “government by the people.” Abraham Lincoln’s ringing Gettysburg rhetoric of “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” still strikes majestic chords. But what, really, does democracy mean? “Democracy is a means of selecting policymakers and of organizing government to ensure that policy represents and responds to the public’s preferences” (Robert L. Lineberry, 1983: 42).
Democracy is based on certain principles (Dahl, 1956; Schumpeter, 1942; Downs, 1957) that outline the relationship of citizen to citizen, of citizen and policymaker, of information and participation, and “the rule ‑‑ majority rule ‑‑ by which policymakers and policies should be selected.” More specifically, the principles state that: citizens are politically equal; information should be fully available to all; citizens must act on their preferences for policymakers and policies by participating in the selection of those leaders and policies; majority rule prescribes that in choosing among alternatives, the one preferred by the greater number is to be selected; and there should be a close correspondence between the choices of the policymakers and the policy preferences of citizens (Robert L. Lineberry, 1983: 42‑43). The United States not only is a democratic nation, it also is a democratic model for the entire world.
“It’s obvious the government has been planning for a rematch since Vietnam,” said John Katz, a former CBS News producer. “The Bush Administration was brilliantly successful in its effort to manipulate the press. The Pentagon’s public relations savvy was fitting for a war that was waged as much on the propaganda front as on the battlefield.” “The campaign in Saudi Arabia was managed like an American political campaign,” said Robert Manoff, director of the Center for War, Peace, and the News Media (Richard Zoglin, 1991: 56‑57).
The Pentagon’s public relations efforts were successful because of two important elements. First, the war was good news for the allies: currying favorable press coverage is much less difficult when there is little bad news to downplay or otherwise deal with. Second, the war was short: if the war had dragged on, managing the news would have become much more difficult.
Despite the joy of American victory in the Persian Gulf War, many thoughtful journalists who reflected on their newsgathering efforts realized they had been routed nearly as decisively as the Iraqis. Their review of the war showed the Pentagon performed masterfully in managing the flow of information. In fact, the public relations success of the American military was one for the books ‑‑ so much so that it likely could become a model for wars to come. It also left the press facing a major job of image‑rebuilding. With little access to the front, reporters had to be depend on daily briefings in Riyadh and Washington for news. The briefings were handled very skillfully, with military personnel expertly avoiding excessive optimism that might increase expectations.
While American military leaders might not have actually spread disinformation themselves, they nonetheless did not turn away any media help in confusing the Iraqis. The press received Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf’s facetious praise for making the allied buildup in Saudi Arabia appear bigger than it was ‑‑ thereby helping discourage an attack by Saddam. Another example: one news report indicated that 60 Iraqi tanks surrendered. Later it was disclosed that not only was the information incorrect, it was falsely planted by the CIA to try to lure more defectors (Jonathan, 1991: 19).
The clear vision of 20/20 hindsight also revealed that the news was carefully controlled in a number of ways. Reporters were forced to submit to pools, stories were subjected to censorship, and other restrictions were imposed ‑‑ such as the total news blackout at the start of the ground war ‑‑ under the guise that no confidential military information be revealed. Some observers may argue that the press was too passive in its acceptance of the Pentagon’s propaganda, that it was impatient with anti‑war views, and that any views opposing the war were voluntarily censored by the media. However, surveys have shown there was little support in America for aggressiveness by the media ‑‑ indeed, more than three‑fourths believed the Pentagon was not sweeping bad news under the rug, while almost nine out of 10 of them favored some sort of censorship, under the circumstances (Richard Zoglin, 1991: 52‑54).
In short, the Bush Administration was brilliantly successful in its attempts to sway press coverage to its own advantage in the initiation of war with Iraq.
3.3. PUBLIC OPINION
Of all ennobling sentiments, Nancy Gibbs tells us, patriotism may be the easiest to manipulate. On the one hand, it expresses powerfully the best in nation’s character: commitment to principle, willingness to sacrifice, and dedication to community by the individual. But on the other hand, it also breeds intolerance, belligerence and unquestioning obedience, perhaps because it spreads its wings the widest during times of war. Despots and tyrants know this. Hitler henchman Hermann Goering noted that “all you have to do is to tell people they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country” (Nancy Gibbs, 1991: 52).
In America, debate over the war in the gulf did not split in terms or degree of patriotism. War backers had no more of a monopoly on national pride than did protesters have a sole claim to the desire for peace. Between the cries of “Nuke Iraq” and “No Blood For Oil,” was a middle ground of mostly ambivalent observers.
Nevertheless, two memories bedeviled Americans when the prospect of war with Iraq was entertained: it either could wind up like the Six Day War, or it might wind up like Vietnam. Those were the extremes: best case, worst case. Americans envisioned a repeat of Israel’s 1967 victory: the brilliant lightning strikes, the armies flashing across the desert. At the other emotional pole is darkness: the memory of Vietnam’s self‑delusions and waste, its epic follies and its nightmares of the unforeseen (Lance Morrow, 1990: 40).
For many Americans, events were occurring at a much too rapid pace anyway. It was extremely difficult to sort through such emotional global developments as the end of the Cold War and the “peace dividend” ‑‑ both of which came tumbling by chaotically ‑‑ and then immediately have to deal with darker elements such as the recession and then the war in the gulf itself.
Some measure of public opinion fell on the side of a crisis driven by economic realities, not just political ideals. It is worthwhile to sacrifice American lives in the gulf, they said, because oil is the blood that flows through the veins of the American economy. And without economic freedom, our political freedom would find itself in serious need of a transfusion. Another measure of public opinion was based on more generational lines. Those with memories of earlier wars ‑‑ especially Vietnam veterans ‑‑ appeared more cautious about new military adventures. Others feared that a gulf war would revive the draft. Be that as it may, most Americans were morally clear about Saddam Hussein and his crime against Kuwait. Perhaps he was no Hitler, as Bush overstated, but he was bad enough to need to be stopped (Jerry Adler, 1991: 36-39).
War, as the military theorist Karl von Clausewitz said, depends to a large extent upon imponderables, including the enormous, unpredictable force of public opinion. One of the profound lessons of Vietnam was that no president can fight a war without the full backing of the American people. Therefore, to keep his enterprise in the gulf together, Bush had to orchestrate not only the international alliance, but also American opinion (Lance Morrow, 1990: 40).
So, Bush’s case for war had a number of movable parts, moral components that periodically changed in emphasis and importance: Americans were in the gulf to stop Saddam’s naked aggression. To restore the rulers of Kuwait. To ensure international law and order in the aftermath of the Cold War. To protect the West’s access to oil. To separate Saddam from his nuclear weapons (Russell Watson, 1991: 36-37).
Let us now ponder this: if character is destiny, is the president’s character America’s fate? Perhaps yes, during wartime at least. In American history there was Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, Franklin Roosevelt and World War
II, Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam, Bush and Iraq. One of the dangerous dilemmas of American leadership is being commander‑in‑chief in a democracy, as George Bush learned at the expense of Lyndon Johnson. Where Johnson failed, Bush was able to succeed, using his superb personal diplomatic portfolio to rally governments to his anti‑Iraq coalition and to skillfully and triumphantly manipulate popular support for his military involvement in the gulf.
The Bush Administration had to deal with two tense face‑offs in the Persian Gulf crisis. The “other” one was on Capitol Hill. In Washington, Bush sparred seriously with congressional Democrats over this Constitutional question: Can the President commit U.S. forces to combat without first gaining the consent of Congress?
Bush, of course, emphasized that part of the Constitution designating the president as commander‑in‑chief of the armed forces. The strategy was not a new one. Many presidents have relied on that particular provision to quickly start a military action without the assent of Congress. In America’s 216‑year history, presidents have sent their soldiers and sailors abroad 211 times, though Congress has declared war on only six occasions: the Tripolitan War, 1801; the War of 1812; the Mexican War, 1846; the Spanish American War, 1898; World War I, 1917; and World War II, 1941 (Richard Lacayo, 1991a: 13).
Students of the Constitution favoring presidential authority compared the Persian Gulf situation to that of 1950, when Harry Truman sent American troops to defend South Korea in compliance with a United Nations Security Council resolution. In 1964, they hastened to add, congressional approval of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution authorized Lyndon Johnson to use whatever force was necessary to protect U.S. troops in Vietnam.
It also must be pointed out that nine years later, a Congress frustrated by the fruitless escalation of the Vietnam War overrode Richard Nixon’s veto of legislation requiring a president to withdraw troops from a hostile area after 60 days unless Congress approves the deployment. Several presidents have labeled that legislation unconstitutional, though none has taken it to court (John Elson, 1990: 33).
Whatever the case, the Constitution does grant Congress ‑‑ and Congress alone ‑‑ the power to declare war. The reason was clearly explained by James Madison, a key framer of the document: “The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates,” he wrote in 1798, “that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war in the Legislature” (Kegley Wittkopf, 1987: 443-444).
One of the first matters to face members of the 102nd Congress not only was whether to speak to the issue of that constitutional process, but also whether to support or oppose Bush’s threat of imminent military action. As it turned out, many of the 535 representatives disagreed with the president ‑‑ and their own leadership as well. The representatives sent non‑binding legislative “messages” to Bush that he must make Congress a partner to any decision to use force, but the congressional leadership’s hesitance to go head‑to‑head with the president reflected the fears ‑‑ perhaps more political than patriotic ‑‑ of legislators from both parties.
Congress knew that if Bush opted for war and quickly removed Iraq from Kuwait at acceptable cost, his popularity would soar. Attempts early‑on by members of Congress to deter Bush later could come back to haunt them in the form of unseemly partisanship. Democratic Party doves again would
be chastised as wimps in international affairs. Conversely, if the war went badly, they were open to charges that they had done nothing beforehand to stop the president, and failed the people they purported to represent. Quite frankly, the hesitancy of members of Congress did, in fact, mirror the ambivalence of the people they purported to represent. Most polls showed that most Americans backed the ouster of Saddam from Kuwait ‑‑ they just weren’t too keen on the idea of rushing into war (Jerry Adler, 1991: 36-39).
Eventually, though, the failure of talks in Geneva between Secretary of State James Baker and Iraq’s Tariq Aziz ‑‑ and the impression of Iraqi intransigence ‑‑ made war appear inevitable, sweeping undecided representatives over to Bush’s side. The House then voted 250 to 183, and the Senate 52 to 47, to authorize Bush to use military force
against Iraq after Jan. 15 (Lacayo, 1991b: 32).
Therefore, at the National Level, a condition for Proposition 5, “In order to initiate a war, leaders of democratic nations must obtain the backing of the media,
their public, and their legislative branches” is satisfied. On the peace‑war scale, Bush bumps up 20 points more, putting the two sides into the Brink of War. In the bull’s‑eye of Integrative Elephantism, this is the 80‑point circle; and in the peace‑war equation “Y = 20a + 20b or (20c + 20d + 20e / 3) + 20f or 20g + 20 h + 20i to answer question 2 “a
democratic leader” (b) is “yes.” That means:
Y = 20 + 20 + 20 + 20b with b = 1
Then Y = 20 + 20 + 20 + 20×1
Y = 80
This explanation can be illustrated in Figure 4.5.
- THE MILITARIST/VICTIM
Despite all the machinations of Bush and the coalition he created, the fundamental question of war or peace rested with Saddam Hussein, as it had since the beginning of the crisis. In theory at least, Saddam’s options ran from total and unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait, to deliberately precipitating his own Gotterdammerung.
Though some may have thought Saddam might eventually opt for martyrdom, most experts agreed that his main goal was survival ‑‑ of himself first, then of his power, and specifically his military might. The Iraqi leader has yearned to be respected by his Arab brothers ‑‑ and ultimately the U.S. ‑‑ as the power to reckon with in the Middle East. He has stated his desire to become an Arab Bismarck (similar conditions do, in fact exist: just like 19th century Germany, the Arab world shares a common language and culture but is factionalized politically). He envisions a single, powerful force ‑‑ with himself, of course, leading it (Christopher Dickey, 1991: 40-41).
Unconditional withdrawal during the crisis leading up the Persian Gulf War looked like Saddam’s least likely option, although Bush could not rule it out entirely, as it would have kept Iraq’s army, chemical and biological weaponry ‑‑ and nuclear potential ‑‑ intact. Bush did go public with a promise not to attack Iraq if Saddam left Kuwait, hinting that Iraq could cut its own deal with Kuwait regarding border disagreements, as well as convene an international conference on the Palestinian predicament.
Saddam likely weighed the offer as a concession adequate enough to allow him to continue strutting around as the strongman of the Middle East. By the same token, unconditional surrender and withdrawal from Kuwait could have left him vulnerable to overthrow ‑‑ or even assassination ‑‑ by his own countrymen (Lisa Beyer, 1991: 23‑24). He was more likely to accept partial withdrawal from Kuwait, keeping instead the southern part of the rich Rumaila oil field and the islands of Bubiyan and Warba, which would have given him excellent access to the Persian Gulf. But Bush and his allies were not about to allow anything resembling partial withdrawal, as it would have rewarded Saddam’s aggression.
A phased withdrawal might have offered Saddam his best opportunity to save something from his Kuwait incursion besides himself. He floated a number of supposed compromises in an attempt to divide and weaken the coalition, figuring that perhaps Bush’s allies ‑‑ some of which, he knew, were less than enthusiastic about going to war ‑‑ would pressure the American president into delaying any conflict, or, if it did occur, sue for a quick end to it all and begin the bargaining for a compromise settlement (Russel Watson, 1991: 24-26).
Saddam would have been delighted to withdraw from Kuwait in return for a similar pullout of American and allied forces from Arab countries. The cherry on the cake would have been a deal allowing a new Kuwaiti government to negotiate its own deal with Iraq on border and oil disputes. Such a settlement, of course, was out of the question for Bush, as it would have left his Saudi allies, the sheikdoms, Egypt and others to face future Iraqi threats and intimidation without U.S. protection.
Bush also was waiting for Saddam to propose some form of “linkage,” whereby Iraq would withdraw if Israel would relinquish the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinians. Or, some kind of regionwide chemical and nuclear disarmament ‑‑ meaning Israel as well as Iraq. That, too, would lionize Saddam among the masses as the first Arab leader in six decades to knuckle Israel under and forge the first gain for the Palestinians (George J. Church, 1991: 16‑21).
Bush knew, too, that Saddam also could decide to do nothing ‑‑ in other words, play chicken. By this, Saddam simply would stand pat, dig in deeper in Kuwait and dare Bush to put up or shut up on his threats to oust Iraq. Saddam would be betting that Bush would blink first because of the potential for massive American casualties. Bush, of course, was not bluffing.
Saddam also could have figured on fighting a defensive war, hoping to survive the allied aerial attack and then grind down his enemy as it unsuccessfully attempted a series of bloody frontal assaults on heavily dug‑in Iraqi positions, a la World War I‑style trench warfare. The attendant big tank battles ‑‑ with massive losses ‑‑ would remind Americans of “another Vietnam,” Saddam may have strategized, thereby forcing Bush to compromise (Bill Turque, 1991: 67).
In reality, though, Saddam had only three war options: attack Israel and hope it would change the situation from “Iraq against the world” to “the Arab nation” against Israel, the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Option 2 was to attack Saudi oil wells, disrupting production and thereby crippling the economies of the West. Option 3 was terrorism ‑‑ bombing, hijacking, kidnapping and murders ‑‑ on a scale never seen before, in the Middle East, Europe and the U.S.
Saddam, Bush knew, was willing to do almost anything to get what he wanted. Unencumbered by ideology or whim, the brutal and clever militarist coolly calculates every move ‑‑ and opting for war was not Saddam’s worst choice. Yes, he would be expected to lose a fight with a superpower, but he could gain Arab respect for not backing down. Besides, Saddam was a firm believer in eventual victory to the side willing to suffer most ‑‑ and only in the Arab world could a leader win by losing.
So, in the final stage of the Persian Gulf crisis, we see that war is inevitable because both sides ‑‑ each by its own reason and objective ‑‑ are willing and able to fight. Therefore, at the Individual Level for victims, a condition for Proposition 13, “leader of the attacked country is willing to stand up against the attacker,” is satisfied. That means, on the peace‑war scale, Saddam Hussein bumps up the total by 20 points, putting the two sides into war. In the Bull’s‑Eye of Integrative Elephantism, this the 100‑point circle or the bull’s‑eye of the target.
And in the peace‑war equation “Y = 20a + 20b or (20c + 20d + 20e / 3) + 20f or 20g + 20h + 20i” the answer to question 5 “a victim” (i) is “yes.” That means:
Y = 20 + 20 + 20 + 20 + 20i with i = 1
Then Y = 20 + 20 + 20 + 20 + 20×1
Y = 100
These explanations can be illustrated in Figure 4.6.
Again with 20/20 hindsight, one can verify certain motives of a pragmatist American president in initiating a war against Iraq. There was the sheer glory of it all, as crowds across the nation exalted Bush’s victory and declaration that, “by God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all,” while savoring America’s first major military victory since 1945. America defeated not only the Iraqi army, but also the ghosts of Vietnam ‑‑ the ghosts of self‑doubt, fear of power, divisiveness, and an uncertainty of purpose.
Bush also was the winner of some highly coveted political currency, which he undoubtedly will cash in during his re‑election campaign. And he is sure to remind voters how the swiftness of his victory restored American optimism ‑‑ to say nothing of temporarily anesthetizing a nation about its internal troubles, one of the main reasons Bush decided to wage a war.
Bush proved to the world he had moxie enough to carry his cause right to the battlefield. With the war over, he surely will work his campaign machinery hard to see it carry over to win a second presidential term. Time and events may significantly alter Bush’s political strategy before November, but, to reiterate, somewhere along the line he is sure to exploit his victory and take aim at gains for his Republican Party. He will do so by exploiting the anti‑war votes of most congressional Democrats; recruiting new GOP candidates for political offices from among the 539,000 returning heroes of the Persian Gulf War; and most of all, by applying American optimism won in Iraq to wage war against the recession (Dan Goodgame, 1991: 54‑55).
We use the crisis and resultant conflict in the Persian Gulf as an example of war initiation as applied to the “Integrative Elephantism Model.” If one used only the arms buildup in the gulf as part of a collective security model, or as a sole explanation of war, one touches only a part of the elephant. All the necessary and sufficient conditions at five levels of analysis must be satisfied before one can accurately predict or explain a war initiation.
To explain all the wars that have been initiated since 1816 until the present, and to predict all the wars that will be initiated in the future, we need to have:
- A list that classifies three different types of leaders: pacifist, pragmatist and militarist.
- A list that classifies two different types of political regimes: Democratic and undemocratic, in which the latter includes totalitarian, authoritarian, dictator and monarch.
- A list of material capability and political capability of each country at a time international conflicts take place.
- A list of computed national ranks on the Composite Potential Index at the time of conflict instead of Bremer’s 25‑year index (Bremer, 1980: 64‑65).
Our proposal for a broader set of conceptualizations was both to promote the development of better theory, and in order to develop more useful and rigorous research design. They were needed to help guard against the isolation of international phenomena, and the design of meaningless research projects. This study has served merely as a structural suggestion of a model to explain the conflict process, including its phases and decisive factors, in which a willing leader must overcome all environmental constraints before initiating a war. Integrative Elephantism integrates all war theories, modifying parts of them to make them fit the elephant model, which symbolizes one country in relation to others in the international system.
Surely, more study will refine the theory. By consolidating index construction, data generation, data analysis and other activities with the model, its explanatory and predictive power are likely to prove successful at a much higher rate. The student of Integrative Elephantism can explain and predict 100 percent of the causes of war initiation for all international conflicts if good data, good classification of leaders’ personalities and their governments, and good calculations of nations’ capabilities in the system are available. Without them , we repeat, the whole theory can then remain as unrefined academic animal. With them, it can emerge as a living theoretical pachyderm. We hope that the first-rate young scholars will continue with the grand theory and accelerate the pace of serious investigations into the causes of war and the conditions of peace.
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Ly Tong was born on September 1, 1948 in Hue, Vietnam. He received his early education in the most prestigious schools in Vietnam. In the mission to stop the communists’ aggressive advancement as a captain pilot, he was shot down in his A37 Dragon Fly bomber in April 5, 1975, the month the Communists took over Saigon. He spent the next five years in “reeducation” camps and was praised by his fellow inmates as well as his enemies for his heroism.
In 1980, he escaped from Communist prison and tried twice to steal an airplane to bomb the prison headquarters in order to rescue his fellow inmates. When those efforts failed, he fled from Vietnam to Singapore by walking across Southeast Asia for about two years, covering 2,500 kilometers, along which he negotiated minefields, escaped from prisons of three countries, and swam the Johore Strait. His exploits were praised in the Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, and in many newspapers all over the world in 17 different languages as well as by President Ronald Reagan: “Your courage is an example and inspiration to all who would know the price of freedom.” In exile, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Political Science and a minor in French in 1988 and a Master of Arts degree in Political Science in 1990 from theUniversity of New Orleans, Louisiana. His schedule to defend his Ph. D. Dissertation “Elephantism and the Causes of War Initiation” on April 24, 1992 was adjourned due to the replacement of his exam committee’s chair. He went on a leaflet-dropping mission and was arrested after having bailed out of the airplane and was imprisoned for 6 years. During the time waiting his defense day to be scheduled for his second Ph. D. Dissertation “A Stimulus Theory of Revolution: Implications for Political Innovation to Confront the Tyranny against Human Rights in Vietnam,” Ly Tong carried out two more leaflet-dropping missions: One in Havana, Cuba, on January 1, 2000 and one in Vietnam on November 17, 2000 to apply his theory in order to spark an uprising. For the Cuban mission, he received a “Hero’s Welcome” in the Three King Parade by a half million exiled Cubans in Miami, Florida and for the second mission in Vietnam, he was imprisoned 7 years by Thai corrupt court which conspired with his enemy. Thanks to Thai Coup d’Etat, he was released without being extradited to communist Vietnam as an Extradition Lower Court had decided. He was also a major stimulus to win a “Little Saigon Battle” in San Jose, California, by his 28-day hunger strike. He went on another mission in South Korea to fight for North Korean and Chinese Freedom and Democracy on 8 August 2008. Admirers and newspapers have called Ly Tong: Mr. Impossible, Leaflet Cowboy, James Bond, Resistance Icon, Freedom Fighter, the Last Action Hero, Top Gun and Papillon (for his 6 escapes in 21 years of imprisonment as a political prisoner).
- List of Degrees held:
B.A. UNO 1988
M.A. UNO 1990
- Graduate Courses completed at UNO:
POLl 4710 POLl 4880 POLl 6120 POLl 7050
6600 6002 6700
6990 6710 4990
4755 6990 6245
6001 6990 6310
6800 4870 6900
- No courses left
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Ly Tong, born on September 1, 1945 in Hue, South Vietnam, is a Vietnamese – American anti Communist activist. Fighter pilot Ly Tong is best known as the Leaflet Cowboy and James Bond for flying unauthorized flights over the airspace of Communist nations and dropping leaflets over their capitals.
- Early Life: He joined the Republic of Vietnam’s Air Force as an air cadet of Class ‘65A in 1965, and was trained as a pilot in the USA in 1966. After being discharged for disciplinary reasons concerning the punishment of a wicked cadre at Lackland Air Force Base, he worked for RMK and Pacific Architect & Engineer Company as a translator. He was elected as vice-director of the US Programmer Association’s Saigon Chapter thanks to improving a company’s major program. He joined Class 4/68 of Thu Duc Officer Training School under a new mobilization order. Upon graduation he was accepted back into the Air Force for Class 33/69 and became an observation pilot of Squadron 122 Hoa Mi (Nightingale), Tactical Wing 74, Air Division 4, stationed in Binh Thuy (Can Tho province). In 1973 he became a jet fighter pilot, belonging to Squadron 548 O Den (Black Eagle), Tactical Wing 92, Air Division 2, stationed in Phan Rang (Ninh-Thuan province). By nature, a man of the thousand year civilized ancient capital, Ly Tong is a combination of different characters. He is an adventurer, a vagrant, a businessman and a gallant pilot. As a “Top Gun” with many renowned feats of arms, one comment by his fellow pilots was, “ If four tactical regions had four Ly Tongs, Vietcong could not be able to raise their heads.”
- Missions Impossible: Six out of hundreds of Squadron 548’s “Missions Impossible” in which Ly Tong participated include:
1) Phuoc Long Mission: This mission helped disintegrate many Vietcong attack spearheads into Phuoc Long province. Besides a Cross of Gallantry, Ly Tong also received a prize for his poem about this battle.
2) Western Highlands: This mission destroyed the whole Vietcong convoy of a hundred supply lorries.
3) Phuong Hoang Pass: This mission blocked the massive movement of Vietcong troops from Ban Me Thuot province toward Phuong Hoang Pass. Seething with passion in grazing fire of Communist tanks, Ly Tong flew so low that his jet was hit by fragments of his own rockets and stones which were flung about due to an explosion and was later cast off because its cockpit and fuselage received 38 bullet and stone holes. Col. Le Van Thao, commander of the 92nd Tactical Wing complained, “If all the pilots flew with the tactic of great daring like you, our air force wouldn’t have any more airplanes to operate!”
4) Phu Cat Mission: BOBS, standing for Beacon Only Bombing System, is a kind of mission guided by a target director post’s radar. In this mission, the flight leader, when hearing beeps, did not drop bombs because what he detected through broken clouds was the belt of Phu Cat Air Base, and suspected the command post picked out the wrong target coordinates. Ly Tong, Wingman Number 2, pressed the firing button as an automatic reflex to the signal because he saw nothing but a stormy and overcast night. All remaining wingmen followed his lead. The flight leader fell into panic and charged Ly Tong with careless bombing which could cause heavy casualties to friendly troops. But good news came the next morning with a report that the Communists did launch a surprise attack and their whole yellow-star division was annihilated by that bombing salvo! The enemy dead was so numerous that it took one week to bury and the fetid odor of the decomposing corpses polluted the whole region.
5) Dzien Binh Bridge: This was a vital strategic beach head at the border crossing of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, protected by three most seasoned heavy anti-aircraft batteries of Regiment IV, used by Hanoi for wild movements of troops, weapons and supplies to Western Highlands. “At night, when air defense opened fire, Dzien Binh was ablaze as San Francisco lighted up!” one said. Ly Tong once sneaked down alone to 1,000 feet to strike the bridge but his bombs missed it a few meters away due to an overshoot while turning final and avoiding thick clouds. The Kamikaze group was composed of four pilots. Ly Tong was the first and only volunteer who mobilized and urged his close friends to join. Four A37 bombers took off at Pleiku Airport, flew to Kontum to head the enemy off, then turned around “flying over the grass and under tree tops,” skirting alongside of hillsides and canyons toward Dzien Binh. From the ground surface they blasted off when reaching the bridge and dived down to bomb and knock it down by a surprise attack. According to an assessment by the strategic intelligence service, “If the Dzien Binh mission had not taken place, South Vietnam would have collapsed in 1974 instead of 1975.” Major Ta Thuong Tu commented, “The pilot who hit the bridge first is really wonderful. But the one who volunteered first, mobilized his fellows for joining the mission and especially dared make a go-around over Dzien Binh like Ly Tong deserves to be greatly admired manifold.”
6) Ba Ngoi Bridge – The last Mission: At one near final agonizing moment of the South, Ly Tong’s last mission was to demolish Ba Ngoi Bridge on the National road Number 1, between Cam-Ranh and Phan-Rang, in order to stop the Northern Vietnamese Communist invading troops from using it to move farther to the southern provinces of the Republic of Vietnam. Witnessing crowds of people flocked together, shoving each other on the run to escape the enemy over the bridge, Ly Tong decided to skim over the ground to signal them avoiding the bridge, but streams of refugees still strived to pass before it became too late. Caused by his kind heart, always aware of the safety and lives of innocent compatriots, Ly Tong made three low passes for warning. At the time while gaining altitude to drop bombs, his jet was hit by a SA.7 heat-seeking missile at 100 meters altitude, exploded and shattered to pieces. He was saved, unharmed, by an automatic chain reaction of the bailout machine, when the detonator of the jump seat was ignited by the fire. On April 5, 1975, after a couple of hours of fleeing and hiding, he was captured by the aggressors. His whereabouts became known due to the passionate cheering of a group of kids running after him when he tried to get access to National Road Number 1. The Communists staged a show trial of People’s Court and encouraged people to stone him to death. The locals knew him well and threw apples, breads and food instead.
III. In Communist Prisons: Thus began nearly a decade of incarceration, tortures, escapes and rescues.
- Lam Son Prison: Ly Tong was transferred through many prisons but settled down at Lam Son Prison where he made his first attempt to escape and was arrested at Phuong Hoang Pass (where he had once been nearly killed by his own rocket shrapnel). Before the prison’s Peoples Court, this indomitable fighter refused the order to kneel and when guards pointed guns at him, shouted, “Shoot! This Ly Tong dies, there are still hundreds of thousands of other Ly Tongs!” He was sentenced to “conex’ imprisonment. For six months, he existed in an 8-foot-high by 4½ -foot-wide freight container. Interior daytime temperatures exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, plummeting temperatures stiffened Ly Tong’s limbs. Stones thrown against the conex boomed like bomb explosions and denied him sleep. Air, food—handfuls of rice and salt—and Ly Tong’s own wastes passed through the same small hole in a side of a box. The jailer used pincers to pull out three of his toenails. He laughed at them and said, “You can pull out my nails but not my iron will!” Every time the conex opened, Vietcong soldiers, living in barracks surrounding him, gathered in the front yard to watch him and discussed: “This pilot, for the ‘puppet’ government of South Vietnam, seems to be regarded as Hero Nguyen Van Troi of ours!” At this prison, his elder brother, a Communist French faculty chair, was denied a visit due to his declaration, “In the old days we were brothers of the same blood, but now, after having joined Communists, you became ‘khat/khac mau’ (blood thirsty/of different blood)!” (A play on words in Vietnamese with khat: thirsty and khac: different).
- Camp 52: As the story of his defiance became legend, Ly Tong’s captors tried to break him. When disciplining him at Camp 52 for insulting a jailer, they shackled his legs high and tied him up with his hands behind him while lying on his stomach so that his whole body could contact the ground only at a small point on his face. One night, six guards came and surrounded him. One of them rubbed a bayonet fixed to a gun along his neck and grumbled, “I have an itch for stabbing you now!” Another guard jeered, “Not on your knees here, on your face! How do you feel now?” “Honorable!” Ly Tong spat back, “Six men treat me like an animal, but who is the animal, who the man?” All of them suddenly kicked him at the same time, and ran away when he shouted, “Cowards!” His shouting resonated to his fellow prisoners’ sleeping rooms and they told him later that they thought they were hearing the last scream of his death pangs. The next day, in the director’s office, the prison chief told Ly Tong, “I heard news about your refusing to kneel. If I were you, I would do the same because to kneel in front of hundreds of comrades-in-arms is a disgrace, a dishonor. Now, there is nobody around here but you and me. If you agree to kneel before our national father’s picture, Uncle Ho, who is admired by the whole world, I will revoke the punishment order and let you out of the shackle room right away.” Ly Tong responded, “Nobody is around but there still remains you, me, Mr. Ho’s picture, heaven and earth, my conscience, my honor. I’d rather be put in the stocks than bear indignity, ignominy!” Surprisingly, due to his high respect for Ly Tong’s inflexible will, the director ordered his release from the discipline cell.
- Camp 53: The wicked group of seven were transferred to Camp 53 along with him and other prisoners. One day while in jungle, they called “skinny Thư” and “muscular Đề” to their rest place to have a talk. They asked them, “Do you know why we liked to beat you and call you guys ‘parasites?’” Thư replied, “Because we don’t learn political indoctrination well, don’t do the productive work well and don’t comply with the prison regulations well!” “Stop that parrot-like repeating!” One of them interrupted. “In the past you guys were officers at the field grade and general grade. You had the life-and-death authority in your hands. But now many of yours are so coward that some even volunteered to carry our sandals when passing the sloughs. You know pilot Ly Tong? We once had a bash at him and never messed up with him again due to our admiration of his indomitability.” But other fellow inmates were not as lucky as Ly Tong. Lieutenant Đại who steadfastly refused to give information about his security network to save his staffs was beaten and hanged to death by a torture expert sent from the Ministry of the Interior. Another prisoner was burnt in his cell by a fire and became maimed for life. Ly Tong once was a little shaken when he unexpectedly caught this expert’s “gloomy” eyes which was secretly spying on him as if ghost eyes radiating from the 9th stage of the Hades before he left Camp 53 with dead bodies behind! And at this camp, his brother could meet him the first time for 15 minutes after a long 5-day trip and a failed visit at Camp 52 before during the time he was shackled.
- A.30 Prison: The last prison was A.30 where he met again T.A., a student having studied abroad in America and being trapped in Vietnam while on her vacation back home because of the fall of the South. She visited her father, a POW, at Lam Son prison, and received 2 verses from him: “Miss Beauty! Are you the Muse? Or I’ve once in my dream seen you?” This time she was imprisoned here due to her failed escape for freedom. She looked for him when hearing rumor of his arrival and received his 2 more extempore verses : “Miss Beauty! Are you a prisoner also? How sorrowful felt my heart and soul!” She offered him a sandal and he always carried it on his shoulders instead of wearing it because he could not violate his swearing: “Between the earth and heaven I lived free” by walking hatless and barefoot. When prison charged those who stealthily ate what they grew to fill their empty stomaches as “theft,” he argued: “You jailers who ate our products without sweating in labor are thieves and exploiters, not prisoners.” Since then, the prison changed the charge as “crops destruction” without any humiliation. He even played a practical joke on the general director of the corrections department who praised the flower bed at the prison front gate “as beautiful as a fairy” by retorting: “When the cactus flowers are in full bloom, the barbed-wire fence will be more beautiful!” (The prison grew cactus to strengthen thefence to prevent escape). And when the boss commended highly the prison standard: “How can you prisoners eat up a washbasinful of rice?” Ly Tong mocked: “Oh sure! Sir! One man could not do it. But, unfortunately, it’s a ration for ten prisoners, not one!” It came the time when jailers decided to test Ly Tong’s will by beating senseless one prisoner a day in the jungle. On the way back to prison they asked loudly of each other, “When will come Ly Tong’s turn?” Knowing that sooner or later he would be offended, he decided to fulfill either one of his two declarations, “Anyone beats me, he will either be dead or crippled!” (Some rumored that he was a 7th degree black belt in karate.) Or, “You have the power to keep me in jail, but to free myself anytime from jail is my power to decide!” Ly Tong chose the second and succeeded in escaping A.30 Prison after almost 6 years in jail. Captain Ngoc, Political Welfare Officer of Division II, VNAF, his fellow inmate once related, “Ly Tong is an idol of Nha Trang youth!”
- In Saigon: After a successful escape, his big problem was a place to live and food to eat in Saigon because all people were poor and hungry under the communist policy of pauperization, “stomach ruling” and “tertiary formation control.” Only one person dared to hide him was an adopted daughter of his sister-in- law. She was a jobless single mom with 2 little kids, but she had many young and beautiful friends who were working for song and dance company. These girls admired the stormy life of a Top Gun on the run. Thanks to their helps and his strong instinct for survival, he escaped by a hair’s breadth the claws and teeth of many police searches during one year living in shadows. But the trouble began when each girl recognized that this amorous pilot was not her own partner, but a joint lover of theirs! In September 1981, he penetrated into Tan Son Nhat Airport twice to steal planes in order to bomb the prison headquarters to rescue his comrades-in-arms but could not operate them because all were cannibalized and especially empty of fuel. Communists only fill the tanks and load the bombs half an hour before missions to avoid either fuel or aircraft theft. Finally, he decided to escape overland since he had no money to do otherwise.
- Long Trek To Freedom
As September 1981 progressed, he walked, hitchhiked and rode buses to reach Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital. He traveled with a boy he had met at the Vietnam-Cambodian border. They were arrested at the train station. After he failed to escape from the detention room, they were both transferred to Prison 7708 and kept in different cells. After two weeks, he broke the window, squeezed out and fled alone. The fishing group’s boss in Dai Con refused his voluntary work-for-food due to his “noble” deportment, not suitable for hard work under water. On the next day, a serious accident happened that drowned one of four professional divers. No one dared jump in the water and swim deep to the river bed to find him but Ly Tong, due to their superstitious belief that the river ghost would revenge. Witnessing his dedication and occupational speciality (thanks to his swimming practice since a little boy), the boss decided to hire Ly Tong as a fisherman to replace a dead one. He worked 4 months to make money and then pedaled a bicycle to Sisophone, Cambodia’s last town where he was hunted by soldiers and villagers. He had to hide in a bush that was covering a large ant hill. He was forced to stay motionless for six hours as thousands of ants swarmed over him, repeatedly biting him. He finally got out in the late evening when all was quiet and the manhunt had stopped. He then had to side-step land mines, outfox security patrols, and crawl through the jungle to avoid border posts for two days and nights without food and water before reaching Thailand. As in Saigon, along his long trek, Ly Tong was helped by many ladies. That’s why he claimed his fate was protected by the guardian Goddess. In the first hour in Thailand, he met a lady on the street near Thai-Cambodian border. After knowing his flight, she took him back home, gave him food to eat and money, then asked her beautiful daughter to give him a ride on her motorbike to a pagoda near-by. He slept overnight there with the girl’s perfume lingered on and the pagoda bell and wooden fish sounded like a burial service to his past. On the next morning, he caught a taxi and surrendered himself to the United Nations’ Red Cross. He was transferred to Aran jail. Colonel Tong Den, the chief of Thai Border Intelligence wanted to know who had helped him when finding Thai new-issued baht (Thai money) in his pocket. To avoid trouble for the benefactress’s family, he asserted that he changed money in Cambodia. The colonel did not believe and threaten to secretly kill him during a quarrel in which Ly Tong said, “We are officers and former allies. If you don’t respect me, I don’t care who the f. you are!” To oppose the Colonel’s harsh treatment, Ly Tong began his Hunger Strike. Daniel, a Swiss girl working for UN High Commissioner for Refugees, took care of him by visiting him everyday. When she persuaded him that the outside world still had many beautiful things worth his being alive to enjoy, he responded, “The happiest time of my life is when I have you sitting nearby in the cell with me an hour each day. So how should I abandon it? ” She replied, “How amorous you are while on the brink of death! You’re not dead yet but I’ve already died of your romance!” He did not change his mind even after a group of seven Thai military prisoners brought him downstairs to beat under the boss’s order. He only stopped when Thai jailers threatened to continue beating unconcious all other Vietnamese refugees each night as long as he still persisted on his opposing plan. The first day when he began to eat again, a Thai prisoner in charge of distributing food tried to mess up with him. Ly Tong broke the man’s three front teeth with a punch and his friends jumped in to retaliate. Surprisingly, Thai imprisoned soldiers later admired him, called him “Big Boss,” treated him with respect and offered him foods and gifts. Although the US consulate confirmed his identity, the colonel still transferred him to Nong Samet, an abandoned refugee camp after having chained him over a year. With a curse, the colonel stated, “You will rot at this remote Cambodian border!” Ly Tong laughed back, “See you in Bangkok next month!” At the camp, to make friends with Esther, a female Philipino working as a Red Cross lab chief, he asked her for blood and then urine check. Both results were “negative.” He told her, “There must be some other kind of germs if not gonorrhea or syphilis. Each time I pass your lab, I got an infectious fever. Is it a love-germ?!” Love story began and she helped him with a ride on a jeep along the border to study and a map covering Thailand and Singapore. In his last days there, he unexpectedly met Daniel, who volunteered to work a second term in Thailand in order to meet him again. Daniel gave him some money and her photo. (By a quirk of fate, her name was mentioned in President Ronald Reagan’s letter for him. “With Daniel, you walked through the lions’ den, sustained by your faith in God, and emerged victorious.”) In the night when Communist Vietnamese were shelling the nearby area, he escaped and walked back through the jungle to Aranyapathet to meet Esther. He stayed overnight and then went to Bangkok with her for four days. That short love story gave birth to his third daughter and gave him, a bachelor, another title: International Father. Ly Tong had two other daughters, one with a French girl and another by a Chinese girlfriend. He next took a train to Hat Yai, crawled through the border jungle, and boarded a bus to Kuala Lampur. He enjoyed sightseeing the Malaysian capital as a tourist and left for Singapore. His odyssey stretched over 17 months and took him some 1,560 miles without documents through 5 countries. Three prisons couldn’t hold him. It ended within just nine days after he swam at night the sometimes treacherous Strait of Johore separating Malaysia and Singapore island. Ly Tong caught a taxi to the US embassy, arriving slightly damp but in style on February 10, 1983. Julian, chief of the counter-espionage bureau of Singapore, commented, “Ly Tong is the master of Papillon.” He was transferred to Galang Refugee Camp in Indonesia for a few months before leaving for Boston, Massachusetts, USA on his birthday, September 1, 1983 as a political refugee. Ly Tong’s daring escape was reported by world renowned media such as Reader’s Digest:“His flight has become one of the great escape sagas of our time.” (“Ly Tong’s Long Trek To Freedom,” Anthony Paul, June 1984); The Wall Street Journal: “Ly Tong is in a class by himself…Ly Tong’s overland trip from Vietnam to Singapore covered 2,500 kilometers, along which he negotiated mine-fields, escaped from three prisons, and swam Johore Strait” (“Ly Tong’s Odyssey,” Barry Wain, March 2, 1983); and Citypaper: “Harrowing escapes! Daring parachute jumps! Marathon swims! The wild misadventures of Ly Tong, the James Bond of Vietnam, bright hope of the Vietnamese community in Philadelphia and beyond” (The Last Action Hero,” Christopher McDougas). Ly Tong was also praised by US President Ronald Reagan, “Your courage is an example and inspiration to all who would know the price of freedom.” He was honored by the Council of the City of New Orleans, “The Council hereby commends Mr. Ly Tong for his bravery in escape and his commitment to the principle of freedom in the face of overwhelming odds.” (Resolution R-84-436); the Washington State Senate, “recognizes the valiant efforts of Freedom Fighter Aviator Ly Tong…Such efforts deserve the respect, admiration, and acknowledgement of all” (Resolution 8616); “He’ll probably be the mayor of Santa Ana inside ten years” (Dan Sullivan, US refugee coordinator for Indonesia and Singapore) and Professor Stephen E. Ambrose, author of the official biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon’s: “Like ‘Ike’ Eisenhower, fighter for freedom, a hero from another war;” Hanh Saigon, his former girlfriend: “You’re a man who can master his own destiny;” even Colonel Tong Den turned out to become one of his admirers: “I’ve never seen a great fighter like him in my life!”
- In America: Ly Tong enrolled in Harvard University but was refused due to lack of school records and financial aid qualifications. He had no other alternative but to ad-lib, “Today I asked to be a student, Harvard refuses. Tomorrow Harvard invites me to be a master, I’ll reject it too.” After having traveled around from New York to Washington, D.C. and from California to Texas, in 1984, he settled down in New Orleans, Louisiana, working as a club manager. He organized a crime fighting squad and enrolled at the University of New Orleans. Four months after the China Town’s grand opening, a robbery cleaned it out. One month later an armed gang of four came back and the confrontation resulted in the death of the ring leader. A few months later another armed gang came to challenge Ly Tong. With one smash of a gunstock to his head, the provocateur breathed his last. Ly Tong ordered the gang to remove the body from his dancing hall. Miraculously, after having stopped breathing for ten minutes, the dead man began to breathe again and survived the ordeal while being carried out with many tumbles due to the gang’s fear of being killed! After 9 years of hard studies, Ly Tong graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1988, and a Master of Arts in political science in1990, with inclusion on the National Dean’s List. In 1992, Ly Tong’s schedule to defend his Ph.D. dissertation in political science on April 21 was delayed till after the day of his departure for a next mission due to a factional conflict and the chair of his examination committee had been displaced. He could not miss the golden opportunity after the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Eastern European Countries to apply the “People’s Power” doctrine he had initiated since 1982 and peoples had used it to overthrow 23 dictatorial regimes around the world .
VII. Dropping Leaflets In Vietnam (I):
- Ubon Air Base: On August 20, 1992, Ly Tong left for Thailand with the “Motorcycle-Racing Revolution” plan for practical conditions of Vietnam. He succeeded in penetrating into Ubon, a military airbase, but due to the aircraft’s weak battery, he could not steal a jet plane to drop leaflets, bomb Khanh Hoi fuel depot in Saigon as a catalyst, and bail out to organize and lead uprising forces to overthrow the Hanoi regime. He intended to turn its forty-seventh “Birth Day” (September 2, 1992) into its “Death Day”. The commander of this airbase confirmed an unauthorized attempt to start the engine of an A-37B bomber at about 4 a.m. on September 1, 1992. On September 4, Ly Tong carried out the second plan, commandeered a Vietnamese Airlines Airbus 310-200 from Bangkok to Saigon (renamed Ho Chi Minh City) by bluffing that he had a bomb, and dropped 50,000 anti-Communist leaflets in order to lead the uprising as the insurgency’s “Commander in Chief” against Communism in his native land. He then was sucked out through the cockpit window, struggling with the parachute’s cords tangling his legs, from 7,000 to 2,000 feet. He luckily fell into a small pond where a thick layer of mud saved his life. After four hours of dodging a manhunt by all local forces, he swam across the Rach Ong River. A civilian who saw him suspected he was a sampan thief and mustered the area’s villagers to chase him by boat as he dived into a big lake scattered over with duckweed fern. After having been beaten three times with big sticks when he was found, he surrendered. He was handed over to the police and detained after the disclosure of his identity. Security investigators informed him, “We will treat you with due process in a civil manner, not as you used to condemn us.” Ly Tong laughed, “ Just go ahead and use any of your most sophisticated torture methods. I’ve been ready for the worst-case scenario since the arrest.” They added, “Don’t doubt our sincerity, since yours is a ‘revolutionary’ family!” Ly Tong retorted, “My family is not a VC-styled revolutionary family, but a ‘genuine’ revolutionary one! My father fought against French colonialism and was killed by French colonists. My brother was an aberrant patriot who fought against the United States of America. The majority of my family have fought against the Communists and were rated by them as the most reactionary and stubborn. If I could not preserve my dignity and honor before this court, in the future my offsprings would be against me!”
- Chi Hoa Jail: He was transferred to AB building of this jail which is reserved for the death penalty. Oddly enough, the dangerous criminals who defied jailers admired him. At night, from room after room, they shouted protocol statements such as, “We wish your Excellency Hijacker a good night with many dreams of beautiful girls and soon come back to become the president of Vietnam.” His brother once seeing him sitting cross-legged while conversing with the prison director as an equal in rank reprimanded, “You should not be so impolite.” Ly Tong retorted, “You were born under French slavery, have grown up under Communist slavery and experienced two trials of landlords and land reform. That’s why the slave spirit has ingrained in your blood and engraved in your brain. As for me, I was born and have grown up in freedom; therefore I am used to behaving in the manner of a free man, even in front of the head of state.” When the AB building chief mocked him: “You’re really crazy. No handsome man at the doctoral level and high social status can leave behind his enjoyable life and beautiful girls for prison like you!” his deputy retorted: “There is, fortunately, only one crazy Ly Tong. If there were ten crazy men like him, we now all would have been imprisoned taking over his place in jail.” Ly Tong went on a hunger strike for 48 days to object to the suppression of outside communication and the exclusion of political acts in his charge.
- VC Court: On February 24, 1993, before the Communist court he declared, “My nationality is that of the Republic of Vietnam, not Vietnamese Communist nationality;” “A ferocious tiger cannot resist a pack of Ho/wolves. (‘Ho’, in Vietnamese means wolf and Ho Chi Minh, too). Yet six children of Mr. Ho sitting up there have master’s and doctor’s degrees. They highly and mightily proclaim themselves ‘the pinnacle of human intellect, but persist in interrupting and gagging me and dare not let me speak freely to argue the whole problem out; “On behalf of justice, the Motherland and the people, I come back to overthrow the Communist regime. You, also on behalf of justice, the Motherland and the people indict me. At this court, you’re the judges and I’m the accused. But besides this, there is another court in which history and people are the final fair and impartial judges of our exploits and faults;” “The more severe the sentence I get, the higher my service merit toward the Motherland and the people and when this regime collapses, the longer your stay in prison in my place;” “If you condemn me to death, you help make me a martyr!” He was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment.
- Xuan Phuoc Prison: After being transferred to this prison, Ly Tong punished an “antenna” (an informer) and had a failed escape. A Vietnamese Communist captain there dared say, “All your feats of valor are praised by everyone!” After he had been transferred to the North following one week being shackled to prevent another escape, his prison inmates rose in rebellion, with the condonation of a few jailers, against the prison ploy to keep political prisoners from meeting the UN Human Rights group coming to investigate their claims. Therefore, all political as well as religious prisoners of Xuan Phuoc prison later were transferred to the North as a punishment.
- Ba Sao Prison: He came to this prison along with leaders of four other groups. After one-week class studying prison regulations as a procedure for newcomers, Ly Tong wrote, “I came back to Vietnam in order to change and improve its laws, not to obey them;” “I’ll strive hard to reeducate this regime. Whenever it makes progress, I’ll go home. If it does not, I’ll set myself free!” He then went on a hunger strike with four demands for political prisoners: 1. Living in different lodgements, 2. No labor, 3. Enjoying normal daily life activity, 4. Free access to books and magazines. A week later, he was transferred to Ba Sao B with an activist Doan Viet Hoat. There, the prison applied this rule, “No eat, then no drink.” The jailers brought in good foods to lure him and took photographs for evidence. He refuted their scam with the statement, “In America chicken like this even dogs don’t have an appetite for. Moreover, people might think you guys are plotting to kill me because a hunger striker can only eat soup and these tough meats would harm him!” After his declaration, they stopped playing games. Twice a day, a doctor was sent to check on his health. During 3 weeks, he violated this rule twice by drinking a dirty water in the WC. On the thirtieth day , due to the doctor’s warning that he was on the brink of death, the director came to see him and accept his four demands. A separate building was then reserved for political prisoners, and each had his own room. He and other Vietnamese Americans were allowed to receive visits from the United States consuls with the attendance of the prison director and officials from the Home Affairs department. Since they assumed an attitude of inferiority toward Communist officials, Ly Tong asked, “You, Mr. and Mrs. Consul, draw a salary from American tax-payers or receive your pay from Communist government? And why do you talk the similar tone as Communist officials? Have you ever read and studied the UN Convention on Human Rights and Prisoners’ Rights? You need to base on it to fight for our rights and interests;” “You’re a consul of the United States of America, a world superpower. Why do you talk in so timid and faint-hearted tone as officials of small and weak countries such as Laos and Cambodia?” Another time, to mock the Communists’ changed way of addressing, he said, “Mr. Consul! We should address to one another the title ‘Your Excellency.’ Formerly, Vietcong called everybody ‘thang’ (classifier for inferiors): Thang Lich, thang Tieu, thang Ky to indicate President Nixon, Nguyen Van Thieu and Nguyen Cao Ky. At this time, no matter ‘long nose or pug nose,’ if people have some rank and function, they willingly address ‘Your Excellency’ superficially!” The prison officials also had a hard time with Ly Tong. He wore suits instead of the prison uniform with reason that, “If not better, at least I must be equal in appearance to you jailers.” When the director proposed, “If you belittle the prisoners’ haircut, let me be your barber.” Ly Tong blustered, “You can cut my head, but not my hair!” When he got mad, Captain Nam used to say, “Nobody’s done nothing! So why do you have a fit of temper again?” and Captain Chanh: “Calm down! Calm down! Everything can be solved step by step. Don’t be so hot tempered” before abandoning and going away. Major Thang, deputy chief, who was in charge of escorting his group from Xuan Phuoc to Ba Sao, once said half joking, half serious, “If you’re on hunger strike till death, there’s nobody left to fight against Communists. Don’t you know?” Ly Tong talked back, “Alive or dead, eating or hunger striking, staying or self freeing….each depends on the circumstances. If my death is more useful than my survival, I’ll go for my death!” Buddhist Venerable Tue Si once said, “You’re so formidable, Ly Tong. Every time you shout the jailers are beside themselves with fear, running like ducks!” They also had a headache each time he went out, passing work places of common criminals. He modified Vietcong slogans and songs and read loudly, making a laughing stock of them. “Emulate until death! Emulate!” or, “Go ahead and pride yourself upon your Hue! As long as my Hue stands up, you will surely be vomiting out blood!” He did not even spare a lady captain in charge of the prisoner canteen, “Hey, Mrs. Sam, at this hour, what’s the use of wasting for Colonel Prison Director a dozen of beer bottles everyday? This regime is going to collapse and fall soon! What you need to do is to serve me devotedly and when that bad time comes, I will cut down your prison sentence in half!” Feeling shame in front of criminal prisoners at this, all she could do was to mutter, “You, mister, always specialize in talking desultory nonsense!” His way of behaving made some jailors nervous as if the regime’s days were numbered. Some of them even asked him without hesitation as if their fates were in his hands to decide, “If this regime collapses, how will you treat us?” He uttered solemnly, “You guys are only the victims of this regime. We won’t blood bathe, or imprison all of you as you did to us. Only the chieftains in the politburo really deserve being hanged. If you fulfill your tasks rightly and humanely, I’ll not only assign you to the same duty but also upgrade the good ones.” Even the director general of the corrections department had to salute him in the mocking game. He met Ly Tong before he went abroad to make an inspection visit of Japanese prison system. Ly Tong told him, “You will learn the value of real freedom that people enjoy in the free nations!” After his trip, the director returned to Ba Sao and mocked Ly Tong, “You’ve praised the freedom people enjoy in the ‘free world.’ In Japan, when I requested to interview a Japanese worker, they dared not accept it. Is it your real freedom?” Ly Tong replied, “You know why? If they let you contact and talk to Japanese workers, they would learn that you are not only a Communist but also a general director of the Communist corrections department. You remember Karl Marx’s slogan, ‘Workers of the world, unite!’ They might kill you to avenge their Vietnamese fellow workers having been exploited and oppressed by Communists. So, the reason is to prevent diplomatic problems between two nations due to your death, not lack of freedom in Japan!” The last time he had a war of words with the director was in August 1998. Ly Tong was summoned to his office to receive a friendly presentation. “Mr. Ly Tong, I know that you’ve been in prison for many years and you’re not in good health at this old age. I really respect you and have a special sympathy for you. If you fill out this application, make a confession and beg for the President’s pardon to let you return to your family, I promise to sign it with favorable approval so you can be freed soon.” Ly Tong rolled his eyes with anger and shouted at him, “You Communists are guilty of betraying the motherland and people; therefore you are the ones to confess your guilt and beg people’s pardon! I came back to save country and people with great admirable exploits. Why and what should I confess and who has power to pardon me?” In fact, the Vietnamese government had already decided to release him as part of an amnesty program along with other democratic activists: Doan Viet Hoat, Nguyen Dan Que, and Venerable Thich Quang Do…in order to establish diplomatic normalization with the United States and to be on the US List of Most Favored Nations (MFN). On September 1, 1998, (his birthday) Ly Tong arrived at San Francisco airport and was welcomed by hundreds of his compatriots as a “man who came back from the dead.” He proclaimed, “We had strangled Communists strong enough that they had to spit out three of us today. We need to strangle them stronger so that they have to spit out all the remaining prisoners of conscience. And we need to continue to strangle them until the Communist tyrannical regime will completely breathe its last!” Ly Tong had written the most glorious page in his history and become the joint pride of the Vietnamese people. He slighted honor and wealth when becoming successful and famous in a foreign country. He had sacrificed his life for the nation’s just cause, spoken up human aspiration for freedom and lighted up millions of torches shining the sky of Vietnam. Ly Tong’s remarkable acts of bravery have been admired by the world. Poet Ha Huyen Chi has written, “A bravery above the peak of bravery, A sacrifice above the apex of sacrifice. When Ly Tong sets off for his missions, the world bows to pay its respect, saluting the just cause and the national hero.” And Poet Nguyen Lap Dong wrote, “Let roar the attack order ‘Sat Dat’ (To kill the Tartar enemies) and light up your own life as a torch to brighten the Nam sky.”
VIII. Dropping Leaflets In Cuba: Havana Mission
After 6 years in Communist prison, Ly Tong returned to the University of New Orleans, passing the five-year dead line to defend his dissertation. Therefore he had to write a new one. He also spared time traveling around the world to give speeches to Vietnamese communities and organizations about his experiences and future plans. He then decided to foment an uprising that would topple the Castro regime and restore the breath of freedom to Cuba. His anti-Castro vision clicked into focus when he was invited to speak to a group of Cuban-Americans in Miami, and learned that a dozen Cuban-Americans had died fighting for freedom of Vietnam against Communism and that many others were disabled in the Vietnam War. He intended to make a small contribution to pay them back. The payback was an adventurous flight on 1 January 2000, Cuba’s 41st National Day. It was the first day of the new millennium with the Y2K bug which could bring with it the potential disaster for computer and radar systems. He leased a small plane, left Key West, Florida, for Havana, to urge revolt against the Old Dinosaur Fidel Castro, and to declare the death of the four-decade inhuman and tyrannical regime. The luck of the game helped him when he took off later than planned and the control tower suspected him as a drug trafficker and requested to have three planes following him: one F-16, one Black Hawk and one AWACS. After having seen him drop 50,000 anti-Communist leaflets over Cuba’s capital, denouncing “the old dinosaur” Fidel Castro, with the slogan, “You bow your heads, Castro sits astride you necks. You stand up, Castro collapses,” Cuban MIG’s decided to shoot him down as they had done with two planes flown to the island by Brothers to the Rescue, a Miami based exile group, ending with the deaths of four pilots. American pilots, aware of the Communist MIGs, intercepted to save him and followed him on his return to Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport in Florida, where he was detained for almost 5 hours due to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement not being able to get in touch with the Attorney General who was on vacation. Finally, the White House had the last say and decided to release him without charges. He volunteered to surrender his pilot’s license to the Federal Aviation Administration. Ly Tong, the daredevil pilot, was once praised as the James Bond of Vietnam, and now was hailed in Miami’s Little Havana by half a million Cuban Americans as a true Hero, a binational Hero in Three King parade. Paul Brinkley-Rogers in the Herald newspaper wrote, “Vietnamese-American schoolchildren often write compositions lauding his daring exploits, and poetry idolizing his Don Quixote brand of tragic heroism which have appeared in Vietnamese language magazines.” The Honorable Joseph Dunn, 34thSenatorial District of California, took “this opportunity to recognize the heroic efforts of Freedom Fighter Ly Tong, and extended to him best wishes as he continues his brave fight for freedom, democracy and human rights for the Vietnamese people and all oppressed people world wide.” “Ly Tong be recognized by all the citizens of Sweetwater as a true patriot and freedom fighter fighting for a cause that is shared by all Cubans and other peoples of the world where Communism still exists.” (Resolution No. 2760 of the Mayor and Commission of the City of Sweetwater, Florida). Cuba’s request for Ly Tong’s extradition was denied by the United States and the United Nations.
- Dropping Leaflets In Vietnam (II):
When he accomplished the second dissertation and, during the time of waiting to defend it, he had another mission to fulfil. Ly Tong had a plan to knock down Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, a symbol of the regime’s dragon’s layer of earth (having a decisive influence on its fate). He tried to contact General Vang Pao and H’Mong resistance forces so that he could fly from Laos to Hanoi to bomb it. The spy mission failed due to the General being in mourning and cutting off all communications. He changed to the second combat plan when he found out about President Bill Clinton’s visit to Vietnam. He would go to Cambodia to prepare the next mission. Due to a guide’s betrayal, an air sortie scheduled for November 14, 2000 was cancelled so he flew back to Thailand. On November 17th, the eve of President Clinton’s visit, he chartered a small plane and offered fifteen thousand U.S. dollars in cash (10 thousand paid in advance) and gifts of $5,000 value for Thai instructor pilot to fly from Thailand to Vietnam and drop fifty thousand anti-Communist leaflets over Saigon. Due to the lack of lights on a stormy night, Ly Tong could not land at a Thai border runway and escape as planned. Instead he agreed with Thira’s proposal to land at Utapao where a rescue operation had been launched after the loss of his plane radar signal.
- Banchang Police Station: Thanks to the instructor’s true testimony in two investigations at Utapao Air Base and the Banchang police station, Captain Pilot Leuchai confirmed that Ly Tong had violated no laws in this mission. The next morning, under Communist Vietnam’s threat to sue Thailand, the flight school’s director and a police lieutenant general came to Banchang Police Station. When Ly Tong had an interview on air with a Vietnamese-American radio program from San Jose, a Thai major commented: “Your’re abnormal!” Ly Tong replied, “Yes! Only the abnormal do what I did. Normal people like you occupy themselves mostly with eating, drinking, gambling, fucking, sleeping, shitting, making money!” They forced Thira to contradict his previous statement in order to charge him with hijacking under Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai’s personal instruction, “The national police chief carefully investigates the issue as if this kind of incident occurs repeatedly, it could create a misunderstanding with our neighbors.” Mrs. Suthathif, the translator, testified, “Ly Tong was very nice to Thira. He used no threat, no force, only begging for help. Afraid of losing his job and family, Thira had to change his testimony and was very sorry.” At this prison, a Thai Lieutenant General came to visit him 3 times. At the last one, he confirmed that Ly Tong was his classmate at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, USA, in 1966, 34 years ago. He ordered to make a new mosquito net system for the detention center according Ly Tong’s request. Since then, Thai jailers in different prisons thought that Ly Tong was a Lieutenant General, too, and call him “Nai Pon” without considering that South Vietnam had fallen in 1975 and Ly Tong’s class got Lieutenant Colonel as the highest rank at that time. (Thai Generals under 3 stars are called “Chum Pon” and 3 stars up “Nai Pon.”)
- Rayong Prison: When arriving at Rayong prison, the Deputy Director (the real authority in charge of running the prison while the Director is only a figure head with a short tenure) tested him by letting as assistant prisoner ordering Ly Tong to bow before the Boss. He refused to obey. Since then, this Boss treated him respectfully and friendly. When two prisoners’ attempt to escape was discovered and both beaten to death, Ly Tong filed a complaint to the United Nations and Thai Corrections Department. There was no feedback. He met the Boss who admitted that he did not like the culprit jailers, too, but could do nothing because “Beating prisoners to death commits no crime in Thailand!” The only measure he could do was to transfer them to other sections not responsible for applying discipline. Some of his roommates got death sentence but were acquitted after paying from 1 to 2 million baht ($25,000 to $50,000)! In Thai Justice System, “money talk” was the way of doing business. Buddhism is Thai national religion. That’s why at night, prisoners must say a Buddhist prayer and King praise. Normally, Buddhist monks used to give alms to prisoners, but Thai monks went to prison to beg for food! This was a chance for prisoners to meet their loved ones kept in different sections if they afforded to offer food. Ly Tong began a hunger strike to oppose the false and contradictory indictment. On one page the indictment said, “Later on 18 November 2000, the officer has arrested the defendant and held him on two documents, which the defendant used for threatening the disadvantageous person in the accusation under No. 1A.” On another, “One GPS, US$10,000.00 and one video camera, which the defendant used as reward to induce the disadvantageous person to join and cooperate in such offense with the defendant.” After two and a half months, Ly Tong decided to stop drinking, too, to quicken his collapse.
- Hospital: On the thirteenth day of his thirst strike, he was transferred to a hospital emergency room where the doctor told him, “You cannot die. Because, if you die, I’ll be replacing you in prison!” The General Director of the Corrections Department came to visit him. He tried to trap Ly Tong by inviting him to join in his lunch. Ly Tong replied, “It is a great honor to be invited by the General Director, but I am sorry to refuse it. I cannot violate my principal of hunger strike.” The Boss retorted, “If we give up to your hunger strike and release you without going through the legal procedures, we violate our principal, too. We can not do it!” After lunch, the doctor came back to say that the King’s chief of cabinetphoned him to check on Ly Tong’s state of health and added, “I will transfer you to an outside hospital. With better treatment and environment you might change your mind and stop your hunger strike.” The better hospital was, in fact, a psychiatric hospital and even its doctors wondered why the hell he should be there. He now lived among lunatics who yelled, caused disorder night and day and one of them even enjoyed cutting off his last toe! One of the therapies was to teach them how to masturbate to release mental pressures. He decided to drink juice to hold out and wait for news from America. No US officials seemed to care. At this hospital, he learned that his brother, who in his first mission in Vietnam, lost all his party’s seniority and his service bonus and in his second mission, was summoned to the security office to investigate his involvement. After three hours, his sister-in-law was summoned to bring his dead body back home!
- Rayong Court: After three months of drinking fruit juice and still in stable condition, he was transferred back to Rayong prison to attend court. Knowing that Thai attorneys were only legal dealers in the corrupt court business, he decided to defend himself. His request to screen his video footage before the court was accepted. This recorded the friendly and cooperative dialogue between them during the leaflet dropping mission, especially the part where Thira asked him when the leaflets were all dropped, “Okay! You are satisfied with the result?” But the judges did not pay attention to either the video evidence or Suthathif’s true testimony. Even Consul Jeffery confessed, “I believe or not believe your innocence doesn’t make any difference!” Angry with the consul’s irresponsible behavior, he questioned, “So what’s the use of your attendance if not to legalize the wrongdoings of this corrupt court?” Before Rayong court, as he was cited for contempt, he retorted, “The contempt of court is not as serious as the contempt of justice, especially when the offenders are judges and prosecutors. Any day I cannot put you judges and prosecutors in jail yet, that day I will die without closing my eyes!” Later Ly Tong wrote in his testimony, “This country needs the Deluge to get rid of all the corrupt and decadent and Mrs, Suthathif should be on the Noah’s Ark to beget a new breed deserving the noble title of Thai Kingdom.” To mobilize the Vietnam Americans supporting Bush’s plan to liberate Iraq from Saddam’s oppressive government, he decided to go on another hunger strike. After 33 days he stopped when the first US missiles exploded in the dictator’s heartland. On Dec. 25, 2003 he was sentenced to seven years and four months in prison.
- Klong Premn Prison: He was transferred to Klong Premn prison to serve the remainder of his sentence. Thailand is notorious for its “Lady Boys.” Most of them have big bosoms inflated with silicone or by female hormone and a few have genitalia operation. At Klong Premn, all lady boys having had operation must sleep in different rooms. But on weekend or holiday, they are allowed to set up tents to have love making with their “husbands” at Dan/ Building 1. Prison is lady boys’s paradise because they can choose rich and handsome husbands at will. Many lady boys are more beautiful, more passionate and sexy than real girls. That’s why fighting between rivals happened regularly and some died of AIDS before being released. To have a chance to go around, he volunteered to be a soccer coach. Using new tactics and prize to encourage, he upgraded Dan 1 team from the last to top 2. On July 26, 2005, Uong Chu Luu , the Communist Vietnam’s Minister of Justice, came to Thailand and requested Ly Tong’s extradition to Vietnam to be tried for violating Vietnam’s territorial and national security and having activities aiming to overthrow the people’s government. The sentence for these transgressions should be based on current Communist Vietnam’s law which would result in life imprisonment or death. In August, 2005, the Thai attorney general informed the American embassy in Bangkok that Thailand had accepted the request for Ly Tong’s extradition only for the charge of violation of Vietnam’s territorial and national security. Vietnam colluded with this offer. On March 28, 2006 Ly Tong again went on a hunger strike. He sent a testimony to the Thai justice minister and a hand written note to James Code, a US embassy senior political officer, “I will continue my hunger strike until I die to protest my extradition to Vietnam!”
- Bangkok Remand Prison: On May 17, 2006, Ly Tong was released after serving his full sentence but he enjoyed only a few minutes of freedom. The police were waiting at Klong Premn to handcuff him. At the police station he had his first beefsteak and a Heineken beer after one month without eating. The next day he went to the court and moved to Bangkok Remand Prison pending extradition hearings. This prison is one of the toughest in Thailand. After a one-week grace period expired, he was summoned to the deputy director’s office. Ly Tong pointed his finger at the boss and argued, “Thai laws do not compel foreign prisoners to work and to cut hair short. If you Mafia bosses don’t obey Thai laws, I don’t obey your jungle laws, too.” Then he stood up and banged his head against the wall and roared, “You can cut my head but not my hair! Don’t mess up with me!” Two hours later after having contacted the General Director, a jailer came to see him and implored, “The big boss agreed with all your requests. You can do whatever you want provided that you don’t cause any trouble to us.” The building chief recited this story while receiving a massage served by a robust Mafia prisoner, who, next day, wanted to win his boss’s favor by sneaking into Ly Tong’s study and using a small wooden seat to break his nose as a punishment for his impertinence and stubbornness. Ly Tong was hospitalized for a month and received apologies from both chiefs. He used to practice karate by punching and kicking against the prison concrete wall with bare hands, feet and head. Thai mafias used to solicit unmannerly. If rich foreign prisoners refused their request, they could concoct a story to beat them. But they paid due respect to ‘Big Boss’ (his title) due to his “hard head and hand” and “big heart.” During his time in Klong Premn and Remand prisons, Ly Tong helped to build two big water containers and to tile two toilet facilities. He also bought hundreds of large plastic bowls for prisoners’ bathing and washing and requested the prison authorities to allow prisoners to bathe and wash linens according to their needs, instead of a four-to-eight bowl of water limit. He offered food and other supplies to the poor and helped reduce prisoners’ ill treatment either by reporting incidents to high authorities or threatening to sue wicked jailers. A Thai doctor attested, “From the creation of the world till everlasting afterwards, you are the only prisoner and in your unique case having been visited by the Director General of Thai Corrections Department!”
- Coup d’Etat: On September 7, 2007, the extradition hearing decided that Ly Tong should be extradited to Vietnam. Ly Tong decided to lodge an appeal and requested to have Mrs. Suthathif Tuwasi, the Thai interpreter, Mr. Thira Sukying, the Thai instructor pilot, and Mr. Jeffery C. Schwenk, United States consul, to testify the truth before the US Congress to clarify his innocence so that the extradition would thereby be rejected. On April 3, 2007, thanks to the Coup d’Etat, the Appellate Court of the new Thai government in Bangkok showed due concern and made a serious review of his testimony (based on the false verdict of the hijack court, the Transfer Treaty, Thailand and International Cooperation, the Chicago Convention of 1948, International Laws, the Thai Extradition Act BE 1929 and the Extradition Aviation Security Order 1991). Thousands of Vietnamese from America, Canada, Australia and Europe took to the streets, united to show their support for their pro-democracy political activist. It was finally decided to overturn the Lower Court’s extradition decision. It was ruled that, “Ly Tong’s dumping leaflets to call for peoples’ uprising against Communist Vietnam’s government was deemed a political act, not a normal crime. The Thai Extradition Law of 1929 prohibits deporting people accused of political offenses to face punishment in other countries.” When asked by Thai reporters “Are you happy with the court decision?” he retorted: “What kind of happy should an innocent be after having been kept in prison 7 years illegally and unjustly? But I’m happy for Thai people because now you can trust this government and this justice system!” Ly Tong declared, “My return is an eloquent testimony that ‘justice triumphs over injustice’ and it has marked the glorious victory of Vietnam’s overseas struggle and the ignoble defeat of Communist Vietnam.”
Luc Huu Nguyen, an air force officer, declared, “We call him ‘The Impossible Man’. He can do everything!” The Orange Country Register wrote, “He made himself a torch for the whole world to exterminate the Communists;” A Bangkok-based official of IRA said, “He’s obviously a hell of a guy!” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R. Huntington Beach, called Ly Tong “a great American;” John Gittelsohn reported for the Orange County Register, “His exploits have made him a folk hero among many Vietnamese émigrés and other anti-Communists;” Seth Mydans reported for the International Herald Tribune, “Ly Tong is a symbol of courage and redemption, a tragic hero in the tradition of Vietnamese history. No one has a story as spectacular as Tong’s that helped make him an icon of resistance among his fellow refugees.” The owner of Living in America radio station broadcast, “He’s not like James Bond because James Bond is entertainment. Ly Tong is a real Freedom Fighter!” Ly Tong’s second Ph. D. Dissertation not only passed a 5-year deadline but also was lost in Katrina hurricane that had flooded the whole New Orleans, his residence.
- In San Jose: After returning to America, Ly Tong was booked to travel around the world the whole first year to speak about his ordeal and his plan of action to fight Communism. He settled down in San Jose for a little while and confronted another problem. The Mercury News reported, “Ly Tong, an international anti-Communist crusader with a string of swashbuckling campaigns under his belt, on Tuesday chalked off Day 5 of ahunger strike (February 20, 2008) that has drawn hundreds of adoring supporters and grown into a Santa Clara Street curiosity.” Ly Tong declared, “If they agree to change the name to ‘Little Saigon’ , I’ll stop. Otherwise, I’ll continue until I die.” His hunger strike, the seventh of his life, seemed to have goosed the demonstrators who have tried since November 2007 to sway the council on ‘Little Saigon’. “There is only one Ly Tong in the world and he’s a true hero,” said protester Tam Nguyen , a local attorney who said he would put his practice on hold to come there each day. On March 6, Mayor Chuck Reed came to visit him bringing a photo he kept as a souvenir and said, “I still keep your picture with me.” Ly Tong retorted, “You keep my picture but you don’t keep your promise!” The mayor handed Ly Tong a letter which said, “I ask today that you end your hunger strike. I pledge you that I will work together with both sides to resolve this issue. You and your supporters of Little Saigon can take pride in the fact that the City Council has reversed its original action. You can also take pride in the acknowledgement and tribute the Council paid at the meeting Tuesday when it passed a resolution saying: “The Council expressly resolves that it recognizes the widespread support for the name ‘Little Saigon’ in the broader Vietnamese-American community, and expresses its appreciation to the thousands of people who have spoken out and expressed their views on this subject.” Numb, exhausted and sleepless “Little Saigon” hunger-striker andwar hero, Ly Tong said, “Democracy has to be restored in San Jose or I must die!” By Thursday, March 13, after 28 days of hunger, including 8 days of thirst strike, and the loss of 38 pounds, the word began to buzz through Ly Tong’s entourage who accompanied him to the Mayor’s 18th floor office. He signed a one page agreement. Then he walked across the street to the Pho Lan Noodle House. His jubilant entourage signed his tent with a red marker to commemorate the victory. Just before six p.m. Ly Tong suffered what may have been a fainting spell and was taken by ambulance to San Jose Regional Medical Center. Tong’s hunger strike was clearly a strong catalyst in forcing the city to name the district “Little Saigon.” Mayor Jose S. Esteves, California, his ardent supporter, wrote, “The city of Miltipas bestows this Certificate of Commendation to Mr. Ly Tong for his brave actions in fighting for democracy and human rights in Vietnam, and for his continued burning spirit longing for justice and peace, and his courageous leadership in the Vietnamese American community.”
- In South Korea: In 2008, Ly Tong made a plan to fly over Beijing and drop fifty thousand 8-colored leaflets at the Olympics’ National Stadium at precisely 08:08:08 p.m. on 8/8/2008. He planned to thunder the Bird’s Nest with 8 knocks by aircraft landing gear and then to drop anti-Kim Jong il’s leaflets over Pyongyang. However, he couldn’t find a private airplane large enough to fly from South Korea to China. He then went to Taiwan’s Kinmen, 5 kilometers away from China’s Xiamen, to look for airplanes. He found nothing but a strong typhoon which had been ravaging the small islet. He therefore decided to dump half of his leaflets at the Olympics’ opening ceremony from Taipei’s Tower 101. The other half was dumped along the street to appeal to Taiwan’s government to defend not only Chinese in Taiwan but also in Red China for their freedom, democracy and human rights. The leaflets held a message for Tibetans, Uyghurs, Falun Gong, Burmese and peoples of Dafur.
Ly Tong returned to South Korea and chartered a small plane intending to drop anti-red China and anti-red Korea leaflets over Seoul on the occasion of China’s President Hu Jintao visit (August 26, 2008). In the air he made a move for a duffel bag with the leaflets , but the instructor, a large man, restrained him, suspecting Tong had a bomb. After a twenty minute struggle, the pilot landed at 8th Fighter Wing ROK Air Base where authorities were waiting with troops, tanks and anti-aircraft guns. Tong was detained, questioned by the airport authorities and then by the police. Ly Tong was finally released. Wonju police invited him to a restaurant, drank a toast to this courageous man and treated him to a free train ticket back his hotel in Gimpo, near Seoul.
XII. In Orange County: Southern California art gallery had drawn crowd of protesters for daring to mount an exhibition considered pro-communist. Among the works by 50 Vietnamese-American artists was a photo by Brian Doan, that captured a young woman in a tank top fashioned after the bloody flag of Communist Vietnam next to Ho Chi Minh Bust. On 17 Jan. 2009, Ly Tong sweettalked his way inside with a friend by pretending to want to take a look at Doan’s image, then splattered it with red paint. When learning that his assistant did not have enough time to take picture for souvenir, he returned in disguise and convinced the building owner to go inside again. At this time, he placed a tiny female underwear on Ho Chi Minh’s bust head and push the camera button by himself. Two girls in charge jumped in to shield the picture to prevent it being taken again. Next day, he showed up at the University of Southern California, which had garnered protests of its own for flyingCommunist Vietnam’s flag along with those of other nations at its Center for International Affairs. USC officials hung tough despite the demand to strike it. He searched the basement to find a tall ladder to climb up replacing the bloody flag with three-red-stripe yellow banner of the former South Vietnam.
Titles: Ly Tong had more than 20 Titles designated by media and supporters such as:
- Black Eagle 2. Resistance Icon 3. Mr. Impossible 4. Leaflet Cowboy 5. James Bond 6. Legend 7. Crusader 8. Papillon 9. Martyr 10.Daredevil 11. Patriot 12. The Last Action Hero 13. Don Quixote 14. Top Gun 15. “Ike” Eisenhower 16. International Father 17. Freedom Fighter 18. Hero [American Hero, Binational Hero, Folk Hero, War Hero, Tragic Hero]19. Mr. Franklin (due to his donation habit with one-hundred-dollar bills) and even 20. Hijacker 21. Terrorist.
XIII. Quotes: The War Of Words: A Fighting Technique In Communist Prison
* “I cannot enjoy myself when my whole country is in pain, in torture.” * “To become a master of all the masters, one should be a student of all the students. * “I believe in God, justice and my mission against Communism.” * “Please! Send me anywhere there aren’t any Communists!” * “On hunger strike, people only pay attention when you go into a coma.” * “Ly Tong proposed, compatriots disposed!” * “You feed prisoners with rice reserved only for animals to eat.” * “Show me which article of the prison regulations or state laws you used to discipline me so I can claim with the politburo. Or this is only the arbitrary will of toad-and-frog flocks at this prison who just shackle anybody for whatever reason at will?” * “I won’t obey any regulations incompatible with the UN Conventions on Human Rights and Prisoners’ Rights.” * “Good and progressive” in the Communist way means to be prepared and willing to stab in the back of fellow combatants and to betray the just cause!” * “You call down curses upon the prison regulation and policy of the “Americans and their puppets.” I assure that if you apply only 10% of that standard and regiment, all us prisoners will have happiest time!” * “I propose that we use the title “Your Excellency” with each other in our conversation, because some coming day, when times is going to change, you will have worry, uneasiness and fear about the appellation “Anh – Chu may” you’re using now with me! (Familiar form of address used by a superior to a young man or an inferior.)” * “I call you “Colonel” instead of “cadre” in order that someday you will call me “Lieutenant General,” a rank I would have been promoted to if we did not implicitly trust the International Conventions to sign Paris Agreement with Hanoi regime.” * “The present world situation is so complicated that just in a wink you, Colonel prison Director, can replace me in this prison anytime!” * “Regarding a regime which uses the declaration of a Logistics Commander: “Comrades! Keep shooting at will. Shoot until they stand in dread of us for three generations” as a slogan for overt propaganda, it is unsure that terms such as “brutal, immoral” have enough meaning to express its inhumanity yet? People of South Vietnam will stand in dread of Communists not only three generations but thousand lifetimes! That’s why they rather die on the sea than live under Communist regime!” * “The proposition that “Vietnam wants to make friends with all other countries, not distinguishing the political institutions …” should be corrected into “Us VC want to be a servant of all the big bosses, not distinguishing the dollar color!” * “In The USA, I ‘ve experienced strangling two mafias. Nevertheless, at this hour, a vile sort of guy dares trifling with Mr. Hijacker! Ah! Ah! Ah!” * “Look! Mr. guard! At this time, there is no more different ideology! In a few more years, this regime will surely collapse and you will have only one way to go: Following in our footsteps!” * “The question which school of thought: conservative or radical Secretary-General Le Kha Phieu belongs to is a stupid one! Vietnamese Communist Party has neither conservative nor radical political ideology. In the old days, there were two factions: Russian and Chinese. When its Russian master exercised greater influence over it, its traitorous henchmen in the politbureau leaned toward the Soviet Union. On the contrary, they served their Chinese master. After the USSR breathed its last, the party has two factions: CIA and dangling. The CIA faction was put out of influence after the Party Congress VIII. Now, there is only a “dangling” faction, the one with its standpoint “Free-market mechanism with State’s management and socialist orientation.” “Socialist orientation” is “a dangling lump” (male organ) the party has been hanged on to survive and prolong its totalitarianism. Because without this “dangling lump,” on behalf of what Vietnamese Communist Party continues to ride roughshod over the people?” * “The Saigon people who took in the street to welcome the aggressive army in the “Spring Great Victory” film can be classified into 4 categories: 1. The first category can use the folowing example as its model. An old woman joyfully jump in to embrace a Communist soldier while whining and saying in tear at the same time: “ My dear sons, my dear liberation troops! I’m glad you arrive in time. If you come a few days later, the blood-thirty VC will shell your mother and all others to death!” This category cannot distinguish between the liberation troops and VC! 2. The second category includes people who, in the past, learned propagation that “VC are group of blackened teeth with falchions and 8 guys swing a papaw-tree’s branch without braking it.” As a result of curiosity, they went out to see what the faces of jungle monkeys look like? 3. The third category ar people who enjoy a peaceful and happy life. Suddenly one day, aggressive troops blatantly invade the town with all the sophisticated killing means supplied by foreign countries. They felt struck with dread at this awful sight that they went to be on the look out and examination of the situation in order to decide the favorable timing to escape. 4. The fourth category includes undercover VC, who violated the regulation of withdrawing troops back to the North according to 1954 Geneva Treaty, and seized an opportunity jumping out to harangue a crowd with “hurrah and down with,” and people, in the state of panic and horror, folowed their lead to chant slogan for the sake of their own safety and security.”
XIV. Ly Tong, The Breaker Of All World Records With 7 Claims:
1 A Unique Title Winner: 21 Titles.
2 A Unique Long Trek To freedom: No refugees ever made their ways overland from Vietnam to Singapore.
3 A unique parachute jumper: Through the cocpit window of Airbus 310-200 of Vietnam Airline.
4 A unique mission achiever: (1) Four leaflet-dropping missions. (2) Three airport intrusions. (3) Two hijack charges. (4) Six prison escapes. (5) Seven hunger strikes. (6) Shooting one armed burglary to death. (7) Knocking one armed Mafia to pass out. (8) One parachute jump through Airbus 310-200’s cocpit window. (9) Swimming across 4-kilometer-wide Johore Straits. (10) Two kamikaze missions. (11) Honored by a hundred poems and 6 songs for his missions.
5 A unique hunger striker: Seven hunger strikes.
6 A unique religion: GOD with a special religious ritual and his signature composed of words: “I Pray To GOD.”
7 A luckiest man protected by a Tutelary Genius. (1) The only pilot survived after being hit by heat-seeking SA-7 missile. (2) Survived Cuban MIGs thanks to American pilots’ intervention. (3) Sucked out of Airbus cockpit window, feet entangled with parachute cords, but saved by falling in a pond at high speed. (4) A unique case to rejoin Air Force after being discharged of discipline. (5) Totally exhausted when swimming across Johore Strait but poles of fishing nets 200 meters away from Singapore shore saved him. (6) A Mafia passed out 10 minutes but breethed again due to tumbles while carried away. (7) Thailand’s Coup d’Etat after 15 years in peace saved him from an extradition to Vietnam. (8) All those who harmed him or condoned injustice in his case were punished by his Tutelary Genius: PM Chuan Leekpai lost the 2001 election, Thatsin Shinawatra was overthrown by a Coup and President Bush and his party lost 2008 election.