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Thread: The Future of War

  1. #1
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    Default The Future of War

    Richard Ned Lebow has an interesting piece in the journal International Relations, arguing major interstate war will become increasingly less likely:

    The Past and Future of War
    Richard Ned Lebow
    Abstract

    An original data set of wars from 1648 to the present indicates that security and material interest are rarely the principal motives for war for rising, great or dominant powers. These states far more often go to war for reasons of standing. The empirical evidence offers no support for power transition, balance of power, Marxist or rationalist theories of war. The frequency of war between and among rising, great and dominant powers is likely to decline precipitously because the most important motives for war in the past standing, security, revenge, material interests and domestic politics are, for the most part, no longer served effectively by war. Changes in ideas, not changes in material conditions, are primarily responsible for this transformation.
    I can't post the whole thing, but folks with online institutional access to the journal can access it here.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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    That argument is commonly made in interbellum periods.

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    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SethB View Post
    That argument is commonly made in interbellum periods.
    Very true. This argument is specious, and even if true nieve. One should never underestimate societies ability to find new justifications for conflict.

    Adam L

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    Council Member Starbuck's Avatar
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    D'oh...$25 for non-members.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam L View Post
    Very true. This argument is specious, and even if true nieve. One should never underestimate societies ability to find new justifications for conflict.

    Adam L
    The argument is actually made on the basis of 450 years of quantitative data--in other words, interbellum periods are part of the data set. Indeed, interbellum periods didn't substantially exist until post-1815, so Lebow would probably argue that the fact that they even exist now buttresses his findings.

    What he doesn't do, however, is code for war severity. And he only deals with major power wars.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    The argument is actually made on the basis of 450 years of quantitative data--in other words, interbellum periods are part of the data set.
    I understand that. I am simply agreeing that it is during interbellum periods that there is almost always a continuous stream of argumentation that "major state" warfare is on the decline.

    I have a great many problems with Lebow's work (not just this one in particular.) I'll try to make time in the next couple of days to read the article in detail and hopefully articulate my thoughts (if I can get enough sleep .) Let's just say that I have a great many problems with his "quantitative data."

    Adam L
    Last edited by Adam L; 09-22-2010 at 02:09 AM.

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    I do often remind others that Germany lived in peace for 43 years until the #### did hit the fan and WW1 broke out.
    We had only (comparably few) colonial conflicts with indigenous people (few tribes) during that period.

    It did not help my grand-grandfather's generation in 1914.

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    Arguements about shared economic interests (pre-WWI) or sociological/ideological hopefulness (Kellog-Briand crew) making the likelyhood of interstate warfare less likely tend to be disproven by history.

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