Since the beginning f mankind, it has always been the central issue for tribes, clans, cities, countries etc. Human beings have always been in a state of competition and cooperation individually or collectively. War is basically the conflict which can be structured and extended, carried out by state and non state actors. Hadley bull explains War as organized violence waged between political entities (bull, H. 1977). Discusses in his historical account “The history of Peloponnesus war” explained conflict among individuals thoroughly in the 5th century B. C.
In the current times, from Thomas Hobbs to Hans Amenorrhea, we can see hat war and its causes have been and continue to be one of the most important issues of the social sciences academia (Baldwin 1979, p. 1 61). Some scholars of the international politics see warfare as an inevitable reality; they also explain it as the essential feature of human nature, while other scholars argue that it is only escapable by social interaction and environmental circumstances. Now talking about the other perspective, power shapes conflict and the international system, which lead to a lack of cooperation, eventually leading to War.
The study Of international relations mainly focuses n power politics and conflict among states. Power is inevitably the force that moulds the social world. In relation to the states, power has been traditionally interpreted from a structural perspective, focused on material quantification and ultimately centered upon military capacity (Baldwin 2002, p. 177). War has always played a vital role in international relations. It is viewed as the constitution of international politics: when diplomacy between the states fails they tend to use power or force which eventually leads to war.
Now after explaining the concept of war it is necessary to explain how different international relations theories explain war. To get a better understanding of the issue it must be explained in terms of theoretical perspective. In order to explain why war is central to the academic studies of international relations, this essay is structured in three parts. The first part explains the concept of war and gives a brief introduction to it. The second part explains war in terms of different international relations theories.
Basically this paper aims to explain the possibilities, argument, and rationale of realist, liberals and Marxist outlook of war and its centrality to the academic study of international relations. The third part deals with the conclusion, which will answer the main questions and discuss the centrality of war in international relations studies in terms of international relation theories. Realist view: Realism tends to explain war in the most accurate approach. A realist approach is considered to be the most leading theoretical perspective in the field of international relations.
Realism offers a more definite set of arguments about the foundations of war. Realism can be further explained in terms of three categories: classical, modern and neo-realism. All these sub ranches are based on the same core principles. When we talk about classical realism, it basically starts with the teachings of Discusses, which dates back to the 5th century B. C. Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbs also made great contributions to classical realism. All of them made their core focus on us prelacy of the state.
Along with primacy of state they explained the aspects of human nature like selfishness, egoism and greed in terms of state. If we talk about Niccole Machiavelli, he disagrees with the concept of ethics and morals in politics. As he stated in his writings, “… In politics we must act as f all men are wicked and that they will always give vent to the malignity that is their minds when opportunity offers” (Donnelly, 2009, p. 32). Hence, according to Machiavelli all men are opportunists and wicked in politics. The modern realists like Kenneth Waltz and E.
H Carr further carried out the classical concepts with their own amendments. They focused on the concept that the international system is anarchic, so without the absence of actor above states to regulate their interactions, states arrive to interaction with other States on their own which instigate fear, jealousy, insecurity and suspensions among tastes (Dunne and Schmidt 2008, up. 100-103). As the modern realist views states as the primary actors who believe in minimization of power and security in the anarchic international system, this whole scenario explains the realist perspective on the origins of war.
Classicist’s work cannot be neglected when we talk about war in realism. In his book “On War” he suggested that war is a measured and rational act and “a prolongation of political activity by other means” (Brown and Mainly 2009, p. 1 15). In essence, Classicist suggests that in order to increase their power, sometimes, states hint that war is a necessary step and it must be taken. Waltz has taken it one Step further and suggested the three main reasons of the causes Of war. Waltz suggests, ‘The evilness of men, or their improper behavior, leads to war” (Waltz 2001, p. 9). It is first reason of the causes of war, which illustrates the classical realist thought and gives emphasis on flawed human nature which propagates war. The second reason suggests that internal state or non- state actors play a vital role in the inclination towards war. In order to survive from the internal threat states must promote a common enemy. The state ruses war with others to avert itself from internal devastation. The third reason is international anarchy, which Waltz suggests occurs when states have conflicting interests, leading to clashes of interest.
According to Waltz “a state will use force to attain its goals if, after assessing the prospects for success, it values those goals more than it values the pleasures of peace” (Waltz 2001, p. 160). The realist views on war and Waltz’s view have many similarities, which is why Waltz’s view is regarded as the realist view on wars. Therefore, according to the realist theoretical perspective, war is inevitable in he international system because of the anarchic nature of the international system.
Liberalism view: Liberalism in international relations perspective mainly focuses on achieving ever-lasting peace and collaboration in the international system. It confronts the theoretical perspective of realism. It emerged in the enlightenment period of Europe. Liberal internationalism came into existence after the First World War when the erstwhile President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson laid the establishment of the League of Nations. Kant, Beneath and Locke are considered to be the most famous liberalizes. Kant proposed the theory of repeal peace in seeking to propose a way out of what he called “lawless state of savagery’.
According to Cant’s peace theory, there are three core doctrines, which include republican constitutionalism, a Free State federation and universal humanity (Kant, Dunne, 2008, p. 1 12). Kant was of the view that federation of Free State would be pacific and they should not go to war with each other. This theory was further developed by Doyle in his democratic peace thesis. Liberalism believes in various core values, which are regarded as ideals, Including freedom, scientific rationality, and incapability of human regress, human rights, constitutionalism and democracy.
He also believes that capitalistic markets as a welfare for all (Birching, 2009). Like realism, liberalism also considers the characterization of states by human nature, but the difference lies in that liberalism perceives human nature in a positive approach. According to this view, liberalism views states as positive actors on to the other states. In his book Tim Dunne suggested that “the historical project of Liberalism is the domestication of the international” (Dunne, 2008, Pl 10). Liberalism not only promotes peace but also has various accounts on he causes of wars in the international relations.
In 1 986, Doyle formulated the extended version Of Cant’s theory of perpetual peace with his own theory of democratic peace. In his writings, he is of the view that only democracies are peaceful with each other and states that are more liberal and representative would try to sustain peace among themselves but not reliably with other non-liberal and non-representative states (Doyle, 1986). According to Doyle the main causes of war are the undemocratic states. On the other hand this perspective completely contradicts with the core values of freedom and non-intervention in liberalism.
This view has only been used to validate involvement into non-democratic states. The problem of imperialism or the breakdown of balance is considered to be the cause of war by some scholars of liberalism, with this only remedied by cooperation and mutually beneficial commerce (Dunne, 2008). According to Schumacher, war is the result of the hostile urges of unrepresentative elite rulers (Burch ill, 2009). Essentially, liberalism fails where realism (or any other theory Of international relations) succeeds, in explaining the causes of war. Marxist view: Marxism proposes a tremendously practical basis for examining the causes of AR.
It offers an altogether different analysis of the causes of war in international relations whereas liberalism and realism use an almost similar analysis. Marxism was developed by the famous theorist Karl Marx in the nineteenth century. Vladimir Lenin is considered to be the further developer of this theory. According to Marx, the economic development of the world is the “motor of history/’ (Hoboken and Jones, 2008, p. 146). He suggested that class conflict between the working class, called ‘The Proletariat’s”, and the owners of the means of production called “The Bourgeoisie” is caused by economic development.
Marx proposed that this class conflict would result in the revolutionary movement which would take over the capitalist system and create socialism and the eventual withering away of the state leading to pure communism (Marx and Angels, 2008). Mar’s analyses of the capitalistic system and class conflict were borrowed by Vladimir Lenin in order to explain global politics, as Marx was unable to provide as in-depth analysis of international relations and politics.
Linen’s “imperialism as the highest Stage of capitalism” theory and World system theory provides the Marxist analysis of the causes of war. The Marxist theory proposes that class conflict is created due to the capitalist system; this is how the proletariat stand against the bourgeoisie to get their rights and freedom. According to Kenneth Waltz’s interpretation, ‘War is the exterior manifestation of the internal class struggle, which makes the problem of war coeval with the existence of capitalist states” (Waltz, 2001, p. 126).
This theory proved to be right in the real event of October revolution in Russia, which took place in 1917. Lenin, who is considered to be the chief architect of the October revolution, wrote the theory of imperialism before these events took place. He described monopoly capitalism as the highest level of capitalism development. He further proposed that the imperialism becomes capitalism when international capitalistic economies share the world among themselves and the territorial division of the whole world between the leading capitalistic economies is completed (Lenin, 1915).
In this way, Lenin projects that in order to increase their power; the strong capitalist states will initiate war with weaker states and maximize their holding of the monopoly capital. As capitalism develops its natural course, its main target is to exploit those on the periphery by imposing wars just like the imperialists in search of new resources and markets. Emmanuel Wholesalers, the developer of World system theory, proposed that capitalist states exploit both the periphery of less developed states and the semi periphery of the developing states.
Hence, under this capitalist system, it is not possible to stop the imperialist wars because these three zones have an exploitative relationship with each other. Marxism clearly defines the effect of international economic system on the behavior of states in the international system, whereas the other two theories do not give clear explanation. Conclusion: The essay explained the question “why is war so central to the academic study of international relations? ” in terms of theoretical approach of international relations study.
It focused on the three dominant theories of international relations (Realism, Liberalism and Marxism). Each theory provided a different perspective on how international politics works and how war shapes international relations. The essay delivered a summary of each theory before giving each theory explanation for the reasons of war in the international system. From a realist perspective, flawed and aggressive unman nature in states and the international anarchic system is creating a race for power, existence and security, which will eventually lead to war.
The liberalizes agree with the anarchic nature of the international system, but do not consider it as the fundamental reason behind war. The Marxist argue that it is the capitalist system, which pushes states towards grabbing land, power and resources. By way of conclusion, in the broader context, War has always been a central issue among states and the factors that determine its cause are crucial in the understanding of the study of international relations. War plays a crucial role in shaping international politics and relations between states, which basically adds to the centrality of war in the academic studies of international relations.