Peace Studies and International Relations

Michael Klare describes what he calls a new “Thirty Years War” that is now developing that has similar outlines of the earlier conflict (1618 – 1648) discussed in class. What are some of the similarities and differences between to two?
The Thirty Years War refers to brutal conflicts experienced in Europe between 1618 and 1648. The period saw a struggle between the emerging nation-state and governance. The struggle came to an end with the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 (Klare, 2011). Similarly, there are high chances of the struggle occurring again as countries compete for control over global energy sources. The key issue is over control and global dominance on energy supply. Whichever country finally over the control over energy supply will determine how people work, live and play. It can be a struggle of about 30 years as these energy sources have to be experimented first in the laboratories before they are fully developed for industrial use. At the same, current forms of energy will still be in use hence this will raise issues of carbon emissions and their associated dangers.
As such, where does a war come from? Control over energy sources by different countries is undertaken by different corporations. Worldwide, control over energy sources is undertaken by powerful and wealthy corporations like ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron. In their undertaking, these corporations are forced to adopt new economic models in order to acquire new markets. Additionally, the struggle will lead to the emergence of new corporations as they aim to rival the already established powerful and wealthy corporations. Nations will compete through adoption of new technologies, protect their existing energy sources, as well as compete for new sources, reserves and markets. To nations, acquisition of new energy sources is a national security matter due to struggles over these resources. As per the Center for Study of Working Class Life, the video shows American invasion of Afghanistan in order to protect the national security interests of the United States.
Concerning the text reading and the film, do you agree with Machiavelli that it is better for the Prince (the United States) to be parsimonious, rather than generous? Feared or loved? Do you agree or disagree with his analysis of leadership with regard to our foreign policy towards Iran?
Yes, I agree with Machiavelli that it is better for the United States to be parsimonious when dealing with countries like Iran. In the report by the Frontline (2007), it has been highlighted how efforts by the United States to bring about democracy in Iraq have served to strengthen Iran and it has emerged as a power in the politics of the Middle East. Given that the United States needs to use Iran in its plan to bring democracy in Iraq, then it is imperative that the United States is careful in the way it deals with Iran. For instance, plans by the Bush administration to attack Iran because of its nuclear program destroys the relationship developed between the two countries namely the United States and Iran. The Iranians see the nuclear program as for peace purposes. Consequently, any attempts by the United States to attack Iran’s nuclear program will result into a resistance from the Iranians. In the Frontline report, Iran issues a warning saying that any mistake made by the United States to attack Iran will be met by a response.
Given the threats issued by Iran, the United States was rather careful in dealing with the issue. Through a careful approach taken by the United States, only Iraq was attacked making Iran more secure. A secure Iran is good for the United States as it pursues its mandate of protecting American interests especially in the Middle East. However, efforts by Iran to have the United States stop its attack on the country’s nuclear program were futile. The United States refused to reply inquiries sought by the Iran government made Iran to rebel American approaches. The evidence is the installation of a new hard-line Iran government led by President Ahmadinejad (Frontline, 2007). Iran was strengthened by the collapse of Iraq. By not following Machiavelli’s concept of a careful approach, the United States made mistakes that only ended up strengthening Iran in the Middle East.
Do you believe that Keohane’s use of the phrase “informal violence” is a useful alternative to the term terrorism?  Has the term terrorism become too politicized to be useful as an analytical term?  If so, why?
Violence has become informal in that globalization has changed the way terrorism is undertaken. New forms of violence take advantage of the modern technologies both in transportation, use of explosives, and the means of communication used. The current forms of terrorism do not use the same military technologies as used between 1914 and 1945. Violence flows through globalized networks by weakening a country’s social and economic exchange through their involvement. Additionally, violence is informal as it involves non-state actors who capitalize on one country’s secret information to inflict great harm by use of small material capabilities (Keohane, 2013).
Furthermore, current terrorism is not undertaken by formal state institutions or announced in advance by the use of the mainstream media. No nation has been seen to declare a war to another nation in the era of informal violence. However, globalization has ensured that it is informal as it a network of non-state actors that operate on an international level. Consequently, acts of force initiated by one country are seen to be controlled by others nations very far across the world. For instance, globalization has seen a change in the way the United States approaches its foreign policies. Currently, the United States does not undertake direct invasion and attack on a foreign country. In so doing, the United States recognizes the important role played by the geographical space not as a barrier to violence, but as a carrier. Terrorism had been too politicized. Therefore, by using informal violence to replace terrorism, the globalization concept seeks to depoliticize terrorism. The issue brings out the role of non-state actors in the globalization of terrorism making it appear as an informal violence in nature.
How does Lenin explain the evolution of imperialism from capitalism?
Imperialism essentially refers to a stage in the history of capitalism. As such, imperialism can be said to be moribund capitalism, monopoly capitalism and decaying capitalism. Here, a monopoly is able to manifest itself in an economy through cartels, position of a country’s big banks, seizure of raw materials by trusts, territorial partition of other countries and the economic partition of the world especially by international cartels. Competition among different industries within a country becomes a monopoly. Production becomes socialized, as well as technical invention and improvement. On the contrary, despite the fact that production is socialized under imperialism, appropriation still remains private. In this case, the means of production remains in the hands of few private property owners. In as much as the concept of free competition is formally recognized, a few monopolies control an economy.
Imperialism has been exhibited worldwide through wars. This was mainly between 1898 and 1914. Moreover, imperialism manifests itself through control of the private ownership of the means of production. This has been evident as countries fight over the control of oil, geopolitics and through wars worldwide. In doing this, the monopolistic few struggle to stop the supply of raw materials in order to compel the rest of the population to adhere to the existing cartel. Additionally, monopolists stop the supply of labor through the formation of alliances. In so doing, capitalists and trade unions sign agreements that only permit their members to offer labor to cartels in the country. Furthermore, there are countrywide boycotts, stop of credit services, stopping deliveries, as well as crackdown on the trade outlets within a country. In the end, the monopolists dictate whatever they deem appropriate the masses that have no economic power to resist such moves. Profits only go to the few monopolists who control the means of production within a country. The key means of production in a country targeted by monopolists include iron, potassium and coal. The domination, therefore, results into imperialism.
According to Tickner, why does a feminist perspective on international relations continue to remain outside the mainstream of traditional approaches to IR theory?  How would a feminist analysis of global terrorism differ from that of a realist?
Many world meetings on international relations do not include women in decision making. This is despite the fact that many of these meetings deal with matters on promotion and protection of women’s participation in peace and security processes worldwide. Research shows that in over 24 peace processes over the past two decades, women’s attendance has not been over 8 per cent. For instance, a study conducted between 1990 and 2010 shows that out of 585 peace agreements only included 3 percent of women. Consequently, women’s needs and concerns have not been addressed by these meetings and subsequent agreements reached among parties. Women issues have, therefore, not been well addressed. These meetings fail to understand the need to include the views and perspectives of women on human needs, reconciliation and peacebuilding.
However, a feminist’s perspective on international relations continues to remain outside the mainstream of traditional approaches to IR theory given that most of the negotiations involve armed actors. Nevertheless, many of these armed actors could be well positioned to end a war but on the other hand are not adequately equipped to bring peace. Many peace talks only favor those with arms, as well as those parties who aim to derive their political power from the armed conflicts experienced worldwide. In the end, agreements reached seem to favor a small group of the armed actors. As a result, a recurrence of conflicts occurs worldwide due to the establishment of a society that is not based on inclusivity, justice and accountability. A feminist approach would have been the most suitable as it is the women who bear the greatest brunt of violence. A typical case is the injustices and inhuman acts committed against Afghanistan women during the violent times that the country has gone through.
Fukuyama contends in “The West Has Won” that radical Islam does not constitute a serious alternative to Western liberal democracy.  Do you agree or disagree?  Why?
The documentary “Islam: What the West Needs to Know” centers on filmed interviews with five Islamic writers who favor the fact that the Muslim faith is tolerant and peaceful. Additionally, the five writers, Abdullah al-Araby, Walid Shoebat, Robert Spencer, Serge Trifkovic, and Bat Ye’or, argue that some Koran and hadiths verses do encourage the killing and submission of non-Muslims. They add that the few verses touching on peace do not supersede messages of killing. For instance, in the Koran, there are verses that encourage the forceful conversion of people into Muslims. There is the verse of the sword, thus, they are allowed to kill unbelievers who resist Islam, anywhere in the world, when they are found. These are the clear loopholes within these books. It is also said that Prophet Mohammed used to spread his message by use of a battle and conquest. As such, his followers did the same in the pursuit of extending the Islamic empire. Despite the advances that Islam has made as a religion both in art and science, it can also be said that Islam is not a peaceful religion, as per the documentary.
Another key thing that is clearly demonstrated in the documentary the role of the Crusaders. The world has witnessed a conflict between two religions thus Islam and Christianity. As the followers engaged in battles and conquest to spread Islam, the Christians applied resistance hence the wars witnessed. The Crusaders engaged in battles in order to regain what they had lost to the Muslims. In so doing, the Crusaders also did horrible things. Consequently, it is evident that Islam is radical but does not pose a serious alternative to the Western liberal democracy. I do agree with the above statement because of the above-mentioned reasons.
What are some of your thoughts and observations on the Weimberg / Ryan documentary? How does it support, or undermine, the tenets of human nature or cognitive theory?
The Gary Weimberg and Catherine Ryan’s documentary on the Soldiers of Conscience looks at the conscience faced by soldiers over killing while in combat. Here, the documentary states that whereas some soldiers choose to kill, others do refuse. Thus, there are more soldiers who decide not to kill, unlike the general view that they would engage in killing while in combat. For instance, out of the eight soldiers interviewed, four believe that it is wrong to kill while the remaining four killing is acceptable and necessary only under conditions of warfare. Additionally, the documentary brings out the issue of what soldiers grapple with while on combat. This concerns the morality of killing as the decision to kill does has lasting effects on one’s life, their outlook, as well as future behavior.
In reality, every soldier on combat has to decide at one point to shot, or release a bomb which eventually results into the death of thousands of civilians. They face a moral dilemma of how to treat human life. It is about practical decisions soldiers take while on combat, rather than a philosophical decision. The documentary brings out the moral issue of human life in warfare where killing is inevitable. Through their bravery, the soldiers’ humility is clearly depicted as they gave humanity top priority while in their field of duty.  The documentary, therefore, supports human nature and value attached to human life at all cost. There is a belief among the soldiers in the sanctity of life. The documentary demonstrates an optimistic perspective on peace, war, as well as the power of human conscience over decisions made by soldiers.  Many soldiers have chosen to defend the ideals they believe in while undertaking their responsibilities.
What does author Robin J. Crews mean by the phrase “images of truth?  What are the fundamental values associated with peace studies?
The aim of peace studies is the critical analysis of armed conflict, war or political violence and how this affects millions of people worldwide. Through the analysis, peace studies examine ways in which the above-named issues can be amicably solved. In so doing, peace studies use both theory and practice. By use of the phrase “images of truth”, Robin J. Crews meant the results of peace worldwide. When peace is realized, there is acceleration in economic development, promotion of a society based on values of equality and justice, and the building of a society that has a robust legal system, as well as an orderly management in place. Normally, a situation of peace allows government to undertake activities that result into growth of various economic sectors, other than using a lot of resources to bring about peace. The fundamental value of peace studies is peace. This is a situation where there is no violence in society. People undertake their daily activities in a peaceful manner. Through the application of theory into practice, peace is realized worldwide.
Efforts of peace aim at the elimination of divergent ideas and the conciliation of conflicts. Additionally, the goal of peace studies is consistent in the interest of all mankind involved. Consequently, for the world to realize economic development there is a need for peace to exist among various countries. Cases of violence should be avoided at whatever cost as deter economic growth through displacement of people in search of people. For instances, where violence is experienced, there is development of unfair trading relationships, human rights abuses and unequal access to natural resources. Additionally, there can be development of unfair economic relations between different countries (Atack, 2009). Governments are also forced to use lots of resources in their peace efforts.

Order now

Related essays