Explain how war can be “Better than a Bargain”. Fromkin and Doyle.
War is a form of conflict that usually arises whenever there is a disagreement between individuals, states or even nations. It results into a hostile relationship, and for example, in armed conflict, mortality rates become high. Furthermore, it impacts negatively on the economy and leads to widespread problems. Sometimes war can be beneficial besides its negative attributes. This is detailed as war being better than a bargain, and it may act as the best option amongst two parties with conflicting needs (Fromkin 8-18).
The end of the Cold war acted as a signal that both the Western and world war had also come to an end. This acted as and ending to one phase of conflict among humans that had been a characteristic of humanity for a long time. The issue that arose as a result was the end of war could be used as a feasible and also a likely choice of conflict among humans and a substantial ingredient in power politics. Both the world wars and the cold war had their basis as to why they occurred and each resulted from unavoidable circumstances (Doyle 12-17).
The most difficult issue in social theory is how the onset of war can be explained. Most systematic work on the subject, which is inclusive of realism, can be termed as rationalist. This means it assumes that the actors (usually simplified to mean states and their leaders) choose policies in purposeful, strategic ways. These actors try to do their best in order to advance in their own interests and achieve gains. This is done through realization of the resources available to them and the information beliefs that they have about their adversaries and partners, which in this regard means other actors or states.
This strategic interaction sometimes leads to war. A question that always arises is whether in this situation, war can be better than a bargain. If reliable bargains can genuinely avert war, then we need to know whether some states are better placed than others to make such bargains (Fromkin 58-62). This is not always the case as other states may be at an advantageous positions and it may be through war that the disadvantaged state may get better bargains.
The factors that determine what side prevails during a crisis are hard to conclusively describe. Before the strategic approach, the typical answer was a demonstrable advantage in capabilities. Crises, in this regard, were competitions in risk taking as characterized by the cold wars. For instance, the United States and Russia tried to compete on whom would reach the mood first. This was a risky venture, with both economic impact and risks of loss of life. Thus, in such situations, each side has a choice of standing aside and estimating its payoffs and estimating that the other side will retreat. The risk of war usually arises because of the chance that neither side intends to back down. In such a situation, it would not be practical to bargain but rather war becomes a better alternative.
This position leads to arguments about why some crises ended in war rather than diplomatic talks and bargains in the end. According to the first argument, war occurs when the side that should back down failed to realize its inferiority. It knew its own resolve but misperceived its opponent’s resolve, and thus the likelihood that the opposing side will choose to back down. Each side in a crisis can try to convince the other that it is willing to fight for the stakes, and so the latter should back down rather than risk war. War occurs because one side decides that war is better than bargains (Fromkin 47-54).
Although each predisposing factor towards war is treated separately, it is obvious that multiple factors can operate in actual cases of war. When bargaining theory of formalized. It serves to expose potential mysteries associated with empirical inquiry into the risk factors for war. In particular, models have shown how particular variables, for instance military technology and the negative impacts of war, affect the risk of war under conditions of incomplete information and commitment problems. Commitment problems arise when bargains are hard to be realized and are usually caused by indivisibilities and preventive military technologies. States would be less interested with taking war as an option in such a circumstance. The same factors would also not have an impact on the risk of war when information is complete, and commitment problems are absent (Fromkin 88-62).
Rationalist theories of war have also been applicable to show how war is the best option during a conflict. War is seen as a product of purposeful actors pursuing their goals using efficient means in order to reach their ends. Even with the grave consequences of war, actors still decide to engage in it. Both parties may be of the view that they will win in a confrontation, and one fears a preemptive attack. Furthermore, one state may not have understood how an issue may be beneficial to another state, and thus finds itself at qualms with another state. This act as misperceptions and errors of judgment and is the rational analysis of war. The rational analysis of war detail that given the high stakes involved during a war, this act as powerful incentives for states to look closely at each other’s capabilities and intentions (Fromkin 27-56). For instance, conflict that arose in the summer of 1914 was not an accident but rather a planned event or an agenda on the party composed of military elites in Germany and also in Austria, but at a lesser degree. Prussian generals were of the view that Russia’s growth was to be stopped before it became a dominating for in Europe, and this resulted into the conflict.
War can be better than a bargain when both sides do not have the political power to carry out their preferred policies. In this type of situation none of the groups is willing to compromise with the either or relinquish an existing choice for another one. Such situations usually raise the political temperatures as a nation or a group of nations tend to feel superior to the other. They are not willing to compromise with forces that prevent expansion, development and influence they have. An example of such a feature was the German expansionism to the coalition of iron and rye. This dominated the politics of Germany for many years. The navy and their allies were also on the verge of expansion. This threatened the alienation of England thus bringing about conflict of interests and ideas as Germany, and its allies were not willing to avoid expansion of its navy to prevent alienation of England. Germany as a nation sought to grow at whatever cost and brought down an opposing force. In such a scenario it is better to go to war than bargain as the subject at hand is fighting for redemption and respect of space. If England decided not to act it risked being alienated (Doyle 202-256).
The period of 1914-1919 various coalitions were formed during the First World War. Theses coalitions had diverse and unique political ideologies which influenced activities over Europe. Most of these ideologies conflicted in the sense that they tended to compete to decide which championed the other. Different ideologies had its supporters. Some were misleading as they did not bring any development whatsoever and were entirely repressive. In such an instance, it would be better to go to war than to bargain so. There would always be tension arising from conflict of interest thus the true judgment would be war. The group that supports favourable and sound political ideologies will always be backed by the masses ensuring defeat of the public enemy (Doyle 109-118).
Realism theories of war argue that interstate relations exist in a condition where war is always possible. The institutional underpinnings of peace in this case have not been carefully analysed rather the causes of war were given much of the attention. From Thucydides point of view, individual linked across state boundaries linked by traditional moral norms have no effect whatsoever. The consequences of competition under anarchy surely result in war as bargain seems not a way to resolve issues. The cold war began due to suspicion and doubt between two nations, the USSR and the USA, creating tension around the world. This war was mostly due to competition as both countries were in an arms race as they competed to manufacture weapons and come up with new and improved machinery (Doyle 67-82). It intensified relations among the two as there was doubt as to who has more political power. The USA would give up its title as the Super power at the time thus furthering the conflict.
In the practice of balance of power, Doyle argues that maintaining the status quo which is an essential ingredient to the balance of power. Without the balance of power, nations are likely to go to war as no nation would like to be left out in decision-making and consultation. After the First World War was over, the Versailles treaty was put into action ad it came with strict rules. Germany as a country was one of the nations that were victimized by the treaty due to the fact that it was charged with paying for the destruction brought by the war; all the African colonies to its name were taken from it. Such a move only meant a decrease in power and influence it had. This was one of the contributing factors that caused the Second World War as Germany felt it had to fight for its right to have power (Fromkin 63-65). Bargain was not considered as a topic to be discussed in such a situation as it did not replace what was taken from the Germans.
Doyle argues from Thucydides point of view that war is commanded by force and violence. An empire founded upon fear only stirs up hatred and bitterness among people’s hearts in the long run. Adolf Hitler’s reign was founded on fear and dictatorship. No one dared to oppose him fearing for their lives as he was popular inhuman acts and forceful ruling during his time in power. It would be better to go to war with such an individual than to bargain since he or she is not willing to listen to complaints or opinions raised. Such a leader prefers to do things his way without considering its effects rather how much will he benefit and the power, and distinction he or she gets (Doyle 82-99). Going to war would be the eventual and better choice to put behind leaders who does not value the political importance of goodwill based on fairness and kindness to the people.
In conclusion, war can be encouraged in some circumstances as it becomes the best alternative in comparison to bargaining. This can be summarized as the War’s inefficiency puzzle and gives reasons as to why fighting may be the best choice during times of conflict when war is known as a costly venture.
Doyle, M. W. Ways of war and peace : realism, liberalism, and socialism. New York: Norton, 1997. Print.
Fromkin, D. Europe's last summer : who started the Great War in 1914? New York: Vintage Books, 2005. Print.