The paper is a review of the writings of Kenneth waltz and Alexander Wendt.
The two differ in the approach of discussing the anarchical realms of the world.
They agree on the use of force as a method of survival for the states.
The main argument of the paper is the contention that anarchy is relative a states. The paper takes the social constructivism approach is discussing anarchy in the world. International political arena is equated to a jungle where there are no rules.
The paper delves into the discussion of the three principles of political structures postulated by Kenneth Waltz.
It discusses death of sovereignty and the extermination of nation -states by the advent of globalization.
Alexander Wendt disagrees with Waltz and postulates the social constructivism concept of self-help of the states.
The paper contends the international operations are by the states are immoral in nature.
The states do not abide by the universal moral codes. The human nature and the ambitions of the statesmen are pointed out as the cause of war.
In the international arena, anarchy is what nations make of it. The term anarchy sis used to describe the absence of government in the local setting. In the international setting, anarchy is used to describe the immorality of states and the constant possibility of the use of force. Hans Morgenthau argued that the universal moral principles do not apply in the international arena. Countries adopt the foreign policies that favor their countries. Hans Morgenthau argued that the motives of the statesmen do not count in international politics, but the outcomes do. Neville Chamberlin applied the policy of appeasement that was the morally acceptable position to avoid the outbreak of another world war. The outcome of his policies was another world war. When compared to Winston Churchill, who can hardly be referred to as a moral saint, Winston Churchill did not subscribe to the universal moral principles in his policies, yet they played a major role in the Allies victory.
Kenneth waltz argued that the international political systems are anarchic and decentralized. When compared to the domestic political structures, the domestic systems have established political structures. There legally elected office holders who advocate for the political policies of their constituents. International politics exists without established political structures. International politics is played out in the political jungle without established rules of operation. Sovereign entities scramble for the available resources. The powerful sovereign entities use the threat of military invasion, economic sanctions and other fatal foreign policies to maintain control of the political jungle.
Anarchy is what states make of it. The concept of anarchy and lawless world is subject to the interpretations of individual states. Waltz postulate the anarchic organization of the world politics. Contrasting them to the national structures the concept of power differs in the national and international forums. Waltz use the example of the classical economics to further his argument. Firma is parry to an economic system and are formed as a result of individuals making conscious decisions to invest in the market. The market is not liberal because of globalization. However, the firms’ self-regulate and adjust themselves to adapt to the current taxation regimes. Political organization cannot be confused with classical economics because the nations cannot make decisions that injure their economic well-being.
A domestic structure is defined according to the people who ordered it. The differentiation of capabilities influences the global position of the state in relation to other civilized states. Nation states are under threat of extinction if the wake of globalization. The global economy does not allow a political entity to exist on independently. Nations are dependent on each other for military protection in case of external aggression, trade and commerce and also support in the international forums such as the United Nations and the European Union. The advent of the internet has opened up most of the nation states to cultures from all over the world. Nation States are left with few options, either to adapt to the specifications of the international community or risk death. Countries such as Somalia and Syria resisted the change in ideologies. The despotic regimes governing those countries reacted negatively to the quest from the democratic governance form the people. Somalia died and what was left behind is left behind is its demarcation in the map of the world. Societies in a dead state degenerate into a state of nature described by Thomas Hobbes. People live in a state of fear and life is short, nasty and brutish. Syria is on its death bed. The country resisted international control and influence. It rejected contemporary systems of government. The political instability that has plagued the two countries is an indication that nations are not free to do as they please. Sovereignty died with the advent of new technology especially in the advancement of new transportation. The rising of none state corporations and multinationals have made it difficult for countries to defend their sovereignty.
In the international arena states are not the only actors. The states are intricately connected to their financial capabilities. The economic structures define both the political and social ranking of the country. The economic capabilities cannot be separated from the other capabilities of the state. States must employ economic means to achieve military and political ends.
Most international political theories, according to Kenneth Waltz are about inequalities. The interaction of the poor and wealthy states, form the structure of the international political systems. Although the functions of the state are similar their mode of operation is very different. Power in the international arena is measured in terms of the distribution of capabilities. Due to the inherent ideological differences between the states, they conduct their affairs with the shadow of violence brooding above them. The threat of violence and negotiations backed with the threat of military invasion is what characterizes the international affairs. The international operations of countries are anarchic in nature. Some countries prosper under those conditions awhile other nations disintegrate into bankruptcy and state failure.
As Alexander Wendt argues, nations have an ego. Their operations are dependent on security of their ego. Wendt compares states to human beings. Human beings are egotistical in nature. Human beings fight when their dignity is under threat. Thy only fight when war is the only available option of solving the conflict. Wendt argues that war occurs when the other options have been exhausted extensively and there is nothing to prevent it. Structural realist and neorealist contend that the because of the war is egotism of states, power politics and the flawed human nature. Wendt supports anarchy in the operation of states. He argues out the existence of the predator states that predate on the weak states. The predator states are not bound by the universal moral principles but motivated by self-interest.
The convergence of power politics, the flawed human nature and egotistical states in the international arena in the 21st Century has created a hegemonic international society. Proponents of the hegemonic theory contend that peace can only prevail if there is only one dominant international power. The Second World War brought out two super powers. The United States and the Soviet Union emerged as the most powerful nations from the war. For over half a century the two countries engaged in the cold war. This period was characterized by competitive security innovations between the two countries. The two developed weapons of mass destructions and funded their militaries in preparations for war in case any of the countries attacked each other. Military alliances were formed in preparation for a third world war. The tension in the international communities almost generated into full-scale war in 1967. Proponents of hegemonic theory argued that the world at this stage was evolving to have one dominant leader. The Soviet Union collapsed and the United States of America remained the single super power in the world. The world gained economic stability after the end of the Cold War.
The power politics that were played in international forums were archaic in nature. Countries engaged in Chain gangling. They aligned behind the United States of American and the Soviet Union. Chain gangling brought more tension between the superpowers than their ideological differences. The Cuba missile crisis almost brought the world into another world war. The Soviet Union withdrew their support for the nuclear program.
In international politics, states worry about the division of possible gains that may favor others more than itself. As a result of that they make decisions that have consequences that they did not foresee from the start. The same way people are victims of tyranny of small decision; if 100 consumers made individual choices to buy a commodity such as pizza , the market will be forced to make a price for the commodity . The actions of the states create the structure of the field activity. The change in the international politics triggers a similar change in the domestic governance.
Waltz argues that the use of force is exercised in the name of right and justice by the states. Governments claim that they are doing justice by carrying out death penalty on death row inmates. Quelling of riots is done in the name of justice. Governments are voted in resolve past injustices. In the international arena force is employed for the sake of security from external aggression and furtherance of their self-interest. Rebels challenge the authority of the government. The course is meant to put its legitimacy into question. Wars among states only determine the allocation of gains and the military strength of the nations. Wars in the history of governance have been fought to determine which side is stronger than the other. In the contemporary world, nations go to war for the same reasons.
The use of force by the government in its domestic setting threatens the stability. Rebels employ force to overthrow the government from power. The use of force in the domestic setting threatens the interests of the state in general. In the international setting, the use of force by a state is referred to as the use of private force. The use of force in the international setting does not put the interest of the other states into jeopardy. It only affects some of its members. In the domestic setting, the field of politics is in the Administration. In the international setting, the realm of power is through struggle and accommodation. The adjustments in the international politics happen without a formal and authoritative adjuster.
Anarchism has more benefits than disadvantages. The constant possibility of the use of force is employed to limit manipulation. It moderates demands and serves as an incentive to the settlements of disputes. The threat of force can only be compared to the strike of labor organizations in the domestic setting. The government understands the impact of a strike by a labor organization. Labor Unions use industrial action to settle mass negotiations of salaries. Nations avoid the costly negotiations if they fail to cooperate. If negotiations fail, military action becomes the only available option to end conflict. Nations are steadfast in negotiations to avoid the loss of life and the heavy military investments that area associated with wars.
Waltz defines political structures in three dimensions; differentiation of capabilities, and ordering principles. Wendt criticizes Waltz approach of defining political structures. He argues that the definition does not determine whether nations are going to be friends or foes. It ignores the dynasties that exist within countries. Countries that were once colonized have a certain inclination toward their colonizers in the international affairs. Wendt argues that the definition postulated by Kenneth Waltz does not comprehensively exhaust anarchy. According to the social construction theory, people act towards the meaning objects have to them. States behave differently towards friendly countries and the complete opposite to the countries that jeopardize their interests. Wendt argues anarchy and distribution of power theories do not distinguish the two.
Weapons possessed by different countries have a different meaning to states. The nukes owned by the Republic of Iran have a different meaning to the United States of America and Russia. Wendt delves further into social construction theory to argue that states have particular identities. Some countries have been attributed with specific characteristics based on the policies advocated by their statesmen. These social identities are adopted to protect particular interests. The process of identity formation is done for the primary interest of preserving the security of the state. Nations engage in competitive security operations. Egoistical nations display their weapons to show their military preparedness in case of attack.
Nations do not identify with the security of the superpowers they are aligned to. The also do not identify with regional powers. They treat security as a personal concern. Countries have neoliberal approach towards their security. They have disregarded associations to security regimes and regional benefits. Their individualistic approach targets absolute gains from the security operations. Wendt discusses the concept of self-help to states.
In international economic markets, states are stripped off their identities and made to abide by the rules of the internationally acceptable standards. States advocate for individuality in the international arena. Their survival depends on their ability to evolve and forge new identities. The positions taken by nations may change, but their interests remain the same. Some countries have predator egos. They react violently in the face of external aggression. Such nations have tendencies to jeopardize the interest of other nations to reach political ends.
On 23rd January the president of the European Commission called president Yanukovych and informed him of the possibility of cancelling the bilateral relations the and imposing other sanctions. The United States of America revoked the visas of several Ukrainian officials in relation to the violent killing of protestors.
Power politic can be seen in the operation of the affairs of Ukraine. It is a case in point to argue that the concept of sovereignty had been eradicated by globalization. The president of European Union threatened Ukraine with cancellation of bilateral trade agreements. This demonstrates that countries cannot behave as they please under the watch of the international communities. They are no longer free to make their own choices. The international community carefully scrutinizes the internal affairs of a country.
The Ukraine crisis demonstrated that states are interested in protecting their interest. The Russian parliament has authorized military intervention in Ukraine. Before that the authorization, the Russian had already begun operations in Ukraine. The western powers have termed the action of Russia as an act of aggression against a sovereign state. Russian authorities responded to those claims arguing that the Russian government is protecting the right to life for the Ukrainians. Political realism states that nations are motivated b self interest in their foreign policies. It would be reasonable to argue that Russia intends to regain control over Ukraine, which formerly belonged to Ukrainian government.
The United States of America threatened Russia with economic sanctions and boycotts if Russia takes military action against Ukraine. Russia maintains that it seeks to protect Russian citizens who are in Ukraine. Russia’s military action will stop the violence that is already claiming lives. President Obama is planning to skip the G8 summit if the Russian government intervenes in Ukraine.
In conclusion, the threat of force has played a vital role in maintaining the world peace since the end of the Second World War. War is caused by the inordinate foreign policies of statesmen. Proponents of anarchism advocate for non-hierarchical societies. Winston Churchill, Thucydides and Henry Kissinger argue that are caused by human nature, anarchy and personal ambitions of statesmen. The threat of force in the international arena keeps nations in check and saves time in conflict resolutions. The threat of force is a vital tool in the international arena. It has kept the world from plunging into a third world war because the two superpowers would destroy each other.
Waltz, Kenneth. The Anarchic Structure of World politics. New York: Stanford University Press, 2006.
Wendt, Alexander. Anarchy is What States make it. New York: Roultledge, 2009.