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3 1 A Primer on Security Concepts This chapter provides a brief introduction to the concepts underlying international relations and the use of force. International relations theory may seem too abstract for many readers, but it is derived from centuries of empirical evidence and is the necessary and proper intellectual foundation for thinking about twenty-first-century national security. Understanding the two major schools of thought on international relations—realism and idealism—provides the indispensable starting point. After seemingly continual war, European Enlightenment thinkers collected the wisdom of the ages and posited a form of self-governance and a system of states that could eventually lead to a democratic peace. Enlightenment thinking is readily apparent in the U.S. Constitution, but America has its own history and its own spin on international relations. Ironically, the elements of the Constitution designed to promote the democratic peace have been subverted, largely since the end of the Second World War. The concepts and lexicon introduced in this chapter are used throughout the text. You will be introduced to the root causes of war, just war, uses of force, and the rationale for the timing of war initiation. In the context of realism and idealism, we discuss the security dilemma and the principles of self-determination, territorial sovereignty, noninterference, universalism, and the indivisibility of peace. Next to realism and idealism, democratic peace is the most important idea presented in this chapter. In the next chapter, we’ll discuss some concepts peculiar to the American view. Root Causes of War Through an examination of historical thinking on the origins of war, Ken Waltz found three dominant schools of thought on the matter that he 4 Foundational Concepts delineates in his 1954 classic Man, the State and War. The first school posits that the root cause of war lies in man himself. Some speak of all mankind, while others point more specifically to the male of the species, and still others to the young male. A second school places blame in the structure of the state (government and economy). Those favoring democracy claim it to be more pacific than other forms of government because the public who bears the burden of war has a voice in the decision to war. Marxists, not surprisingly, claim the obverse; to them, capitalism, with its inherent avarice, boom-and-bust cycles, and the inevitable competition over resources and markets, is the source of the problem. The third school observes that states are sovereign with no higher authority and that, therefore , anarchy characterizes the system of states. War is a necessary resort to survive in a “self-help” system of sovereign states.1 As can be imagined, where one places the cause of war has a lot to do with the remedies proposed. Those who see the cause of war in man propose measures to meet basic human needs as well as education, religion, and other “civilizing” approaches. Those who see the structure of the state as the problem tout their preferred form of government and apply varying degrees of effort to persuade others to adopt the correct form. Those who see the problem as the anarchic system of states propose international or even supranational institutions to rectify the condition while others who accept the condition rely on military power and alliances. Given that there is general agreement on the inevitability or at least the existence of war, there should be rules for initiating, waging, and terminating war. Wars should be just. Just War Just war theory is debated by ethicists and philosophers and is subject to a variety of interpretations. The just war tradition, in contrast, is a matter of historical record and is codified in ever-evolving international law. The just war tradition “is a set of mutually agreed rules of combat . . . between two culturally similar enemies.”2 If one will do business after the war, these rules must be followed. The rules applied within early European Christendom. Islamic law, Shari’a, contains a prohibition against warring between Muslims. But Christians and Muslims could wage war without rules against infidels. At its height, Rome maintained different A Primer on Security Concepts 5 rules for war between states, bellum, and wars against barbarians, guerra. The modern majority view is that the rules must apply universally ; there should be only one morality. Increasingly, one hears calls to abandon agreed-upon rules and standards in the global war on terrorism.3 The just war theory is often associated with the Roman Catholic...


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