As I brought in previous article causation of problem that I’m trying to put in more critical view, in this article I would like to stress another perspective, and to explain it as “something what is missing.” Woodrow Wilson had, I would call it, very brave ideas that were ahead of his time, but as this society is developing (main focus is on society), I think that is time to put more effort and more solid ideas to action and finally do something concrete and better of this world.
First analogy that I will mention is describing Idealism as a theory which was supposed to be successful one but it eventually failed to be and it lost its influence inside of IR theories. “anarchy is the permissive cause of war” → “there is an international society.” “Idealism is arguably the founding tradition of international relations theory.” Even so, its influence over IR scholars and practitioners has waned over the years. Idealism is seen to have failed to “make the world safe for democracy” as President Woodrow Wilson claimed it could during World War I, even when its principles were institutionalized into international organizations like the League of Nations and later the United Nations. Realism won most of the important intellectual debates during World War II and the Cold War. And when its usefulness was threatening to fade away, Kenneth Waltz reinvented it as neorealism in his Theory of International Politics, thereby providing IR theorists with a seemingly timeless account of the behavior of actors in a situation of structural anarchy.
How can we perceive Idealism? And how is war defined by idealist? Kegley is giving us the Idealist worldview which is summed up in the following core principles:
“Human nature is essentially ‘good’ or altruistic, capability of mutual aid and collaboration.
The fundamental human concern for the welfare of others makes progress possible.
Bad human behavior is the product not of evil people but of evil institutions and structural arrangements that motivate people to act selfishly and to harm others – including making war.
War is not inevitable and its frequency can be reduced by eradicating the anarchical conditions that encourage it.
War and injustice are international problems that require collective or multilateral rather than national efforts to eliminate them.
International society must reorganize itself institutionally to eliminate the anarchy that makes problems such as war likely.”
For Waltz, the international level is where anarchy is located. And by analogy that I mentioned earlier war is located in the international level. In contrast, Kegley is saying that the international level is not where war is located. Violence and war are never finally located in any of the three images for Kegley. This is because war and conflict – bad behavior – if political and social arrangements are better organized than bad behaviour can be prevented. In the place of anarchy at the international level, Kegley is keen to substitute “international society.” If organized properly, international society can “eliminate the anarchy that makes problems such as war possible.”
The second important term is so called (true idea of Idealism) “the march of democracy” which, within states around the globe, increases in liberal free trade arrangements that assume trust and the benefit of all, strengthening of international law, “the renewed role of international institutions like the United Nations to undertake collective security initiatives, the proliferation of arms control agreements, and international humanitarian responses to state human rights violations as evidence of the fulfillment of Wilson’s specific idealist predictions about what international politics would look like.” Now when the Cold War is over states have changed from being conflictual toward one another to being cooperative toward one another. And, given the history of superpower conflict during the Cold War, this change is a very big deal.
There is still no world government. It is still to be reached, and in my opinion world politics should go in that way. It should be reached, it can be reached and the global system can once again be hierarchical instead of being anarchical. To bring that kind of order democracy can be seen as a mechanism to reach it. The third analogy is about “making the world safe for democracy.” Democratic states will influence autocratic states to transform them into democratic states (not always very well accepted), and we will end up with an international society of democratic states. If democracy is a form of governance that expresses the will of the people and if all states are democratic, then the individual “domestic societies” within states become one big collective “international society” among states. This idea should be “leading idea” for all behaviour of states and societies, thinking as people because we are people and we can be united as one species. Current level of consciousness isn’t still on satisfied level. World isn’t ready for democracy, and still that term isn’t used only in good way. In this contemporary world nothing is anymore good or bad, or in between. In simplified way to say everything is complicated and here we can see absurdity. But what I was thinking about to show is how IR theories can’t be seen in simplified way. All ideas that neorealists and neoliberalists are trying to put should be seen from another angle. So for my third and last article (on this topic) I will bring you basic ideas of Constructivism as an IR implemented inside of my question about war.
Image Source: 3 Quarks Daily