The Waning/Declining of War
• In recent years, a strong trend toward fewer wars has
– For the world as a whole, the current period is one of the
least warlike ever, with fewer and smaller wars than in the
– World wars killed tens of millions and left whole
continents in ruin.
– Cold War – proxy wars killed millions and the world feared
a nuclear war that could have wiped out our species.
– Iraq and Sudan and wars like these kill hundreds of
• We fear terrorist attacks, but we do not fear that life on the planet
will be destroyed.
The Waning/Declining of War
• Events in the post-Cold War era continue this long-
term trend toward smaller wars.
• Today’s most serious conflicts consist mainly of
clashing rather than all-out battles.
• In 2009, war decreased in Iraq and worsened in
Afghanistan – serious fighting continued in Sudan
and Sri Lanka.
– Democratic Congo – small scale but brutal fighting among factions
since war ended in 1999.
– Today there are 13 wars in progress; down from 20 ten years ago.
• Consistent trend downward.
• Realism offers mostly dominance solutions to the
collective goods problems of IR.
• Alternative theoretical approaches that draw mostly
on the reciprocity or identity principles are called
• Significant Scholars: Montesquieu, Kant, Wilson,
• These approaches are generally more optimistic than
realism about the prospects for peace.
– Evolution: build up of international organizations and
mutual cooperation (reciprocity) and changes in norms
and public opinion (identity)
• The originals of Liberal Theory are found in; (Mingst 2004: 62)
- Enlightenment optimism
- The Nineteenth-Century political and economic Liberalism
- The Twentieth-Century Wilsonian Idealism
1. Enlightenment Optimism
• In the writing the writing of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
• According to Kant: International anarchy can be overcome through some
kind of collective action
• A federation of states in which sovereignties would be left unharmed
Kant and Peace
• What explains this positive trend toward peace?
• Kant gave 3 answers over 200 years ago:
1. States could develop the organizations and rules to facilitate
cooperation, specifically by forming a world federation resembling
today’s United Nations (reciprocity).
2. Peace depends on the internal character of governments-- specifically
that republics, with a legislative branch that can hold the monarch in
check, will be more peaceful than autocrats (identity principle).
3. Trade promotes peace, relies on the presumption that trade increases
wealth, cooperation, and global well-being -- all making conflict less
likely in the long term because governments will not want to disrupt
any process that adds to the wealth of their state.
2. The Nineteenth-Century political and economic
Liberalism (in Great Britain & the United States)
• In the works of :
- Adam Smith and David Ricardo in economics
- David Hume – the importance of the individual as the unit
- Jeremy Bentham – people as rational, capable of deciding
what best for themselves without much
• Continued from Kant that saw man as capable of satisfying his
natural needs and wants in rational ways.
• Liberal thought individual freedom and autonomy can best be
realized in a democratic state free from excessive
• Political freedoms are most easily achieved in capitalists states
where rational and materialistic human beings can improve
their own conditions, maximizing both individual and
collective economic growth and economic welfare.
• They believe that free trade and commerce create
interdependencies between states, thus raising the cost of
3. The Twentieth-Century Wilsonion Idealism
• Also contributed to Liberalism
• According to greatest supporter is US president Woodrow Wilson who
formed the League of Nations – WILSONIAN IDEALISM
i. The basic assumption of this Idealism is that war is preventable.
• Example: The League of Nations was proposing collective security,
wherein aggression by one state would be countered by
• Problem solving in MULTILATERALISM.
ii. They have faith in international laws & legal instruments
- Mediations, negotiations and international court.
iii. The basis of Liberalism remains strongly rooted in
the belief of the RATIONALITY OF HUMAN BEINGS
and the uncontrolled optimism that through the
learning and education, human can develop
institutions to bring out their best characteristic.
• Emerges from man’s establishing and reforming
institutions that allow cooperative interaction and
prohibit coercive actions.
• Developed in the 1970s & 1980s some what parallel
to Neo-Realism (Rourke 2006: 24).
• Liberal Institution is considered by many scholars to
present the most convincing challenge to Realist and
Neo-Realist (Baylis, Smith & Owen 2008: 131).
The core assumptions of Neo-Liberal
i. States are the key actor in IR, but not the only
significant actor. States are rational or instrumental
actors, always seeking to maximize their interest in
ii. In this competitive surrounding, states seek to
maximize absolute gains through cooperation.
Rational behavior leads states to see value in
iii. The greatest obstacle to successful cooperation is
non compliance or cheating states.
COOPERATION (Mingst 2004)
• Emerges because for actors having continuous
interactions with each other, it is in the self-interest
of each to cooperate.
• Institutions may be established affecting the
possibilities for cooperation, BUT they do not
• Kant argued that states could join a worldwide federation
and respect its principles.
– Remain independent
– But forego certain short-term individual gains
• Kant: International cooperation more rational option than
going to war.
– To realists, war is a rational option; to liberal theorists,
war is an irrational deviation that results from defective
reasoning and that harms the interests of warring states.
• Neoliberal approach differs from earlier liberal
approaches in that it admit to realism several
– States are unitary actors rationally pursuing their self-
interests, but they say states cooperate because it is in
– Mutual gains better than cheating or taking advantage of
– Claim that neorealists’ pessimism is unjustified. States
cooperate MOST of the time.
– Positive reciprocity
• Set of rules, norms, and procedures around which the
expectations of actors come together in a certain issue area
- (trade, monetary, exchange, navigation on the high sea and in
the air, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, etc)
– Participants have similar ideas about what rules will govern
their mutual participation.
• Regimes can help solve collective goods problems by increasing
transparency – everyone knows what everyone else is doing,
cheating is riskier
• Conception of regime
– Combines elements of realism and liberalism
– Come into existence to overcome collective goods
dilemmas by coordinating the behaviors of
– States continue to seek their own interests, but
create frameworks to coordinate their actions
with those of other states if and when this is
necessary to realize self-interest
• Enforcement and survival of regimes
– Rely on state power; role of hegemons; but may survive
when hegemons that created them decline
Eg: In 1970s, when the American hegemony
declined of following the decades of U.S
hegemony since 1945, the economic regimes
somewhat adjusted and survived.
– Role of permanent institutions such as the UN, NATO, and
• The result of liberal institutionalism
to date is the European Union (EU)
– Stable peace with strong international institutions to bind
– The EU is the most advanced case of integration
– 27 member states have given considerable power to the
EU in economic decision making, but the national power
still be more important than supranational power
• Concept grows out of liberal institutionalism.
• Refers to the formation of a broad alliance of most
major actors in an international system for the
purpose of jointly opposing aggression by any actor.
– Kant , proposed a federation of the world’s states
– League of Nations, to promote collective security
– Organization of America States, Arab League, and the
African Union, International Governmental Organizations
• Success of collective security depends on two points:
– Members must keep their alliance commitments to the
– Enough members must agree on what constitutes
• Ex: 1990-91 – Iraq’s aggression against Kuwait
– All the great powers willing to bear the cost of confronting
• Concept of collective security has
broadened in recent years.
– Failed states – weak control over territory – implications
for their neighbors and the international system (potential
for drug trafficking, terrorist bases, human trafficking)
– Domestic politics as international anarchy – need for
intervention (like in Libya today)
– The duty of International community to intervene in order
to restore law and peace
The Democratic Peace
• IR scholars have linked democracy with a kind of foreign policy
fundamentally different from that of authoritarianism.
– Theory: Democracies are more peaceful than authoritarian
• Not true: Democracies fight as many wars as do
– Democratic Peace:
• What is true about democracies is that although they
fight wars against authoritarian states, democracies
almost never fight each other.
• Trend is toward democratization in most of the world’s regions.
Assumptions of Liberalism
Most Important Actor
Causes of State Behavior
Nature of International
States and other individuals
Psychological motives of decision