Καθηγητής, Διεθνείς Σχέσεις-Στρατηγικές Σπουδές
Πανεπιστήμιο Πειραιώς, Τμήμα Διεθνών και Ευρωπαϊκών Σπουδών
www.ifestosedu.gr – firstname.lastname@example.org
https://www.facebook.com/p.ifestos - https://www.facebook.com/Ifestos.DimotisBBB - https://www.facebook.com/panayiotis.ifestos
18.5. 2013. Σχόλιο Π. Ήφαιστου για την αποβίωση του Kenneth Waltz
Μάιος 2013 Σχόλια και άρθρα τις μέρες της αναχώρησής του από τα εγκόσμια του Μεγάλου Δασκάλου της Πολιτικής Θεωρίας του Διεθνούς Συστήματος
Συνέντευξη Kenneth Waltz στον K. Kreisler και σύνδεσμοι
Συνέντευξη Kenneth Waltz
Επιτέλους Waltz: Άνθρωπος, κράτος, πόλεμος (Εκδόσεις Ποιότητα www.piotita.gr) και Θεωρία διεθνούς πολιτικής (Εκδόσεις Ποιότητα www.piotita.gr)
Επιτέλους, μέσα σε αυτό το περιβάλλον κακών μαντάτων και ειδήσεων, ένα καλό νέο: Τα δύο σημαντικότερα κείμενα διεθνών σχέσεων κυκλοφόρησαν στα ελληνικά (εκδόσεις Ποιότητα). Για ένα ακόμη λόγο (και αυτά) τα πρότεινα εγώ για μετάφραση και κυκλοφορία στα ελληνικά. Τιμήθηκαν δεόντως: Κατ' αρχάς, τα μετάφρασε με τρόπο που δεν μπορούσε να είναι καλύτερος ο Κώστας Κολιόπουλος. Το Ο Άνθρωπος, το κράτος και ο πόλεμος έγραψε μια εξαιρετική εισαγωγή ο συνάδελφος Καθηγητής Ηλίας Κουσκουβέλης. Το Θεωρία διεθνούς πολιτικής έγραψε ένα εκτενές εισαγωγικό δοκίμιο ο συνάδελφος Καθηγητής Αθανάσιος Πλατιάς. Επειδή ότι γράφτηκε για τις διεθνείς σχέσεις λίγο πολύ αφορούσε αυτά τα δύο κορυφαία βιβλία, αξίζει συγχαρητήρια σε όλους τους συντελεστές της έκδοσης των δύο αριστουργημάτων. Κάτι ακόμη: Έρχεται ο Waltz στην Ελλάδα και θα αποτελέσει ένα σημαντικό πολιτικοστοχαστικό γεγονός. Εδώ παραθέτω αυτούσια την ανάρτηση των εκδοτών.
Πιο κάτω παρατίθενται σύνδεσμοι και το κείμενο συνέντευξης του Kenneth Waltz.
Kenneth N. Waltz, Ο άνθρωπος, το κράτος και ο πόλεμος (Εκδόσεις Ποιότητα www.piotita.gr). Μία θεωρητική ανάλυση Εισαγωγή για την Ελληνική έκδοση: Ηλίας Κουσκουβέλης
Ποια είναι τα κυριότερα αίτια του πολέμου; Ο Κ. Waltz ερευνά σε βάθος τις ιδέες που έχουν διατυπώσει διάφοροι διανοητές σε όλη την ιστορία του δυτικού πολιτισμού, προκειμένου να εξηγήσουν τους λόγους για τις συγκρούσεις μεταξύ των ανθρώπων καθώς και τις σχετικές προτάσεις που διατύπωσαν για την επίτευξη της ειρήνης. Ο Waltz δείχνει ότι τα υφιστάμενα γνωστικά κεκτημένα μπορούν να συνεισφέρουν στην κατανόηση των σύγχρονων διεθνών σχέσεων. Οι θεωρίες που διατύπωσαν άνθρωποι όπως ο Άγιος Αυγουστίνος, ο Hobbes, ο Kant, ο Rousseau και ο Spinoza καθώς και οι απόψεις των φιλελεύθερων, των σοσιαλιστών και των συμπεριφοριστών επιστημόνων υποβάλλονται σε κριτική ανάλυση.
«Σε αυτή τη στοχαστική έρευνα στις απόψεις της κλασικής πολιτικής θεωρίας σχετικά με τη φύση και τα αίτια του πολέμου, ο Καθηγητής Waltz ακολουθεί τρία βασικά θέματα ή αλλιώς εικόνες: ο πόλεμος ως συνέπεια της φύσης και της συμπεριφοράς του ανθρώπου, ως αποτέλεσμα της εσωτερικής οργάνωσης των κρατών και ως προϊόν της διεθνούς αναρχίας».
«Ευτυχώς που ο Καθηγητής Waltz δεν είναι απλώς εκπαιδευμένος στην πολιτική θεωρία, αλλά συνάμα είναι και ικανός μελετητής της διεθνούς πολιτικής που κατέχει τη σύγχρονη βιβλιογραφία και τα ανεπεξέργαστα δεδομένα του αντικειμένου. Έτσι, έχει τη διανοητική ικανότητα να αναλύσει τις συνεισφορές των πολιτικών φιλοσόφων και επίσης να αποτιμήσει το πόσο σχετικές και πόσο επαρκείς είναι για την κατανόηση του πραγματικού κόσμου της διεθνούς πολιτικής».
American Political Science Review
Kenneth N. Waltz
Ο άνθρωπος, το κράτος και ο πόλεμος. Μία θεωρητική ανάλυση
Εισαγωγή για την ελληνική έκδοση: Ηλίας Κουσκουβέλης
Προλεγόμενα του William T. R. Fox
Η πρώτη εικόνα: Διεθνείς συγκρούσεις και ανθρώπινη συμπεριφορά
2.1. Κριτική αποτίμηση
Μερικές συνέπειες της πρώτης εικόνας: Οι συμπεριφορικές επιστήμες και η μείωση της διακρατικής βίας
Η δεύτερη εικόνα: Διεθνείς συγκρούσεις και η εσωτερική δομή των κρατών
4.1. Εσωτερική πολιτική: η φιλελεύθερη άποψη
4.2. Διεθνείς σχέσεις: η φιλελεύθερη άποψη
4.3. Δυσκολίες στην πράξη
4.4. Αστοχίες στη θεωρία
Μερικές συνέπειες της δεύτερης εικόνας: Ο διεθνής σοσιαλισμός και η έλευση του Α΄ Παγκοσμίου πολέμου
5.1. Τα σοσιαλιστικά κόμματα στην περίοδο του Α΄ Παγκοσμίου πολέμου
5.2. Η προσαρμογή της θεωρίας στα γεγονότα: Lenin
5.3. Η προσαρμογή της θεωρίας στα γεγονότα: οι ρεβιζιονιστές
Η τρίτη εικόνα: Διεθνείς συγκρούσεις και διεθνής αναρχία
6.1. Jean Jacques Rousseau
6.2. Από τη φύση στο κράτος
6.3. Το κράτος μεταξύ κρατών
Μερικές συνέπειες της τρίτης εικόνας: Παραδείγματα από τα οικονομικά, την πολιτική και την ιστορία
7.1. Εθνικοί δασμοί και διεθνές εμπόριο
7.2. Η ισορροπία ισχύος στη διεθνή πολιτική
7.3. Ιστορικές εμφανίσεις της τρίτης εικόνας
8.1. Η πρώτη και η δεύτερη εικόνα σε σχέση με την τρίτη
Ευρετήριο επιστημονικών όρων, εννοιών και ονομάτων
Kenneth N. Waltz, Θεωρία διεθνούς πολιτικής (Εκδόσεις Ποιότητα www.piotita.gr) Εισαγωγή για την ελληνική έκδοση: Αθανάσιος Πλατιάς
Οι βασικές αρχές που αναλύονται στο έργο του Kenneth N. Waltz είναι συνοπτικά οι εξής:
Τα κράτη είναι οι βασικοί δρώντες του διεθνούς συστήματος.
Η απουσία διεθνούς ρυθμιστικής εξουσίας καθιστά το διεθνές σύστημα άναρχο. Κατά συνέπεια οι σχέσεις των κρατών είναι ανταγωνιστικές και πολλές φορές συγκρουσιακές.
Για την ασφάλεια των κρατών ισχύει η «αρχή της αυτοβοήθειας». Τα κράτη μεριμνώντας για την ασφάλειά τους μειώνουν την ασφάλεια των άλλων κρατών, με αποτέλεσμα να τροφοδοτείται ο ανταγωνισμός και να δημιουργούνται «διλήμματα ασφαλείας».
Τα κράτη τείνουν να είναι ορθολογικά, επειδή είναι «ευαίσθητα στο κόστος» και επειδή κύρια μέριμνά τους είναι η ασφάλειά τους, δηλαδή η επιβίωση, η διατήρηση της εδαφικής κυριαρχίας και της εθνικής ανεξαρτησίας.
Τα κράτη επιδιώκουν να αποκτήσουν «ισχύ», η οποία είναι το κύριο «νόμισμα» στη διεθνή πολιτική κυριαρχία και για να αυξήσουν την ασφάλειά τους υιοθετούν στρατηγικές εξισορρόπησης που αναπτύσσουν μηχανισμούς αυτορρύθμισης.
Η δημιουργία ενός αυτορυθμιζόμενου συστήματος ισορροπίας δυνάμεων σημαίνει ότι η κατανομή ισχύος αφορά καίρια τόσο τη σταθερότητα όσο και την αστάθεια στη διεθνή πολιτική.
Kenneth N. Waltz
Θεωρία διεθνούς πολιτικής
Εισαγωγή για την ελληνική έκδοση: Αθανάσιος Πλατιάς
Κεφάλαιο 1 Νόμοι και θεωρίες
Κεφάλαιο 2 Αναγωγικές θεωρίες
Κεφάλαιο 3 Συστημικές προσεγγίσεις και θεωρίες
Κεφάλαιο 4 Αναγωγικές και συστημικές θεωρίες
Κεφάλαιο 5 Πολιτικές δομές
Κεφάλαιο 6 Άναρχες τάξεις και ισορροπίες ισχύος
Κεφάλαιο 7 Δομικά αίτια και οικονομικά αποτελέσματα
Κεφάλαιο 8 Δομικά αίτια και στρατιωτικά αποτελέσματα
Κεφάλαιο 9 Η διαχείριση των διεθνών υποθέσεων
Συνέντευξη στον H. Kreisler
Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley
Conversations with History Blog
Hear a podcast of this interview:
This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.
Welcome to a Conversations with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Kenneth Waltz, who was the Ford Professor of Political Science at Berkeley. He also taught at Swarthmore and Brandeis, and now is Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. Professor Waltz is a former President of the American Political Science Association and a recipient of its James Madison Award for Distinguished Scholarly Contributions to Political Science. He's the author of numerous books including Man, the State, and War; Theory of International Politics; Foreign Policy and Democratic Politics; and, co-authored with Scott Sagan, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons.
- Background ... education ... learning grammar ... economics ... literature and philosophy ... influence of the Lewises ... influence of economic theory
- Being a Political Theorist ... two kinds of theorists ... studying philosophy of science ... identifying a field of study ... example of economics and the physiocrats ... arguement against international politics as a field ... evaluating usefulness of a theory ... what a theory does ... examining causal factors ... explanation, not necessarily prediction
- A Theory of International Politics ... Man, the State, and War ... relevance of philosophy of science literature ... anarchy as organizing principle ... unequal distribution of capability ... changing the number of great power actors
- The Idea of Structure in International Relations Theory ... state interrelations vary ... unipolar world: globalization or Americanization? ... controversial view of bipolar world
- A Unipolar World ... unsurprising collapse of the Soviet Union ... China's perception of Soviet power ... danger of unchecked power
- Deterrence and Rogues ... links among rogue regimes ... Bush doctrine of preemption ... preemption vs. prevention ... Iraq and weapons ... rogues are survivors ... unlikelihood of Iraq losing control of nuclear weapons ... deterrence works against states ... nuclear vs. chemical or biological weapons ... deterrence and nonstate terrorists ... preventing nuclear terrorism ... North Korea
- Conclusion ... preparing for the future
© Copyright 2003, Regents of the University of California
Page 1 of 7
Ken, welcome back to Berkeley.
Nice to be back.
Where were you born and raised?
In Ann Arbor, Michigan; and I went to high school there.
Looking back, how do you think your parents shaped your thinking about the world?
Not very much. My father never went to high school, and my mother never got out of high school. So they were not people of great political interest or insight.
Did you have any teachers when you were growing up who shaped your interest in politics or your writing skills?
I had an excellent English teacher in the tenth grade who taught me everything there is to know about grammar and word usage, and that was very valuable. It was not a lot of fun at the time, but it was a very valuable semester, and I treasure it.
I went to Ann Arbor High School, which was, then, such a good high school that if one was on the college preparatory program and got a C+ average, one then was automatically admitted to the University of Michigan.
What world events occurred during your growing up years? And did any of them particularly impact you?
The prolonged and deep Depression influenced everybody. What was going on in Europe kind of passed us over; that is, was not much talked about by history or social science teachers in high school. There was only one who really made much of it, which was rather surprising. And I was not especially interested ... I was more interested in math and physics, and drama.
And rhetoric, and that sort of thing, than I was in politics or world events.
Where did you do your undergraduate work?
I started at Oberlin, and I graduated from Oberlin.
What was your major?
I started as a math major, almost completed it, and then shifted to economics.
What about economics attracted you?
Well, I thought I knew two things. One is, I didn't want to have a career in which I taught. I didn't want to have a career in which I was expected to write. So I thought economics would give me a variety of choices from government to business.
Then I went to graduate school at Columbia, in economics. I could see that I was not going to be a real economist. If you're not attracted to a field enough to read beyond the requirements, just to read more because you're curious and you want to know more than is required at any given course -- if that's not the case, then you're in the wrong field. So I finally began to ask myself, what did I really enjoy most in college? And the answer was English literature and political philosophy. So I took a lot of English literature courses and loved it, but realized that I would never write a novel or a poem, and I would, therefore, be a critic -- a very honorable profession, but it didn't inspire me. So political philosophy won, and I'm very pleased it did.
Any teachers that you had at Columbia or at Oberlin that pointed you in either of these two directions?
The teacher and the wife of the teacher who influenced me most was John Lewis and his wife, Ewart Lewis.
And they were at?
They were at Oberlin
I took just two half-courses from John Lewis, one in theory and the other in American government, but I lived with the Lewises for a semester. Ewart Lewis was a highly knowledgeable person in the field of medieval thought, and published a book, a one-volume version by Knopf and two volumes published in England, called Medieval Political Ideas. We had very interesting kitchen conversations about the interpretation of Saint Augustine, for example, and I enjoyed all of that immensely. So when trying to make the final decision, my wife and I went back to Oberlin and visited the Lewises and talked about it. That confirmed, by then, a strong inclination, and I shifted from economics to political science.
Has your work been influenced by economic theory or is it merely that you were a student of economics in an earlier phase of your life?
It was influenced very much by a microeconomic theory. It really is built on a microeconomic theory, which I would say is the major influence. The second influence is anthropology, which I never studied formally as a student. But I read a great deal of anthropology, and the analogy is with segmentary lineage systems, or in Durkheim's terms, mechanical societies rather than organic societies or solidary societies. The analogy is quite close.
What about political scientists, any teachers or intellectual influences that stand out, other than, obviously, the classical literature, which we'll talk about in a minute?
I had very good professors in the field of international politics, but none of them were people who were attuned to theory in the sense that I have been talking about. Certainly, everybody dealt with those who were considered to be the major theoretically oriented people in the field, as we know, from Thucydides onward.
Next page: Being a Political Theorist
Page 2 of 7
Being a Political Theorist
Before we talk about your first book, what exactly does a political theorist do?
Thinks. There are two kinds of political theorists, really. One is a political theorist who writes about other people's political theories. And that, of course, in the traditional political theory field, is what is done mostly. It's a reconsideration of Hobbes on this point, or Locke on that point.
The other thing, if one wants to try to develop theory or promote its development, is to think about ways of doing that. [My] first book was really a sorting out book, and the second book was an attempt to develop a theory of international politics in a sense in which it had not been developed before.
Before we talk about those two books, help us understand, first, how does a person prepare to do theory? What kind of curriculum should one undergo to do that in a satisfactory way?
If you want to deal with theory as theory and not as the history of political philosophy -- which, incidentally, is a part of the field that I love, and it's a marvelous literature, but I didn't feel inclined to rehash it -- if one wants to develop theory, the direct route is to read a good deal of philosophy of science and take courses. Good courses are available in the philosophy of science. The first requirement, if you're going to work on a theory or the improvement of somebody else's theory, is to figure out what a "theory" is, which very few people seem to do. I've spent a lot of time reading the philosophy of science, because it's a very difficult question: What is a theory? What can it do? What can it not do? How do you test its validity or seeming validity? It's a profound and difficult subject in its own right. It also is a field in which there is great literature, and it was a pleasure for me to read in the philosophy of science, and not to have to read a lot more political science.
Are you allowed to say that as a former president of the American Political Science Association?
Well, I do!
So what does a theory do?
First, in order to have a theory, you'll have to have a subject matter, because you can't have a theory about everything. There's no such thing as a theory about everything. So you'll have to say, " I'm going to try to develop a theory of, in this case, international politics." The first question is, how can you think of international politics as a domain in its own right, as something that you could possibly have a theory about?
And how do you decide that you can do that?
You will have to figure out a way of defining it as an autonomous field of study. The closest comparison is the development of economic theory, where, before the physiocrats (that is, before roughly 1760), economists wrote about all kinds of things, and mostly at the level of bookkeeping, of what we might now call accounting -- family and business accounts, that sort of thing. It was only with the physiocrats, who greatly influenced Adam Smith, that the concept of an economy as something that could be studied in its own right developed. Once that concept existed, then it became at least possible to have a theory about how national economies work: what regularities appear, what repetitions occur, how you can think of it as a self-sustaining enterprise. The breakthrough is the physiocrats, and then the great follow-through was Adam Smith.
So if you're going to do theory of international politics, then at one level you probably have to be grounded in the history of the domain, so to speak.
I don't see how you can do it without knowing a good deal of history. But the main thing is to have a conception of international politics as something that can be studied in its own right. It's something that, for example, two major figures in the field -- Hans Morgenthau and Raymond Aron, a Frenchman -- thought was impossible. How can you isolate international politics even for the purpose of study from everything else that goes on? Their answer was, you can't. In that case, it's not possible to develop a theory of international politics. International politics is something that's influenced by everything else -- a national economy, national politics, international politics -- and it's all interrelated, there's no way of separating it. So the first requirement was to develop an idea of the structure of international politics, which would make it possible to think of international politics as a subject matter that could be studied in its own right. That's what I did in The Theory of International Politics.
Now, how does one then evaluate a theory? Is "usefulness" a good way to evaluate a theory? How do you know when a theory is useful?
Whether or not a theory is useful is decided by the body of people who find it worthwhile to use the theory or to argue about the theory. As Steve Weinberg, who's a Nobel Laureate in Physics and a very reflective physicist, has said, ultimately, the test of a theory is that people (meaning the people in the field) find it worth dealing with, arguing about, criticizing, trying to apply.
And the purpose of a theory is to explain what's going on -- how the order hangs together. Clarify that for us.
What a theory does is present a mental picture of a part of the world, and in that picture are identified the major causal factors at work. The theory specifies the relations among those, and the necessary relations as they're necessary within the terms of their theory, among those major causal forces, which we often now refer to as variables, (adapting a scientific terminology that's not always useful). That's a simple way of putting it.
Then you can compare that picture and the supposed causal forces at work with the real world. That's always a problematic exercise, because theory is very simple. What theories do is leave most everything out. You're simplifying, you're looking for what is salient, what are those central propelling forces. Obviously, they're not the only forces at work, so you've got that problem that natural scientists have, too; but they can usually, or often, control for perturbations that come in from outside the system. Whereas in politics, in international politics in particular, you can't. So it makes for endless argument and a lot of fun.
The theory has an economy about it, because at one level you can say, "Well, there's so much going on in the world, let's put it all into theory." But that's not the game here. In other words, there's not a one-to-one relationship, this not an effort to replicate everything that's going on.
If it were, then the ideal theory would be identical with the real world, right? And, instead, theory is a simple instrument which you hope to be able to use in order to understand and explain the real world. The emphasis is on explanation, not on prediction. Prediction is nice. If you can predict, fine. But the key requirement: if a theory is not able to explain what's going on, then it's not theory, or it's a worthless theory. It's not a theory at all.
Next page: A Theory of International Politics
Page 3 of 7
A Theory of International Politics
Let's talk about your first book, Man, the State, and War. There, the problem was what?
The problem was very simple. For me, political theory was my major, and you had to have a second field. I chose international politics because, having worked in international economics, it gave me some kind of a start. But I was keeping it to a minimum.
There was a professor at Columbia at the time who was accustomed to making deals with people who are only minors in the field, that you could cover certain things and leave others aside. We worked it out: I would study European diplomatic history, imperialism, and so on. I would not do international law and organization, which I never found attractive. And then he got sick, so he could not appear for the oral exams of people who were minors.
The alternative was William T.R. Fox. So I went to see him and I explained the arrangement that I had made. He said he had never heard of any such arrangement. So he called up the departmental secretary, who knew everybody and everything that was going on in the department, and she said, "Yes, Professor Peffer did customarily make such arrangements with minor students." And I can still remember this. Bill Fox, as I came to call him later, hung up, turned his chair toward me and said, "Nevertheless, if you're going to do international politics, you're going to do international politics." I had no choice.
I had completed my reading in the minor field, I thought, and was going to spend the remaining few weeks on my major interest, political theory. And instead, I spent those few weeks reading as widely as possible, with my wife's help. She was getting books out of the library for me in the field of international politics, generally. I could not make head or tail of it. It was a most confusing literature.
Finally it came to me. I still have somewhere the little piece of paper on which I wrote this down. The reason these people are confusing is because they're thinking in different causal terms. Some are thinking that the causes of what goes on in international relations are rooted in human beings, what human beings are like. And others are saying the causes are found in states. That good states don't fight wars, because they are democratic; bad states fight wars. And then the definition of good and bad varies; for a Marxist, it's a socialist state that is the good state. For a liberal, a good state is democratic. So everything is rooted in what states are like.
And then there's the third way of looking at it, that it's at the international, political level that the causes are found, and although the causes do operate at those two other levels, they operate in this context, and the context is extremely important.
So, in summary, you labeled each a different image. So image number one looks to the causes of war in the nature of man.
Image number two looks at the causes of war in the nature of the state, whether it's a democracy or authoritarian, or whatever.
An authoritarian government, dictatorship, or whatever; right.
But the third realm looks at international politics as a separate political domain.
So, hence, an opening to begin looking for a theory.
That's right. I remember people, specifically a professor at Oberlin, George Lanyi, saying to me, "What's going to be the sequel to Man, the State and War?" And I said, "I don't have an idea about how I could write a sequel." From 1959 until the late sixties, I didn't have any sequel in mind. And then I began to think -- I don't know why these things develop in one's mind; who knows? -- I began to think of a way of asking myself, at least, the question of how might a theory of international politics be possible? And that's when I began to read more widely in anthropology and very widely in the philosophy of science. I finally developed the notion. It took a period of years to develop a notion and fill it out, figure out ways of presenting it effectively and so on, and that is what one finds in the book Theory of International Politics.
We'll talk about that in a minute. But I can't resist asking you something about Man, the State, and War, because it appears, superficially, that in one sense you're rejecting the first two images out of hand. But as I was rereading it, I saw things differently and I just want to be clear about this. You're saying in Man, the State, and War that the underlying cause of war is the third image, whereas the first two images are immediate causes.
So there is a continuing interplay between them, even though, really, the thrust of the analysis is for the third image.
Okay. We can come back to those images in a minute when we're talking about American policy.
You mentioned that you set about to create a theory of international politics. What did you conclude? Help us understand by talking a little about your theory. What is the nature of this realm of international politics?
The structure of the international political system is defined first by its organizing principle, which is anarchy. Some people would think of that as a disorganizing principle, but it's a principle that tells one how the major units of the realm relate to one another. The relation is one of anarchy, as opposed to hierarchy. It's not an ordered realm. It's not a law-bound realm. It's an anarchic realm in which the various units have to figure out for themselves how they're going to try to live with one another, and how they're going to pursue, specifically, and manage, ultimately, their own security worries. It is described as a realm of self-help: if you don't do it for yourself, you cannot count on anybody else doing it for you. They may help; they may not. You don't know. You can't count on that. You're on your own.
The second defining principle is by the distribution of capability among those units, with the more capable ones, of course, shaping the realm, posing the problems that the others have to deal with. The analogy there, of course, is between international politics on the one hand and ologopolistic sectors of an economy on the other hand. It's not a purely competitive realm. It's one in which the major actors, those of greater capability, set the scene in which the others must act.
Now, in layman's terms, in the first part of your analysis, what you're saying is, "There's no international police force. There's no real international court. Therefore, these things can't be adjudicated." That's really what you mean when you're trying to help us understand the organizing principles. States have to act on their own.
They have to do it for themselves.
The second part is that the key comes from understanding the capability one actor has vis-à-vis the others.
So what, then, helps us understand the outcomes in a particular situation in the world? Are these the things we have to look at to understand what's going on in the world?
Right. The first one, anarchy, remains. Unless, somehow, a world government is ever developed, international politics will be an anarchic realm. So that's an invariable. It doesn't vary, if you want to use those terms. The second part of the definition is where one finds the variation; that is, we've known worlds historically and, of course, we can also imagine them in the pure realm of theory, in which there are varying numbers of great powers.
Always, until World War II in modern history, there were five or so great powers contending. World War II eventuated in a world in which there were only two: the United States and the Soviet Union. States acting in those two different worlds face different kinds of problems. It's interesting to recall the reflections, as it were, made in the arguments that were conducted shortly after World War II. That is, the difficulty, for example, that previous great powers -- countries like Great Britain and France -- had coming to terms with the fact that they were no longer great powers, that they were reduced to the level of major powers. The reduction directly affected their behavior. They had to adjust to a different kind of world that made a different kind of policy and different kinds of actions, appropriate or inappropriate. To use an old-fashioned terminology, they became not providers of their own security, but consumers of security provided by others.
Now, a simple distinction like that explains a lot. It explains how Europe could develop as a somewhat distinct political realm. France no longer had to worry about a possible war with Germany, or, as it had in previous times, a possible war against Britain. We worried about that, and the Soviet Union worried about that. And there wasn't much they (France, Germany, Britain) could do about it. They could make marginal differences in the system, but they could not provide for their own security vis-?-vis the Soviet Union. They had to rely on an outside power, because the capability shifted so much in that way.
Whole new kinds of behavior become possible for the previous great powers, because they're no longer great powers, just for that simple reason. And the United States assumed new responsibilities that it never dreamed of assuming. In the 1930s, to tell an American that America would begin to take the responsibility for the security of major parts of the world would have been laughable. Nobody could even imagine such a condition. But when the structure of international politics dramatically changed, we accommodated ourselves to that new condition.
Next page: The Idea of Structure in International Relations Theory
Page 4 of 7
The Idea of Structure in International Relations Theory
Why is it so hard in our perceptions of the world, and even [among] your political science colleagues, to understand the implications of structure in today's world? One thinks of globalization. In an earlier phase, the word was "interdependence." There is a penchant for finding new trends and then saying "the game is over" with regard to structure and these relational issues. Why is that?
It's simply because the actors you observe -- who is it doing things in the world -- are states, and the interrelation of states. And those interrelations do vary. They're sometimes closer, they're sometimes looser. It's states that do things, and especially it's the states of greatest power who do things. So if you're looking at immediate causes, that's where you find the immediate causes.
It takes an act of the mind to conceive of how the conditions under which these actions and interactions occur influence the actions and interactions themselves. That's not something that you open your eyes and look at and see, or read about in The New York Times every morning. It takes an act of thought to do that.
Globalization is a very interesting example of this, for what appears to us as globalization appears to much of the world, no doubt to most of the world, very simply, as Americanization. In other words, the world is no longer bipolar. It's now unipolar. There is one great power and one only. This condition has not existed since Rome. That is, no country has dominated the relevant part of the globe since Rome, to the extent that we do. And, of course, Rome's realm was a part of the world. Our realm is the entire globe.
Before we talk about this new position of the U.S. in the world, I want to ask you one thing. I know that you wrote quite a bit about the stability of the bipolar world. And that was unconventional when you wrote about it, because the very interactions between us and the Soviets were creating this Cold War fear that made people not want to accept what you were saying. It was structure that made you see the stability that was actually there, which many people were not seeing.
That's right. Looking back, the article on stability of a bipolar world was published in 1964. It was strangely controversial. It made people mad. I first gave the paper as a talk to the Harvard/MIT Arms Control Seminar. There was a lively and heated discussion following the presentation of the simple idea that this has become a world of two powers, in other words, a bipolar world. People were saying, "No, wait a minute. Europe still counts." Well, of course, Europe still counted, but not nearly as much, obviously, as it once did, and not merely as much as the United States and the Soviet Union. Ultimately, the world's fate depended on the United States, the Soviet Union, and the interaction between them.
In economic terms, it was not a world of interdependence at all: the United States and the Soviet Union scarcely traded with one another. Militarily, the interdependence was close, because each could do grievous damage to the other. And in international politics, again, a realm of self-help; ultimately, that's what counts.
Within, I'd say, certainly within ten years, probably less than ten years, it became accepted: "Yes, of course, the world is bipolar." And that makes the really deep controversy by which this article was greeted all the more striking.
Next page: A Unipolar World
Page 5 of 7
A Unipolar World
Were you surprised when the Soviet Union disappeared?
Not especially. I had been giving lectures in the United States and abroad in which I pointed out -- and this goes back to the middle to late seventies -- that the Soviet Union was in a steady decline. If you recall, the 1980s was when Reagan and those who agreed with him were saying that the Soviet Union was catching up with us, they were going to pass us. "The Soviet Union has become the most powerful military country in the world" -- Reagan, you know. "They passed us on all fronts -- strategic and conventional alike."
Well, the opposite was the truth, and one could see it. I mean, you can look at data. You could look at the demographic composition of the Soviet Union, with the Russian component sinking and the non-Russian component of the population rising. You could look at the extent to which the Soviet Union was falling behind in military technology -- indeed, in technology across the board, and therefore in military technology as well. It looked to me as though the Soviet Union was on a losing course. You could also see it in the fact that the Soviet Union couldn't adjust to change, agriculture being the best example. They just kept doing the same wrong things, year after year, decade after decade. It was a very static government, making changes very difficult, and then, of course, the change, when it did come, was a big and shocking one.
But I wrote, even in a book published in 1979, that the real question then in the world was, would the Soviet Union be able to keep up with the United States? I developed that idea in some publications and in a lot of talks. Again, it was very controversial.
I remember, especially, being in China for the first time in 1982, and presenting this analysis to one of the institutes, which I've now talked at over the years about four or five times. The last time was in 1996, and I reminded them of 1982. What they were saying was, "Hey, the Soviet Union is getting ahead." In fact, that's why China was moving toward the United States, because it felt that the United States was getting weaker, and in order to form a block of sufficient strength against the Soviet Union, they had to edge over toward our side. Again, perceptions of what the structure of international politics is at a given time strongly influence the policy that one follows. So I was saying, "No, the Soviet Union is getting weaker. The United State is getting relatively stronger." And the people at this institute who were charged with thinking about this -- this was the purpose of their institute, to think about things like this -- had reached the opposite conclusion. They ... well, they were wrong.
So we have this situation now in the contemporary world, where we're in a unipolar world. The enormity of U.S. power -- military, economic -- in comparison to everybody else is quite amazing. What is the greatest danger of such a world?
The greatest danger was described very well by a French cleric, who died in 1713, who was also a counselor to rulers, who said: I have never known a country disposing of overwhelming power to behave with forbearance and moderation for more than a very short period of time. And we've seen this over and over again. It illustrates nicely how states fail to learn from history, from other countries' experiences. Time and time again, countries that dispose of overwhelming power, as we now do, have abused their power. The key characteristic of a unipolar world is that there are no checks and balances against that power, so it's free to follow its fancy, it's free to act on its whims. Since there are very minor, very weak external constraints, everything depends on the internal politics of the country in question.
Now, it is possible, of course, to imagine that the internal politics would be a restraint. Checks and balances are supposed to work in the United States; it's ingrained in our thinking. But, in fact, they don't work very well, or at least in my view they are not working very well. They do not place effective constraints on what the government can do abroad. They do not place effective constraints on how much we spend on our military forces. In 1998, for example, we outspent the next eight big spenders. We're now spending about as much as the next fourteen or fifteen. And, according to The New York Times, projecting the spending until next year, we will be spending as much as all the other countries in the world combined on our military forces. Now, what do we want all that military force for? Other countries are bound to ask that question. They do ask that question. And they worry about it, because power can be so easily abused.
So what is going to happen down the road? It doesn't appear that others can organize against us. Is there a danger that we will shoot ourselves in the foot?
Exactly. The gap between the United States and others, technologically as well as militarily -- the military gap is simply obvious. Nobody can miss it, right? But that's based on our economy and our technological abilities. And the gaps have become so wide that no combination of other countries and no other country singly in the foreseeable future is going to be able to balance the power of the United States. Now, in the end, power will balance power, and there isn't any doubt that the Chinese are smarting, very uncomfortable with the extent to which the United States dominates the world militarily. I'm not implying that it doesn't bother other countries as well. But China, if it maintains its political coherence, its political capabilities, will have in due course the economic and the technological means of competing. But how far away is that? Certainly, twenty years. Probably more than twenty years.
Next page: Deterrence and Rogues
Page 6 of 7
Deterrence and Rogues
The perception of the Bush administration and the men of ideas around the Bush administration, however faulty, is that there is a new configuration in the world.
And in that configuration, the threat -- even to the most powerful country in the world, but also the world in general -- is the links among so-called rogue regimes. Rogue states are getting the capacity to act with weapons of mass destruction -- nuclear, biological, and chemical -- and there are links to transnational terrorist organizations. That is the primary rationale for the new preemptive strategy.
What is your analysis of that apparent configuration of power, as a Realist? Does a Realist say this is baloney, or what?
Well, I can tell you exactly what this Realist says.
In the first case, in the first instance, one wants to point out that the word "preemption" here is entirely misleading. "Preemption" by its dictionary usage, by its common usage among people who think about military strategy, is what occurs when you have good and very strong reasons for believing that the adversary is just about to strike. And you strike. This would make sense if you knew that, and knew it pretty much for sure, to strike first.
Now, we have no reason to think that Saddam Hussein is about to strike anybody -- not anybody in the region, let alone Europe or the United States. I mean, that's entirely fanciful. So it's not a case for preemption. The question is, is it a case for prevention? The rationale of prevention is that over time, the adversary will become so strong that you'd better fight him earlier while he's relatively weak and you can win easily, instead of waiting until he becomes strong, and then you would have a more difficult war. Well, Iraq is so weak! Its gross domestic [product] is $15 billion. We're spending almost $400 billion on our military alone. I mean, it's a pitifully weak country. Much weaker than it was in 1991, when we fought the Gulf War. And we know that. American military estimates bear that out.
So the question becomes the one that you posed: Might a country, such as Iraq, develop nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and then share them with terrorists? The first point to make about that is they can't use them, themselves. They are contained and deterred.
That is, the regime, they could not use it?
Right. No matter how often the Bush administration people say "containment and deterrence do not work," it works as well as it ever did for the purposes that we always thought it was designed to accomplish. That is, it deters other countries from using their weapons in ways that would endanger the manifestly vital interests of the United States or those it supports. So the question reduces to: Might they give these things away? Well, I don't think we have to worry about Saddam Hussein doing that, because if any terrorist ever got weaponry that they could not well get from sources other than Iraq, we would say, "Saddam Hussein did it," and we'd slam him. He knows that.
It's a funny thing, that over and over again, people say -- and we hear it every day -- that these rogues are undeterrable. "Do you want to rely on the sanity of Saddam Hussein?" George Bush has said, "I do not want to rely on the sanity of Saddam Hussein." I do! This guy is a survivor. He's been in power for thirty years. People who are insane do not maintain themselves in power against a host of enemies, internally as well as externally. I mean, they have been able -- this is true of Kadaffy in the old days, who we used to think of as being very roguish (we don't think of him being so roguish anymore). It's true of Kim Song Il. It was true of his father. I mean, these rogues, these guys we call rogues, are survivors. How can you at once be foolhardy to the point of insanity and be a survivor in a very difficult world? It's much more difficult than winning a second term for President of the United States.
These guys are pressed from all sides, as I say, internally and externally as well, and they survive. They're crafty. They're ugly, they're nasty; I believe all those things. But they're also crafty. You've got to carry them out in a box. They've got power and they want to hold it and they want to continue to hold it. They want to pass it on to their progeny, as a matter of fact. They have proved themselves able to calculate where that line is. Crossing that line means you're going to be put out of business. To be a ruler, you have to have a country to rule. If you invite intense retaliation upon yourself, you're dead, and your country is destroyed as a going political entity. Nobody's going that far. These rogues are self-limiting.
What is your answer to people who would say that you are too focused on the state as a unit in addressing these current problems? Obviously, Iraq and North Korea are states, but when you begin to talk about al Qaeda and what they might accomplish, these are not states. They are units or entities that could obtain weapons, whether from North Korea or Saddam Hussein, that conceivably could steal them from the former Soviet Union, and could act in a way that would affect us and our national security, if not our relative position in the world. I guess what I'm trying to get at is, what should the greatest power in the world be doing about these [nonstate] threats, in a way that's consistent with a Realist's view of the world?
It's almost impossible to believe that Saddam Hussein -- and these states do act as units; you could say "Saddam Hussein," you don't always have to say "Iraq," and the same for North Korea [and Kim Song Il] -- that he would go to such tremendous lengths to acquire nuclear military capability [and then be willing to share it]. Remember the Israelis destroyed their nuclear facilities at Osirak in June of 1981. I mean, this goes back a long time. There has been a persistent sustained effort on the part of Saddam Hussein to acquire this military capability. Now, if he ever were to achieve it, he certainly would not want to share it with anybody. He would guard it. He would have only a small capability.
It's possible to control a small amount of nuclear materials and a small number of nuclear warheads, a small number of delivery systems, in a way that is very difficult if you have hundreds, or especially if you have thousands, as we and Russia do. If you're going to steal something, it's a much better bet stealing it from Russia than it is trying to steal it from a new (and because new, necessarily very small) nuclear power. If you've got a lot of it, it's hard to keep track of.
The United States has lost track of some of its nuclear material, which a lot of people overlook or forget about. They've got so damned much of it. How are you going to keep track of all of it? But, boy, if you have ten or twenty or fifty, that's pretty easy to keep track of.
It's also very easy to believe, and Saddam Hussein would have to believe this, that if somehow a terrorist got hold of the nuclear materials or nuclear warheads, we would say, "We have evidence that this came from Saddam Hussein." Boom! Like that.
Now, let's separate this from Saddam Hussein. Let's say that al Qaeda or factions of al Qaeda would come to power in Pakistan, which is a possibility -- a very divided country and so on. Would that situation change the equation in the sense that the rationality, which we can assume that Saddam Hussein has as a survivor in power, would that be the same of a group? Would they be socialized by state power? Or might they do things because of their ideology, a deviant form of Islam, which, at one level, seems to say that to die is good?
One of the striking things about nuclear deterrence is that it has worked, no matter what country we're talking about, no matter what kind of government the country has, no matter what kind of ruler the country has had. The most striking case, of course, is Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution. It lasted from 1966 to 1976 in China, where China was in seemingly unheard-of chaos. And yet China, a country with a fair number of nuclear weapons at the time, managed to take care of those weapons very well indeed! The government separated foreign policy to a certain extent, and nuclear policy completely, from the Cultural Revolution.
The one thing about those governments -- millenarian or whatever they may be like -- is that they almost surely will want to stay in power. If they come to power, they will be deterrable. The difficulty is if irregular groups, terrorists, get control of weapons of mass destruction. Something like biologicals are much more of a worry (and chemicals to a certain extent, but biologicals, especially) than nuclear weapons, I think. Then they are not deterrable. We've always known that deterrence does not cover this kind of situation.
The cliché now is, of course, and has been for a long time, that you have to have "an address." You can threaten retaliation against Iraq; you can't threaten retaliation against terrorists, because you can't find them. You don't know where they are.
So if it is the responsibility of the most powerful country in the world, as part of its own interest, to do some of the management of the whole system, what is a sensible policy for addressing this threat, which might come from a transnational terrorist group that does not have power?
What indeed can one do about that? Everything possible to prevent nuclear materials, including nuclear warheads, from getting into their hands.
We do that to some extent. We've subsidized Russia to enable it to dismantle its nuclear weaponry and to guard the nuclear weaponry that it does have. That makes great sense, and we should do more of that. We should continue to deter and contain other countries that do or might have nuclear weapons. But if a country badly needs, and therefore, badly wants nuclear weapons, it is almost impossible in the long run to prevent that country from acquiring nuclear military capability.
If we declare a country to be a part of an "axis of evil," and if that country is anyway in a perilously weak position, as obviously North Korea is, then we'd have to ask ourselves, if we were the ruler -- no matter how nasty that ruler is -- if we were Kim Jong Il, wouldn't we conclude that, "My God, we're likely to be attacked, and since we are weak, we'll lose unless we have nuclear weapons, which have proved to be the greatest and, indeed, the only reliable deterrent the world has ever known"? Conventional deterrence has not worked very well. We can figure out why that is, but nuclear weapons have been a great deterrent. Now, if one were Kim Jong Il, it's impossible to imagine that he would not want to do everything he can do, so you could make this less likely by making him feel less insecure. The more insecure you make him feel ...
See, any fool can see that the only way you can deter the United States is with weapons of mass destruction. You cannot compete on conventional grounds. That's absolutely impossible. Russia can't do it. China can't do it. Obviously, these rogue states -- it's just a fantasy. They could not even begin to, right? So if they believe that their security is directly in danger and even, indeed, specifically from the United States, the United States acting in conjunction with other countries in the area, they are going to do everything they can to acquire deterrent weapons -- again, the best one being nuclear military means.
Next page: Conclusion
Page 7 of 7
One final question requiring a brief answer. Other than reading your books, how should a student prepare for this uncertain future, if they're interested in international politics?
One good way of doing it is read The New York Times. In addition, I think International Security is an excellent journal.
What can you do? You can read, you can discuss, you can think. There's not much more you can do. Or you can become politically active. Yes, of course, you can become politically active.
Well, on that note, Ken, I want to thank you very much for spending this time with us and sharing with us your intellectual journey.
Well, thank you. It's been a pleasure.
And thank you very much for joining us for this Conversation with History.
© Copyright 2003, Regents of the University of California
To the Conversations page
Συνέντευξη του Kenneth Waltz στους F. Halliday/J. Rosenberg
Κατόπι παράκλησης πολλών παραθέτω σημαίνουσα συνέντευξη του Kenneth Waltz το 1998 στην οποία γίνονται πολλές επιστημονικές και επιστημολογικές επισημάνσεις, καθώς και βαρύνουσες διατυπώσεις θέσεων για την οντολογία της πολιτικής επιστήμης των διεθνών σχέσεων. Η έμφαση, είναι δική μου.
Review of International Studies (1998), 24, 371–386 Copyright © British International Studies Association
Interview with Ken Waltz*, CONDUCTED BY FRED HALLIDAY AND JUSTIN ROSENBERG
1. Personal and academic background
F.H. It would be very interesting if you could say something about your own
personal and academic background. What were the experiences that led you to write
Man, the State and War?
K.W. I came from a relatively poor family. My father was a painter—of walls, not of pictures. Lower middle-class; we didn’t suffer. I am the only person of my
generation in the family who went to college. I am quite sure my father did not
graduate from high school, though he’d never really admit that he didn’t. My mother
did get into high school. She didn’t graduate. It was that kind of family: a German speaking family in south-eastern Michigan.
F.H. Were they first generation?
K.W. No, but it was then so German in rural south-eastern Michigan that my
cousin, who’s almost exactly my age, could not speak English until she went to
kindergarten. Sometimes when I went to Sunday school, my father would go to the
German service: the same preacher, but from 9.30 till 11 was the German sermon
and then 11 to 12.30 it was in English.
I, along with all of my male friends, expected to go to the University of Michigan
and study engineering. And then in my junior year I said to myself, ‘I don’t want to
be an engineer!’ It was an early life crisis. I went to a psychological counselling
service at the University of Michigan, which went on for hours, over a period of
three days. And this lovely woman, who I realize now was either a graduate student
or the wife of a graduate student, asked me: ‘Your best field is music: what
instrument do you play?’ And I said, ‘The banjo.’ She said, ‘Oh well, in that case, the
next best would be law.’ So I called the Dean of the Law School—this was 1941. The
Dean, rather than a secretary, answered the phone. And I said ‘What should I major
in? I want to come back to the University of Michigan Law School.’ And he said,
‘We recently did a survey of our most successful graduates and the most successful
ones majored in mathematics.’ Well, I liked math. It was very easy. I didn’t have to
spend a lot of time doing homework. You either get it or you don’t. So I majored in
math, and then drifted into economics, while still doing some mathematics.
Even then, I didn’t really expect to go on to graduate school. But I didn’t want to
teach and I didn’t want to write. So I went to graduate school in economics
intending to be an econometrician. But then I was bored stiff at Columbia where the
teaching tradition was not rich. And after a semester or so I had to make a decision.
I’d started following some great courses in English literature, but I realized that if I
got a PhD in English, I would be a critic: I was not going to write a poem; I was not
going to write a novel. I think it’s fine to be a critic but I didn’t think of that as being
satisfying. The other thing for which I had tremendous enthusiasm was political
philosophy—which is called political theory in the US. There is very little theory in
political philosophy, but it’s great literature. You only had to have two fields for a
PhD degree, and I decided that my second one would be IR since I’d already done
international economics; that would be the easiest second field for me. It was a very
minimal field. I did as little as possible. I had an agreement with a professor who was
often on the oral exams for students who were minors that I would do certain things
in IR and not others: no international law and no international organization, for
F.H. You were clear about that even then?
K.W. Oh, even then. And then Professor Peffer got sick and Bill Fox took over.
Fox said, ‘If you’re going to do IR, you have to do IR, not just part of the field.’ So I
started reading, reading, reading like mad; and I couldn’t make head or tail of it. So
many people writing in IR were talking past each other, talking different languages
really. I think I still have the faded piece of yellow paper on which I wrote down the
three images: ‘This is why the people I am reading are not able to communicate with
each other: because some of them think the major causes lie at the level of individuals
or states or the international system.’ This was my final month as a graduate student
before beginning to write the dissertation about a year and a half later.
F.H. So Man, the State and War arose out of your doctoral dissertation?
K.W. Yes. In fact the second chapter is practically intact, for which all the
research was done by my wife. The first chapter is entirely new. The original first
chapter wasn’t much good. There was a lot of Spinoza in the original, which doesn’t
appeal much to students of international relations. But essentially the book and the
dissertation were saying very much the same things.
F.H. Could you say something about your personal background. You were in
World War II; you were in the Korean War.
K.W. I was in the Second World War beginning in 1944 and ending in 1946, and
that was while I was at college. The Korean War intervened when I was at graduate
F.H. And so you served in the Second World War or just in the Korean War?
F.H. So where were you in the Second World War? Were you in the Pacific or in
K.W. I was in the Pacific. The war ended while we were on the boat. We heard
about the atomic bomb on the boat on the way to Manila, but I took the first
opportunity to transfer to Japan and spent a year in the occupying army.
F.H. Would you say that these experiences in the Second World War, and for
that matter your German-American background, affected your view of international
relations? Do you feel there is some connection between your overall theoretical
interests and your early experiences. Or would you locate it more at the intellectual
K.W. I would locate it more at the intellectual level. I was in the quartermaster
corps. I didn’t do any fighting. The war was over. In the Korean War there was
fighting but I was in Pusan.
372 Fred Halliday and Justin Rosenberg
F.H. What about intellectual influences on you? Up to Man the State and War,
there was the growth of what we now see as Second World War and post-Second
World War American realism, although many of the people had in fact migrated
from Europe: Niebuhr, Kissinger and others. Were there people who had a formative
influence on you?
K.W. In international politics? No. I was really emphasizing political philosophy,
and doing International Relations because one had to have a second field. For years
I expected to be a teacher of political theory in the traditional sense and was very
sad when there weren’t any jobs. Now, in retrospect, I’m very glad that there weren’t,
because political philosophy has very little theory. And I became very interested in
F.H. How would you distinguish the two?
K.W. Political philosophy is more interpretative. There are some exceptions.
There’s some theory in Rousseau. There’s some theory in Kant. There’s some theory
in Hobbes. But by and large it’s interpreting the political world and beyond.
2. Realism and foreign policy
J.R. Readers often form very stereotyped impressions of the political judgments of
well-known writers. I was surprised when I first learned that Morgenthau had
opposed the Vietnam War. Many people think that there is an easy correspondence
between a realist theoretical position and the political legitimation of existing foreign
policy. But that actually doesn’t hold, does it?
K.W. It doesn’t hold at all. He opposed the Vietnam War for the same reasons I
did. From a realist point of view there was no reason under the sun for us to expend
large amounts of treasure and blood fighting in that hopeless cause where there was
no interest, no important interest, at stake. There are really two reasons why people
think that I am a hardline conservative. The first is that they think realists are. And
that is so ingrained that when Morgenthau very actively opposed the war in
Vietnam, there were a lot of people who were saying, ‘Oh, he’s tired of being
unpopular. He wants to be popular, especially among the youth. So he’s renounced
all his beliefs, and now he’s opposing the war in Vietnam.’ That was absolutely false.
He was opposing the war in Vietnam because he was a realist. The other reason that
I think that people think of me as a hardline conservative is that the people who
read the theory tend not to read what I write that isn’t theory. I’ve written quite a bit
of stuff on the military. And I’ve been a fierce critic of American military policy and
spending and strategy, at least since the 1970s. The fact is that there’s no way to read
directly from a theory to policy conclusions. People who say realists are hardline
conservatives are doing that. They’re saying, ‘That’s his theoretical stance; therefore
that must be his policy preference.’
J.R. Morgenthau also opposed the Truman Doctrine.
K.W. Because it was universalistic. And I think that’s a legitimate criticism. He
did not oppose the Kennan version of containment. But the Truman Doctrine was
phrased in universalistic terms: anywhere, any place where Communism is, etc. And
that was unsound. Many realist and other people would agree. But it’s not surprising
President Truman should use rather grandiose, general terms. I have great
respect for President Truman.
J.R. Kissinger is often spoken of as a great realist figure, modelling himself on
Metternich. Do you hold that Kissinger was a realist?
K.W. In the general sense of that term, I think, yes, he was a realist. He did not
easily admit any indebtedness to anybody who was alive, such as Morgenthau. But
Metternich was safely dead for a good long while. There were two things that
surprised and dismayed me about Henry. One is that he didn’t understand American
domestic politics. Just a matter of weeks before he was appointed to be National
Security Advisor, I had a private conversation with him, and we talked about the
war in Vietnam. We agreed completely: hopeless, pointless, no American interest at
stake. But he believed—this was 1968—as he said: If we get out of Vietnam, just
withdraw, the McCarthy period in American politics will pale into insignificance.
American society will just blow up. There will be such recriminations, because we will be seen as having sold out. I said that was completely wrong then, and in retrospect I’m sure it was completely wrong.
F.H. He would see it as another ‘Who lost China?’ but on a bigger scale?
K.W. Yes. Because it would have been more immediate. We ‘lost’ China, but we
were never really in there very much. But we were in Vietnam for a good long time.
J.R. Returning to the question of realism and conservatism: during the early
1980s, you published, among other things, two articles called ‘Nuclear Weapons:
More May Be Better’, and ‘The Myth of National Interdependence’. In the first of
those you argued that a general proliferation of nuclear weapons would create a
unit-veto system which would be logically more stable than an uneven
distribution . . .
K.W. More peaceful.
J.R. . . . And in the second, you argued that it was illusory to hope that the
international system would become more peaceful as a result of greater interdependence, because greater interdependence only gives states more to fight over.
K.W. Yes, more conflict.
J.R. I remember reading these pieces and thinking, ‘This writer believes that the
world would be a safer place if everybody had nuclear weapons and nobody traded
with each other.’
K.W. Well, I think I make it clear in the Adelphi paper (‘Nuclear Weapons’) that
a rapid proliferation would be destabilizing. That’s why I said ‘the spread’, not the
proliferation, of nuclear weapons, gradually from one country to another does not
make for more war but for greater chances for peace to prevail. I would venture to
say that we probably would have had a better time in Iraq if Iraq had had nuclear
weapons. We couldn’t have done what we did. We could have embargoed, which I
was in favour of. And we could have kept the embargo up for a long time, as we have
done. We would not be in a much different situation if we still had the embargo in
place and hadn’t bothered to smash up a good part of Iraq.
F.H. He’d still be in Kuwait.
K.W. I’m not sure, because if you have nuclear weapons you make yourself a
target. You have to be careful what you do. We also know that if other countries—
like Iraq—get nuclear weapons, we cannot then simply bomb the hell out of them.
We don’t like other countries to get nuclear weapons, because we have them and they
don’t. Nuclear weapons deter. We like to deter other countries but we don’t want
374 Fred Halliday and Justin Rosenberg
other countries to deter us. There’s an awful lot of double standard going on. When
China got nuclear weapons, and then there was the 1962 India–China war, it was
obvious that India was going to become a nuclear military power if it could. It’s not
that difficult. I once said to an Indian who is an expert in the subject, ‘You Indians
must have known when you exploded your peaceful bomb in 1974 that the
Pakistanis would do everything they could . . . in order to build a nuclear weapon.’
He said, ‘We should have known that, but we didn’t. We thought we were doing it so
carefully, and making it so clear that we were only doing it for peaceful purposes,
not for military purposes.’ But it was inevitable Pakistan was going to do it if it
could—and it has done. One has to open one’s eyes and say, ‘If this happens, what’s
likely to happen next?’ To say to Pakistan, ‘Don’t get nuclear weapons, but we’re not
going to guarantee your security against India or anybody else’ is entirely
F.H. What is your evaluation of the foreign policies of the postwar US
K.W. I thought Carter was an especially good president on foreign policy, for
which he got no credit. I understand why: he didn’t come across well. But think of
what he did. The Panama Treaty—he expended an awful lot of political blood to get
that through the Senate. And if he hadn’t done it, we would have had even more
trouble in Central America than we did. Carter on Camp David: the wrong guys got
the Nobel Peace Prize; Carter should have got it. Angola: Henry Kissinger made a
spectacle of himself on the Angola question. ‘If we don’t stand up and go into
Angola and defeat Communism, we will prove that we are not a great power,’ etc. He
made it a real test case, and Carter did nothing. And nothing was the right thing to
do. You don’t get credit for the things you don’t do: for example, if Lyndon Johnson
didn’t go into Vietnam, he would deserve a lot of credit for that, but he wouldn’t get
it, because nothing would have happened.
I think Carter was one of our really good foreign policy presidents, but not on
military policy. The arms build-up of the late seventies and early eighties was first a
Carter military build-up. Carter lost control of military policy. This is, I think, one
of the amazing episodes in recent American politics. Paul Nitze, a private citizen,
and the Committee on the Present Danger, with Rostow and others, made the
running. They persuaded influential people in the US that the Russians were
coming, that we were in danger of becoming vulnerable to a first strike with nuclear
weapons, all of which was crazy. But Carter and Brown lost control of military
policy: politically defensively gearing up for the campaign, they greatly increased
military spending, which Reagan continued. And there wasn’t any reason. I was
among the minority who began saying at that time, partly because of this ridiculous
military build-up, ‘Look, the Soviet Union is weak economically—we all know that.
But don’t overlook the fact that it’s weak militarily.’ Most Americans and many
Europeans tremendously exaggerated the vulnerability of Western Europe. Speaking
at the invitation of the IISS, Helmut Schmidt made the foolish proposal that missiles
capable, with easily added boost, of reaching Russia be placed on German soil.
When I read the text of the talk, I thought that he must have become prematurely
senile. Why would Germans want those missiles on their soil? What were they for?
Nobody needed more missiles, and the mumbo-jumbo about linkage was wholly
unconvincing. But many people worldwide thought the Russians were becoming as
strong as, or stronger than, the US militarily. I well know because I gave many talks
in Europe, South-east Asia, North-east Asia, and at home. I was very unpopular
because I just said: Look, the Soviet Union is not so strong. It has four strategic
nuclear weapons systems pointed at it. How would the US feel in that situation? The
Soviets have a hostile China to the East and a hostile East Europe to the West.
They’re outgunned, outmanned, outproduced; and we treat them as though they
were a military threat to the US? Preposterous.
As for Reagan, there’s no question but that he was a tremendously popular
president. There are still a lot of people in the US, even including some of my
students, who say ‘At least he won the Cold War. He forced the Soviet Union to
almost bankrupt itself, by increasing American military spending.’ But my simple
response to that is, ‘You people have a higher opinion of Communism than I do.’
That system collapsed of its own weight. Furthermore, the causes of military
spending are rooted as much in one’s domestic politics as they are in international
In any case, I think the real culprits in the arms race were Kennedy and
MacNamara. I recall Khrushchev’s speech in 1960, when he announced a major cut
in Soviet manpower, from 3.6 million down to 2.4 million, and effectively proclaimed
a policy of minimum deterrence. What did we do? We undertook the greatest
peacetime military build-up that had ever occurred in world history, both strategic
nuclear and conventional. We knew the missile gap was indeed a big gap, but it was
in our favour! But we kept right on going. And MacNamara at one point even said,
‘They’re so far behind, they won’t even try to catch up.’ No great power in the
history of the world has ever behaved that way: ‘OK: they’ve got us. They’ve got
more missiles than we have. We’ll give up.’ Pah!
Now, America and the world today. We’re in this frightfully dangerous position of
being the one world superpower, albeit with qualifications. Nobody can hold the
United States in check, and that’s dangerous for us and for the world. It gives us a
disposition to intervene militarily. And that’s a reflection of international political
theory. America’s situation in the world changed almost overnight in historical terms
during World War II. We used to say, ‘Whatever happens in the world is not our
business, unless it happens in Central America.’ Now we say, ‘Hey, whatever happens
in the world anywhere, we’re the world superpower. We’ve got to do something.’ But
military power meets its limits. England ought to be able to pacify Northern Ireland
if it were just a question of military power. But it’s not. Furthermore, our interventions are going to be disturbing to more and more countries. And then the
mechanism of balancing. Other countries will feel more and more uncomfortable,
because those who are powerful do not determine what happens but they have more
influence over other countries and they have more to say about what goes on in the
world than others do.
J.R. You recently suggested that what America must attempt to do now is to
emulate Britain’s achievement in not generating an overwhelming coalition against it.
K.W. Yes, and I went on to say that in both instances you can explain it.
England, for demographic and imperial reasons, could not impose itself on other
great powers. It was busy in far-flung parts of the world. And we, of course, were
held in check by the Soviet Union. Now, we’re not held in check by anybody, and
that’s what worries me.
F.H. I think you’re pretty well held in check by the American people and the
Congress actually . . .
376 Fred Halliday and Justin Rosenberg
K.W. Oh boy! In the period between the invasion of Kuwait and our invasion of
Iraq in January the next year, Senator Patrick Moynihan and his staff enquired
about what had been done by the relevant government offices to learn about how
embargoes work, how long they take, what effects they have. They didn’t do anything. They didn’t care. In fact there was what was called the nightmare scenario:
that the thing would be settled before we got our troops in there. We wanted to go to
war. It was a narrow vote, but the Senate approved.
3. The nature of international theory
F.H. It could be argued that the collapse of the Soviet Union poses an anomaly for
balance-of-power theory. We have moved into a unipolar world. And although there
are economic challenges, it’s very hard to see major military or strategic challenges
emerging to American dominance.
K.W. States try to maintain their position in the system. For me that’s an axiom.
It’s derived from balance-of-power theory. Now, there’s nothing in anybody’s theory,
of anything, that says you’ll succeed. It indicates what you are likely to try to do, and
what will happen to you if you don’t manage to do it. Take Mussolini as an example.
You could quote Machiavelli: a weak country must never ally itself with a stronger
neighbour if it can avoid doing so. Mussolini did it. You could look at history. He
didn’t think that the British and French would ever stand up to Hitler and would
ever manage to make an arrangement with the Soviet Union. So he did what
international political theory says you shouldn’t do, and he paid the price. The
theory doesn’t predict success.
F.H. Where is the evidence of a coalition forming against the US?
K.W. Well, my goodness. Following the Dual Alliance between Austria-Hungary
and Germany in late 1879, it took the French and Russians till 1894 (although they
began to do it in 1889) to make a formal alliance. It’s interesting to read the communications between the Chiefs of Staff in the two different countries. How many
divisions, how many artillery pieces, how long will it take to mobilize and so on.
And the French Chief of Staff said, ‘If we ally, we will be in approximate balance. If
we don’t, Germany and Austria-Hungary will be the dominant powers.’ It still took
fifteen years. Do you think Japan is a nuclear power yet? It certainly is importing enough plutonium. I would say there is a fifty-fifty chance that it has a nuclear military capability reachable at least within months. They may be doing the Indian thing, saying we’re not a nuclear power, meaning we’ve got all the parts but we’d have to assemble them. Or they could adopt the Israeli policy and lie about it. But I can’t believe that the Japanese are not working on a nuclear capability. Look at where
they live: There’s North Korea, South Korea. There’s the Kurile Islands dispute,
there’s China, there’s six different countries that lay claim to all or part of the
Spratly Islands. And there’s always the Taiwan/China problem. It’s a terribly
insecure part of the world. There’s a fascinating parallel between Japan now and the
United States in the nineteenth century. Presidents and Secretaries of State wanted
to get going. It was assumed that Canada would become part of the United States.
Some presidents wanted to annex all of the Caribbean and assumed that Cuba
would be part of the US. The resistance was in the Senate, which is very easy to
explain politically. Japan is now in a comparable situation. If you try to explain
international politics by domestic politics, you would say that Japan and Germany
are not going to become great powers. Because the people don’t want it. I accept that
as being true. But I would also predict unequivocally that Japan and Germany,
failing European unity, will become great powers within ten to twenty years.
F.H. And in a rival strategic position to the United States?
K.W. That’s right. Fénelon said he had never known a country to wield overwhelming power with moderation for more than a very short time. That’s historically and theoretically understandable. In Iraq, for example, we did not behave with moderation. We decided everything. We decided when the war would begin. Most of the allies except England wanted us to wait longer, for the embargo to work. We decided when it would begin, how it would be fought, how much bombing would be done, and when it would end. Following that conflict, a French general said, ‘We did not have our independent means of satellite observation. In Iraq we didn’t have any alternative to American intelligence resources. (This was in the New York Times.) For the same reasons that
we had to have our own nuclear deterrent, we have to have our own observation
capability.’ Japan, exactly the same thing. Rumours began about the nuclear
capability of North Korea. Japan did not have observation satellites. Do you think
they are not going to get observation satellites? They sure as hell will! If you don’t
have what the other country has, then you’re vulnerable and/or dependent. If you
don’t want to be vulnerable or dependent, you’ve got to help yourself.
F.H. Surely balance-of-power theory also predicts that a balance will emerge, a
balance based upon countervailing rival strategic blocs?
K.W. Well, the twenty-first century will not be the nineteenth century, but there
will be a lot of similarities. It’s a self-help system. The system has not been transformed.
What kind of predictions can you make in international politics? As I
wrote—and I’m practically quoting myself—‘The Cold War, like hot wars, is rooted
in the structure of international politics and will endure so long as that structure
lasts.’ That’s exactly right. That’s the kind of prediction theory can make. Theory
can’t say when that will happen. But if it happens, here’s the result: no more Cold
War. Hedley Bull once said that if Britain had been the other pole emerging from
World War II, rather than the Soviet Union, the Cold War would have been entirely
different. That it would have been different is undoubted. That it would have been
England and the US that would have formed the major relationship of tension in the
world is also by me undoubted. Remember, it would have been England with its
empire, drawing strength from it. Hard to imagine; but toward the end of the war
there was more and more tension between Roosevelt and Churchill, because
Roosevelt was an anti-imperialist. After all, who were among the most hostile countries in the world in the nineteenth century? Britain and the United States. The
‘democracies don’t fight’ theme is suggestive but unsound.
F.H. You have a theoretical problem with Michael Doyle’s thesis because it
would be reductionist in your theory.
K.W. Absolutely. Also, you cannot make much of a generalization, because
there aren’t many cases in point and you do have exceptions. Take the war of 1812.
Now, I know what people are going to say: England wasn’t really a democracy until
1832, etc. But the two most democratic countries in the world—there were only
378 Fred Halliday and Justin Rosenberg
two—fought a war. Or take the American Civil War; people say that doesn’t count
because it was a civil war. But Britain almost recognized the South. This was one
reason for the perpetuation of bitterness between America and Britain. The South
was organized as a separate, democratic country. The North was a separate,
democratic country, and both were recognized as belligerents by various foreign
countries. We had the biggest army in the later nineteenth century. Grant’s army was
the biggest army in the world. That was a tough war! Equally, Germany was a
democracy before World War I, and the German democracy could not control its
interest groups: the navy and the steel interests, the Junkers and the grain tariff. It
was a democracy. That was a major part of the problem.
F.H. But there wasn’t one person, one vote in Germany in 1914, let alone in
Britain or the US in the early nineteenth century. One can really talk about the
generalization of democracies among the developed countries only since the Second
World War. Would you simply deny the relevance of such a response?
K.W. Well, ever since Kant—and I consider myself to be a Kantian, not a
positivist—the serious people who write about this make it very clear that it’s got to
be the right kind of democracy. Kant is very strict about this and even specifies how
the question has to be put, and answered, about going to war and not going to war.
Just as in the Socialist world, the right kind of socialist government would never
fight another socialist government if it were also the right kind. You get this in the
Chinese and Soviet discussions. In fact, however, there is a very good historical and
theoretical basis for saying that international politics is a system in which there is not
a direct correspondence between the attributes of the actors—I take the main actors
to be states, but whatever the actors are—and the outcomes that their interactions
produce. I think that’s unchallengeable.
J.R. Well, if you look only at one historical period, that discontinuity between
domestic and international can certainly appear very sharp. But as soon as you
compare whole geopolitical systems from different historical epochs and look at the
different kinds of society that were involved, you find that the differences between
these ‘international systems’ correspond to the differences between the kinds of
societies on which they are based. For example, in order to explain the prevalence of
dynastic diplomacy in medieval Europe, you would have to have some understanding
of the domestic character of European feudalism.
K.W. I don’t know how you could explain anything in international politics
without understanding something about the domestic character. I am tired of people
who say, ‘You’ve got a theory of international politics; you need to include domestic
politics.’ Well, don’t these people understand anything about what a theory is? A
theory has to be about something. It can’t be about everything. So you have to figure
out what it is you’re trying to explain, what is this domain you’re trying to deal with.
I don’t think that anybody under the sun would deny the statement that if you could
have a single theory that would comprehend both international and domestic, both
political and economic matters, all in one theory, hey, that would be a lot better than
a simple theory of international politics. However, nobody’s thought of how to do it.
I’ve thought about that a lot. I can’t figure out how. Neither can anybody else so far. 379
So you take the theory you have—again, I make the comparison with economics—
which is comparable to an oligopolistic market theory (not a purely competitive
market theory) and then of course you have to hook it up with reality: you have to
know a lot of history and a lot about domestic politics. I said in Man, the State and
War, it would be much nicer if there had been fewer countries like Hitler’s Germany
and more countries like England. Sure, that would have made a difference. Of
course. I went to such lengths to emphasize in Theory of International Politics that
you have to bring national politics and international politics together to understand
or explain anything. But theories are very sparse. What theories do mainly is omit
things. They make bold simplifications. If they don’t, they’re not theories. It’s the
same thing in the natural sciences.
F.H. But they have to be able to make some broad explanation of the
K.W. The explanation always involves both the theory and knowledge that lies
outside of the theory. The theory itself leads to certain expectations. But to explain
anything that goes on in the real world, you’ve got to know something about the real
F.H. Can you justify the polarization which you establish between what you call
reductionist and systemic theories? ‘Reductionist theory’ is used in two senses in
Theory of International Politics: first, to describe a theory that explains everything by
reference to the domestic, but, secondly, to include any theory which brings in the
domestic at all. Surely, between systemic and reductionist there must be a space for a
third type of theory which, difficult as it is, combines statements about the domestic
and the international, and in particular about the interaction between the two. Why
can’t it be possible to produce a theory that is not reductionist in the narrow sense of
explaining everything by the domestic, but which focuses on the interaction? Why
does one have to make this choice?
K.W. Do you know of any theory that does that? I’d be delighted to avoid that
F.H. Immanuel Kant, Niccolò Machiavelli, Karl Marx; even your friend
Rousseau combines them in that sense.
380 K.W. But not in a theory. You take the theory and then you have to hook it up
to the real world. There are theories of oligopolistic competition. There are theories
of the firm, which are really organizational theories. Now, if somebody could come
up with a theory that would comprehend both national and international—and I
don’t see any logical reason why this can’t be done—but nobody’s done it. So what
good is it to say of a structural theory of international politics: it’s a theory of
international politics, and unfortunately it’s not also a theory about domestic
politics, economics, society, culture, ideology, whatever. What good is that? We know
that theories are about something, not about everything.
F.H. But even in your reading of these people, you do put them sometimes too
easily into boxes. Take the ‘second image’. Now, you have on the one hand your
liberal second-image people, Woodrow Wilson, and you have on the other Hobson
and Lenin (about whom you are extremely flattering in both books). But it could be
argued that Lenin’s theory isn’t in fact a second-image theory at all. Lenin’s
Imperialism is not about what goes on inside a country. It’s about the way in which
what goes on inside a country is shaped by international economic and strategic
competition which then has its own further consequences for the country’s foreign
policy. In other words, it isn’t a second image. Lenin’s theory of imperialism, right or
wrong, is a combination of what you’d call a second and a third image. And the
same probably goes for Woodrow Wilson.
380 Fred Halliday and Justin Rosenberg
K.W. No. Lenin’s theory is only in very minor ways different from Hobson’s. It’s
Hobson’s theory, not Lenin’s.
F.H. Lenin’s is a theory of war, which is very pertinent to our subject. Hobson
doesn’t have a theory of war.
K.W. Well, that’s using theory to mean interpretation. And I’m using theory—I
must say much influenced by the LSE philosophy department in which I spent the
academic year 1976–7. Hobson’s theory is very impressive as a theory of the
domestic economy. And in fact it is so impressive that Keynes gives Hobson almost
complete credit for Keynes’s General Theory. He has a theory of why equilibrium
can endure at a level of less than full employment of the factors of production. But
then he makes the jump: if you’ve got underemployment of factors, then the outlet is
imperialism. And that doesn’t follow logically. Schumpeter might say: an outlet was
also available through the rapid development of railways. It doesn’t follow that it has
to be external. And in fact, Hobson himself said this is a matter of policy. If you
could get a government that would redistribute the wealth—the problem is that the
wealth falls into the hands of people who have so much that they can’t spend it. And
then you get a downward spiral. So if you had a New Deal policy, you wouldn’t
need imperialism. It is Lenin who said that governments of capitalist states could
never redistribute wealth, and so imperialism was inevitable. But that’s a matter of
policy, not a conclusion of theory.
F.H. The Doyle thesis is also neither second nor third image; because if you ask
why are the major countries democratic, it has a lot to do with international factors,
whether imitation or competition or straight conquest.
K.W. People have sometimes asked me whether Doyle’s propositions constitute a
theory, and I think that’s an interesting question. In fact, he has not come up with a
theory. It is a correlation. He says: it holds historically that democracies do not fight
democracies. Now, a theory has to have something more in it than that. Theory is an
instrument for understanding and explaining, and, if you get your fondest wish,
predicting. But Doyle has discovered a suggestive correlation. It is indeed true that
you can’t find many cases where democracy fights democracy. It’s very suggestive. It
poses a puzzle. But then there are a lot of authoritarian countries—Franco’s Spain?
Mussolini and Hitler could not budge him: he wasn’t going to do anything that
might drag Spain into any war.
F.H. Doyle doesn’t claim that non-democratic countries always go to war.
K.W. But, as Doyle says, democracies fight more than enough wars. They just
don’t fight one another. And as for the American democracy, my God, we are
F.H. You’re the least fierce developed capitalist country on the record of the
K.W. But in the twentieth century—ask anybody that lives in Central America.
F.H. Compare what the Japanese or the French or the British did or the Dutch.
K.W. Oh, I don’t think you can call Japan a democratic capitalist country. It was
not. England was fiercer, all right, in the nineteenth century and into the twentieth,
but certainly not beyond World War I. Nor was France. When we invaded Panama,
we not only broke international law, we even broke the international laws that we
wrote, the Charter of the Organization of American States. It was a flagrant
violation of international law. Grenada, too, was ridiculous. As Reagan said, ‘We
got there just in the nick of time.’ And my answer to that was ‘Yes, because I think
uldn’t have stood tall in the saddle.’
J.R. A few moments ago, you made a distinction between theory and interpretation.
The implication seemed to be that the task of theory is to make causal
predictions about the behaviour of actors which are taken as given, rather than to
explain (or ‘interpret’) what these actors are as particular historical forms of human
social relations. But can this distinction be justified? If such key actors as sovereign
states and capitalist markets are historically peculiar to the modern period, then
surely a major part of any social theory of international relations must be to explain
why that is so in terms of their sociological foundation. What significance or value
do you attribute to that other aspect of theory, particularly since what it is trying to
explain is precisely the agents which your own theory takes as given?
K.W. There are all kinds of attempts to understand and explain. And they are
very interesting. But I think of theory as having to meet certain standards, and fulfil
certain requirements. Otherwise it would fall into some other category, a perfectly
fine category such as philosophy or historical interpretation.
J.R. In your own theory, you derive the behaviour of the units deductively from
the anarchical character of the geopolitical system. The image of the system is
abstracted from in order to make its causal operation logically clear. At the same
time, you also make occasional historical references, for example to Thucydides, and
say that the Greek city-state system illustrates the same principle. But it was a point
of some frustration for the English School of International Relations, Martin Wight
and Herbert Butterfield, that when they consulted the classical literature, they
actually couldn’t find explicit discussions of the balance of power in that earlier
epoch. Similarly, David Hume’s essay ‘On the Balance of Power’ is actually a quite
spurious attempt to give an ancient pedigree to an institution that just seemed to be
emerging and consolidating itself in the eighteenth century.
K.W. Well, balance of power is an ‘institution’ in a special sense of that word.
Herbert Butterfield says that Fénelon, who died in 1715, was the first person to have
any sense of the balance of power as a continuing practice, rather than just as an
ad hoc response to a situation. Some people say that Polybius had this sense, but
that’s minor. But Machiavelli does not have a sense of the balance of power as a
continuing recurring phenomenon. Herbert Butterfield is one of the most interesting
historians from an international political point of view because what he illustrates in
that essay, though I’m not sure he intends to, is that statesmen don’t need to have any
sense of the balance of power. They react situationally. They’re in a situation, and
they either react appropriately or they suffer the consequences. That’s what theory is
about. The theory says ‘Wherever the conditions are such—that is, where you have
units in a self-help system—or, to put it even more carefully, insofar as a system is
one of self-help, this will apply also in the Middle Ages.’ Read Markus Fischer’s
piece in the International Studies Quarterly. He considers a French medieval case,
and finds . . . balance-of-power politics. What was Innocent III, when he was Pope,
doing? Balance-of-power politics. Theory applies, given certain conditions. If those
conditions are not there, well, then of course the theory doesn’t apply.
There’s another point here. People generally assume that for realists, it’s always
and only military power that counts. But it follows from structural realist theory that
in a self-help system, how you help yourself depends on the resources you can
dispose of and the situation you’re in. The distinction between high politics and low
382 Fred Halliday and Justin Rosenberg
politics—with high politics being military and diplomacy, and low politics being
economic—is entirely misplaced. In the near term, and probably for quite some time,
economic competition will often be more prominent than military competition.
F.H. Does the economic system operate in roughly similar ways to the military
system? Does balance-of-power theory in particular operate in the economic sphere
K.W. Some economists have pointed out that there is a high correlation between
size and survivability among oligopolistic firms. If you don’t go for market share,
then you risk becoming small and thus the chances of survival become less. There
are many parallels.
F.H. Is there much evidence in history that the international economic system
does operate according to balance of power?
K.W. What do you mean by the international economic system? Japan is a
marvellous example. All these writers on interdependence are saying that nations are
going to lose control of their economies, because of all the transnational stuff that’s
going on. But Japan is not losing control of its national economy. I think what’s
happening is the opposite, that Japan is so much of a success story in the latter part
of the twentieth century that other countries are going to try to imitate Japan’s
successful processes. States don’t want to lose control. Maybe they can’t help it. But
they’ll try not to. I think we’re becoming a world of blocs: Japan and South-east
Asia especially, the NAFTA which will be the biggest trading area in the world if it
comes off, the European Community which is not much of a common market but
which is still trying to become a common market. When the Mondeo, the Ford
world car, was introduced, the price differential across the EC was 22%. Some
J.R. My problem with your theory is not that it is internally inconsistent, but
that there are such large aspects of international relations which simply can’t be
grasped with the theory that you offer.
J.R. Take for example the question of the historical emergence of the modern
international system, and the way that this is bound up with the enormous set of
social transformations which we call the modern world: capitalism, rationalization,
and so on. If you accept that we cannot explain these things using your theory,
doesn’t that mean that there are other kinds of explanatory theories in International
Relations which are legitimate branches of knowledge?
K.W. I wish there were. I just don’t know of any other theories. History is not
part of any theory. Take Newton’s law of gravity. He’s not saying, ‘Hey, I’m
explaining how apples fall from 1666 onwards. Don’t ask me how they fell in the
year 1500. That’s not part of the theory.’ The theory applies wherever the conditions
the theory contemplates are in effect. So the theory does explain how apples fell in
the year 1500. But that’s not part of the theory. Wherever the conditions of the
theory . . .
J.R. But that’s just the point: how to explain the historical emergence of the
conditions of the theory. When we look at the history of the modern international
system, what we see is an enormous social and political upheaval which brought it
into being, which drives its development, and we need to understand that.
K.W. Sure. But even Stephen Hawking, if his fondest wish comes true and
physicists come up with a theory of everything, that theory won’t have explained
everything. It will explain most of what goes on in daily life. It will provide what the
physicists say is a full explanation, but only of certain phenomena.
F.H. But all theory must contain some specification of what is significant or
important. You wouldn’t defend a theory that was parsimonious and elegant but
which explained only marginal phenomena. So within your theory, there has to be
some implicit specification—which I don’t think we’d disagree on—concerning what
are the important things to explain. And J.R. is simply saying that there are a lot of
other important things, and that it doesn’t explain enough.
K.W. That’s fair enough, and I’ve said that myself. It explains certain big and
important things. There’s an awful lot that it does not explain. Now, what’s wrong
with that? That’s true of economic theory. It’s true of the type I’m most indebted to
in anthropology and economics, especially to Durkheim in anthropology. I think
that his distinction between solidary and mechanical societies is a real insight and it
explains a lot of important things, and it’s generalizable. But it doesn’t explain
everything. Most of what you want to know it doesn’t explain. And that’s true of
international political theory, of economic theory and its true of physical theory.
Physicists have a different attitude. They say, ‘OK, we’ve explained that, by God’.
Take relativity. As a matter of fact, the space programme doesn’t use Einstein’s
theory. They use Newton’s. It’s not as accurate, but it’s accurate enough.
J.R. Another book that came out in the same year as Man, the State and War,
also a classic but in a different discipline, was C. Wright Mills’ The Sociological
Imagination. That elaborated a very different conception of theory. Mills says that
the purpose of theory is to illuminate people’s understanding of ‘the present as
history’. Now, that’s very different.
K.W. Very different. There are all kinds of theory. There’s the theory of literary
criticism. And that obviously has to be a very different thing; I would not use the
term theory for it. There’s international political theory, there’s feminist theory.
Indeed there was a recent conference at USC held under the rubric ‘Woman, the
State, and War’. One can’t legislate. People use ‘theory’ in all sorts of different ways.
All I claim is that I do make clear how I use that term. And my usage has a good
pedigree in the natural sciences, economics and much of the philosophy-of-science
F.H. The sympathy of the English School for what we call the Grotian
approach, the concept of international society, does not seem to be replicated on the
other side of the Atlantic. I doubt if the concept of international society figures in
much North American writing at all.
K.W. I don’t even know that it figures much in English writing. There’s a certain
identity made by English writers between ‘society’ and ‘peacefulness’. If you think of
Hedley Bull’s Anarchical Society—well, my goodness, there was almost a 100 per
cent chance that war would not occur between the Soviet Union and the United
States. Hedley Bull’s concept, I gather, would call that a society. Very, very peaceful!
It had nothing to do with society. Think of Israel and the Arabs. These people are so
similar. They form a society, and the hostility is deep and constant. Phil Habib, who
engaged in the great shuttle diplomacy with Henry Kissinger—you couldn’t tell
whether he was a Jew or an Arab if you didn’t know. They look the same, they
sound the same, they think in very similar ways. It’s a real society. Northern Ireland:
it’s a real society. They’re so much like one another. Now, we know this. Most
murders occur within the family or among friends. Society? I’ve always thought:
384 Fred Halliday and Justin Rosenberg
open one’s eyes and look around, and say, well, is there anything in this concept of
international society. I really don’t think there is.
F.H. Does that pertain to a broader view of the significance of Grotius in the
history of international theory? Grotius is the figure from whom the British
realists—not Carr but the others—derive much of their pedigree. I notice again there
is a silence on this on the other side of the Atlantic, including in your own work.
K.W. I read Grotius. I was prepared to take him seriously, and I didn’t find him
F.H. The English realist school itself is quite a diverse one. There is the core of
Bull, Wight and other people—Donelan and Mayall. Then there is quite separately
E. H. Carr.
K.W. I think E. H. Carr is rather distinct. When my wife and I were here in
1959, I remember coming across an essay by Hedley Bull in the LSE library. I called
her up and I read her a few sentences and I said to her ‘Who do you think wrote
this?’ And she said ‘You did!’ I said, ‘No: Hedley Bull.’ We really were thinking in
very much the same way in those days. Hedley’s latter development was in a different
direction; not wholly incompatible. I respect Hedley Bull very much, and Martin
Wight very much. But they did theory in a sense that is not recognized as theory by
philosophers of science.
F.H. If you were drawing up a programme, or just a set of injunctions to
younger scholars or funding agencies, saying ‘this is the work you should be doing,
the work that can be done and that now needs to be done’, what would you say?
K.W. In theoretical terms, I think the big problem is that people don’t
distinguish between a theory and its application. I’d invoke Keohane as an example.
In his liberal institutionalism he says that the core of the theory is structural realism.
That’s the only theory that there is in liberal institutionalism: the rest is application.
I think application is extremely important and very tricky; it’s very difficult to move
from theory to practice. But in political science generally, and certainly in international politics, people who in effect are trying to apply a theory think they are
elaborating a new theory, or enlarging a theory.
When I was a graduate student around 1950, it became very boring because people
kept saying, ‘The reason we’re so far behind in sociology, political science or
whatever, is that our disciplines are very young.’ So, I asked myself, ‘How young are
we?’ And that’s why I went back to the Physiocrats. If you read pre-Physiocratic
economics, which I don’t recommend, you’ll find that it’s entirely atheoretical. There’s
a lot of enumeration and descriptions, and it amounts to nothing. The Physiocrats,
who very much influenced Adam Smith, asked the right question: ‘What is it that we
can have a theory about?’ They drew a picture of an economy. It all begins in the
ground, with agriculture, minerals and metals. And then it goes through the process
of refining and manufacturing, distributing the agricultural products, and so on. And
it’s a complete, self-contained circle. They invented the idea of an economy as a thing
in itself. It consists of repetitive actions and occurrences. It has a beginning, an
ending and a repetition. It’s very simple; but that’s the marvel of it. Nobody else, I’m
reasonably sure, had thought of that—of thinking of an economy in and of itself.
Auguste Comte reacted to Adam Smith by asking: how could he make the colossal
error of thinking that you could think of economy in itself? Well, of course we all
know that it’s embedded in society and politics and all that, but if you can’t think of
it in itself, then you can’t have a theory of it.
R. So ‘theory’ for you has a very definite, distinctively positivist sense?
K.W. A theory’s a theory. It has to meet certain standards whether it’s a natural
science theory or a social science theory. Beyond that, I would call it interpretation,
philosophy, history: all good things, I don’t put those things down, can’t live without
J.R. How far then do you think that International Relations has progressed as a
discipline over the postwar period?
K.W. I think that structural theory has at least helped focus people’s minds on
the theoretical problem, but I don’t think there’s much increase in understanding. I
have often said that what Morgenthau did was translate Meinecke from German to
English, and if you look at the index, you won’t see Meinecke mentioned. I would
translate some of Meinecke into the same words that Morgenthau used in Politics
among Nations. And then Morton Kaplan translated Morgenthau from English into
whatever language it was that Kaplan was writing in. I guess I think there’s been
very little progress. An awful lot of people became interested in IPE, a lot of work
was churned out, but I haven’t seen much progress.
The Editors pose two questions additional to those directly discussed in the
First: What is the feminist contribution to IR theory?
K.W. Feminists offer not a new or revised theory of international-political
theory but a sometimes interesting interpretation of what goes on internationally.
Second: What is the post-positivist contribution to IR theory?
K.W. I have trouble understanding the meaning of the term ‘positivist theory’.
In this usage, positive, I suppose, means trying to understand the world as it is. We
all try to do that, though in different ways. At the extreme, positivists believe that
reality can be apprehended directly, without benefit of theory. Reality is whatever we
directly observe. In a more moderate version of positivism, theory is but one step
removed from reality, is arrived at largely by induction, is rather easy to construct,
and is fairly easy to test. Keohane and Nye in their book on interdependence
provide a clear example when they ‘argue that complex interdependence sometimes
comes closer to reality than does realism’.1 Yet if we knew what reality was, theory
would serve no purpose.
Having misunderstood the meaning of the word ‘theory’ in the term ‘structural
theory of international politics’, post-positivists concentrate on the world as it might
be, the world they wish we could have. Many students of international politics seem
to believe that all interpretations and explanations of historical developments should
be called theories. Theories do explain, but not all explanations are theories; and
interpretations surely are not. Interpretations and explanations are plentiful; theories
are scarce. I, and apparently post-positivists as well, have trouble stating a postpositivist
explanation of international relations in a way that would look at all like a
386 Fred Halliday and Justin Rosenberg
1 Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Jr, Power and Interdependence (Boston, MA, 1989), p. 23.
Μάιος 2013 Σχόλια και άρθρα τις μέρες της αναχώρησής του από τα εγκόσμια του Μεγάλου Δασκάλου της πολιτικής θεωρίας του διεθνούς συστήματος.
Earlier this week, Kenneth Waltz, one of the world's most influential scholars of international relations, died at the age of 88. His books and are classics in the field, and his influence on students, colleagues, and policymakers was profound. Waltz was a theorist who also delved into the most contentious debates in U.S. foreign policy, opposing the wars in Vietnam and Iraq and earning himself a reputation as a realist far outside the confines of the ivory tower. As Stephen Walt noted last week, "Ken showed that you could be a theorist and a social scientist without joining the 'cult of irrelevance' that afflicts so much of academia." To take a closer look at Professor Waltz's career, has assembled this collection of short essays on his contributions to political science and beyond.
By Robert Gallucci
Forty-six years ago, I was a first-year grad student at Brandeis University when I went to see Ken Waltz to find out what I needed to know to be his teaching assistant for an undergraduate course in international relations. "It'll be easy," I remember him saying, "because you'll be taking my graduate seminar in IR theory at the same time."
It wasn't easy. His lectures to undergrads covered political theorists who addressed the international system of nation-states and how it explained the conditions of war and peace in a whole range of historical periods -- from the Greek and Italian city-states, through Bismarck's Europe, to the Cold War world of the 1960s. The graduate seminar was different: Not fewer than five books were required reading for each anxiety-filled class, and there was an optional reading list that actually induced depression. Waltz lectured the undergrads and led the graduate seminar. He did both brilliantly -- better than I had ever seen. He had great praise for those writers and thinkers he thought intelligent, and withering criticism for those he judged soft-headed or lacking the analytical capacity essential to theory.
Ken was my thesis advisor until he left Brandeis for Berkeley. His own thesis had arguably become the most important book ever written on international relations theory: His parting words to me as he sent me off to write mine were, "Bob, please don't try to write , just write something serious." It was extraordinarily good advice. He was also sympathetic to my desire not to serve in Vietnam, to a point. I recall him noting that since he had been unlucky enough to have caught the end of World War II and the beginning of the Korean War, I might understand if his sympathy for my vulnerability to the draft was limited.
Ken's scholarship went against conventional wisdom. He argued that the U.S.-Soviet competition that defined the bipolar structure of the postwar world was not to be deplored for its zero-sum character, but embraced for its stability. He argued that democracy does not handicap governments in the competition among nations as most observers didbut actually improvesa country's foreign policy. Most controversially, he argued that, when it comes to the number of states that have nuclear weapons, "more may be better."
We differed on the last point, and sometimes on the key, recurring question of American foreign policy: When is military intervention justified, by which he meant, when is it in the national interest? Waltz had no patience for "liberal intervention," or what we might now call humanitarian intervention, because we could never be sure that we would succeed in making things better over the long-term. And he had little patience for supposed national security arguments that could not identify a threat to vital interests -- we are not, and therefore should not act like, an empire. Waltz was not an isolationist, but he was definitely a minimalist when it came to the use of force.
Kenneth Waltz's writing has influenced the way generations of students think about international affairs. That will continue for as long as nations live in "a state of nature." But now, those of us fortunate enough to have been his students and enjoyed his mentorship have lost a most valued friend and colleague.
By Richard K. Betts
Like any truly great thinker, Ken Waltz defied stereotypes. The preeminent hard-headed theorist of power politics, he savaged the hopes of those who believe that moral energy, liberal principles, or democratic crusades can end war. But he belied the common assumption that realists are callous hawks who relish the use of force. He opposed the Vietnam War, the Reagan military buildup, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq as overreactions to threats that were exaggerated and could be handled by calm containment and deterrence.
Ken saw world politics as an anarchic "self-help system" because no enforcement authority exists above the level of nation-states. But he also believed that sensible leaders can nevertheless preserve peace if they give up ambitions to control the world and instead craft balances of power that make the costs of war clearly exceed the gains. This simple idea was in the grand realist tradition, but Waltz developed it with much greater analytic precision and clarity. And as a theorist he took it to logical conclusions that were not always persuasive in the frequently illogical world of policy. This was evident in his argument that nuclear proliferation is benign because the prospect of mutual annihilation makes the risk of war unthinkable to rivals in unstable regions, as it did for the superpowers in the Cold War.
Like other great thinkers, Waltz was sometimes the victim of false charges about what he claimed. Many who fail to read his work carefully accuse him of denying the impact of domestic politics on foreign policy. His second book, , was actually all about that. A basic point of his work in general that many miss is that a theory of foreign policy is not the same as a theory of international politics. Psychological and domestic political impulses account for what nations try to do at any particular time (foreign policy). The constraining structure of the international system, however, subjects those intentions to opposing forces and thus accounts for typical results over time. States sometimes do choose policies based on ideology, culture, or leaders' idiosyncrasies that do not take sober account of their adversaries' power, but when they do, in Waltz's words, they "fall by the wayside." Wars happen because there is no higher authority to prevent foolish risks.
On a few points Ken had a bit too much confidence in the conclusions to be drawn from theoretical logic, as in his certainty about the future stability of mutual nuclear deterrence. When the immediate prospect of apocalypse is not at issue, however, he fully realized that policymakers all too often fail to recognize the logic of restraint. He once told me he bought stocks in the defense industry as the Cold War reheated in the late 1970s not because sharply increased military spending would be the right choice for American policy, but because he knew it would happen. Ken Waltz, ever the realist.
By Scott D. Sagan
Kenneth Waltz was one of world's preeminent theorists of international relations. He was also a hugely influential nuclear strategist, especially concerning the consequences of the spread of nuclear weapons. The first observation is widely recognized; the second observation is not. Waltz, like other realists such as Hobbes and Machiavelli, was reluctantly respected for his insights about how the anarchic nature of international politics creates self-help imperatives and pressures all states to be "nasty and brutish" so that their lives will not be "short." But American security specialists have often viewed Waltz's views about the positive, "stabilizing" effects of nuclear proliferation to be radically outside the mainstream and thus not influential.
But this is a narrow, inside-the-Beltway perspective, for Waltz's writings on nuclear proliferation were widely read around the globe and provided an alternative perspective that helps explain why U.S. fears about nuclear proliferation are not always shared by other governments. His seminal work on this subject -- a 1981 Adelphi Paper provocatively entitled "The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: More May be Better" -- presented a simple but controversial argument: Nuclear weapons are so destructive that the threat of retaliation with even a small arsenal will easily deter any state that faces a nuclear adversary. If this is true, then new countries that get nuclear weapons will behave like the superpowers during the Cold War, issuing threats and huffing and puffing in crises but avoiding war.
This view was not popular in Washington, but it was popular elsewhere. I speak from experience, for I have been a long-standing critic of Waltz's perspective on nuclear proliferation. He and I published three editions of a popular "debate book" about the spread of nuclear weapons, and we engaged in spirited public debates about the subject in venues ranging from bookstores in Berkeley to lecture halls at Columbia, from State Department seminars in Washington to War College courses in New Delhi. And while my "proliferation pessimist" position -- based on theories about common organizational failures and pathologies in civil-military relations -- usually "won over" audiences inside the District of Columbia, when we traveled overseas together, he usually had the audience in the palm of his hand. They commonly cheered when he accused American officials of being ethnocentric or even racist for believing that the United States can safely enjoy the benefits of nuclear deterrence, but that other countries cannot.
Government officials and military strategists in states that are developing nuclear weapons or thinking about doing so often have echoed Waltz's claim that "nuclear weapons make wars hard to start." And if a scholar's influence can also be measured by the importance of the critics he or she attracts, it should be noted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly disagreed with Waltz's 2012 article, "Why Iran Should Get the Bomb," on .
Waltz made friends and foes alike think more clearly and argue with more rigor. That is no small legacy. He will be missed.
The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: An Enduring Debate
By Ken Booth
It is difficult to imagine the academic study of international relations today in the absence of the work of Ken Waltz. There can be little doubt, even on the part of his critics, that he has been the single most significant figure in our field in the postwar era.
Waltz is to the study of international relations what Darwin is to the study of biology. I make this claim in terms of the sheer intellectual significance of his theoretical contribution. One cannot make sense of the biological world apart from Darwin's theory of evolution: equally, Waltz's structural framework for understanding how states interact under anarchy, with an uneven distribution of power and a desire to survive, offers a powerful theory for making sense of the international system. Neither theory explains everything in their domain -- one always needs to know more about particularities -- but both provide compelling big-picture explanations of their domains.
Waltz wrote few books over a long career. He liked to say that "we don't need more books, we need better ones," and he practiced what he preached. (1959) and (1979) are both classics, with time-transcending significance and influence. The levels-of-analysis approach to the causes of war in the earlier book was a decisive contribution to grappling with the discipline's traditional core problematic, while the "parsimonious" theory in the later book had a profound impact throughout the discipline.
Nobody has influenced the field as deeply or in as many directions as Ken Waltz. Disciples and critics alike are his offspring, whether their work has been to refine and develop his ideas (new schools of realism and liberalism) or to try to think outside the Waltzian world (some constructivism and critical theory). By persuasion and provocation, he lifted the discipline to a new level.
Waltz was a stubborn defender of his theory, of course, but he did not over-claim. He was not a structural determinist, nor did he think his theory necessarily timeless. In particular, he emphasized that his was a "systemic theory" of international politics, not a "reductionist theory" of foreign policy. In other words, Waltz's theory of the international system did not tell us how the individual units in their foreign and defense policies would behave -- though he had his own clear ideas about the sorts of behavior the system would reward or punish. His views about the positive utility of the controlled spread of nuclear weapons, for example, were particularly controversial.
The debates generated by Waltz's work have made the IR discipline what it is today. His work, like that of other "realists" once thought past their sell-by dates, has been and is being re-thought. We still have much to learn from him, and in that regard Ken Waltz's influence will live on not simply through his writings but through his impact on individual lives -- as a remarkable teacher, a human being who attracted loyalty, a generous friend, an intellectual giant, and a professional role model for all who knew him. He was and will remain our indispensable theorist.
By Yan Xuetong
Before I enrolled in the Ph.D. program in political science at the University of California, Berkeley in 1987, I had never learned anything about international relations theory. I took Kenneth Waltz's Poli Sci 223 in my very first semester not because I had already heard of him but because my advisor told me that taking his course was essential. In this way, Ken became the first professor to teach me IR theory.
Due to my poor English and lack of prior knowledge, I failed his midterm exam. Ken called me to his office and told me that he understood my situation and would not count the midterm grade if I got a better grade on the final. He then spent a half-hour tutoring me on the concept of power and the idea of "system structure." Among other things, he told me that he disliked the label "neorealism" because he felt that the term told you nothing about the theory itself. Instead, he preferred "structural realism" because it described the substance of his theory.
Not only did this talk clarify my understanding of his theory, it also turned me into a student of structural theory. Since then, my own work has sought to explain how different configurations of power drive major international changes, a topic I explore at length in a forthcoming book.
Ken's definition of theory also had a strong effect on me. He taught his students that a theory is an explanation of a law. This notion is especially important for Chinese students, who tend to use the term "theory" to refer to all kinds of political concepts. Ken's strict definition of theory helps us to distinguish between theory and political principles, policy decisions, leaders' ideas, religious beliefs, ideology, norms, etc. Ken's students do not necessarily share the same view of international politics, but their works aspire to a similar level of logic and rigor.
Waltz's work has had an enormous impact in China, where structural approaches to international politics are an increasingly important school of thought. For this reason, the Chinese Community of Political Science and International Studies has decided to hold a special panel commemorating his academic contributions at its annual conference on July 6 and 7. I am sure that it will be crowded with Ken's disciples and that his work will continue to inspire Chinese scholars.
18.5.2013. Σχόλιο Π. Ήφαιστου για τον αποβίωση του Kenneth Waltz
Αναχώρησε από τα εγκόσμια ο Kenneth Waltz, Μεγάλος Δάσκαλος της διεθνούς πολιτικής
Παναγιώτης Ήφαιστος www.ifestosedu.gr
Καθηγητής Διεθνών Σχέσεων – Στρατηγικών Σπουδών
Χιλιάδες αναρτήσεις σχολιάζουν αυτές τις μέρες την αναχώρηση από τα εγκόσμια του Kenneth Waltz. O Kenneth Waltz είναι χωρίς καμιά αμφιβολία –ακόμη και για τους αντιπάλους του στο πεδίο της επιστήμης– ο Μεγάλος Δάσκαλος της Πολιτικής Θεωρίας του Διεθνούς Συστήματος.
Πέρυσι εκδόθηκαν στα Ελληνικά τα δύο σημαντικότερα βιβλία του: Το εμβληματικό Ο Άνθρωπος, το Κράτος και ο Πόλεμος και το Θεωρία Διεθνούς Πολιτικής. Αμφότερα εκδόθηκαν από τις Εκδόσεις Ποιότητα και περιεχόμενα, σχόλια και συνεντεύξεις του βρίσκονται στην διεύθυνση http://www.ifestosedu.gr/54waltzduo.htm. Το πρώτο το προλογίζει ο συνάδελφος καθηγητής Ηλίας Κουσκουβέλης και το δεύτερο ο συνάδελφος καθηγητής Αθανάσιος Πλατιάς.
Τα Πανεπιστήμια Πειραιώς και Μακεδονίας κάλεσαν πέρυσι τον Waltz στην Ελλάδα. Παρά το ότι διένυε την 8η δεκαετία της ζωής του τα κατάφερε μια χαρά και οι επιστημονικές συναντήσεις μαζί του αποτέλεσαν κυριολεκτικά στοχαστική μυσταγωγία για τους περισσότερους έλληνες διεθνολόγους που παρευρέθηκαν στις διαλέξεις ή συζήτησαν μαζί του.
Το Πανεπιστήμιο Μακεδονίας τον ανακήρυξε και επίτιμο διδάκτορα. Οι συζητήσεις μαζί του ήταν πολύτιμες. Σε αμφότερα τα πανεπιστήμια δεν έκρυβε ότι αισθανόταν γοητευμένος για το γεγονός ότι επισκέφτηκε την γενέτειρα του Θουκυδίδη.
Μεθοδολογικά και επιστημολογικά ανελέητος, αταλάντευτος και ακλόνητος στις αναλύσεις του, αρνήθηκε να μιλήσει φλύαρα. Έγραψε μερικά μόνο βιβλία και τα άρθρα που ακολούθησαν αποτελούσαν βασικά απαντήσεις στα σχόλια άλλων. Βασικά, έγραψε λίγα, βαρβάτα και επαληθευμένα κάθε μέρα. Προσδιόρισε την διεθνή κατανομή ισχύος ως το κύριο αίτιο σταθερότητας ή αστάθειας. Ως ο συνεπέστερος αντιπρόσωπος της Θουκυδίδειας παράδοσης θεωρεί την σταθερότητα ή αστάθεια στην διεθνή πολιτική ως συναρτημένη με την ισορροπία ή ανισορροπία.
Μίλησε, βασικά, μόνο για το διεθνές σύστημα, τις δομές του και τον ρόλο των κατανομών και ανακατανομών ισχύος. Όσα έγραψε είναι σχεδόν «νομοτελειακά». Ακόμη και ένα εκατοστό να ήξεραν οι πολιτικοί ηγέτες και η κοινωνία της Ελλάδας δεν θα καταντούσαμε εδώ που καταντήσαμε σήμερα. Για το κράτος αρνήθηκε να μιλήσει γιατί θεωρούσε ότι οι μεταβλητές της πολιτικής, των πολιτισμών και των ιστορικών διαδρομών είναι δύσκολο να σταθμιστούν για να συναχθούν ασφαλή συμπεράσματα. Δεν υπάρχει θεωρία εξωτερικής πολιτικής, υποστήριζε, αλλά μόνο θεωρία διεθνούς πολιτικής. Υποστήριξε, μεταξύ άλλων, ότι προϋπόθεση βιωσιμότητας των κρατών στην διεθνή πολιτική εν μέσω διαρκών ανακατανομών ισχύος είναι να ενεργούν με τέτοιο τρόπο ούτως ώστε να μεριμνούν για την ασφάλειά τους.
Το πρώτο του βιβλίο Ο Άνθρωπος, το Κράτος και ο Πόλεμος είναι αναμφίβολα σημείο αναφοράς όλων και εκατομμυρίων παραπομπών. Διδάσκεται στα περισσότερα Τμήματα Διεθνών Σπουδών των πανεπιστημίων σε όλο τον κόσμο, κυρίως στους πρωτοετείς. «Τα λέει όλα»: Τις αναρίθμητες θέσεις για την φύση του ανθρώπου, τα αναρίθμητα θεωρήματα για τα καθεστώτα των κρατών και τον πόλεμο και για τις θεωρήσεις του διεθνούς συστήματος. Απλά, κατανοητά και γλαφυρά. Οι περισσότεροι το διαβάσαμε σαν φοιτητές στο εξωτερικό και μας χάραξε την επιστημονική μας πορεία. Το δεύτερο προαναφερθέν βιβλίο του είναι ο άξονας των συζητήσεων της διεθνούς πολιτικής μετά την πρώτη κυκλοφορία του.
Όπως κάθε συνεπής διεθνολόγος της Θουκυδίδειας παράδοσης ήταν μετριόφρων, αντί-ηγεμονιστής και ασφαλώς ρητά ταγμένος κατά περιπετειών όπως στο Βιετνάμ και στο Ιράκ το 2003. Η αμφισβήτηση της συμβατικής σοφίας περί πυρηνικών όπλων στις ΗΠΑ, εξάλλου –πάντοτε βέβαια στηριγμένος στην θεωρία του– ενόχλησε και συνεχίζει να ενοχλεί πολλούς.
Αναλύσεις όπως αυτές του Kenneth Waltz προσφέρονται όλως ιδιαιτέρως την περίοδο που διανύουμε. Κάθε νοήμων και καλόπιστος αναγνώστης θα κατανοήσει πόσο αφελής ήταν η Ελληνική διπλωματία τις δύο τελευταίες δεκαετίες, ποια είναι τα αίτια της συμφοράς μας και τι δέον γενέσθαι.
Όλως συμπτωματικά τον προηγούμενο μήνα ολοκλήρωσα ένα εκτενές δοκίμιο το οποίο χωρίς να αμφισβητήσω ούτε μια λέξη της θεωρίας του Waltz για τον ρόλο της διεθνούς κατανομής ισχύος, στάθηκα στο δεύτερο επίπεδο, δηλαδή το κράτος και υπέστην την βάσανο εκτιμήσεων για τις προϋποθέσεις της κρατικής ισχύος. Το δοκίμιο θα δημοσιευτεί σύντομα: Π. Ήφαιστος, «Στρατηγική αντιπαράθεση στην μεταψυχροπολεμική εποχή και αστάθμητοι ανθρωπολογικοί παράγοντες της μετά-αποικιακής εποχής»* στο Μάζης Ι. (επιμ.) Εξεγέρσεις στον Αραβομουσουλμανικό Κόσμο: Ζητήματα Ειρήνης και Σταθερότητας στη Μεσόγειο (Εκδόσεις Ηρόδοτος 2013). Παραθέτω εδώ την περίληψη στην αρχή του δοκιμίου.
Περίληψη. Ποιες είναι οι επιπτώσεις εκ του γεγονότος της χειραφέτησης πολλών εθνοκρατών τα οποία διαθέτουν πνευματικά μεστές πολιτικές ανθρωπολογίες; Πως συμπλέκονται τα τρία επίπεδα ανάλυσης –άνθρωπος, κράτος, διεθνές σύστημα– εκ του γεγονότος ότι μέσα στην μέχρι τούδε υλιστική δημόσια σφαίρα εισρέει πλέον δραστικά και διαμορφωτικά ο πνευματικός κόσμος των πολιτών; Επηρεάζεται η εξωτερική πολιτική των κρατών;
Το Υπόδειγμα των διεθνών σχέσεων, υποστηρίζεται, ορίζεται από τις εγγενείς ιδιότητες της εθνοκρατοκεντρικής οντολογίας. Από το Υπόδειγμα απορρέουν οι αξιωματικές θέσεις όπως διατυπώθηκαν από τον Θουκυδίδη σε αναφορά με το πανομοιότυπο κλασικό σύστημα των Πόλεων. Το Υπόδειγμα και οι αξιωματικές διατυπώσεις του Θουκυδίδη οριοθετούν το θεωρητικό πεδίο ανάπτυξης της διεθνούς πολιτικής και δεσμεύουν δεοντολογικά την πολιτική επιστήμη των διεθνών σχέσεων.
Τα ιδεολογικά συναρτημένα θεωρήματα του μοντερνισμού και του μεταμοντερνισμού, υποστηρίζεται πιο κάτω, δεν εμπίπτουν σε αυτό το πεδίο και γι’ αυτό θεωρούνται επιστημονικά έωλα. Συγκρατώντας πολλά αξιόπιστα πορίσματα του κλασικού ρεαλισμού, υποστηρίζεται, η μόνη βάσιμα συγκροτημένη θεωρία διεθνούς πολιτικής είναι, εξ αντικειμένου, η δομική θεωρία του Kenneth Waltz. Συμβατά με το Υπόδειγμα θεμελιώνει με ακλόνητο τρόπο την σχέση αιτίων-αιτιατών και σταθερότητας-αστάθειας και αλλαγής ανάλογα με την διεθνή κατανομή ισχύος. Η ανάλυση που ακολουθεί συνδέει και συμπλέκει τα εξής:
1. Στο ενδοκρατικό πολιτικό γίγνεσθαι η απροσμέτρητη ποικιλομορφία και η μεγάλη κύμανση των τιμών των ενδοκρατικών μεταβλητών –πολιτισμοί, θρησκείες, κτλ, και σύμμειξη και μέθεξη πνεύματος και αισθητών στην πολιτειακή συγκρότηση– δεν επιτρέπουν μια επιστημονικών προδιαγραφών στάθμιση και εκτίμηση αιτίων και αποτελεσμάτων. Ως εκ τούτου και με δεδομένης της ανομοιότητας των κρατικών δρώντων, γενική θεωρία εξωτερικής δεν μπορεί να υπάρξει. Καλούτσικες περιγραφές κάθε κράτους, ενδεχομένως.
2. Στο ενδοκρατικό επίπεδο όσον αφορά την διεθνή πολιτική το μόνο επιτρεπτό είναι η στάθμιση και εκτίμηση των διαμορφωτικών μεταβλητών της κρατικής ισχύος. Αυτό μπορεί να γίνει μόνο σε αναφορά με τις υποστασιοποιημένες πολιτειακές συγκροτήσεις και θεσμίσεις που αφορούν την κρατική ισχύ. Αυτές οι διαμορφωτικές μεταβλητές, επιπλέον, ανάλογα με την κατά περίπτωση κύμανση των τιμών τους διαβαθμίζονται ως εκτιμήσεις υψηλότερου και χαμηλότερου ρίσκου.
3. Έτσι εκτιμούμενη η κρατική ισχύς ανάγεται στο διεθνές επίπεδο και μαζί με την ισχύ των άλλων κρατών προσδιορίζεται η διεθνής κατανομή ισχύος. Η αναγωγή αυτή γίνεται αφού προηγουμένως “αφαιρεθούν όλα τα άλλα πλην των δυνατοτήτων (δηλαδή πλην της ισχύος)" των κρατών.
4. Στην τρίτη ενότητα του παρόντος δοκιμίου και με όρους πολιτικής φιλοσοφίας αναλύονται οι προεκτάσεις για το δεύτερο και τρίτο επίπεδο εκ του γεγονότος ότι το ολοένα και πιο πνευματικά μεστό Βεστφαλιανό κράτος συγκροτεί τα εθνοκρατικά συστήματα διανεμητικής δικαιοσύνης με μοναδικό, ιδιαίτερο και ιδιόμορφο τρόπο: α) Βαθαίνει ολοένα και περισσότερο η ετερότητα της κατά κράτος πολιτικής ανθρωπολογίας. β) Συνεπαγόμενα αυξάνεται η εθνοκρατοκεντρική διαφοροποίηση. γ) Οι κρατοκεντρικές σχέσεις πρωτίστως εάν όχι αποκλειστικά διεξάγονται σε υλιστική βάση.
5. Ο υλιστικός χαρακτήρας των κρατοκεντρικών σχέσεων δεν αφήνει πολιτικά άξια λόγου περιθώρια διεθνικών πολιτικών συγκροτήσεων. Αυτή η θεώρηση συμπληρώνει την θεωρητική θέση του Waltz ότι μόνο οι δυνατότητες μπορούν να αναχθούν στο διεθνές επίπεδο.
6. Υπό το πρίσμα των προαναφερθέντων, έστω και εάν κανείς έχει κάποιες επιφυλάξεις για την προαναφερθείσα διαβάθμιση των ενδοκρατικών μεταβλητών, μπορούμε να διακρίνουμε απολύτως το δεύτερο από το τρίτο επίπεδο.
7. Διακρίνοντας απόλυτα το δεύτερο από το τρίτο επίπεδο αφήνονται μεγάλα περιθώρια σταθμίσεων και εκτιμήσεων για τις εθνοκρατικές υποστασιοποιήσεις και την κρατική ισχύ. Σταθμίζοντας, εκτιμώντας και ανάγοντας την κρατική ισχύ στο τρίτο επίπεδο η ανά πάσα στιγμή προκύπτουσα διεθνής κατανομή ισχύος προσδιορίζει την ανισορροπία και ισορροπία σε αναφορά με ερωτήματα για την σταθερότητα ή την αστάθεια του εγγενώς άναρχου και ανταγωνιστικού διεθνούς συστήματος.
8. Υπό το πιο πάνω πρίσμα διανοίγονται μια σειρά ερευνητικών πεδίων. Για παράδειγμα, για τον τρόπο που η εκάστοτε διεθνής κατανομή καταναγκάζει και προσδιορίζει τις αποφάσεις υποστασιοποίησης πολιτικών συγκροτήσεων που αφορούν την κρατική ισχύ.
9. Η προκύπτουσα διάκριση του δευτέρου από το τρίτο επίπεδο ανατρέπει επιστημολογικά και μεθοδολογικά τα θεωρήματα και ιδεολογήματα περί διεθνικών, αισθητικών και άλλων σχέσεων. Εξ ορισμού δεν μπορούν να οδηγήσουν, υποστηρίζεται πιο κάτω, σε άξια λόγου πολιτική συγκρότηση: Οι διεθνικοί δρώντες είναι είτε ανεξάρτητες μεταβλητές βλαπτικές για όλους (τρομοκράτες, λαθρέμποροι κτλ) είτε εξαρτημένες μεταβλητές των κρατικών στρατηγικών. Οι διεθνείς θεσμοί, επίσης, ως εκ της φύσεώς τους είναι εξαρτημένες μεταβλητές των κρατών.
10. Στην αγνώστου διάρκειας Οδύσσεια των εθνοκρατών η ισορροπία ή ανισορροπία ανάλογα με την εκάστοτε διεθνή κατανομή ισχύος είναι ο προσδιοριστικός παράγοντας της σταθερότητας-αστάθειας και των διεθνών αλλαγών.
Τέλος παραθέτω, δέκα αρχές απόρροια της ανάλυσης του Kenneth Waltz όπως τις συνόψισε ο συνάδελφος καθηγητής Αθανάσιος Πλατιάς στο έξοχο εισαγωγικό σημείωμά του στο Θεωρία Διεθνούς Πολιτικής.
1. Η έλλειψη ρυθμιστικής εξουσίας στο διεθνές σύστημα παίζει καθοριστικό ρόλο στη συμπεριφορά των κρατών και στη σταθερότητα ή στην αστάθεια του διεθνούς συστήματος (άναρχο διεθνές σύστημα).
2. Καθώς απουσιάζει η υπερκρατική εξουσία, η οποία θα μπορούσε να ρυθμίζει τον ανταγωνισμό, οι σχέσεις των κρατών είναι κατά βάση ανταγωνιστικές και πολλές φορές συγκρουσιακές (ανταγωνιστικό διεθνές σύστημα).
3. Τα κράτη σε ένα τέτοιο ανταγωνιστικό σύστημα πρέπει από μόνα τους να μεριμνήσουν για την ασφάλειά τους (αρχή της αυτοβοήθειας).
4. Τα κράτη στο άναρχο διεθνές σύστημα αναγκάζονται να λάβουν μέτρα, για να αυξήσουν την ασφάλειά τους. Τα μέτρα αυτά όμως μειώνουν την ασφάλεια των άλλων. Αυτό ανατροφοδοτεί την ανασφάλεια και τον ανταγωνισμό. Αυτό είναι το γνωστό «δίλημμα ασφάλειας».
5. Τα κράτη είναι οι βασικοί δρώντες στο διεθνές σύστημα άρα και η βασική μονάδα ανάλυσης των διεθνών σχέσεων (κρατικοκεντρικό διεθνές σύστημα). [οι διεθνικοί δρώντες είναι εγαλειακού χαρακτήρα μέσα στην στρατηγική των κρατών και οι διεθνείς θεσμοί εξ ορισμού και αναπόδραστα (λόγω υψηλών αρχών διεθνούς δικαίου, είναι εξαρτημένες μεταβλητές των κρατών και μάλιστα των ισχυρών]
6. Τα κράτη επειδή είναι «ευαίσθητα στο κόστος» έχουν κάθε λόγο να συμπεριφέρονται ορθολογικά. Τα λάθη τιμωρούνται (αρχή του ορθολογισμού).
7. Κυρίαρχος στόχος του κράτους είναι η κατοχύρωση της ασφάλειάς του, δηλαδή η επιβίωση, η διατήρηση της εδαφικής κυριαρχίας και της εθνικής ανεξαρτησίας/αυτονομίας (βασικό εθνικό συμφέρον).
8. Τα κράτη επιδιώκουν να αποκτήσουν «ισχύ», η οποία είναι το κύριο «νόμισμα» στη διεθνή πολιτική (επιδίωξη ισχύος).
9. Σε ένα ανταγωνιστικό διεθνές σύστημα τα κράτη έχουν κίνητρο να εξισορροπήσουν τους αντιπάλους τους (στρατηγική εξισορρόπησης), για να αυξήσουν την ασφάλειά τους.
10. Οι μεμονωμένες προσπάθειες που καταβάλλουν τα κράτη να εξισορροπήσουν τους αντιπάλους τους, συμβάλλουν στη δημιουργία ενός αυτορυθμιζόμενου συστήματος ισορροπίας δυνάμεων που με τη σειρά του δύναται να συμβάλλει στη διατήρηση της ειρήνης (αρχή της ισορροπίας ισχύος).