Sunday, November 06, 2005

Week of 10/31/05

This week, I found some extremely helpful information in our assigned reading Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture by David Held, Anthony McGrew, David Goldblatt, and Jonathan Perraton. I read the first two chapters. The first chapter was insightful into the history of how powers have transformed from Empires to the Nation-States of today. There were sporadic references to the effects that war and militarism had played in the process that were helpful. However, chapter 2 took a much longer, in-depth look at the implications that war and military expenditures have on a global society. The book discussed the history of war and the role of military power and also described rather thoroughly where we are now and how we are impacted by such things as global arms trade, the gap between industrialized and non-industrialized nations, creating codes for war, etc. It was an extremely insightful perspective for our topic!

Every step of the process from Empires to Modern Nation-States has been characterized by a use of military power. In every section of 1.1, the authors note how military force was used for the powers to maintain, gain, or defend their territory. Military power was also crucial for the transformations from one stage to the next (pg. 31-49)

Currently in the Modern Nation-State set-up, we are bound to the state for military protection and rely upon their decisions for war. The book states: “the claim to hold a monopoly on the force and means of coercion (sustained by a standing army and the police) became possible only with the ‘pacification’ of peoples, the breaking down of powers and rivals within the nation-state.” (pg. 45).

One of the main functions of international regimes is to attempt to maintain codes of war and relations, to relegate the manufacturing of nuclear weapons, and to provide security and defense of its members (i.e., nuclear non-proliferation regime, sea regime, etc). (pg. 51)

Telecommunications has changed the shape of war. We can now view what is happening in one place from virtually anywhere in the world (pg. 59). We have a new sense of connection in global politics; maybe even especially when it comes to war and revolution.

In the wake of the World Wars, it became increasingly evident that international law was necessary in this new kind of world that we live in. We cannot rely on powers to maintain themselves in a humane way. One of the main elements of this new system was to determine that international law is between the state parties themselves, not warring factions within the states (pg. 62). Therefore, it is the state’s responsibility to govern the various groups within its borders.

It is important to recognize that in the process of globalization that the gap between industrialized nations and non-industrialized nations is expanding, specifically in regards to military expenditures (see tiers mentioned on pg. 88). I was shocked once again by seeing the statistics on how much the US pours into the military compared with the rest of the world (pg. 97-98).

In a similar vein, the trade of weapons is extremely happens as an “uneven” process, as the book describes. However, it is such a common occurrence that this points to a global military order in which the world powers are all participating (pg. 114).

In the world community, there have been attempts throughout history to regulate war, including the “conduct of war; the prevention of war; and the abolition of war” (pg. 130), the final option never succeeding. Most recently, there have been attempts at disarmament (pg. 133).


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