Did the emergence of the state reduce the rate of human death from warfare? Steven Pinker's outstanding book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, surveys many reasons why you are less likely to die from violence today than your ancestors were. Part of his explanation is that warfare was constant in … Continue reading Evaluating Pinker’s Claim That States Reduced War
Today Vladimir Putin signed a treaty with the self-styled independent government of Crimea, annexing Crimea to Russia. I did not see this coming. It is an unprecedented deviation from the post-World War 2 international norm that force and the threat of force shall not be used for conquest. Article 2 of the United Nations Charter … Continue reading A Pariah State
Gazeta.pl reports that the majority of the Crimean parliament did not vote in favor of a referendum on independence, but that armed men prevented a quorum from attending, allowing a pro-Russian rump to pass the measure. (For my translation, I am relying on Jacek Rostowski on Twitter.) In eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian crowds face determined Ukrainian … Continue reading What’s Happening in Ukraine Is Irredentist Interstate Conflict, Not Secessionism (updated)
Is there any war (or OOTW) that the United States has fought that it should not have (assuming what was known at the time of the force initiation, not post hoc)? What wars/OOTW's should the United States have participated in/undertaken that it did not?
Not long after the ratification of the Constitution, Madison came to have serious doubts about his former Federalist friends. Particularly, he came to suspect the sincerity of many who had asserted that the new government would possess only those powers specifically delegated to it. The first disappointment came with Hamilton’s championing of the incorporation of … Continue reading Interposition:Part Five: Assuming Powers from National Bank to Seditious Libel
Apropos of North Korea's bluster, the following from Kenneth Waltz - the arch realist - in his co-authored book The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate: Deterrent strategies lower the probability that wars will begin. If wars start nevertheless, deterrent strategies lower the probability that they will be carried very far. Nuclear weapons lessen the … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation
From a recent interview with Andrew Bacevich: When it comes to foreign and defense policy, authentic conservatives are wary of utopian schemes, sensitive to the need to husband power, and have an aversion to war. That tends to make them anti-interventionists and to favor the use of force only as a last resort. Ditto for … Continue reading Son of JQA: Andrew Bacevich