INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS THEORIES 6
InternationalRelations Theories (Processleading to NormanAngell’s idea that ‘waris increasingly obsolete)
ProcessLeading to NormanAngell’s Idea That ‘WarIs Increasingly Obsolete
Internationalrations theory can be defined as the study of international relationsfrom a theoretical point of view. They are a set of ideas that areset to explain the way international system works. Examples of thetwo key theories in international reactions include realism andliberalism. However, it’s argued that, most of the theories ininternational relations are based in accordance to a state’sposition or interest. Some of the aspects that may determine acountries international relation include national interest such asmilitary interests and security, self-preservation,influence by other nations as well as, economic prosperity amongother interests (Angell,2012).This paper looks into the ideas developed by one philosopher ‘NormanAngell’ that ‘waris increasingly obsolete.The paper also addresses the point behind the position held by Normanthat waris futile,in addition to addressing Norman ideas analytically.
NormanAngell, a lecturer, journalist, author and also a member of the thenLabor party were an influential figure through his writings inreference to the issue about international relations. He livedbetween the years 1872 and 1967 (Nagell,1935).One of his great writings is ‘The-great-illusiona-study-of-the-relation-of-military-power-to-national-advantage.This book was first published in 1909. However, over the time, thebook has been revised and republished in enlarged editions titled as‘TheGreat Illusion’.In reference to Norman’s ideas, he argued that, the war betweenindustrial nations was pointless due to the fact that, conquest didnot have any gainful returns for any of the involved nations (Angell,2012).In addition, the "The`Great Illusion`pointed out that, nations joined by armed disagreement, usemilitarism, conquest or war would be at a loss as the war is notbeneficial at all. On the other hand, the trade and industryinterdependence between industrial nations destined that warfarewould be cost-ineffective damaging to all the involved parties(nations). Additionally, when a winning power removed property in theaffected region is seized, "the encouragement to generate morewould be shattered and in turn the affected regions madeinsignificant (Heilbrunn 2013, p. 38).
Overthe time the book has been written into different editions. Forexample a new edition was published in 1933 and a new theme wasincluded into the older version of the book, the new theme was“collective defense” in reference to the negative impacts of waramong nations, Angell gave his idea or belief (Heilbrunn 2013, p.40). He was for the idea that, if countries such as France, Britain,Poland, Czechoslovakia, among others, had actively joined theireffort to be against all military hostility, including Hitler`smovements and military organizations, and in turn appeal to theentire world for justice or else solution to the grievances among thewarring nations, then the Germans would have been reasonable enoughto abandon the war way and instead step up and stop Hitler fromleading their nation into the unwinnable war. This would have for thebenefit of the world as WWII would have been shunned (Fettweis 2006,p. 680).
Theun-productivity nature of the war among nations has been seen as ahindrance to successful development of countries. The deduction madeis that, the success of a country in terms of global relations isdependent to their position and political power among other nations.Additionally, it’s dependent on the subsequent requirement ofsafeguarding against the hostility that may be brought along by othernations with an intention to weaken the authority to their benefit orin their favor. European countries had grown to such a degree thatwar between the nations would be completely fruitless and in turn,making militarism archaic. In his 1909 publication, ‘Europe’soptical illusion’he argued that, riches within the economically refined globe is foundor based on commercial contract or upon credit (Fettweis 2006, p.680). Although superficially coherent, Angell’s writing wasdiffuse and inaccurate. His much publicized claim about the financialinterdependence of a nation was illustrated in a way that was takento imply misunderstanding and impracticality as well as thedis-utility of hostility (Markwell 1987, p. 159). From theexplanations made in his publications, it is clear that war would bea futile approach towards reaction building, and in turn making warincreasingly archaic. The forces behind the economic futility of anation or the military power render it futile as a base to impose acountry’s moral or social ideas.
Angell’sargument was that war between industrial nations was pointlessbecause war victory did not pay. Trade and industry interdependenceamong developed nations meant that the existence of war betweencountries would be detrimental as it would economically affect theinvolved nations. Furthermore, if a conquering nation impoundsmaterial goods in the conquered region, the enticement to constructwould be exhausted and the defeated nation would be renderedvalueless. Therefore the conquering nation had to leave possessionswithin the control of the local residents, while at the same timebringing upon themselves the expense of invasion and occupation.Angell argued that arms build-up like the naval battle that was onduring the time was writing his book (early 1910’s) was not at anypoint guaranteeing harmony. As an option, it would lead to moreinsecurity and therefore increase the chances of war. According tohim, establishing of a global courtyard for dealing with issues wouldbe dealt with peacefully and respect for international law would bethe route to peace (Freedman, 1998, p. 763).
Additionally,in reference to Angell’s idea, the 20thcentury, international theory as well as his type of theory ‘thegreat illusion’ it was indeed an antiwar tract, as well as liberal,it in turn represents a major development in international relationtheory. At some point war was seen as an inevitable tool for settlinginternational differences. It was seen as something normal and atsome point seen as the acceptable way to solutions. However, throughthe publications made by Angell, attitude towards war has greatlychanged. This has also been felt in the 20thcentury as well. It is in turn referred as an unpleasant necessityand in turn becoming obsolete (Sir Norman Angell, 2013).
Inconclusion, the ‘GreatIllusion’was noteworthy in the case of global relations leading to the rise inthe standings of different international relation theories amongnations. In reference to the Angell argument on the economic aspectof a nation plays a key role in determine is a priority towards itsrelation to other nations. This also brought the idea of promoting aliberal approach to the relation subject among nations, especially inEurope. The author’s idea helped bring to an end the idea that themajor powers would benefit from wars. In addition, the publicattitudes were changed due to the realities exposed by the WW1. It’sclear that, international relations are dependent numerous factorsand varies from one country to the other, however, war is outdated inrecent times and hence it would be a negative aspect and useless toolto be used.
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