1. Perspective And Summary
15A. Phasing Propositions and Their Evidence on International Conflict
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In a related work on field theory I concluded with five general propositions (FTE: Field Theory Evolving, 1977: 497) on international relations. These are given in Table 19B.1 and labeled for easy identification later. A few words on each might be helpful.
The International Relations Proposition has found additional support from the results given in Appendix 9A and from the positive, systematic evidence for the 54 propositions (Appendix 19A).
The Components Proposition is exemplified by the empirical components presented in Chapter 4 for behavior (particularly Table 4.1) and Chapter 7 for attributes (especially Table 7.1), and further supported by the additional analyses mentioned therein.
The Behavioral-Equation Proposition is empirically exemplified in Appendix 9A and forms a framework for the theoretical discussion in Chapter 8.
The Model II Proposition is also a basic perspective of this whole work, and is of particular focus in Chapter 6. The findings in Appendix 9A and the positive evidence for the related Actor Proposition 16.7 provide additional support for it.
Finally, the Distance Vector Proposition is a more general (but in variance terms, more specific) statement of the Distance Vector Proposition 16.6 presented here for international conflict. Of course, the strong support for Proposition 16.6 also additionally helps confirm the FTE one.
Besides these general proposition on international relations, I have also stated in Chapter 32 and Chapter 35 of Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix (TCH) general propositions on collective or social violence, of which international conflict is a species. These are given in Table 19B.2.
In Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix, as in this Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace, I related all my available evidence to these seven propositions. All were well supported (Chapter 35).
The question here is then how these three sets of propositions (the five from FTE, the seven from TCH, and the 54 from this Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace) are interrelated and what primary propositions will incorporate all three sets.
Eight primary propositions of conflict are listed in Table 19B.3. These are meant to be the most general scientific propositions about conflict, violence and war supported by my work and that of others. Their selection and statement articulate most generally my ontological perspective on conflict developed in these volumes.
For each primary proposition is listed those propositions from the three sets which underlie its statement. The diverse empirical support explicitly shown for these underlying propositions in this and the other works then collectively provide confirmation of the primary propositions.
Each of the primary propositions will be discussed briefly in turn. The underlying propositions will be woven into this discussion and identified when appropriate with regard to Table 19B.3.
The role of the structure of expectations in conflict has been a central theme of this and the previous volumes. Its formation defines peace, harmony, cooperation; its disruption precipitates manifest conflict--violence, if the status quo is involved (Proposition 16.10); and intense internal and external violence if it be the general status quo (Proposition 18.6). Through Conflict Behavior and possibly violence a new balance of powers (Proposition 17.1) is determined and associated expectations structured.
This conflict-balance-conflict-balance is a rhythm of social interaction. But individuals learn and previous adjustments are not forgotten. Therefore, within a closed system this process changes through time (Proposition 18.1): conflict becomes less intense, cooperation more enduring.
Moreover, the joint power of two actors measures their salience and thus potential conflict (Proposition 16.5), while their power parity indicates the likelihood that their conflict will escalate to violence (Proposition 16.21). And then the significant shift in military power to one of them will signal a termination of hostilities (Proposition 17.4).
Finally, the distribution of power in a society defines its class structure. And the more the society is divided along class lines, the more likely general violence or war (Proposition 16.22).
All this contributes to the balancing through which actors adjust their interests, capabilities, and wills and establish a balance of powers (Proposition 17.1).
A major reason for this relationship of freedom to violence is due to the effects of power polarity and cross-pressures. An increasing polarity in coercive power will polarize interests and create a class front along which issues escalate to violence (Proposition 16.20). Cross-pressures, on the other hand, are an aspect of exchange societies. Diverse, overlapping interests segment issues and drain off or contain conflict which might escalate to wide-scale violence (Proposition 16.24).
Specifically, the inception and process of conflict depends on the particular situation an actor perceives and the expectations he has of the outcomes of his behavior in the situation (Proposition 16.7). Moreover, the ending of conflict as well, especially war (Proposition 17.7), is situational. While situations generally will vary by actor, one situation is common to most conflict behavior: for those parties who have sufficiently interacted in the past to form mutual expectations, conflict occurs within the context of a disrupted structure of expectations (Proposition 16.1); their violence within the context of disrupted core expectations--the status quo (Proposition 16.10). A stable status quo inhibits violence (Proposition 16.26).
Perceptions and expectations enter into conflict in a number of ways. First and basically, an actor behaves according to his perception of the situation and expectations of the outcome of his behavior (Proposition 16.7). For this reason the probability of war varies by actor (Proposition 18.5). Perception of opportunity, threat, of injustice stimulates him to conflict (Proposition 16.29); and if this perception is abrupt conflict may be catalyzed or escalated (Proposition 16.28).
Moreover, expectations play a role in violence, which assumes an expectation of success (Proposition 16.9); and war, as a type of violence, win be terminated when both sides have come to expect the same outcome (Proposition 17.3).
Different kinds of sociocultural distances affect conflict in different ways. For one thing, the overall distances between actors play a role in their conflict. As vectors these distances reflect the opposing interests and capabilities between actors (Proposition 16.6): perceptions weight distance vectors within a situation. As absolute distances they aggravate conflict (Proposition 16.12).
In addition, status distance between the parties especially aggravates conflict (Proposition 16.22); and among types of status, power (Proposition 16.32) and class (Proposition 16.22) distance play particularly important roles in explaining conflict.
Among all the different kinds of distances, those that most influence conflict involve distances in wealth, power, and politics (Proposition 16.33).
* Scanned from Appendix 19B in R.J. Rummel, War, Power, Peace, 1979. For full reference to the book and the list of its contents in hypertext, click book. Typographical errors have been corrected, clarifications added, and style updated.
1. What might be confusing is the single term (w) on the left of the equality in the proposition, while in Appendix 9A there are a number of such terms on the left, each weighted with a parameter (expectations). This confusion can be avoided by keeping in mind that in the proposition w is a sum of these terms on the left. Technically, it is a canonical variate.