We need "variables which are capable of general treatment. " They are to be provided by a general framework defined as a set of interrelated questions, or, as it is sometimes called, a "box, " but, if I may say so, a flexible one, and one whose main role is to be put to use....
The most fruitful approach to building such a box is, as Quincy Wright has suggested, to consider the world as a field in which individuals, groups, nations, international organizations, and so on, compete, clash, and cooperate, rather than as a plan designed by God, by history, or by nature, or as an equilibrium, or an organization, or as a community: at any given moment the world might present certain aspects of one of the latter models, but never of all of them, whereas the idea of a field is always a more accurate approximation.
---- Hoffmann, 1960:179
Can that essential characteristic--the absence of a tribunal or police force, the right to resort to force, the plurality of autonomous centers of decision, the alternation and continual interplay between peace and war--serve as a basis for a scientific theory, even though it is obvious to the actors themselves and belongs to their own intuitive "sociology" or "political science?" Should not science substitute for everyday notions those concepts that science itself elaborates? It seems easy for me to answer that nothing prevents us from translating the preceding idea into a word or a formula more satisfactory to the "scientists.
---- Aron, 1967: 192
1. Perspective And Summary
15A. Phasing Propositions and Their Evidence on International Conflict
Democratic Peace page
This international social field of relations is an analytic map. It reduces the complex and interwoven manifestations of international relations to a set of coordinates, a space, prominent orienting features, relative locations, and distances. Of course, a map does not capture all the rich variety of the real landscape. Its purpose and function is to reduce this reality to its essential relationships, to enable us to visualize relative and multiple distances.
This field of relations is dynamic. It reflects potentialities, dispositions, and powers;
Seated in this medium are potential forces on international behavior. Meanings, values, norms, status and class carry forces that when activated influence behavior. Because this medium is continuous throughout international space-time, these forces exist as potentiality everywhere in space-time. And what determines which forces are potentials for an international actor are his international space-time locations. In other words, the poor versus the rich, the weak versus the powerful, the democratic versus the totalitarian, the democratic versus the authoritarian, the Catholic culture versus the non-Catholic, and so on, reflect lines of potential forces; the relative wealth, power, and other component-attributes between actors reflect what potential forces may actually be at work.
These forces are complex and multifold and are often dealt with in rich detail by historians and political scientists. Industrial development, armaments, ideology, size, public opinion, and so on, influence and affect foreign policies and behavior through interests, capabilities, wills, perceptions, and expectations, and these are the kinds of force potentials of which I write. Nonetheless, however complex, these forces exert their strength in a direction. Their principal potentiality lies along the distance vectors between actors. That is, the distance vectors between international actors in sociocultural space-time measure the potential forces affecting their behavior.
This dynamic field is intentional. Seated in sociocultural space-time, directed along the distances between nations, these forces of nations stimulate an actor's needs for security, protectiveness, self-assertion, sex, curiosity, gregariousness, hunger, and perhaps pugnacity,
All international actors are people acting in some official (e.g., foreign minister) or personal capacity (e.g., a foreign student or tourist). All are intentionally directed, therefore. As do all people, each has a superordinate goal that organizes his personality and perception towards the future, towards maintaining and enhancing his self-esteem. Thus, I would argue that Secretary of State Kissinger's behavior fitted into a goal complex. His emphasis on arms control and building a net of agreements with the Soviet Union, to imbedding them in cooperative arrangements which he thought would give them a stake in détente, was part of this superordinate goal: preserve humanity from nuclear war. This goal had the highest moral weight for Kissinger and was thereby most closely connected to his self-sentiment.
International behavior is most affected by these forces through what interests they actualize.
The international social field is thus relational, dynamic, and intentional. And in all these aspects it begets and shapes contemporary international society. It comprises the spontaneous interactions among actors, their free response to international forces, and their mutual balancing.
But all this is abstract. What, concretely, is the nature of this field, and particularly the conflict helix? The next Section and Appendix 9A deal with the empirical field: the remainder of this book clarifies the empirical basis and aspects of the international conflict helix.
This behavior, as was described in Chapter 8, is a function of situational expectations and perceptions, behavioral dispositions and distance vectors. Now, the uppermost question is how do states manifestly behave? That is, what real content do the field equations have?
Appendix 9A provides the methodology and many systematic empirical findings answering this question. Here I can only mention a few of the most interesting empirical results.
In sum, the most potent international social field force is power, which mainly affects conflict. However, forces generally most affect contractual behavior; least affected is military action. Wealth (or a rich-poor gap) is less important than political and power forces, but what influence it does have is on contractual behavior.
And the most probable situation in the international social field is one in which political distance is a force towards contractual behavior--international organization, diplomatic relationships, trade, alliances, and the like.
Such is actual, empirical, international relations--the international social field. Now, I can shift my focus to the major concern of this book. The process, causes, conditions, and termination of conflict, and particularly violence and war, within the field. This is the task of the following chapters.
* Scanned from Chapter 9 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. Operationally this means that everything in the international social field is measured relative to all else in the field, including attributes, components, positions, distances, forces, interests, cooperation, conflict behavior. There is no absolute point of reference. Even time is relative (Rummel, 1977: Chapter 8). Philosophically, this means that the international social field is a gestalt, a whole that is more than the sum of its parts and each part takes on greater meaning through its role in the whole. Mathematically, the field is determined through standardizing all data (which measures each datum relative to a mean and standard deviation), forming a matrix of cosines between all attributes (or behaviors) so transformed (which are equal to product-moment correlations [on product moment correlations as cosines, see Understanding Correlation]), and computing the eigenvectors of this matrix. Scaled by their eigenvalues, these are then the components of the international social field. Each component is then measured relative to all the others. On such components, which really are factors of a factor analysis, see "Understanding Factor Analysis".
2. For example, it is not the change in wealth or power itself which will alter the location of an actor relative to others, but the change in relative wealth or power. Thus, if two nations similarly increase their power, their relative positions in international space-time remains the same.
3. Here I mean power as a philosophical category, as the mode of transformation of dispositions to manifestation, such as the power of a thunderclap to be heard, or of nitroglycerin to explode. This category, along with that of potentiality, disposition and manifestation are elaborated in Chapter 8 of Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field.
4. The distance vector is the actor's score minus the potential object's score on a component (such as wealth), which creates a vector pointed towards the actor. That is, the forces bear upon the actor. This is consistent with my ontology of perception. What we perceive as distances and situation is a balance between the strength of these inward bearing forces toward a specific perception and our perspective straining outward towards manifesting a particular reality. See Part II of Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field.
5. All this and the following psychological discussion as been developed in Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field, with references to the appropriate psychological studies. Although pugnacity has been uncovered as a need in psychological research, its reality is much less confirmed than the other needs mentioned. See Section 22.11 of Chapter 22 in Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field.
6. Kissinger was clear about the nature and goals of his foreign policy. See, for example, his statement before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on September 19, 1974. This has been published in The Department of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXI (October 14, 1974).
7. Of course, for different actors the same forces (distances, say, in power) will not actualize the same interests. Interests reflect an actor's cultural matrix, learning and experience. For example, power parity between two neighboring states with opposing political beliefs may stimulate the insecurity or protectiveness needs in their elite. What interests are thereby energized, whether arms control, military superiority, or political détente, may differ between them. For each actor, therefore, similar situations will have different salience and weight distances differently. That is, each actor has his unique equation of international behavior. This perspective I have called Model II in my quantitative analyses. See Rummel (1977: particularly Sections 4.3, and 4.4).
8. This is not to say that these forces are the only ones relevant to international relations. Purely domestic forces (as those underlying a society's status quo) affect a nation's character, wealth, power, and politics, its location in international space-time. Moreover, domestic forces influence the weight to be given a particular situation. And then there is the force of will which is independent of distances, of domestic pressures, of environmental influences, of social causation. Aside from the will, all is latent disposition, interest and intentions, goals and means. The will is the mode of transformation into acts and actions. The will is the mental power to act in a specific way (Chapter 29 of Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field).
9. International relations constitutes an exchange, libertarian society in which actors can freely adjust to others in terms of their interests, capabilities, and expectations (Chapter 2). The emphasis here is on this type of international society. For were international relations coercively directed, as say in world domination by one elite, then the society would be an international social antifield. Forces toward behavior congruent with distances would then be blocked by the forces of elite control. That is, international relations would be a coercive organization. See Chapter 22 of Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix for an analysis of antifields relevant here.