Encyclopedia of World history
Critically review: “War and the fate of Regimes: A Comparative Analysis. ” a) What is the main research question? The main research question is; ‘Do wars involving regimes result in violent internal changes of power and if so, under what circumstances do these occur? ‘ b) What, if any, are the subsidiary research questions? The subsidiary questions are: i) At what rate do the states that enter wars experience violent changes of regime?
ii) Does it make a difference in that rate if the state does well in its performance against its opponents? iii) Do differences in the cost of war have a consequence for the likelihood of violent regime changes? c) What were the major theoretical concepts? The theory rests in a number of stages, the authors argue that war is the most costliest and most visible form of action it can participate in and so is the most noticeable of all failures. It is more noticeable to citizens than (e. g. ) economic failure.
If it is agreed that war is a bad thing in view of the opportunity costs foregone and that defeat almost inevitably curbs the losers actions in some way, then any war is a result of a failed foreign policy and so the regime is liable to a violent form of change. The main theoretical concept is one of accountability. To what extent is a regime accountable to its people for its’ foreign policy. Punishment, for the writers of the article, is the removal from power. This rests on the much debated argument that members of a state have a natural right to be governed justly, therefore they have the right to punish failure.
The decision by the people to overthrow the regime or not depends on whether the regime has been perceived to have acted in a way that best safeguards the citizens of the state. The jeopardising of the well being of the citizens can be affected in two main of ways: 1. The number of citizens that have been killed in the war. 2. The amount of diversion of spending away from domestic programmes (for example, food supplies, welfare provision or health care) towards the war and the effects on civilians; The reasons for a regime initiating or retaliating thus creating a war can be seen to be constrained by the above points.
However, war does occur, therefore there are reasons why. These can be seen to be: 1. The regimes fear of another state or states power. 2. The regime believes that there is a legitimate cause for a war, for example, themselves or an allie being invaded. 3. The regime feels it will be of an overall benefit to its’ nation to be at war rather than peace. 4. The regime believes it is necessary to build a strong reputation. 5. The regime believes that it will win and the anticipated costs are bearable. It can be argued that there is a distinction between a necessary and an unnecessary war.
This is however very subjective and would be defined in the terms of what is best for the citizens, the outcome and the costs of the war. A totally unnecessary war would be a complete failure of the regimes foreign policy, the loss of the war, a high level of casualties/fatalities and a large diversion of funds to the ‘war effort’. or a combination of these factors. These factors would however only become apparent after the war had ended. The greater the perceived futility of the war, the higher the risk of regime change and instability and failure of the economy.
Social scientists generally agree that wars are more likely to produce a regime change, but how this happens is debatable. The first belief is that the instability created by resource diversion will create the regime change. The second is a rebellion will occur after a war when a regime is unable to cater for its citizens, resulting in a loss of legitimacy and an increase in instability. Lastly, war leads to a redistribution of power among interest groups and coalitions which provoke society for conflict over values and resources. d) How were the concepts operationalised? Were the operational definitions clearly specified?