Discord and collaboration: essays on international politics. Front Cover. Arnold Wolfers. Johns Hopkins University Press, – Political Science – pages. Discord and Collaboration: Essays on International Politics. Front Cover. Arnold Wolfers. Johns Hopkins Press, – International relations – pages. Title, Discord and Collaboration: Essays on International Politics. Author, Arnold Wolfers. Edition, reprint. Publisher, Johns Hopkins Press, Export Citation.

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If some critics of milieu goals expect their country always to be the loser if it engages in costly efforts by which others benefit, they fail to realize that any promotion of peace or international lawfulness, any fight against the trade in narcotics or the spread of epidemics, to cite only a few examples, depends on concerted efforts by many nations-and such efforts are not likely to arno,d forthcoming unless they are in the common interest.

To say that insularity leads countries arbold neglect their military defenses can mean only that decision-makers are more likely to consider their country safe if it enjoys an insular position and that they will tend, as a result, to become complacent in matters of military preparedness. A nation may hope to increase its prestige or its security by making sacrifices for the establishment and maintenance of international organizations.

No longer do all nonaligned countries shun political ties altogether; most of them, in fact, co-operate within the framework of the United Nations.

Discord and Collaboration: Essays on International Politics by Arnold Wolfers

Always there would remain the many domestic goals which no government can ignore and which compete for resources with whatever external purposes the nation may be pursuing. Only those among them who insist that their “colonies”–or some of them–are not colonies at all but an integral part of their national territory are led to treat the preservation of these areas as a requirement of national survival and thus as a vital goal that justifies almost any sacrifice. The concept of a multistate system composed of entities of strikingly similar character and behavior appeared realistic to observers and analysts.

It is customary to distinguish between goals and means, a custom I intend to follow to a certain extent; yet it is impossible to draw a sharp line of demarcation between the two ideas. If it is true that the anarchical multi- state system creates a condition of constant danger to national core possessions specifically, to national survival and, at the same time, provides frequent opportunity for new acquisitions, the actors can be said to act under external compulsion rather than in accordance with their preferences.

Discord and collaboration: essays on international politics – Arnold Wolfers – Google Books

Occurrences of this kind were well-known in medieval times, before the age of nation-state predominance, when excommunication by the pope, a supra- national actor, could deprive a king of control over his people. Theory, therefore, must descend below the high level of abstraction at which only states are seen as the actors; consideration need be given to such signifi- cant factors as the inclination of dictators to overestimate their nation’s power, the ability of demagogues to arouse and make use of popular dissatisfactions, or the reluctance of democratic leaders to initiate war.

This theory expects a nation to be revisionist if denied the enjoyment of any of its national core values, provided it has or hopes to obtain enough power to enable it to seek satisfaction of its objectives. People-to-people diplomacy and cultural exchanges can be useful, however, if they help to bolster popular feelings of friendship where and when amical interstate relations or a relaxation of interstate tension is in the national interest. In war, compulsiveness and conformity usually are at a maxi- mum, with the result that all nations feel compelled, for example, to employ the most effective weapons at their disposal.


Nitze says that the United States “can no longer look merely to its narrow competitive interests within whatever structure happens, from time to time, to exist as a result of the policy and will of others or as a result of the chance operations of impersonal forces. Some goals like national independence or national security unmistakably are direct national goals.

Leading statesmen may give expression to hopes or ideals of their people, but these hopes do not, thereby, become what properly can be called policy goals. What Arab leaders mean when they speak from the point of view of their primary corporate interest may be a purely national interest or instead a changing composite of national, Pan-Arab, and Pan- Islamic interest.

Discord and collaboration; essays on international politics.

Here too, then, the states-as-actors theory and the individuals- as-actors theory must supplement each other. It would be foolish, however, to go to the other extreme and collaboratikn to comprehend the struggle for power between the two countries in purely psycholog- ical terms.

Acheson was advised not to favor the production of the first thermonuclear bomb, he is reported to have declared that its production was a matter of necessity and not of choice: My purpose here is not to determine whether such policies are practical or desirable, but to draw attention to the close relationship between foreign policy objectives and the incidence of tension that might col,aboration to a resort to violence.

The direction of foreign policy may be affected by the official view concerning the decisive determinant or determinants. But because theory cannot proceed except by means of abstraction, it becomes necessary here to supplement one set of abstractions with another and thus keep in mind the double woolfers of events that must be conceived of as collaboratlon simultaneously from, individuals and from corporate bodies. If they desire, they can do so even for the purpose of exerting international influence.

Nowhere more than here does it become evident how little guidance policy-makers can gain simply from being referred to the “national interest. As a result the actor’s choice among alternative courses of action, experienced by him as a matter of personal responsibility, becomes merged with the determinants external to him.

Certainly, to the degree that these compulsions exist in the real world, the psychological peculiarities of the actors are de- prived of the opportunity qnd express themselves and therefore collbaoration be discounted as irrelevant to an analysis of dollaboration politics.

Customers who viewed this item also viewed. As a consequence, it may consider its survival at stake in a conflict over remote and intrinsically unimportant islandso such as Quemoy and Matsu or over legal rights in West Berlin on the ground that, by an assumed domino effect or chain reaction, defeat at any one point will lead to defeat at every other point, until in collaboraion end all chances of survival discprd nullified.

However, although men like Lenin and Wilson who were motivated to an exceptional degree by revolutionary or ideological fervor were able to inject a universalist element into the policy of their respective countries, events in their own lifetimes demonstrated the persistent predominance of the concern with strictly national interests: The aim may apply to such values as a stretch of territory, membership in the Security Council of the United Nations, or tariff preferences.


In the introduction to the book by him and Abraham Kaplan, Power and Society: There are those who claim that too great an emphasis on the role of states and their interests in power, prestige, territory, and the like, will divert polit- ical action from the satisfaction of the common man’s real needs and riscord to the service of the few who can parade their interests as those of the nation.

The justification for this exception should become clear when the unique position of these two values as the means par excellence for the attainment of all other foreign policy goals is discussed. Preview this item Preview this item. The second incentive which, to the disappointment of idealists, proves much more potent Is the desire to meet a common external threat by co-operative effort; here co-operation is predicated on the continuance of the threat. One further pair of contrasting categories of goals deserves attention.

Napoleon could say that geography dictates the course of foreign policy, but presumably even he knew that it took his special characteristics as well as the geography of Russia to lure him to Moscow.

Discord and Collaboration: Essays on International Politics

Such an arrangement might become a source of friction by impairing the freedom of action of national governments without substituting a reliable new source of authority and respon- wolfwrs. It may be a threat to national independence In one instance, while merely the loss of an increment of security or of economic advantage in another.

The new approach’s criticism of the states-as-actors theory turns mainly on the distinction between genuine human needs and what appear to be the a-human interests of the state. The minds-of-nien approach, while diacord to render important and indispensable services to a comprehensive theory of international politics, cannot do justice to all the essential events that fill the international arena.

But then in the rest of the book nothing more is said about the dizcord or about the pulls and pressures it exerts on policy-makers. To nation-states were ascribed the acts that accounted for changes in the distribution of power, for alignments and counter- alignments, for expansion and colonial conquest, for war and peace the chief events in international affairs whenever a multitude of collabortaion have been in contact with one another.

One need only think of the international Communist movement, of in- ternational Socialist groups, or of international cartels which have, at times, been able to perform as transnational actors. Even if he enjoys arno,d analysis and specula- tion as a rule, he may question the usefulness of discussing inter- national affairs on a high level of abstraction at a time when the burning concrete events of the day are his overriding concern.

Where less than national survival is at stake, there is far less ad and therefore a less uniform reaction.

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