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August 22, 2007


Brendan Gluck

I agree with what Tomas Salcedo argued, in that Angell’s argument falters in it’s view that going to war is a decision that can only be made by society as a whole. Hobson, on the other hand, understands war’s beneficial impact on select groups in a particular society and realizes these groups can use their power and connections to falsely persuade the people in charge, rather than all of society, to go to war under false pretenses.

Angell appears to be trying to persuade people how society should be rather than how they actually are. His assertion that war is futile and that the only war that should logically occur is where the aggressors are using their force to eliminate a war-mongering, imperial power, as the Balkans were doing towards the Turks. His pacifistic notion that a “common improvement of opinion” will simply make war taboo seems idealistic and unrealistic.

Shane Barclay

The ease with which my classmates have come up with arguments debunking Angell’s porous argument leaves little doubt that he failed to take into account many factors of war. Just as many before me feel, I think that Angell’s perception of human nature is the biggest flaw in his argument.

As John Keh pointed out, a state’s need for security and safety will prevail even when efforts are being made to avoid military conflict. In fear of the possibility of aggression towards them, a state must take the necessary actions to prepare themselves for attack. Even if most relations indicate that warfare is unlikely, history shows that the paranoia of states will lead them to develop the necessary arms or relationships to protect them in desperate times. The mere presence of these precautions makes a peaceful, utopian-like society impossible.

There is no likelihood that leaders will decide that peace is the answer. While it would be nice if absolute gains were the primary concern of a state, relative gains will always prevail because states will always fear that a rival will use its power to their advantage over the weaker state.

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