Third Image Theory Essay

2266 words - 10 pages

Marxism grants social and political theorists a most realistic, dynamic, and comprehensive framework that allows the study of the causes of war in its ‘totality’; which crosses the boundaries of each theory of international relations and encompasses the political, social, and economic aspects of the causes of war.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[2]<!–[endif]–>  Marxist theory applied in conjunction with the ‘three levels’ of analysis, which are, the individual, the state, and the international system, is relevant and significant to the study of international relations.  In particular, Marxism as an analytical tool has been able to evolve within and adapt to the altering environment of ...view middle of the document...

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[3]<!–[endif]–> These basic tenets of Marxism offer the underpinnings of the analytical framework Marxists use to view conflict in world politics.
In addition, Marx and Engels’ idea of dialectical materialism offers an extremely valuable approach to the individual level of analysis of conflict and warfare in world politics.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[4]<!–[endif]–> Historically, events that have culminated into conflicts of social forces between one man and another, one class against another, or one society against another have all been driven by man’s material needs. Material needs encompass any resources, the ability to exploit all resources, and essential physical security of the resources and these capabilities.  Therefore, economic interests on a micro level, as well as a macro level, have always influenced the individual’s actions and the actions of any collective group of individuals. For example, if landowner A is compelled to expand his/her territorial domain in quest of furthering agricultural land capacity, but peasant B wishes to continue exploiting this area and providing for himself/herself then these two actors will eventually clash. Hence, Marxism sees the contending actors as precursors to the fundamental class struggle and this struggle as the precursor to all out war and revolution.  The Revolution of 1848 briefly established the Paris Commune and in terms of dialectical materialism this premature quasi-communist revolution serves as an early example of the perpetually increasing tensions between classes of individuals and the conflicts that result from the pursuit of self-interests.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[5]<!–[endif]–>
Furthermore, Marxist theory helps explain the state level of analysis, which examines the manner in which states act.  Vladimir Lenin offers insight as to how socialism views the interests of capitalist states and their tendencies towards conflict with other states.  Lenin proposed that class struggle within states materializes into war between states because capitalist states are bound to clash in pursuit of profits and political advantage.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[6]<!–[endif]–> Lenin describes this type of state interaction as Imperialism.  Michael Doyle articulates this with his statement, “Imperialism, as Thucydides had long before explained, was a rational strategy to enhance security, prestige, and interests (trade, population, territory, resources) when the costs of conquest were less then the gain.”<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[7]<!–[endif]–> So, during the expansion of colonialism and annexation this perspective could explain the reasoning behind why states invaded and controlled other state’s resources by coercive means.  The capitalist states have the means to subject foreign nations to their rule; hence, capitalist states may bolster their national economy’s interests and extend the capabilities of their...

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