Choose one topic to write on. The length of your response must be no less than 600 words and no more than 1000 words. Give your paper a title that embodies the gist of your argument, and clearly indicate what question you will be addressing. Limit your response to Part I of Raymond Aron’s Peace and War.
1. Given an account of Raymond Aron’s thoughts on strategy and diplomacy. What are their relations to policy? Reference an example or examples that Aron uses to help elucidate his theory.
2. Aron makes use of numerous examples to ground his theory of international relations. Trace how he makes use of one throughout Part I of the text. For instance, you could discuss in the different sections and chapters how he employs an example from WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Cold War, or the Algerian War for Independence as a concrete case of how his theory can capture an aspect of historical reality. The key is to use the example and how it is discussed in the separate chapters as a thread to connect together Aron’s thoughts on international relations.
3. In a number of places Aron speaks of concepts of international relations as applying to the international system “up to the Atomic Age.” Discuss especially what he means by the new character of the “coordination of diplomacy and strategy” after 1945 (42). How is this connected to “the diversity of panoplies” (43) and “scientific-technological competition” (66)?
4. According to Aron, what is the relation between industry and the military? Does this relation modify Machiavelli’s teaching that a good army is the foundation of everything else? Also, what examples does Aron give to show how a nation’s industry concealed its military potential to the point where enemies underestimated its true strength and military capacity?
5. How is the policy of equilibrium expressed differently in bipolar and multipolar systems? How has the attempt to outlaw war challenged a foreign policy based on equilibrium? How has the policy fared after the development of thermonuclear weapons?
6. If you wish to pursue a different aspect of the assigned readings on Part I of Aron’s Peace and War or mix and match parts from the prompts above, please feel free to run it by me. I’ll let you know if it is a suitable topic.
Be sure to cite the text when making your argument. Here is an example: Rousseau argues that perfectibility is unique to human beings (114-115). Also, do not use block quotes or quote extensively from the text. Simply paraphrase the section you are referring to in the text and then place the page number at the end of the sentence.
Book Reference: Raymond Aron, Peace and War: A Theory of International Relations (Transaction Publishers, 2003)
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An account of Aron’s thoughts on strategy and diplomacy perhaps best proceeds by way of presenting and expounding upon the terms in which he systematizes those aspects of international relations. Now, when I use a word as nebulous as ‘systematizes’, it is vital to note that there is no intended connotation of reduction – Aron goes to great lengths to not reduce strategy and diplomacy to systematic yet simplistic ‘laws’, and the brief analysis presented here attempts to remain faithful to that theoretical—and seemingly realistic, correct—choice.
An excellent place to start is with perhaps my favorite of Aron’s many references to Clausewitz, the idea of the personified State (23). This is a vital notion because it highlights the reality that what drives the strategic and diplomatic actions of a state is the political will of its leaders, toward a variety of goals furthering a national interest delineated in some particular, political way; this is the state as political unit (47). That is, for Aron...
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