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December 2, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

Answering X is the Root Cause of War Arguments

Root cause claims are false – Proximate causes o/w

Goldstein 2- Professor Emeritus of International Relations, American University (Washington, DC) Research Scholar, University of Massachusetts and Nonresident Sadat Senior Fellow (Joshua S., War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa, pg. 412 )//RP

First, peace activists face a dilemma in thinking about causes of war and working for peace. Many peace scholars and activists support the approach, “if you want peace, work for justice”. Then if one believes that sexism contributes to war, one can work for gender justice specifically (perhaps among others) in order to pursue peace. This approach brings strategic allies to the peace movement (women, labor, minorities), but rests on the assumption that injustices cause war. The evidence in this book suggests that causality runs at least as strongly the other way. War is not a product of capitalism, imperialism, gender, innate aggression, or any other single cause , although all of these influences wars’ outbreaks and outcomes. Rather, war has in part fueled and sustained these and other injustices. So, “if you want peace, work for peace.” Indeed, if you want justice (gender and others), work for peace. Causality does not run just upward through the levels of analysis from types of individuals, societies, and governments up to war. It runs downward too. Enloe suggests that changes in attitudes toward war and the military may be the most important way to “reverse women’s oppression/” The dilemma is that peace work focused on justice brings to the peace movement energy, allies and moral grounding, yet, in light of this book’s evidence, the emphasis on injustice as the main cause of war seems to be empirically inadequate.
Reject systematic or all-encompassing ‘root cause’ explanations for human actions

Bleiker ‘3 -Professor of International Relations, University of Queensland (Roland, “Discourse and Human Agency”,Contemporary Political Theory. Avenel: Mar 2003.Vol. 2, Iss. 1; pg. 25)//RP

A conceptualization of human agency cannot be based on a parsimonious proposition, a one-sentence statement that captures something like an authentic nature of human agency. There is no essence to human agency, no core that can be brought down to a lowest common denominator, that will crystallize one day in a long sought after magic formula. A search for such an elusive centre would freeze a specific image of human agency to the detriment of all others. The dangers of such a totalizing position have been well rehearsed. Foucault (1982, 209), for instance, believes that a theory of power is unable to provide the basis for analytical work, for it assumes a prior objectification of the very power dynamics the theory is trying to assess. Bourdieu (1998, 25) speaks of the ‘imperialism of the universal’ and List (1993, 11) warns us of an approach that ‘subsumes, or, rather, pretends to be able to subsume everything into one concept, one theory, one position.’ Such a master discourse, she claims, inevitably oppresses everything that does not fit into its particular view of the world. What, then, is the alternative to anchoring an understanding of human agency in a foundationalist master narrative? How to ground critique, actions, norms and life itself if there are no universal values that can enable such a process of grounding? Various authors have advanced convincing suggestions. Consider the following three examples: de Certeau (1990, 51) attempts to avoid totalitarian thought by grounding his position not in a systematic theory, but in ‘operational schemes.’ A theory is a method of delineation. It freezes what should be understood in its fluidity. An understanding of operational schemes, by contrast, recognizes that events should be assessed in their changing dimensions. Rather than trying to determine what an event is, such an approach maps the contours within which events are incessantly constituted and reconstituted. Or, expressed in de Certeau’s terminology, one must comprehend forms of action in the context of their regulatory environment. Butler (1992, 3-7) speaks of contingent foundations. Like de Certeau, she too believes that the Foucaultean recognition that power pervades all aspects of society, including the position of the critic, does not necessarily lead into a nihilistic abyss. It merely shows that political closure occurs through attempts to establish foundational norms that lie beyond power. Likewise, to reopen this political domain is not to do away with foundations as such, but to acknowledge their contingent character, to illuminate what they authorize, exclude and foreclose. One must come to terms with how the subject and its agency are constituted and framed by specific regimes of power. However, this is not the end of human agency. Quite to the contrary. Butler (1992, 12-14) argues persuasively that ‘the constituted character of the subject is the very precondition of its agency.’ To appreciate the practical relevance of this claim, one must investigate the possibilities for agency that arise out of existing webs of power and discourse. One must scrutinize how social change can be brought about by a reworking of the power regimes that constitute our subjectivity (Butler, 1992, 13). Deleuze and Guattari (1996, 3-25, 377) go a step further. Opting for the rhizome, they reject all forms of foundations, structures, roots or trees. The latter three, they say, has dominated much of the Western thought. A tree is a hierarchical system in which ones becomes two, in which everything can be traced back to the same origin. Roots and radicles may shatter the linear unity of knowledge, but they hold on to a contrived system of thought, to an image of the world in which the multiple always goes back to a centred and higher unity. The brain, by contrast, is not rooted, does not strive for a central point. It functions like a subterranean rhizome. It grows sideways, has multiple entryways and exits. It has no beginning or end, only a middle, from where it expands and overspills. Any point of the rhizome, Deleuze and Guattari emphasize, is connected to any other. It is a multiplicity without hierarchies, units or fix points to anchor thought. There are only lines, magnitudes, dimensions, plateaus, and they are always in motion. To travel along these lines and dimensions is to engage in nomad thought, to travel along axis of difference, rather than identity. Nomad thought, says one of Deleuze’s feminist interpreters, ‘combines coherence with mobility,’ it is ‘a creative sort of becoming, a performative metaphor that allows for otherwise unlikely encounters and unsuspected sources of interaction of experience and of knowledge’ (Braidotti, 1994, 21). The extent to which this form of thinking constitutes a grounding process may be left open to question. Judging from Deleuze’s own work it is clear, however, that the exploration of difference and multiplicities does not prevent him from taking positions for or against specific political issues. What he does forgo, however, is a central authorial voice — to the benefit of a polyphonic array of whispers and shouts.

Wars don’t have single causes – consensus of experts

Cashman 00

Greg, Professor of Political Science at Salisbury State University “What Causes war?: An introduction to theories of international conflict” pg. 9

Two warnings need to be issued at this point. First, while we have been using a single variable explanation of war merely for the sake of simplicity, multivariate explanations of war are likely to be much more powerful. Since social and political behaviors are extremely complex, they are almost never explainable through a single factor. Decades of research have led most analysts to reject monocausal explanations of war. For instance, international relations theorist J. David Singer suggests that we ought to move away from the concept of “causality” since it has become associated with the search for a single cause of war; we should instead redirect our activities toward discovering “explanations”—a term that implies multiple causes of war, but also a certain element of randomness or chance in their occurrence.

Monocausal explanations impoverish scholarship

Martin 90 Brian Martin, Department of Science and Technology Studies, University of Wollongong, Australia, Uprooting War, 1990 edition http://www.uow.edu.a…/90uw/uw13.html

In this chapter and in the six preceding chapters I have examinWars don’t have single causes – consensus of experts

Cashman 00

Greg, Professor of Political Science at Salisbury State University “What Causes war?: An introduction to theories of international conflict” pg. 9

Two warnings need to be issued at this point. First, while we have been using a single variable explanation of war merely for the sake of simplicity, multivariate explanations of war are likely to be much more powerful. Since social and political behaviors are extremely complex, they are almost never explainable through a single factor. Decades of research have led most analysts to reject monocausal explanations of war. For instance, international relations theorist J. David Singer suggests that we ought to move away from the concept of “causality” since it has become associated with the search for a single cause of war; we should instead redirect our activities toward discovering “explanations”—a term that implies multiple causes of war, but also a certain element of randomness or chance in their occurrence.

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