Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Agency-based Theory of War

In my recent article on e-IR, I discussed the concept of agency as a way to view international dilemmas. Using that model, here is a theoretical application of agency as a way to think about future wars. I happen to be sympathetic to Antoine Bousquet's chaoplexic notion of future war. Thus, agency is a way to slice through chaoplexity to determine driving factors of a dilemma. Note, I do not subscribe entirely to the concept of center(s) of gravity (gasp!!!!) because I don't think they exist practically as we want them to cognitively.

Agency-based Theory of War for Complex Conflict
                The arrangement of men into societies is a natural social phenomenon. Aristotle, for instance, argues that the city-state is an arrangement "that exists by nature."[1] Whereas atoms seek other atoms for an equal distribution of energy, men seek other men for a similarly equal distribution of tranquility. Augustine defines the ordered distribution of man's tranquility (human society) as four circles. The first is man's house. The second is the city. The third is the world, and the fourth is heaven.[2] Something or someone guides each circle which also bears the responsibility, as Aristotle contends, to maintain order within the scope of their circle.[3] The ordering of society from household to the world, establishes an ordering of rule. These strata form the environment through which man engages with other men (Figure 1).[4] The rule of man, therefore, seeks to achieve a kind of harmony with what Augustine deems a, "well-ordered concord of civic obedience and civic rule."[5] Agency arises out of man’s ability to rule and express one’s will onto another and is the foundation of violent tensions.