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Ouroboros: Identity War as a Reaction to the Transformative Mission of Liberalism.

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Item Summary Reynolds, Philip W. 2019-05-28T20:29:46Z 2019-05-28T20:29:46Z 2017-08
dc.subject identity
dc.subject future conflicts
dc.subject great powers
dc.subject military philosophy
dc.subject Liberalism
dc.subject preemption
dc.subject philosophy
dc.title Ouroboros: Identity War as a Reaction to the Transformative Mission of Liberalism.
dc.type Thesis
dc.contributor.department Political Science
dcterms.abstract Liberalism has a global transformative mission which requires an ideologically democratic core, and an illiberal periphery. The Liberal west, absent the stable framework provided by the Cold War, increasingly intervenes in that periphery, ostensibly to set up democratic, security centered adjuncts. At the same time as Liberalism arose, states collectivized violence through their war machines, mass production of military power and Clausewitzian war was developed to support them. Clausewitzian war was a credible deterrent and an effective tool for incubating emerging Liberal states. Twice in the twentieth century, during World Wars One and Two, collectivized violence was used to defeat illiberal, totalitarian regimes that threatened the stability, i.e., growth of the Liberal states. In the neo-liberal period, leading states developed international economic institutions that interlaced national economies to such an extent as to make the costs of structural wars, like those of the twentieth century, far outweigh possible benefits. Accordingly, state versus state war declined while internal and internationalized internal war remained high. The liberal system became balanced between a developed, rich, democratic internal, and a power poor, resource rich external, a system-within-a-system. Systemic insurgents do not labor under a trinity of passion, government, and military. Instead, all three are centered in the individual and produce an unlimited enmity because Liberalism requires a change in life modality- an existential threat. This is a change in the nature of conflict. The objective is no longer to separate the trinity and force defeat. Within the singularity, only destruction can achieve transformation from coexistence into consensus. This kind of partisan war is political war, and in late Liberalism, political war is revolutionary war. Once identified as an existential threat, the partisan must be destroyed; the failure of the war machine leads to highly technical applications of the strategy of preemption. Preemption, increasingly centered on the individual then becomes the strategy of a future of securitized life. Liberal states, particularly the West, began to view conflict as a way to ensure the stability that maximized their benefits, i.e., a method of social control. Not surprisingly, the periphery generated resistance groups that increasingly rejected neoliberalism. These groups, bound together by identity, convert their knowledge of self into an advantage that translates into winning strategies that nullify the Clausewitzian advantages in the distribution of military power. Still, Liberal states are increasingly drawn into identity conflicts for which they are ill-prepared in an attempt to maintain, and even extend, the international system to maximize their own benefits. My thesis is that the production of resistance that is the basis for Liberalism’s continuing counter-insurgent wars are a reaction to Liberalism’s attempt to transform the system. There are several supporting hypotheses which must be explored to get to this end: That the irregularity of partisan war is a product of the emphasis on regular war in the normative distribution of power; that Clausewitzian war is weaker than the knowledge that generates identity; and, that powerful states choose to destroy individuals in an attempt to circumvent the knowledge advantage through preemption. Accordingly, I am examining the nature of the security apparatus and the use of military interventions to pacify the periphery as the primary tool of expansion.
dcterms.description Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2017.
dcterms.language eng
dcterms.publisher University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
dcterms.rights All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
dcterms.type Text
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Political Science

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