Is there an exit strategy from a preventive war? The opposing cases of Sparta in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) and Rome in the Macedonian Wars (214-205 BC) through the lens of International Relations’ theory

Zafeirakos, Theofilos Ioannis (2015) Is there an exit strategy from a preventive war? The opposing cases of Sparta in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) and Rome in the Macedonian Wars (214-205 BC) through the lens of International Relations’ theory. PhD thesis, University of Bolton.

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Abstract

It was once said that “if Sparta and Rome perished, what state can hope to endure forever?” (J. J. Rousseau, “Social Contract, Discourses”, B.III.ch. IX). The Peloponnesian and Macedonian wars have been scrutinized to the extent that the surviving sources may allow for it, but they have never been put under the magnifying glass in terms of International Relations’ schools of thought, namely “Realists”, “Rationalists” and “Revolutionists”, despite their striking similarities as to the prevention of competing state’s ascending power, as well as of their underlying dissimilarities regarding the respective exit strategies followed from the said preventive wars. This thesis brings together the principal episodes of these two war periods placing particular emphasis on notions of power, international anarchy, morality, security dilemma which all answer as to why the wars started, how they were fought and how they were ended. Furthermore, I extrapolate these deductions into the future in an attempt to forecast the main constants of great power behaviour in a similar situation of preventive wars. In this regard I demonstrate that “Realism” may provide the best toolkit not exclusively at the state (“forum externum”) level as the International Relations theory suggests, but also at the unit level (“forum internum”), which stands distinct from the holistic notion of domestic politics and falls within the contours of the decision making process. I attempt to bridge these two levels by injecting the notion of the “cosmo-icon”, which shall be assessed separately by the same aforementioned International Relations’ three schools of thought. Cosmo-icon is the inherent, unique, alphabet whereby the leader reads the book of international politics which is written by the states’ interaction. That alphabet is indispensable for “self-orientation” within the political system and emanates from fundamental decisions, based upon specific predefined approaches of the reality and not solely upon mere reactions to it (“perceptions”). Showing that the level of states and the unit level correspond in essence respectively to Thucydides’ famous reference to “uneven growth” and “fear” as causes of war and that the cosmo-icon is in fact identified within “predetermined” decisions, I stress that a successful exit strategy from a preventive war shall be the outgrowth of realism’s preponderance both at the state level of analysis as well as at the cosmo-icon’s one. Indeed, I prove that Rome succeeded when it cleaved to a “realistic” cosmo-icon, within a “realistic” states’ foreign policy, while Sparta failed because within a “realistic” states’ foreign policy she adopted a “rationalist” cosmo-icon. That said, it becomes evident from the two periods that for a great power a successful exit strategy from a preventive war is actually to stay within it, maintaining a “realistic” cosmo-icon towards a decisive battle and consequently establishing an authoritative relationship of a “mistress” but not of a “lover” with the subject states. That relationship will be based on the principle of proactively creating an interest rather than simply defending it, through a prudent, constant, political evaluation of alternative options by a small number, if not only one, person(s), through a web of ad hoc and restricted alliances, desisting from any territory-annexation, but also from ideological affiliations of any kind.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: An electronic version of the thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Bolton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Uncontrolled Keywords: Greece, History, Peloponnesian War 431-404 B.C., International relations, Macedonian War 1st 215-204 B.C., Sparta,
Divisions: University of Bolton Theses > History
Depositing User: Tracey Gill
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2016 08:07
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2016 08:07
URI: http://ubir.bolton.ac.uk/id/eprint/891

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