About me

In 2010 I made the decision to follow a career path dedicated to peace building and conflict resolution, resulting in enlistment at the Royal Netherlands Navy in 2012. Currently, I am specializing into conflict resolution at Radboud University's Center for International Conflict -  Analyses and Managment. Since July 2015 I have been working part time at Radboud University as faculty advisor for the course United Nations and Multilateral Diplomacy and currently as a research assistant at the Center for International Conflict -  Analyses and Managment. In February 2016 I started my own consultancy and training bureau "Pantheon". Focussing on teaching skills needed to act within the international setting (Public Speaking, Negotiation, Etiquette, Protocol) as well as offering consultation on maritime and defense issues.

From The Heartland to the Complete Network: Blood Vines and Nervous Systems

By G.L.J. Jacobs on 2017-06-20 in Papers,


Starting from the Colombian epoch, from around 1500 and ended in 1900, major powers have exercised colonial power struggles to establish dominion. With the turn of the 20th century the age of exploration had come to an end. Indeed as Mackinder pointed out in this famous "The Geographic Pivot of History" (1904); "[i]n 400 years the outline of the map of the world has been completed with approximated accuracy, and even in the polar regions the voyage of Nansen and Scott have very narrowly reduced the last possibility  of dramatic discoveries" (Mackinder 1904, 421). Mackinder analytically remarked that because the political system had been closed again, be it now on a global scale, and that any explosion of social force would be redirected at the centre of the globe rather than the periphery as it had during the Colombian epoch. The first half of the 20th century clearly has shown this development, putting geopolitics on the map (see for example classics such as (Mackinder 1919, Haushofer 1927, Ancel 1938, Haushofer 1942) In the second half, in terms of geopolitical shifts, borders had become more stable. Under the dominion of two powers at an impasse much of the social force was put into proxy - but borders hardly changed, as a result at the end of the cold war the interest in borders resurged in the last two decades (Newman 2006). This development is reflected in the increase of literature on borders and bordering (Ganster, Sweedler, et al. 1997, Newman and Paasi 1998, Eskelinen, Liikanene and Oksa 1999, Hardt and Negri 2000, Kaplan and Hakli 2001, Berg and Van Houtem 2004, Pavlakovich-Kochi, Morehouse and Wastl-Walter 2004, Ganster and Lorey 2005).

Before applying these contemporary thinkers, I will first briefly touch upon Mackinder's geo-strategic thinking. I will use the anatomical wording of the heartland that originated in 1904 and instead argue that it is perhaps not the heart that requires attention, but rather the blood vessels and the nervous system of the world. I primarily argue that it is by controlling the flow of material goods and immaterial information that a colonial power can, and is, exercising its control over other countries. In my analysis I identify the People's Republic of China, The Russian Federation and the United States of America as the dominant colonial powers of this day and age, and would consider the United Kingdom and France to be colonial powers of the previous era. When focussing on the flows of material goods and immaterial information, I found the broader power struggles laid bare. Additionally it became clear that although these three colonial powers might be instigating the struggle, it is no longer only sovereign nations that play a pivotal role, an idea that is heavily advocated by Hardt and Negri (2004) - though perhaps this has always been the case, but has become so much clearer today.

The Heartland today

Map 1: The Heartland Map (Mackinder 1904)

Mackinder summarised his heartland theory in 1919 as:

"Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;
who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island;
who rules the World-Island commands the world."
(Mackinder 1919, 150)

The idea behind controlling the Heartland was that it would constitute for nearly half of the world's resources. So far, however, none of the colonial powers had been able to completely control the Heartland. It was entrenched between geological thresholds, impervious to an attack with sea power by the eastern and southern mountains and deserts and the icy Arctic to the north. While the east and western sides were approachable by land, its historical invasions were unsuccessful due to logistical restraints. With the introduction of the railroad, Mackinder predicted that this might change and he illustrated three scenarios in which would lead to commanding the Heartland, and subsequently the World (Mackinder 1904, 436-7).

When looking at the world in 1904 and the introduction of the ingenuity of the rail system, it is not difficult to imagine one thinking of an opportunity to apply it to warfare, and indeed it played a revolution or even pivotal in the first world war - which heavily changed the geopolitical situation in Europe and the world. It should be noted that this was only a decade after Mackinder proposed the idea of being able to penetrate the Heartland by rail if a powerful continental nation extended its political control over the Eastern European gateway into the Eurasian landmass. Perhaps such a role could have been played by Germany or the Ottoman Empire, but neither existed after 1918 - perhaps because of this very reason that the Western powers of Britain, France and the US made sure the Central Powers would not take over the Russian empire. Although power shifted on the tectonic level, two other scenarios; a Russo-German alliance or conquest of Russia by a Sino-Japanese Empire also did not come to be.

Forgoing Mackinder's ability to predict the future, a couple of interest remarks can be made based upon his thinking to apply Mackinder today. The first is in the military domains. In 1904 these were limited to land and sea, commonly known as the first and second military domain respectively. In the past century warfare led to new industrial and scientific developments allowing war to branch out to the domains of air (the third domain), space (the fourth) and cyber (the fifth). The later three diminish the importance of the land domain, though increase the importance of sea power. With land power becoming less relevant, and sea power more so, both nullify the heartland theory. The other four domains play a prominent role, and I will argue that it is sea power and cyber power that are pivotal. It is through these two domains that colonial powers can project force and where they struggle to control the interconnected and interdependent globalised world.

The Complete Network: Spaces of Flows and Globalisation

Hardt and Negri (2000) theorise an ongoing transition from the modern phenomenon of imperialism to an emergent postmodern construct created among ruling powers which the authors call "Empire" with different forms of warfare, that contemporary call 'hybrid' or 'unrestricted warfare'. While Empire transverse geographical borders, this is not to say that territorial borders do not play a role. Van Houtem and van Naerssen (2002) argue that the word "borders" assumes "that places are fixed in space and time.". This assumption is unjustified and borders should be understood in terms of bordering and ordering. It is a strategic effort by colonial powers to "make a difference in space among the movements of people, money or products", and I would add the flow of information to that as well. In a continuously effort, borders regulate the mobility of these flows and by doing so construct and reproduce places in space (Van Houtem and Van Naerssen, Bordering, ordering and othering 2002, 126)

Newman and Paasi (1998) point towards Castells expression that the impact of globalisation and the rise of 'space of flows' instead of the 'space of places' (Castells 1989). Globalisation is seen by Robertson (Robertson 1992) as the 'shrinking' of the world and the increasing consciousness of the world as a whole. It is then not unsurprising that boundaries are significant in this process in what they become more enterable, as Newman and Paasi conclude "this is particularly the case with respect to the movement of goods, people and information" (Newman and Paasi, Fences and neighbours in the postmodern world: boundary narratives in political geography 1998, 192).

David Held's (2006) definition of globalisation is what I will use to introduce the idea of the complete network, of the interconnected and the interdependent world. Held and his colleagues declare globalisation to be "the widening, deepening and speeding up of worldwide interconnectedness in all aspects of contemporary social life, from the cultural to the criminal, the financial to the spiritual." (Held, et al. 2006, 5) Within this social life, we can thus also include the struggle of power and dominion by colonial powers. Hardt and Negri, argue that "war tends to extend [even] further, becoming a permanent social relation" (Hardt and Negri, Multitude, War and Democracy in the Age of Empire 2004, 12), which led Cramer to conclude that through technological developments, "war has been raised [ ] to an "absolute, ontological level"." (Cramer 2006, 50). In terms of the global order, "[It] can no longer be understood adequately in terms of imperialism as it was practised by the modern powers, based primarily on the sovereignty of the nation-state extended over foreign territory." (Hardt and Negri, Multitude, War and Democracy in the Age of Empire 2004, xii), as a result, Hardt and Negri argue for viewing conflict "not in isolation, then, but seen as part of a grand constellation, linked in varying degrees both to other war zones and to areas not presently at war." (Hardt and Negri, Multitude, War and Democracy in the Age of Empire 2004, 4).

Having elevated conflict from its kinetic geographical presence, one may wonder how then to visualise this on a map. And indeed although it would be difficult to visualise all social interactions related to power struggle, it would be possible by looking contemporary struggle and conflict. Various nodes can be distinguished of where colonial superpowers show their interest. No longer is there a heartland to be controlled, but by controlling the nodes in the network. How would a map look like then? The link with biology made in 1904 is not unwarranted, let us have a look at maps that show the blood vines and the nerves of the global network, and deconstruct them to reveal areas of geopolitical interest.

Blood vines...

In order to visualise the bloodlines, I have chosen to use deep sea shipping routes. This is not to say that it is only shipping lanes that are part of the bloodlines, but it helps us visualise an otherwise difficult to show Castells' 'space of flows'. Alternative and more detailed one could look at maps of train systems and roads that show the flow of material goods. The decision was made to use shipping lanes as they became increasingly important over the past decades, as well have historically been the theatre of conflict.

The map above is used by shipping companies to depict the major deep sea shipping routes. It is generally accepted that 90% of the world's trade is carried by sea. (IMO 2012, 5) Over the past half, a century cargo shipped nearly quadrupled, from 2.5 billion tonnes of cargo in 1970 to 8.5 billion tonnes in 2010 (UNCTAD 2011, 7). It is estimated that if the trade growth trend of the last 150 years continues, this number will have increased to 23 billion tonnes by 2060 (Stopford 2010, 6). If once was spoke of a heartland of the world, the surely these shipping lanes are the blood vessels that allow the world to live.

These maritime nodes correspond with what John House (1980) calls the 'double peripherality'. Areas that are located in the geographic periphery of the country (the coast line), where the residents of the region suffer from economic, social, and political peripherality due to their distance with power elites and decision-makers (Newman 2006). Often these places take on the form of 'borderland' (Rumley and Minghi 1991, Blake 2000, Van Houtem and Eker 2013).

Beyond the social impact and the impact shipping has on the environment, maritime shipping routes have always been the theatre of major power struggles, going as far back as the competition between the Spanish and Portuguese at the beginning of the Colombian era resulting in the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494. A second such power struggle between the Dutch and the Portuguese resulting in the publication of 'Mare Liberum'. The principles of the free sea advocated in 'Mare Liberum' formed the basis for the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982.

Imagine indeed these shipping lanes to be the vessels through which the world transfers necessary substances and transports (metabolic) waste. One of these vessels is by far the most superior, I will call it the 'Anteria Maxima' from the Latin words for 'great' and 'artery'. The Anteria Maxima is the shipping lane to the world that is the artery to the heart. It is a circular lane with no starting point or end that flows through Panama Canal, the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal, the Gulf of Aden, goes south of India through the Indies to China and from there again to Panama. In 1904 Mackinder pointed out that the Sahara was the dividing line between North and South (Mackinder 1904, 428), contemporary this would be Anteria Maxima. In a military context, this line is occasionally described as the 'Belt of Instability' due to the many conflicts erupting in countries bordering the shipping lane. Note how all of these places have and still are the areas of colonial struggle and dominion, with where at least two colonial powers, the United States and France have artificially created canals to consolidate their claim, a third, the United Kingdom, has been involved with a war over one of the canals, and finally a fourth power, China, has made plans to construct another channel to rival that of Panama.

Above the Anteria Maxima we find the Anteria Boreas. It connects the Anteria Maxima with the Bering Strait, between Russia and the United States, the Northwest Passage above Canada and the Northern Sea Route above Russia. These are currently largely a dormant shipping lane (only the Bering Strait is accessible at times), but with the increasing climate change and melted ice this northern shipping lane will open up in the near future (Arctic Council 2009). Seeing a new theatre appear, and fearing another scramble like the scramble for Africa, the Arctic Council was established by the Ottawa declaration in 1996. Allowing for corporation between the two colonial powers bordering the Arctic as well as allowing other colonial powers a seat as an observer, thus keeping the power struggle away from the kinetic theatre.

On the south, we find the Anteria Australis. As a shipping lane, it is large too expensive to use and only used when the Maxima for whatever reason is blocked. Noteworthy here is again the struggle for dominion over the Arctic and its sea regions between the major colonial powers.

Finally, attention should be given to the struggles of China as upcoming power. Both in the lawfare conflict (a form of hybrid warfare on the basis of international law, (Liang and Xiangsui 1999) in the South Chinese Sea (Dutton 2011), as well as in their attempt to reconstruct the Silk Road, a hybrid rail, road and shipping lane. On land, "a corridor linking China with Mongolia, Central Asia, Russia, Iran, Turkey, the Balkans, central and eastern Europe, and ultimately Germany and the Netherlands", and via the maritime "linking south-east China with south-east Asia, Bangladesh, India, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean" (Ferdinand 2016).

... and Nerve Systems

While the bloodlines can be visualised on a map to an extent, it is much more difficult to do so with the nerve system. The nerve system lies party outside of physical bordering and ordering. It encompasses the Ethernet, both in its physical connects of the worldwide network of cables, as well in the 'flow' of information. Here again the relevance of Castells' (1989) expression on 'the space of flows'. Nevertheless, an attempt can be made by looking at a map of the underwater sea cables that connect the modern world - if we consider the flow of information to be the world's nerve system, then these cables from the vertebral column, or the Internet's backbone. During the cold war colonial powers fought out their struggle in proxy wars and intelligence operations (Herman 1996, Andrew, Aldrich and Wark 2009). The latter made often use tapping these cables such as the NSA from the early 1970's until 1981 to spy on the Russians under the name of 'Operation Ivy Bells' (Khazan 2013). More recently it was revealed that both the U.S. and the U.K. spy agencies have made use of tapping directly into the vertebral (Timberg 2013, MacAskill, et al. 2013).

Map 3 Underwater Sea Cables (The Atlantic 2013)

Aside of the physical backbone of the internet, the second theatre of Hardt and Negri's Empire is within the borderless struggle of the internet itself. Contemporary this is mainly used by colonial powers in the form of misinformation (Levitin 2016). Misinformation is defined as incorrect, or false information, that is spread unintentionally or intentionally (Antoniadis, Litou and Kalogeraki 2016). It is an addition to the toolbox of hybrid warfare that has recently been used extensively in conflicts pertaining the United States and Russia (Snegovaya 2015, Hunter and Pernik 2015, Rogers and Bromwich 2016).


The above gives only a sample of geopolitical moves by colonial powers, by looking at conflicts over the blood vines and the nerves in the history we may predict the ones in the future and act accordingly. As the German General Karl Haushofer already advocated in 1942, "Only this can give [ ] the needed realistic insight into the world picture as it presents itself from day to day." (Haushofer, Why Geopolitik? 1942, 40).This is as true today as it was in the second half of the 20th century. The resurgence of the interest in bordering and ordering is warranted, but it also evident to look beyond borders and look at the things that 'flow'. By looking at contemporary conflicts and deconstruct them in order to find the underlying geopolitical interest. In this essay I touched upon a few historical and contemporary conflicts between the modern colonial powers China, Russia and the United States. I have illustrated some of these empire fuelled conflicts using two maps the interconnectedness of the moderglobaliseded world by means of naval transport, the blood vessels of the world, and the harder to show nerve system that is in particular relevance for the western world. Control the things that allow the globalized world to 'flow' for domination.

This argument can then perhaps be summarized in a paraphrase of Mackinder's 1919 summary:

"Who rules the Ethernet commands the Nervous system;
Who rules the flow of goods commands the Blood vessels;
Who rules both commands the globalized world."


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The Military Republic, An Answer To The Democracy In Crisis

By G.L.J. Jacobs on 2016-12-29 in Papers,

The paper below is a thought experiment based on Heinlein's Starship Troopers. The views in this paper are not necessarily my views, but rather an attempt to find arguments for Heinlein's ideas on the military state and limited democracy. 


A striking trend in contemporary world politics is the apparent erosion of political unity in so many different places. In recent years, there has been a decline of national democracy in Europe (Armingeon & Guthmann, 2014). In the MENA region, we’ve seen the upheavals of the Arab Spring and the continuing bloodbaths in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere. In Europe, support for the European Union continues to drop, Great Britain may vote to leave it, and Scotland might still decide to exit the United Kingdom (Walt, 2016). Recently I argued that the European Union seems to unintentionally coerce opposition parties into using democratic tools for their anti-EU agenda (Jacobs, 2016). Overseas in the  United States, a level of bitter partisanship not seen for many decades has arisen, the two main political parties are themselves deeply divided. What can explain this struggle in our peaceful governments?

In 'Arguing about War' Michael Walzer (2004) continues the ongoing debates on Just War, which he defended in 'Just and Unjust Wars' (1977). Of particular interest is his take on Clausewitz’s famous line: "War is a mere continuation of politics by other means."[i] The line, in addition to being provocative, also seems obviously true to Walzer, and he argues that the claim is equally obvious the other way around: politics is the continuation of war by other means (2004, p. ix). I have come to accept the dichotomy of politics and war as a truism, and consider them as equal, and by doing so argue that our governments, be it national, be it international are not peaceful.

In this essay, I seek to address some problems of the decline in democracy and its relation to politics and war. The first problem to address is one of erroneous definition, with how we contemporarily define 'peace', and in turn the antithesis 'war' and derived from war, 'force'. I will address the problems derived from the fallacy that comes from the unwillingness to call things by their name, and offer a constructive note by offering a possible solution: citizenship in the military republic, a variation on citizenship theory; that hypothetically would be able to address these issues.

The Fallacy of Peace

If there ever was a time in history when "peace" meant that there was no fighting going on, I have yet been unable to find out about it. Cynical perhaps, but it seems we have never known peace, and probably never will. Rather "Peace", by its common understanding is a condition in which one does not pay any attention to (military) casualties which do not achieve page-one, often politicized, lead-story prominence, meanwhile at the same time people are fighting for their liberties one way or another somewhere on the globe. The illusion of peace of the liberal state, of which the past seventy years or so on the Euro-Atlantic continents is often used as the prime example[ii], as led to a misunderstanding of war and peace, in particular, made evident by the rise of pacifism and liberal democracy.

In liberal democracy, the theory of liberalism argues that it is the Kantian constraints (Kant, 1970): democracy; international trade; and membership to international organizations that brought about the absence of full-scale war (Kant, 1970; Russet, 2016)[iii]. In light of the dichotomy of politics and war, I argue that war is still present. War is controlled violence, the intense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or force, with purpose. The purpose is to support your government's decisions by force. To draw a kinetically metaphor, the purpose is never to kill the enemy just to be killing him . . . but to make them do what you want them to do. Force is not limited to kinetic force. In modern society kinetic force tends to be limited, in fact, it is far away from our daily lives.

I equate force with power and authority and as such I will focus on political power, the most significant and dangerous form that force can take. It is the means by which all the different pursuits, including the pursuit of power (the ability to act, to force), are regulated. "Political power protects us from tyranny . . . and in itself becomes tyrannical" (Walzer, 1983, p. 281). It is because of this duality that it is so much desired and so endlessly struggled for. Much of this fighting is unofficial, like guerrilla skirmishes of everyday life through which we (ordinary citizens) defend or struggle to revise the boundaries of the various distributive spheres. To vote is then to ultimately wield authority; it is the supreme authority from which all other authority derives—the franchise, the right to vote,  is force, naked and raw, the Power of the Rods and the Ax. Whether it is exerted by ten men or by ten billion, political authority is force.

When applying this understanding of  the dichotomy of politics and war, Putnam's two-level games[iv] between domestic and foreign interests, or three or even four level games when applied to the IOs sketched out by Russet, are not at all different from war in the early twentieth century, but the way we engage in exercising force is greatly different. War never changes, warfare does[v]. The absence of classical warfare has lead to the misleading assumption that we have peace and as such has lead to a rise in pacifistic movements. The problem with pacifism (and to an extent that of modern democracy) is that civilians do not understand that their cherished liberty comes from sacrifice, the tree of liberty must be refreshed. Pacifism does not accept Jefferson's proposition and thus is a beautiful lie believing that the tree does not require manure. If pacifism is a beautiful lie, then realism is the ugly truth. In between these two extremes we find Just War Theory, a decent attempt to strike a balance between the two extremes, but fails to justify any form of violence as early as the writings of Augustine[vi]. To prosper as we did in the past event years, a projection of military might is required. Our seventy-year "peace" came forth of the military projection and hegemony of the United States. If we were to decide to move to a complete pacifistic system, abandoning our military relation with the US, soon (say about next Wednesday?) another breed[vii] moves in, kills off the "we ain’t a gonna study war no more”.

A second lesson derived from the rise of pacifism is called the "Vietnam syndrome," derived from the Vietnam wars (1946-54; 1955-75): "that we should not fight wars that are unpopular at home and to which we are unwilling to commit the resources necessary for victory" (Walzer, 2004, p. 9). Here again, the Kantian restriction of democracy comes into play. Democratic leaders who fight a war are held responsible, they risk being voted out of office - especially if they lose, or the war is long or costly (Russet, 2016). The lesson here, unlike Walzer illustrated, is not that we should not fight these wars, but that the democratic system is not fit to make decisions on matters of war. Civilians do neither have the information nor the feeling of duty required to decide whether or not we 'should' fight war, and because of the democratic cycles (four years in most countries) we are unable to commit properly to long-term engagements as the humanitarian interventions in the past two decades have shown.[viii] Furthermore, politicians - those who were given the authority to wield force in our name, are afraid to make their hands dirty (Walzer, 1973), and prefer career over duty (Russet, 2016, p. 75), or transcend down a slippery slope due to the limitations of liberalism (Luban, 2005).

The Military Republic

A solution to the illustrated failures of both civilian voters and politicians is the military republic[ix]. The military republic would be a militaristic form of limited democracy, where full citizenship can only be gained through military service. The voting franchise is limited to full citizenship, who acquire suffrage through service, and they are the only ones allowed to held public office. So Robert A. Heinlein's Terran Federation is born[x]. This is, I think, an attractive form of governance, but I have not yet explained just why it is attractive in light of the earlier illustrated.

There exists a paired duality; the converse of authority is responsibility. Both for practical reasons and for mathematically verifiable moral reasons, authority, and responsibility, must be equal - else a balancing takes place as surely as current flows between points of unequal potential. It is exactly this unbalance that causes the contemporary crisis of democracy. To allow irresponsible authority is to sow disaster; to hold an individual responsible for anything he or she does not control is to behave with blind idiocy. The contemporary unlimited democracies are unstable because their citizens are not responsible for the fashion in which they exerted their sovereign authority. No attempt is made to determine whether a voter is socially responsible to the extent of the literally unlimited authority endowed upon the individual. If the voter votes the impossible, the disastrous possible happened instead and responsibility will then be forced on the voter with self-destructive nature. This argument goes for both direct and indirect democracy, both are a tyranny of the masses in their own way. Noble as it is, the democratic experiment is failing because the people have been led to believe that they can simply vote for whatever they want and get it, without toil, without sweat, without tears. A misinterpretation at best, entitlement confused with desert, a form of hubris at worst. One may then instead consider a meritocracy: the pursuit of science, however despite its social benefits, science in itself is not a social virtue; its practitioners can be humans so self-centered as to be lacking in social responsibility. (Walzer, Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality, 1983, p. 135)

In the earlier discussion on the dichotomy of politics and war, it became clear that we still require someone to wield power - as Walzer has put it "there never has been a political community that did not engage its collective strength - its capacity to direct, regulate, pressure and coerce in this project. The use of political power has not, until the past thirty or so years been controversial. The building of fortresses, dams and irrigation works; the mobilizations of armies; the securing of the food supply and of trade generally all these require coercion. The state is a tool that cannot be made without iron. And coercion, in turn, requires agents of coercion." (1983, p. 68) If not for unlimited-indirect or direct democracy, and not for meritocracy, who are then these agents of coercion?


As Walzer illustrates in his defense of pluralism, the claim to monopolize a dominant good constitutes an ideology. Aristocracy is the principle of those who lay claim to breeding and intelligence. Divine supremacy is the principle of those who claim to know the word of God. Meritocracy is the principle of those who claim to be talented (Walzer, 1983, p. 12). But neither lineage, nor intelligence, nor divination nor talent should be a claim to the monopoly on force. In both Pascal (1961, p. 96) and Marx (1963, pp. 193-94) we find that personal qualities and social goods have their sphere of operation. So what is then the qualities needed to operate in the sphere of coercion?

Earlier I dismissed the idea of meritocracy, for those with talent are not necessary those of social virtue. Nevertheless, the idea of meritocracy has some contribution to make to the idea of the military republic. The principle that underlies the idea of meritocracy in the minds of most of its supporters is simply this: that offices should be filled by the most qualified people because qualification is a special case of desert (Walzer, 1983, p. 135). What then would be the qualification, the desert, that should bring about the possibility to take office? According to William Galston's influential account, responsible citizenship requires four types of civic virtues: (i) general virtues: courage; law-abidingness; loyalty; (ii) social virtues: independence; open-mindedness; (iii) economic virtues: work ethic; capacity to delay self-gratification; adaptability to economic and technological change; and (iv) political virtues: capacity to discern and respect the rights of others; willingness to demand only what can be paid for; ability to evaluate the performance of those in office; willingness to engage in public discourse (Galston, 1991). The health and stability of a democracy depend, not only on the justice of its basic institutions, but also on the qualities and attitudes of its citizens (Kymlicka, 2002, p. 285). The quality we are looking for then is 'duty'.

In the military republic every voter and officeholder is an individual who has demonstrated through voluntary and difficult service that he places the welfare of the group ahead of personal advantage, and by doing so has had the opportunity to develop civic virtues. No distinction is made between gender, race, creed, sexual preference, social background - the only requirement is the willingness to serve, an individual choice. In addition to its intended purpose of growing civic virtue, it may as well be a solution to multiculturalism, integrated citizens into a common national culture promoting mutual understanding, trust and solidarity through the process of service they all go through. A citizen accepts personal responsibility for the safety of the body politic, defending it with life, a civilian does not, either because they are unwilling or because unable to comprehend this personal responsibility. In the military republic the distinction between civilian and citizen is not a cause for issue as such both are exactly where they should be, the citizen in the political public sphere, and the civilian in the economic private sphere.

The noblest fate anyone can endure is to place the own mortal body between a loved home and the war's desolation (in both the kinetic and political sense). Citizenship is an attitude, a state of mind, an emotional conviction that the whole is greater than the part...and that the part should be humbly proud to sacrifice itself that the whole may live. Social responsibility above the level of family, or at most of tribe, requires imagination-- devotion, loyalty, all the higher virtues -- which individuals must develop themselves; if they have them forced down, they will 'vomit' them out. In turn, the state must give the opportunity to serve.


To propagate the idea of the military republic, while an exploration or continuation of citizenship theory, is challenging due to it invoking images of militaristic regimes - in particular of fascist regimes in the early twentieth century. Nevertheless, both the fallacy of peace and the military republic deserve exploration in their own right. If the fallacy of peace is not addressed the fall of liberal democracy will surely come. What form of government, whether it be a military republic, will arise in its place is unclear, but I fear that, if it does not include a form of civic virtue, the future is going to be dark indeed.

Works Cited

Allman, M. J., & Winright, T. L. (2010). After the Smoke Clears: The Just War Tradition and Post War Justice. New York: Maryknoll.

Armingeon, K., & Guthmann, K. (2014). Democracy in Crisis? The declining support for national democracy in European countries, 2007-2011. European Journal of Political Research .

Brandt Ford, S. (2013). Jus ad vim and the just use of lethal force-short-of-war. In F. Allhoff, Routledge Handbook of Ethics and War. Just war in the twenty-first century. New York: Routledge.

Creveld, M. (1991). The Transformation of War: The Most Radical Reinterpretation of Armed Conflict Since Clausewitz. Free Press.

Duffield, M. (2002). War as a Network Enterprise - The New Security Terrain and its Implications. Cultural Values: The Journal for Cultural Research , 153-166.

Galston, W. (1991). Liberal Purposes: Goods, Virtues, and Duties in the Liberal State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hoffman, F. G. (2009). Hybrid vs. Compound War, The Janus choice: Defining Today's Multifaceted Conflict. Armed Forces Journal , 44-45.

Holsti, K. (1995). War, Peace, and the State of the State. International Political Science Review , 319-339.

Jacobs, G.L.J. (2016, March). The Future of the European Continent. Internationale Spectator .

Kaldor, M. (1999). New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era. Stanford University Press.

Kant. (1970). Perpetual Peace: A phisosophical Sketch [1795]. In H. Reiss, Kant's Political Writings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kymlicka, W. (2002). Citizenship Theory. In W. Kymlicka, Contemporary Political Philosophy, an introduction (pp. 284-326). New York: Oxford University Press Inc.

(Col.) Liang, Q., & (Col.) Xiangsui, W. (1999). Unrestricted Warfare (First Indian Edition 2007). Dehradun: Natraj Publishers, Publication Division.

Luban, D. (2005). Liberalism, Torture, and the Ticking Bomb. Virginia Law Review , 91, 1425-61.

Marx, K. (1963). Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts. In T. B. Bottomore, Early Writings. London.

Pascal, B. (1961). The Pensées, trans J. M. Cohen. Harmondsworth, England.

Putnam, R. D. (1988). Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Game. International Organization , 42 (3), 427-460.

Rodin, D. (2006). The Ethics of Asymmetric War. In R. Sorabji, & D. Rodin, The Ethics of War: Shared Problems in Different Traditions (pp. 153-168). Hants: Ashgate.

Russet, B. (2016). Liberalism. In T. Dunne, M. Kurki, & S. Smith, International Theories, Discipline and Diversity (pp. 68-87). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sorabji, R. (2009). Just war from ancient origins to the conquistadors debate and its modern relevance. In R. Sorabji, & D. Rodin, The Ethics of War. Shared Problems in Different Traditions (pp. 13-29). Ashgate.

Von Clausewitz [1832], C. (1976). Vom Kriege. In M. Howard, & P. Paret. Princeton: Princeton University press.

Walt, S. M. (2016, June 17). The Case Against Peace. Foreign Policy .

Walzer, M. (2004). Arguing About War. New Haven/London: Yale University Press.

Walzer, M. (1977). Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations. New york: Basic Books.

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Walzer, M. (1973). The Problem of Dirty hands. Philosophy and Public Affairs , 2 (2).


[i] Translated from German "Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln" (Von Clausewitz [1832], 1976).

[ii] Somehow when speaking about the 'seventy years peace' internal strife is disregarded, thus 'The Troubles' in Ireland (1960-1998), 'The Cyprus issue' sparked by the 1974 Cypriot coup d'état (1974-today), the 'Basque Conflict' in Spain (1959-2011) and the 'Yugoslav Wars' (1991-2001) are disregarded.  

[iii] While Russet addressing it in a few lines, he fails to give proper credit to the bipolar world between 1945 and 1990 in which nuclear deterrence and US hegemony allowed us the freedom to build up a liberal democracy, international trade and IOs.

[iv] For a full explanation of the Two Level Game see Robert D. Putnam. ‘Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games’, International Organization, (42), Summer 1988: pp. 427-460.

[v] Scholars have argued that war in fact did change in the post-cold war era, featuring a new "type of organized violence" that, Mary Kaldor describes as 'New Wars' (Creveld, 1991; Holsti, 1995; Kaldor, 1999; Duffield, 2002; Rodin, 2006). I argue instead to acknowledge that new principles of war are no longer "using armed forces to compel the enemy to submit to one's will" but rather are "using all means, including armed force or non-armed force, military and non-military, and lethal and non-lethal means to compel the enemy to accept one's interest" (Liang & Xiangsui, 1999). See also Hoffman, F. G. (2009). Hybrid vs. Compound War, The Janus choice: Defining Today's Multifaceted Conflict. Armed Forces Journal , 44-45.

[vi] For a complete analysis of Just War see Walzer, M. (1977). Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations. New york: Basic Books and Sorabji, R. (2009). Just War from Ancient Origins to the Conquistadors Debate and its Modern Relevance. In R. Sorabji, & D. Rodin, The Ethics of War. Shared Problems in Different Traditions (pp. 13-29). Farnham: Ashgate. For the contemporary debate on variations such as Ius Post Bellum see Allman, M. J., & Winright, T. L. (2010). After the Smoke Clears: The Just War Tradition and Post War Justice. New York: Maryknoll and for Ius ad Vim see Brandt Ford, S. (2013). Jus ad vim and the just use of lethal force-short-of-war. In F. Allhoff, Routledge Handbook of Ethics and War. Just war in the twenty-first century. New York: Routledge.

[vii] Be it Vladimir Putin's Neo-Imperial Russia; Recep Tayyip Erdoğan post-Kemalist Turkey; or the terrorist movement Da'esh.

[viii] The results of the acquired syndrome are clearly visible in the failed interventions in the last decade of the twentieth century in Rwanda (1990-93; 94); Somalia (1992-95); Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-95); Kosovo (1998-99) and the unstructured involvement in Afghanistan (2001-14) Iraq (2003-11) and Libya (2011).

[ix] As in 'civic republicanism', the term 'republicanism' is not a reference to the Republican party in the United States, but as Kymlicka illustrates, is intended to evoke images of the city-state republics (polis) of classical Athens and Rome or Renaissance Florence, which are widely believed to have successfully encouraged active and publicly spirited citizenship (Kymlicka, 2002, p. 294). However, it is not to be confused with the antlike communism urged by Plato under the misleading title The Republic.

[x] See Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers (G.P. Putnam's Sons edition, New York, 1959)-a brilliant piece of social science fiction that forecasted the crisis of democracy more than fifty years ago.



The Kosovo Just War Problem

By G.L.J. Jacobs on 2016-06-23 in Papers,

Based on CMHER's "A Just War? President Clinton’s Response to Kosovo". The Conflict Management in Higher Education Report (CMHER) is a project of Campus Conflict Resolution Resources with support from a FIPSE grant from the US Department of Education and initial seed money from the Hewlett Foundation-funded CRInfo project. See also: http://www.campus-adr.org/CMHER/ReportResources/Edition3_3/HumanRights.html

The Kosovo War (February 1998 - June 1999) was, and one may argue still is, a complex and problematic development of Ius ad Bellum theory. Unquestionably the 1990s were the theater of many atrocities of war following the end of the bipolar world that had kept aggresion in check between the end of World War II and the fall of the Soviet union.  In this short essay, I seek to analyze the immoral 'wrongs' and the moral 'rights' of the decision by the Clinton administration to incite war.

The intentions of intervening in Kosovo, assuming that they indeed were based on the indications of repetition of '94 are morally unquestionably right. I assume that this intention is the case, as the following quote suggests: "We will not allow another Bosnia to happen in Kosovo."[1] We test the morality of war to the principles of the Christian tradition of Ius ad Bellum: There should be a just cause; Attempts at peaceful resolution should have been exhausted; The war should be decided on by an appropriate authority, and it needs to be clear which that authority is; War will not make the situation even worse than it is already; There should be reasonable prospect of achieving the aims of the war.[2]  The decision to act meets the first two principles, is questionable at the third, and unsuccessful in meeting the last two principles.

While the Kantian intentions of the administration's decision are unquestionably morally right, the actions that executed the intentions, and the outcomes that followed are nearly, if not all morally wrong. Firstly and foremost immorally is the Commander in Chief's distraction caused by private matters outside of political sphere, and at the same time those who seek to influence Clinton by politicizing the matter for political gain. War, seen as the Clausewitzian extension of politics has as its goal the controlled and purposeful great destructive (kinetic) force to support a government's decision. As such the application of force is an immaculate coercion, yet it demands the appliers (in this case the Commander in Chief) full attention. The immorality of the decision makers involved can also be derived from the "credit claiming" and "blame avoiding"[3] strategy that was crucial in the two-level game taking place in Washington. Some members of Congress wanted to have it both ways: to avoid responsibility for a bad outcome in Bosnia but to share in the political fruits of a good outcome . . . they said the mission was not worth fighting for, and then they off handily accepted that American soldiers should be sent to fight for it.[4]

The immorality is followed trough in the decisions on how to apply force, by using advanced, low-risk technology. While such technology may be very well used for Ius ad Vim, the justified use of force, its immaculate character depends on the reason why such tools are used. In the Kosovo case it was to prevent U.S. deaths, making sure the pilots would return from their missions alive. On the other side of the scale, however, we see the indiscriminate power of cluster munitions. The use of cluster projectile lead to the unnecessary death of many non-combatants. The use of advanced technology can be justified if it is used to protect the innocent, not to protect the soldier at the cost of the innocent.    

While writing this essay celebrations are held at home, commemorating the sacrifices of the soldiers in the liberation of The Netherlands, as well as celebrating our freedom (4th & 5th May). How different approach to intervention from the technological racism[5] that the administration was accused of.

I conclude that the decision to act was heavily influenced by immorality taking place Washington, both in Clinton's private sphere as well in the political two-level game. The intentions were corrupted as it was no longer about intervening and a responsibility to protect the innocent, but rather about political gain in Washington.  Three of the five principles of Ius Ad Bellum are not met, and consequently, immoral actions were taken to solve the Kosovo crisis. Judging on my visit to Kosovo in February 2016 and would openly question whether the Kosovo crisis has been solved at all.


[1] Special envoy Robert Gelbard and Muslim leader Ibrahim Rugova. Elaine Sciolino and Ethan Bronner, "How a President, Distracted by Scandal, Entered Balkan War," New York Times Apr 18, 1999, p. 1.

[2] R. Sorabji, Just War from Ancient Origins to the Conquistadors Debate and its Modern Relevance, in: R. Sorabji and Do. Rodin (eds), The Ethics of War: Shared Problems in Different Traditions, Ashgate, 2009, p.14.

[3] Congress and Bosnia," Washington Post, December 15, 1995, p. 24.

[4] J.H. Ely, War and Responsibility, Princeton University Press, 1993 p. 54 as quoted in Glennon.

[5] R.W. Apple, "A Domestic Sort With Global Worries," New York Times, August 25, 1999, p. 1 quoting an op ed column from The Wall Street Journal. Apple bases the accusation on the premise that the life of "one American serviceman was not worth risking in order to save the lives of thousands of Kosovars".

Civil-Military Relations in Japan

By G.L.J. Jacobs on 2016-06-23 in Papers,

Lutterbeck (2013) distinguishes civil-military relations as an area of study in two sub fields. Generally concerned it deals with the relationship between the military and the civilian authorities (and those employed by both authorities). In a broader sense, the field studies the relationship between military and society as a whole - and the place of the military within a society. Furthermore, a distinction can be made between the interaction between military forces and civilians abroad which is often referred to as 'Civil-Military Interaction', 'CIMIC', or 'CMCoord' (Rietjens & Bollen, 2008; Hoogensen Gjorv, 2014). This is not to say Japan does not engage in CIMIC/CMCoord activities; rather it might be these types of engagement under UN Mandate that explain recent developments (Arrington, 2002). Japan has a strained relationship between military and civilian, which can be traced back in the second world war in the twentieth century: Pre-war militaristic Japan vis-à-vis post-war renouncement of war under a tight civilian control. It is only recently that Japan has re-institutionalized the Ministry of Defence, and slowly the relationship between civil and military is redefined.

When looking at civil-military as a whole, and how it may influence foreign policy one may look at the writings of Huntington (1957) and Janowitz (1960). The development of a distinct form of 'military professionalism' would be the best way to ensure a strong civilian control of the military according to Huntington (Huntington, 1957). 'Military professionalism' implies a specific expertise in the legitimate use of force (Ius ad Vim). Furthermore, it serves as a primary responsibility within the state for military functions and makes use of its own internal hierarchy and rules of advancement in its own bureaucratic military organization. In contrast; Janowitz argues for a conscripted army, a general conscription would be a key instrument in convergence between the spheres of the military and the civilian. Janowitz highlights the fundamental differences between the two spheres with the former being based on hierarchy, order, and strict discipline. The latter is disorderly and values individual freedoms (Janowitz, 1960). By converging the two spheres and encouraging mutual exchange and regular interaction between the two domains, the military remains responsive to the demands of the civilian authorities and will, as a result, be 'civilianized'. Both theories may have been of use to understand civil-military relations in Japan in various points of history. However, contemporary neither seem applicable. At best we see elements of Huntington's arguments to separate the military functions, but rather than trusting them with 'military professionalism', Japan has placed the defence forces under guardianship of the bureaucratic apparatus (Huntington, 1957; Buck J. H., 1976; Pyle, 1992; Gow, 1993; Dunn, 2003).

From Pre-war militarism to Renouncing War

In contrast with the post-war era till the end of the twentieth-century Japanese militarism refers to the ideology of the Pre-war Empire of Japan that militarism should dominate the political and social life of the nation. Related to foreign policy, militarism sees that the strength of the military to be equal to the strength of a nation. The pre-war experience of an active, interventionist military strongly influenced post-war civil-military relations (Buck J. H., 1967; Gow, 1993) Samuel P. Huntington (1957), Samuel E. Finer (1962), and Michael Desch (2001) all examine pre-war Japan and offer their theories as to why the military became a dominant authority in the state with little or no check on its power and activities.

Over the course of the years following defeat in 1945, Japan's armed forces have been transformed from the militarist elite clique that lost the war and destroyed the country, into a more or less accepted instrument of Japanese foreign and domestic policy (Dunn, 2003). Japan began rearming in the 1950s and laid the foundation for effective civilian control of the SDF with the laws and interpretations of the constitution that enforced it. (Dunn, 2003) The so-called "Yoshida Doctrine," named for the prominent post-war Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru, who developed it, provided guidance for post-war economic, security, and military policy (Pyle, 1992, pp. 20-41). One important aspect of the Constitution was Article 9 which stated that "the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation" and that military forces "will never be maintained". When Yoshida Shigeru made his policies (the Yoshida Doctrine) Article 9 played a large role. (Holcombe, 2011, pp. 277-286)

First, excessive civilian control in Japan may negatively affect the ability of the SDF to accomplish its mission and of the civilian government to formulate effective defence policies (Sigur, 1975; Buck J. H., 1976; Gow, 1993). Second, there is a disagreement among the civilian leadership in Japan over what constitutes civilian control. The dividing line between the left and right seems to be the Diet (assembly) and the civilian bureaucracy, respectively, Left out by both sides are the positions of the prime minister as commander-in-chief of the SDF and the Director General of the Defence Agency as the primary advisor on defence issues (at least in theory) (Gow, 1993; Watanabe, 1996).

Resurgence of Japan's Military Apparatus

More recently changes are made in Japan's military apparatus and the way it is being controlled by civilians. Aminta Arrington argues that societal-military relations are improving because the values of society and the values of the SDF are converging as a result of the SDF taking on United Nation peacekeeping and humanitarian missions (2002). Until a decade ago the Defence Agency did not have ministerial status, in 2007 the National Diet passed into law the change of status of the Defence Agency to a Cabinet-level Defence Ministry. The influence of uniformed personnel compared to their civilian counterparts inside the defence ministry, and on the Minister himself, is going to increase. For obvious historical reasons related to the right of supreme command, granted to the Japanese military until the end of the Second World War, the fact that operational planning is placed under the responsibility of the Joint Staff has triggered much concern in Japan about the civilian control of military affairs (Fatton, 2015). These concerns may be valid, though there is much disagreement on what the developments mean for the region. In the last decade of the twentieth century some studies often look at domestic and international constraints on Japan that prevent or dissuade it from becoming a military power (Berger, 1993; Keddell, 1993; Katzenstein, 1996) while other authors have predicted or expressed fear of a return to militarism (Pyle, 1992, pp. 11-19). It remains to be seen how the developments in the region - in particular with the South China Sea Dispute - will further develop the new civil-military relationship in Japan.


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