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Domestic Commitment and the Coercion and Bargaining Hypotheses

Free «Domestic Commitment and the Coercion and Bargaining Hypotheses» Essay Sample


Warfare issues and the most effective policies to conduct wars have been discussed throughout millenniums. Many scholars have analyzed their impact on human lives and economies of the country in order to find the best choice to conduct the warfare. Among such, the main ideas were focused on the best ways to make the citizens defend their countries and on the governor who was in power to choose the most economically and morally appropriate policies to conduct the warfare. Based on the analysis of the domestic commitment paradox, coercion, and bargaining hypotheses, the following essay discusses the crucial role of the government or ruler to shape the commitment of the citizens to their country and distribute the resources wisely.

Domestic Commitment

The domestic commitment issues are rather paradoxical. Firstly, no matter what economic situation a country is going through, its population more or less is obliged to support the warfare. However, it is also expected that the costs related to warfare issues would be as small as possible. Hence, hypothetically that would mean that the more expensive these costs are, the less support the government would obtain. However, in reality, the situation is different. The economic costs distribution is left quite controversial. The level of domestic commitment is very much related to people’s support instead of the state economy. No matter whether the costs grow or not, the mood among the citizens remains the same: may the country provide help or participate at war, the main anxiety of the population is not to let the enemy invade into it.


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There is no doubt that it is more convenient to conduct military actions on a foreign land in order to decrease the national payments, costs, and debts. These ideas can be analyzed more deeply and be disapproved to some reasons, but they are true. The costs for the population may result in paying more taxes and sacrifice the country’s economic development in order to prevent a war from spreading further (Sullivan, 2007). Moreover, the level of damage should be taken into consideration. There might occur devastating consequences of the choice people is making by revealing their support. Each warfare causes not only material losses but also large-scale human deaths. Most commonly these are civilians who suffer from military actions all over the world. However, there exists an idea that level of devotedness of people is lower in the bigger countries. The representatives of smaller nations are more likely to protect it due to their views rather than for the money issues (Sullivan, 2007).

The most common victims of domestic commitment are usually the representatives of the least protected categories: women and children, the elderly and disabled, who are practically incapable to escape from the actions and have to face them. The period of wars has also grown: the military actions are developing and lasting longer due to the introduction of new weapons. Moreover, not only the country’s weapons are used, but also allies’ troops with the necessary equipment, vehicles, besides the weapon (Sullivan, 2007). The advantage of this may be that a great number of working places are created for manufacturing war-related items like special clothes, weapons, vehicles, etc.

One more thing is the investment into different spheres, related to various issues appearing as a result from military campaigns: reconstruction and rebuilding, paying the debts (usually to the winning countries), compensate the losses to the families, etc. For instance, referring to World War II, the participating countries had faced numerous human and economic losses. Despite the USSR’s main aim to stop the German army and prevent the invasion of Nazi, it lost up to 30 million people with practically one third of the territory destroyed or dramatically damaged. Its industries’ and economy’s development had also become slower, even though it was among the winners in that war. China had also faced disastrous results from 1937-1945 Sino-Japanese War because of being unprepared to the invasion: 20 million people died (3 million of those, combating at places of warfare), inflation, which, in its turn, caused growth of prices and rather insufficient amount of products (Sullivan, 2007). America’s losses had been smaller comparing to the above mentioned. However, its military capacity had been higher. Moreover, the country has learnt how to benefit from the situations around: despite providing highly trained professionals, it started a production of fuel, ships, planes, etc.

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The saddest issue about domestic commitment is the acceptation of the victims’ number as something casual. Despite numerous deaths, the reaction is often quite reserved and calm. Especially, if one would speak about the losing countries, which are often claimed guilty for the conflict: they needed to resist, so that is what they deserved, even though there was no support from the people.

Coercion Hypothesis

The main problem with the war outcomes are the “insufficient policy insulation”, which “results from large, rapid shifts in the distribution of power” (Powell, 2006, p.173). On the basis of the power changes, conflicts may also cause not only international, but also inner problems and even civil wars, which are definitely a disadvantage if a country faces outer conflicts with the neighbors. Sometimes, the term ‘coercion’ is used to describe social pressures, mere disapproval, and emotional manipulation within the country (Anderson, 2011). It is also believed to comprise the meanings of force, interference, violence, punishment, etc. The “enforcement of law” illustrates such issues the best (Anderson, 2011, par. 4). Regardless whether it is accepted voluntarily or by force, this is the way to control people and make them follow the rules and fight against lawbreakers.

“Coercion is a matter of longstanding political and ethical concern”, resulting from kind of society’s desire to voice its ideas and unrest connected with different events (Anderson, 2011, par. 2). The more attempts to suppress occur, the more resistance is revealed. Hence, it is better to apply the method of “non-violent movement” aiming at showing the disagreement and concern about the homeland rather than use violence to control the situation (Anderson, 2011). However, very often, signs of tyranny as parts of coercion are applied. Moreover, sometimes, it is believed to be the only way to control the country without any benefits or easement. To be the perfect tyrant, it is necessarily to have supporters to conduct this kind of policy and face no opposition or complications from those who disagree. This also demands thorough thinking, not merely power and control addiction, as too much coercive ruling is rather fragile and may play tricks and turn against the tyrant. Another issue arising in this field is nationalism, as it is a notion that may cause difficulties for those who are striving for control and regime. Nationalism unites people around their desire to improve the life within the country they live in and fight for the national freedoms and rights.

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From the international point of view, each country should have a committed and strong army ready to defend it. In addition, it is expected to possess high-quality vehicles and weapons including tanks, fleet, and helicopters to show its mighty. All these appliances are considered as a country’s power while conducting enormous and mass military campaigns. Creation of fully-equipped and always-ready army has been a necessity for a long time since the threats of military and armed invasions have been occurring.

However, it is quite disputable whether machines have more impact on the outcomes of war than people’s desire to struggle. It is often shown that rather weak and small countries are more resistant, devoted, and more likely to win (Sullivan, 2007). Professional and properly trained skillful and devoted military men are the ones who control everything. With the industrialization coming, the combining of human and machine intelligence allowed to enlarge the training process by including huge ships and aircraft carriers, which are always ready for the fight. Different types of military forces have been created in order to control different sectors: navy, air forces, etc. Special attention has been provided to the so-called elite-forces, which are even more specially trained for different missions and operations. What also influences the development of the military sphere is the constant improvement of weapons, tactics, equipment, etc. These are all the constituents of the successful and powerful army, which is always ready to prevent a threat and resist the enemy’s attempts to invade the homeland.


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Bargaining Hypothesis

The Bargaining Hypothesis comprises of what losses a country may face, as well as gain it may obtain. The main idea is to define how beneficially it is to be involved in a warfare, and, probably, the most basic question is who, eventually, would benefit from it. One cannot deny the fact that being in a state of war is rather disadvantageous for the civil population. However, rulers often seem not very bothered about the individual-level problems and the problems the average citizens may face. According to Reiter (2003), bargaining, especially if dealing with war, starts when a politics fails. The outcomes of such policy are very different: somebody loses and somebody does not. More likely, the ones who are the most often called to show their commitment to the homeland are the first to suffer. Indeed, powerful and influential leaders rule their countries in such a way that they inspire people to do everything for their native land or force them to do this. Probably, the most successful would be to conduct a policy that will persuade people that country needs them. In such a way, the protection of the country will be more effective due to the inner persuasion and commitment of citizens. Instead, the pressure is more likely to lead to denial, revolt, or evasion. Among the ways to increase one’s commitment and willingness for action is to pay taxes properly without questioning or start military service. A more complicated issue is to impose the idea to the population that would make people believe that the war is necessary.

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It had been widely discussed that every bargaining can provide different benefits. For instance, a territorial security along with legal and religious issues may become an exchange for war taxation or permanently present military men. From the other side, there might be obtained an expanded access to the courts, hence, the closer the ruler, the higher the chances are to benefit from such a position. Another issue, claimed to be rather positive, is the right for having a property: no matter if it is big or small. Moreover, being closer to the ruler means obtaining some privileges, becoming nobler if compared to the others. The very exchange also provides a population with a feeling or even guarantee of both internal and external safety and security, which, in terms of the warfare, are very likely to enhance the commitment level. The disadvantage of this might occur in case if a protector decides that those under protection should become committed to him, not to the homeland. It is claimed that a war reveals the information about power and capabilities (Reiter, 2003). Hence, there is no need to explain why a protector might get everything: distribution of power changes and the level of impact might do the same. A disturbing issue arising from the above-mentioned policies is the matter of religion, namely its protection, especially if we speak about the establishment of various institutions, which would deal with righteous decisions in the field, care for minorities and provision of protection.

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The economic sphere would definitely earn a lot from bargaining as by providing protective services, the rulers are very likely to earn way more a country would from taxation and war debts. The governors have a possibility to control the country’s economic capacity or, at least, have a chance to somehow influence it. Hence, it can, probably, damage its military capacity (Reiter, 2003). Some additional benefits would occur in the exchange process: for instance, different types of rights like political, social, legal, which comprise the notion of citizenship, may rise if the taxes and debts are paid and mass conscription conducted. These are believed to be the constituents which will assist for gaining commitment and willingness to support the policy. From this prospective, the rights though exchanged, should not be neglected: equality and accessibility to the legal systems, voting, and politics. The preservation of the rights will have a great impact on the general level of welfare and health.

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From the above discussion, one can conclude that warfare is always a complicated issue with regard to the situation within the country and out of its borders. Even though the citizens and their commitment are of crucial importance for the events’ development, the government, and the ruler are the key figures that have considerable influence on the people’s behavior. While the bargaining hypothesis provides evidences that military commitment is strongly influenced by the political power, coercion hypothesis represents the reverse outcomes of the pressure on people. In addition, the domestic commitment paradox also shows that the citizens’ roles and attitudes are crucial in the war outcomes. Therefore, the governmental task is to manage not only the economic aspects but the moods of people as well.


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