War and Legitimacy

War Making and State Making as Organized Crime

Since governments themselves commonly simulate, stimulate, or even fabricate threats of external war and since the repressive and extractive activities of governments often constitute the largest current threats to the livelihoods of their own citizens, many governments operate in essentially the same ways as racketeers. – Charles Tilly

Continuing along the metanarrative of war, I don’t see much difference from the Marxist critique in the political anarchist critique of Tilly, but I find it interesting and reinforcing of material I’ve been reading (for fun, as luck would have it). Concurrent with Weber, war is the perfection and legitimization of violence on a large scale by the state, tracing from the feudal era to standing armies to modern day police and securitization. If we go back to Plato, we find that the source of war is acquisition. Is capitalism then conducive to a state of war due to its high competitiveness?

As Foucault says, even peace is a coded war. I then have the shadow of a doubt that an IR theory of peace is not so interesting or exciting as current IR theories of war and violence inherent in state sovereignty, that the concept of peace itself is subjective and only formed in binary with war as merely an empty absence of the fullness of war’s meaning. Is peace as productive (constructive) as war is (destructive yet productive)? Yet war legitimizes a system of sovereign states through its inside/outside practices.  Can peace therefore be found in and legitimize alternative modes of governance? Or what of the democratic peace theory, if we have faith in institutions other than the sovereign state?

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