Raymond Aron and the Theory of International Relations

Author(s): Stanley Hoffmann
Source: International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 1 (Mar., 1985), pp. 13-27
Published by: Wiley on behalf of The International Studies Association
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almost single-handedlycreated an autonomous discipline of internationalrelationsat the crossroadsof history.the worksof a had the duty to clarifyand to interpret. 1965). consistedin a coherentand rigoroussystemofquestionsaimed at makingintelligiblethe constant rulesand thechangingforms ofa specificand originaltypeofsocialaction:thebehavior on theworldscene of the agentsof the unitsin contest.RaymondAronis the man historians.shortlyafterthe publicationofthismasterworkin France (Hoffmann. 13-27 International Studies Quarterly Raymond Aron and the Theory of International Relations STANLEY HOFFMANN HarvardUniversity I of and his The scope RaymondAron's workhas always caused his commentators disciplesto despair.147 on Tue.or commentaries and theoreticalwritings. He also exchangedideas with Henry who was both an academic and a practitioner.thatdeal primarily which takes the formof historicalnarrative.hisscientific and to separatethe two activitieswhich he led jointlyand neverfully contribution of currenteventswhich he thoughthe distinguished: journalism. 1950s foreignpolicy and the relationsamong states had been the bailiwick of oflawyersand to a lesserextentofeconomists.at last. The onlypurposeofthisessayis to sum up RaymondAron'sscientific contribution to thetheoryofInternationalRelations. But even if one compares Kissinger. This is what he called diplomatico-strategic behavior. However. Aronseemsstrikingly ofintemational himwithAmericanspecialists original.108. realmofthecriticismofideas. theGerman emigrethinkerwhoseinfluenceboth on academicsand on practitioners has been so enormousin the United States.This discipline.e. nor repeatwhat I wrote20 yearsago in my detailed accountofPeaceandWar. and particularly dialoguingwithhisAmericancounterparts.Many unpublishedworkswill probablybe releasedin the near future. books.as he conceivedit. societiesand a philosopherof historywho was also a sociologistof contemporary criticofthesocial and thepoliticalthoughtofmostgreatwritersin history.00 (? 1985 International Studies Association This content downloaded from 195. and economics. Nor will I discussthefirstvolumeofClausewitz. Untiltheearly originality.Aron'sdeathmakesitpossibletostudyin depth. who. tionin whichhe re-examines NobodywhoreadsagainRaymondAron'senormousworkcan failto be struckbyits He was originalbycomparisonwithearlierFrenchwriters.(1985)29.i.but also of politicalscience and sociology. 0020-8833/85/01 0013-15 $03. relations.or partsof norwillI examinethatpartofhiswork withcurrentaffairs.law.forinstancethe major parts of The whichbelongsin the Imperial Republic.I discussa posthumouspublicahisown mainconceptsand contributions. in France.at theend ofthisessay. diplomatsand soldiers.78. 17 Jun 2014 20:53:01 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .In all hisbooksand articleshe neverceased withHans Morgenthau.I will therefore leave aside books.The laws and formsof this behavior were already being studied during those same years by important colleaguesofAronin theUnitedStates.However.

II Raymond Aron's ambition was doubly paradoxical but he was a master at paradoxes his thoughtwas both bold and modest. Three of these were objective questions: the scope of the field. Raymond Aron always carefullyindicates the differencebetween 'power politics' as it unfoldsin a milieu which is dominated by the riskof forceamong competing units.108. the conception of systemsthat Raymond Aron developed. But Raymond Aron's approach was original in two ways. the relationsbetween domestic and foreignpolicy. There were also three subjective. theory cannot go much This content downloaded from 195. Systemsanalysis had become quite fashionable and developed in the United States towardsthe end of the 1950s. his mind had a broader scope. He also distinguishestensions and conflicts-the raw material of any society from wars. no or few common values) and the ideal type ofdomestic or. 1972: 358). On the other hand. and perhaps most interestingside of his theoretical undertaking. On the one hand since he startsfromthe distinctiveness of international relations. he formulated his substantive answers to thesequestions throughthe studyof internationalsystemsand the typologyof these systems. Third. than the claims of Morton Kaplan forsystemdominance.14 Relations The Theory ofInternational As we shall see. from the fundamentaldifferencebetween foreignpolicy and domestic polities. 1962: 28). 1972: 362). such as power and conflict. He defined systemsas milieus organized for and through the competition among the units. In contrast. he derived from his startingpoint six fundamentalquestions forthe study of diplomatic constellations. so to speak.all actors must observe an imperative rule of behavior: 'the need to calculate means' (Aron. to succeed in establishing a 'hypothetico-deductivesystem in which the relations among the terms or variables would take a mathematical form' (Aron. the constellation of power relations in this field. are much more modest for instance. 1962: 28) or. and his analyses sometimespreceded thosewhich appeared on thisside of the Atlantic. in the field of international relations. and the techniques and technology of war.his American colleagues oftenresortedto 'concepts which also can be used in realms other than international affairs' (Aron. and the use of coercive power within a domestic community by a state which has (to use Weber's definition)the legitimate monopoly of this power. Nobody has shown more convincinglyhow impossible it is.147 on Tue. First. the meaning and goals of foreignpolicy.78. First. his constructionswere much more flexible (hence many criticismsby American authors in desperate need of certainty). What could have been more bold than his determinationto offera general theory. 'the legitimacy and legality of the actors' resortto armed force' (Aron. Second. Several conclusions follow from this. he takes great care to use only concepts characteristicofinternationalrelations. 17 Jun 2014 20:53:01 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and his key distinctionis between multipolar and bipolar systems. the behavior of the diplomat and ofthesoldier has no 'rational end' (Aron. or 'ideologico-political' questions: mutual recognition or nonrecognitionamong the actors.startingfromthe specific featuresof international relations: the 'multiplicity of autonomous centers of decision and thereforethe risk of war' (Aron. This is the other. another way of putting it. between the ideal type of strategic-diplomaticbehavior (no power above the units. which are violent conflicts among political units. This is so because unlike other kinds of social actions. A number ofimportantfeaturesfollowfromthis. civic behavior. 1962: 28) comparable to the goal ofthe footballplayer (winning) or to the ends ofeconomic actors (maximization of satisfactions). and his opinion about theirconstrainingor determiningpower over the units which are the system's constitutive elements. 1972: 363).

This content downloaded from 195.This is whyhe acidlycriticizedthenotionofthenationalinterest was the keystoneof Morgenthau'stheory. nottothetheoryoftransnational otherrulesand anotherlogic. Carr.theircalculationsof forces.78. limitsitsobjectiveto the nationalinterestdefinedin the way Mazarin or Bismarck definedin is essentially did' (Aron.the logic ofbehaviorfrom ofthe actors. power.thenationalinterest ideologicalterms.it is muchmorediffiabout thesystem'sfunctioning' cultthaninthecase ofeconomictheorytoseparatesuchabstracttheoryorconceptualizationfromtheconcretesociologicaland historicalstudy. He refusesto see in the quest forpower the essence of all politics.Its membersinclude the very foundingfatherof the study of interstateaffairs. Rousseauhad called the'stateofwar'. nor can one deduce thosetranswhichconstitute transactions nationalrelationsamongindividualsor thoseinterstate In otherwords.Hobbes. or z. Max Weber (whom Raymond Aron admired so much) and among contemporariesE. grasptherulesofthegame amongabstractentitiesor variablescalled x.theimpossibility instead of an ethics of conviction.All'realists'agreeon thefollowing of thedecisiveroleofforceamongtheingredients needfortheunitsto calculateforces. one nationalstatesare. ofa balance ofpower.On the one hand.He saw in it a formuladerivedfrom'the code practiceand thetheoryofhappyeras'.AronpartscompanywithMachiavelli.whenused.but. complexand indeterminate However.'fromno is whysystemsare 'in theepistemological theorycould one deduce as an inevitableconsequencetheindustrialassassinationof millionsof Jewsby the Nazis' (Aron.but tionleadstothetheoryofwhatJean-Jacques whichfollow societyor oftheworldeconomicsystem.1972: 475).duringwhichthereexisted'an unwritten eras 'no state whereasduringrevolutionary ofwhatwas legitimateand illegitimate'.whose objectiveis 'the definitionof a subsystem's ofsome hypotheses the listingof themain variables. as I have seriesofdifferences. in theseperiods. This featuresofwell-differentiated mustknowwhatthedistinctive meaningof thisterm. the most illustriousand venerable school of internationalrelations. Thucydides.RaymondAron'sconceptualizapeacefultradeamongcommunities.indefinite'. points:the ReinholdNiebuhr. and Morgenthau.ifone comparesRaymondAron to the otherrealistsone discoversfour The mostimportantis conceptual.byitself.and the stakestheygive to their systemone cannotsimply an international In orderto understand conflicts intelligible. alreadyindicated.theimperative ofan 'ethicsoflaw' and ofpeace throughlaw. y. theoryofthestateofwar. and the possibilityof state' (a conceptAron conceptualizingpoliticsas 'the intelligenceof a personified than rather as the from intelligenceof a class. When Arondeals withthisbehaviorhisanalysisseemsto belongwithinthe realist school. withinthe specificdomain of international catch-allconceptswhich at firstsightappear to grasp the relationsAron distrusts ofdiplomatico-strategic behavior.and the formulation specificity.andGeorgeKennan.147 on Tue.1972: 366-367). (Aron. 1972: 368). ideology.turnout to be equivocal specificity which ordangerous.the the wisdom of an ethicsof responsibility ofstates'goals.Only the concretestudycan help make the thespecificcharacteristics behaviorof the actors.Hobbes. On the otherhand.108. 17 Jun 2014 20:53:01 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .Evenwithinitsmorelimitedand legitimatedomainthe doesnotallowonetograspthebehavioroftheactors.STANLEY HOFFMANN 15 beyond a 'conceptualanalysis'.as well as Machiavelli. Hans Morgenthau.or borrowed Clausewitz) bureaucraticprocess.the preponderant importanceofgeopoliticalfactorsin the definition role of states among all the actors on the world stage. Second.thepermanenceofnationalambitionsand ofthreatstosurvival. he carefully foreignfromdomesticpolicy and between power as a means and distinguishes poweras an end. H.

differsprofoundlyfromthat of Czarist Russia (Aron. Ever since Le grandschisme(Aron. the foreignpolicy of the regime. 1979). 1972: 433).This approachexcludes takinginto account all of the subsystemsconstitutedby political and economic regimes.1972: 379-380). accordingto Aron.mainlyunderlinestwo points.itwas bytheratioofforcesalone. 1983: 293).a 'hyperbolicwar' nobodyhad foreseen.the exogenousvariables'(Aron.This distinctionfollowsfromthe by theratioofforcesalone' idea that'theexternalbehaviorofstatesis notdetermined (Aron.108.'The courseof and toshowhow theconjunctionofdifferent relationsremainssupremelyhistoricalin all the meaningsof thisterm: international which are multipleand fragile.In thisrespect.he showedonce again both the inevitablenatureof the Cold War and themuchmoreaccidentalcharacterofmanyofitsdevelopments. It is in millionsofpeople and provokeirreversible TheCentury of TotalWar(Aron.1972: 371).1962: 108). bysocialrelationsand byideologieswithinsocieties.theory'smissionis bothto complete.a SouthVietnamesegovernment theimpossibility capable ofdefending itselfalone.Many yearslater. indeterminate theseswhichtryto explaincomplexphenomenathrougha singlefactor(Aron. 1948) Aron has carefully This content downloaded from 195.whichled to themilitarydefeatofthestronger power(Aron.sufferthe thereare unceasingchanges.inVietnam.in his book on Americandiplomacy. A thirdimportantdifference concernsthe idea of the primacyof foreignpolicy with whichone findsamongso many'realists'.thesystems.thecontrastbetweenAronand Americantheorists thanhistory He sharesneithertheirnormativeambitionsnortheirfaithin thepossibility isstriking. 1972: 548). crucialfeatureofhisunique understanding in orderto preventtheoryfromevergoing and so tospeak.thathe has mostincisively failure'and a 'technicalsurprise'convergedin producinga catastrophenobodyhad wanted.Even if.Witnesstheresults ofreachingthepoliticalaim. on the contrary. even in the abstract. Papaligouras.a discriminationbetween endogenousand or.who can be identified ofa as possiblethefoundations therealistschoolandwhohastriedtobuildas rigorously relations(Waltz.Contraryto what some pseudo-realists Soviet Union.1983: 452) whichdictatesthe hostility whichAronhad betweenhomogeneousand heterogeneous crucialdistinction systems borrowedfromthe GreekauthorP.147 on Tue.78. historicalseriesproceeds.16 Relations The TheoryofInternational Second.Foritis history sociology'ofinternational into. 17 Jun 2014 20:53:01 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .plungestheoryintohistory beyondtheteachingsofhistoryand frombecomingmorerigidand moreprescriptive allows.One is the importanceof the natureof the have said.and to be inserted criticism whichshowsthe relations.For Aron.KennethWaltz.The outcomeofthelimitedconflicts ofthewarinVietnam.Aron sometimesdealt too brieflyor superficiallywith the domestic relations offoreignpolicy. objectivesareat leastpartlysetbythenatureoftheregimeandbyits ofthenuclearera is no longerdictated ideology.he assertedthat'the theoryofinternational determinants does not entail. ofall thetransformations. It is 'the similarity ofthe regimesthatexistwithinstates'(Aron.as in TheImperial Republic. has attemptedto reducetheoryto the theoryofinternational of studyof the relationsbetweena system's'structure'(definedas the distribution poweramongtheunits)and therelationsamongtheseunits.1951). decisionstakenby one man or a fewsetintomotion effects mutations'(Aron.He also wants to submitgeneralconceptsto the touchstoneand ofhistory.He linksup withThucydides. Aron. Aron'scritiqueof excessivelyabstractor simplisticconceptsis tied to a ofrealism. to predictevents. thebookin whichhe analyzesthe originsand shownhow a 'diplomatic dynamicsoftheFirstWorldWar. He has alwayssoughttodistinguishthedeepercauses ofeventsfromaccidents.whenhe analyzestheweightofdomesticconditionsin international relations.the'historical and monistic Aronhas alwaysrejecteddeterminism natureofsystems.

on thewhole. on the other hand.the United States since1945 is nota simpleextensionofthelogicofmilitarypower.108.i. 17 Jun 2014 20:53:01 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .But he has dealt withit here and there.as during the mercantilistera: their analysis of the worldeconomythusproceededin termsofpowerratherthanwealth.realistshave ignoredit. betweentheinterstate realistshave. notirreversibly) thesovereignty thesestates(forinstancetheopenworldmarket)or else theyare imposedby themore systembased on calculationsof force mightystates. Nor do theseremarksof Aron coincidewiththe theoriesof the 'interdependence betweenstrategic school'.The logic of partlyindependentfromthe diplomatico-strategic nevertheless behaviorof the dominantpower-England in the 19thcentury.AccordingtoAron.Great Britain. statein its own What matteredweretherulesof thegame imposedby themightiest interPet studyoftheworldeconomicordercomparable Aronhasneverwrittena systematic to Peaceand War.tendedeitherto neglectitorto denyititsautonomywithin relations.theconstraints orderthanksto 'international acceptedby ofsomeactorsare eithervoluntarily(i.Rules oftheworld economycannotbe reducedto the quasi-warlikerulesof mercantilism. he too understoodthat even duringthe liberalera it was the dominanteconomicpower. And realistshave assimilatedthe worldeconomic conduct.and reachedmuch more subtleconclusionsthan the realists.78. of exchangerelations between private individualsand groups.which set the rulesof the monetaryand commercialgame. the Americanneorealistswho also show the difference actionlinkedto theuse offorceand economicactionundertaken(not onlyby states but also by other actors such as multinationalenterprisesand international organizations)in areas where the resortto forcemakes no sense.Insofaras theworldeconomy.The otherpointconcernstheknotthattiestogether havebeenformulated wars-an idea which again linksAron with Thucydides: 'one wars and interstate diplomacyas longas one hasnoteliminatedviolencefrom cannotimaginea nonviolent in the politics'(Aron.1976: 284).e. ratherthan in the realm of interstate relations.1962: 717). This is whyhe hasshownso muchinterest intrastate in the chapterson Lenin and wars (particularly theoryand practiceofrevolutionary and in thefactorsofdomesticconflictin the Mao in thesecondvolumeofClausewitz) troubles.On the one hand.and ofa growingregulationofworld importanceofthediplomatico-strategic whichlimit regimes'. in daily affairs. of zone dangerous the most East.e.e..firstofEnglandand thenoftheUnitedStates. ofa sortofgradualpacificationofinternational the extensionto the realm of 'complex interdependence'.and conflictforresourcesratherthan cooperationand trade.of a gradual loss of system.zero-sumgains ratherthan growth.a major war has This content downloaded from 195.i.insofaras relationsamongstatesformedthe systemto diplomatico-strategic main part of this system.STANLEY HOFFMANN 17 which interpretations policyand thedifferent ofSovietforeign studiedthepeculiarities civil aboutit.seemed international to belongprimarilyin therealmof transnationalsociety.and it is always the interstate which dominatesinternationalsociety. but.147 on Tue.as in the 19thcentury. he recognizedthat insofaras the world economyis part of interstaterelationsit is system. Middle 'realists'is about therelations betweenAronand contemporary The lastdifference systemand theworldeconomicsystem.to prosperand to grow.Concerningthelatter.the system ofthegold exchangestandardand latertheBrettonWoods systemhave allowed the rivals. underlying relationsthrough (Aron.even if. The difference theoryand Aronoweslessto a disagreement betweenthepioneersofinterdependence over that theorythan to Aron's skepticismconcerningwhat mightbe called the theideologyofa 'fadingaway ofsovereignties' ideologybehindthetheory.

the persistence of Clausewitz (i. Bernard Brodie and he were the firstto define the meaning of that revolution: the possibilitywhich a state the state and society of that possesses a serious nuclear arsenal now has of destroying an enemy. This same rejection of an 'inexorable dialectic which passes over the heads of men' instead of studying'the action of some men and some interests'(Aron. The main contribution of Raymond Aron to our understanding of the new era consists of three series of analyses: the ambiguities of deterrence. 'There exists a balanced state ofdeterrencewhen each of the nuclear powers has the same capacity as itsrival to deter a direct aggressionor an extremeprovocation. is evident in Aron's critique of the theoryofexploitation of the peripheryby the center. such as the strategic-diplomatic contest. the capacity to survivean enemyfirststrikeand to This content downloaded from 195.as in the past. instead of having firstto defeatits enemy's armed forces. the necessity and originalityof the Cold War. than Raymond Aron.one of the effectsof what McGeorge Bundy has recently called 'existential deterrence' (Bundy. Just as he criticized the concept of the national interest. thatthenature oftheweapons. thenotionofbalanced forcescannot be reduced to a simple calculation of the number of warheads or missiles at the disposal of the rival states. He also noted that the phenomena which this theory claimed to explain-colonial conquests or wars among imperial powers-could be explained by other factors.he many times dismantled the Leninist theory of imperialism. to measure the extent to which the invention of weapons of total destruction revolutionized world politics.18 The TheoryofInternational Relations become less likelyand the restraintsimposed by economic interdependence are more visible. Aron ceaselessly commented on and criticized American authors and actors who were trying to formulate and to apply the strategy of deterrence. one has to tryto understand the logic and the causes of differenttypes of behavior and to make them intelligible-even if the cost of thus lowering one's sight is a certain dispersion of analyses. The theory seems to him doubly debatable. but his opposition to the Marxist-Leninist conception and to the kind of diluted Marxism representedby the 'dependencia school' is sharply marked. 1983). or conclusions that seem like forestsof question marks.e. 17 Jun 2014 20:53:01 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Thus Aron's relation to the pure realists and to the neorealists is complex.even ifone has to resistthe temptationof trying to grasp and account forwholes.78. In this area as in all the others Aron remained tied to the conception he had laid out in his Introduction to thePhilosophyof History(Aron. 1938): historycannot be grasped in its totality. by contrast with the of deterrence.Nevertheless. 1972: 499). of war and of the need for strategic calculations). in the first place.' This means.and tryto understand the relations among those fragments. He showed the weaknesses in Lenin's reasoning (a concatenation of postulates each one of which was in contradiction with the facts and not necessarily linked with the otherpostulates). was this: in the realm of strategic thermonuclear strategic doctrines weapons.108.147 on Tue. III Nobody has more persistentlytried to understand the nuclear era of international relations. He always knew that one of the consequences of the appearance of weapons of mutual assured destruction. insofaras economic exploitation is not demonstrated everywhere (in certain cases the periphery has benefited from the investments of capital by the center much more than it has sufferedfrom them) and insofar as economic exploitation is a phenomenon differentfrompolitical domination.one can only study fragmentsof reality.

tacticalatomicwar.I wouldadd.Third. does not belongto the mentaluniverseof statesmen.thelessstability levels.themoreone triesto makethethreatcredible by givingoneselfthe means of waginglimitednuclearattacks.)The supreme threat-the threatof totaldestruction is highlydeterrentin the abstract.again.78.throughwhatkindsofthreats.'hereagain an antinomyappears'.themoreone threatens another'(Aron.and particularlyby givingoneselfthemeansto striketheenemy'sforcesfirst.do not constitute veryusefulmeansofpoliticalintimidation:'nuclearblackmail. worksat Thereis a secondantinomy whichis no lessimportant:themoredeterrence existsat thelower thegloballevel. The fifth consequenceofthenuclearrevolution is thatarmswhichare so devastatingbut whose use perhaps exposes whoever resortsto them to total retaliation.theydeliberately multiplyrisksofescalation..by adding for instancetacticalnuclearweaponstostrategicones.e.but it detersless.thebalance of deterrence is a psychotechnical equilibrium'(Aron. especially sincetheenemy. especiallybecause of the recentrevolutionof accuracy.1976: 247). in whatkind ofcircumstances' (Aron. to deterrence difficult to limitwar ifit breaksout afterall.'What mattersis knowing'whocan deterwhomfromwhat. to avoid one dangerwithoutincreasing the menace.'the credibilityof deterrencepresupposesa referenceto the whole situationand can neverbe reducedto a simplemilitarycalculation.1963: 96).by increasingthe riskofescalation(the nuclear versionof what Clausewitz had called climbingto the extremes).but This content downloaded from 195.and not onlybecause ofthe decisiverole Thus.1962: 669). even afterhavingbeen hitbya firststrike.108. accordingto Aron (1976: 162-163). themorestability existson top).by definition.(Thisistrue. deterrence with the Clausewitziannotion of war).On theotherhand.is more importantthan numericalequality. thelessthethreatappearscrediblesinceeach of theantagonists has the meansofmutualassureddestruction. is not an exact science.by definition. and neitherhas the abilityto disarmthe other' (Aron. 1976: 149).thefreertheywill feelto use conventional weaponsunless. limitedstrategicnuclear war.(i. distinctions betweenconventionalwar. Second.as in traditionalwar.or theuse of the nuclear threattowardpositiveends.STANLEY HOFFMANN 19 penetratethe defensesof the enemy. The less the superpowers willbe temptedto use theabsoluteweapon.These weapons' purposeis to destroythe positiveintention-real or assumed-of theaggressor'(Aron.147 on Tue.Fourth.will fearlosinghis weapons if he does not use themfirst.escalationis both 'a danger that one wants to avoid' (by tryingto preservethresholds. The moreterrifying one's adversary withtotaldestruction. the moreonerisksmakingwaritselfmoreconceivable.whosestrategicforcesare tosomeextentvulnerableto theotherside's firststrike.' Moreover..it meansthatsincedeterrence is 'a relationbetweentwowills. and and 'a threatthatone neitherwantsnoris able to giveup' mutualassureddestruction) (Aron.thefactthatthevictimhas a networkofallieswouldnot matter.but not verycrediblesince it is suicidal. and a counterforce threatis extremelycredible. Will or determination mattersmore than technologicalcredibility.1962: 670): ifone ofthetwo superpowerscould eitherdisarmor destroythe otherwithoutbeing destroyedor seriously damagedin return.Aron definesstabilityas 'a situationin whichthe duellistshave an absolute incentivenottousetheirweaponsbecausebothhavetheabilityto destroyone another. We are herein the domain ofpoliticalart.stages.1976: 242).1963: 227). 'resortingto allies in orderto restorea fractured equilibriumis a thingofthepast' (Aron. If one triesto reinforce itsdeterrent power. 17 Jun 2014 20:53:01 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 'Everythingthat increasesthe likelihoodof more escalationin advancecontributes but also makesit. In matters played by will (in conformity ofdeterrence'it is impossible.

One conclusionthusbecomesunavoidable:thenecessity 'peace is War or.thatofa regionalbalance mattersevenmore.as Aronputit. an inevitableconsequenceof heterogeneity to assert. so-to-speak.thisdecentralization which the superpowers'competitionsometimescreatesand oftenexploits.Aron always assertedthat nuclearweaponsdid notabolishbut merelydecentralizedviolencein twoways. which'was not influenced confrontations.mustbe the Cold War.1976: 245).againstthedominant fromwar: 'I am trying different analyzedas profoundly opinion.Moreover. Second. is notdeterminedby theratioofthermonuclear theoutcomeofarmedconflicts himselffromAmericanwriterssuch as On this point Aron sharplydistinguishes the outcomeofregional Paul Nitzewho appear to believethatthatratiodetermines Aron'sclear analysisofthe Korean War. will There is impossible. and theMiddleEast.But one mustunderstandthat forces.on onehand. The nuclearrevolutionstillpreservespeace at theglobal level. by thenuclearweaponsofthe United States' (Aron.theyremainlimited:theKoreanWar appeared like 'a turningpoint'because it did not becomehyperbolic. whichprevails.the calculationofforcesmustincludemanyfactorsotherthan thepurelymilitaryones.sincethecharacteristic This content downloaded from 195. where the riskof escalationin the eventof a conventionalwar remainsenormous.1983: 302-303). they fragmentthe global systeminto subsystemseach one with its own is made even violence.one has had to save war (or ratherwars: limited warsamongstatesand oftenunlimitedcivilwars) in orderto save mankind(froma nuclearwar thatmightbecome total).thattheCold War is nota war in Clausewitz'ssense'. lends itself.108.as Clausewitzhad well understood(Aron.In this complexworldwhere. revolutionwhich moreremarkableby the factthat the othergreat contemporary Aron stressedso oftenis the extensionof the diplomaticfieldto the whole world.In the crisisone finds'the casuistryof it is the cooperation'and the'casuistryofdeterrence'(Aron. pieces which are.and factors configuration. All the armed level.20 Relations The TheoryofInternational insofaras thethreatofescalationbecomeslesscredibleand seemsmorelikea bluff. the notionof a global balance of forcesstill matters.The nuclear revolutionalso preservespeace in Europe.This is why idea ofthecommoninterestto avoid mutualdestruction and bipolarity. This connectionbetweenglobal stabilityand local turbulenceexplainsprecisely why one can writeabout the persistenceof Clausewitz.This fragmentation ofinterstate rules. On the otherhand. systemis dividedup into thissingleinternational because of thenuclearrevolution. Vietnam those of be wars like still Korea.But. and his verysubtle analysisoftheCuban missilecrisisof1962 (Aron. 17 Jun 2014 20:53:01 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .war unlikely'.less dangerousforthe whole but also more warlike world systemthus of a heterogeneous than it.1976: 235).or betweena superpowerand confrontations an ally or clientof the othersuperpower. a becomespossibleagain.1976: 144-151) revealhisdoubtson thispoint.78.'forthe firsttimein its historytheUnitedStatesgave up theidea oftotalvictory'(Aron. to a certainlimitationof stakes and means. at the global negotiatedpeace therefore forwar.the lessit guaranteesstabilityat thoselowerlevels.At the same time violenceis so-to-speaksafeguardedand even multipliedat lowerlevelsand in other oftheCold partsoftheworld. the 'total diplomacy'characteristic else.togo back to theformulaAronhad usedas earlyas in Le grandschisme.despiteeverything ofcounterforce whichtendsto weakenor to minimizeit (such as thenew possibility that tendsto underminethe stabilityof global strategies).crisesamong the superpowersbecome the substitutes have takenplace betweenthirdparties.despiteeverything ofarmedviolencetakestheformofintrastateviolence.First of all.and despiteeverything deterrence(such as the new vulnerabilityof several componentsof the strategic forces).147 on Tue.1976: 164) intertwined.

1976: 285-286).He was one ofthefirstto create.1983: 505). the problem 'of universalpeace' (Aron.and moral conscience.or makespossiblethesurvivalor liberation ofthosefewcountriesin whichliberalvalueshave been able to blossom. Warninghis readersagainst to himthanattempting illusionswas moreimportant to discoverhow. the problemof legitimatemeans. IV Aronhas alwaysbelievedthatthetheoretical and sociologicalanalysisofinternational relationsinevitablyled to 'more or less uncertainrecommendations. trytocopewiththedeepestcausesofcollectiveviolenceand consolidatethechancesfor a lastingpeace.1983: 644). 1962: 565).whatwould I do?' (Aron.He was irritatedby the kind of idealismwhoserecipesforescapinganarchypresupposethattheproblemhas already He was been resolved. was impossible. The very indeterminacyof diplomatico-strategic behavior makes it possible to raise 'the Machiavellian problem'.butwho do notunderstandthemultiplelinksbetweendomesticand externalfactorsand the perverseeffectsof dealingwith a singleone (Aron.He distrusted'beautifulsouls' who were deceivedby theirown illusions. 1962: 563).As a good Kantianhe knewthatthereis no moraldutyto accomplish theimpossible.in which relations amonghumangroupswould at long last be governedby the categoricalimperative.108. Even thoughthermonuclear thatcan be used at any timeand in any weaponsare not 'a diplomaticinstrument 'fortheforeseeable it is likelythatgeneraland place' inordertodeteraggression.STANLEY HOFFMANN 21 featureofwar is 'the predominantresortto physicalviolence' (Aron.i.exactlytheoppositedangerfromthe one runby farabove thiscontentious idealistswho place themselves earth). or prescriptions based on regularitiesor on obvious notions' (Aron.and superblypush aside theenormousweightof constraints. Overallhe had decidedearlyon to limithisown 'libertyofcriticism' towards statesmen'by askingthequestion:in hisstead.He disdained authorswho recommendchangingthe behaviorof a nation by acting on a single domesticfactor. 1972: 393-394). Even if 'the blurringoftheline thatseparatespeace and war' is obvious.theworldbeing moreradicallythanin thepast. it is oftenviolence alone thatallowsliberalvaluesto survive.which protestsagainst the milieuand demandsuniversalpeace. 1983: 656).e. He was even skepticalabout thecontribution thatarmscontrol negotiations betweenthesuperpowers could bringto thepacificationofmankind.thecontradiction betweentheconstraints whichweighon forhiscountry's in a worldin whichtheuse offorce thestatesman. The normative implications ofAron'stheoryare containedwithinthe contradiction betweenviolent history and peacefulideals.formyowntaste. interests responsible remainspossibleand legitimate.and courtsin otherwords. whatit is.78.peace has not become the continuationof war by othermeans. law and theunlikelihood weaknessofinternational eagerto pointout thedebilitating ofworldfederalism. and 'the Kantian problem'. or criticof any perspectiveor (an attitudewhichrisksdeprivingthe commentator distance.but he was convincedthat a pacifiedworld.147 on Tue.in theworldas it is. future totalwar willnotoccur' (Aron. Aron rarelyhesitatedto condemndomesticpracticeswhichwere repugnantto hisvalues. For all thesereasons Aronhad curbedhisownKantianinclinations-toomuch. citizensand statesmencould nevertheless. 17 Jun 2014 20:53:01 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .He remindedhisreadersthat.or providesa defenseagainsttotalitarianism (Aron.He was a passionateliberal.in the 1930sthecategoryof This content downloaded from 195. bloodyanarchyoftheinternational RaymondAron has neversystematically examinedwhat possibilitiesremainfor reconcilingthisimperativeand thoseconstraints.

he demandedthatsuch a goal be ruledout even in the case of a This content downloaded from 195.and thatit is whencollectivepassions. class ideologies. This rejectionofmoralismresultedpartlyfromhiscontemptforthosewhomKant i. He criticizedWeber'sown tragicrealismbecauseWeber believed thatinternationalrelationswere the closed arena of inexpiableconflictsof values. (Aron.as in the other.22 The TheoryofInternational Relations 'totalitarian'regimes.and what makesreasonablebehaviorevenmorepossibleis thefactthat'strategy in thethermonuclear age is more distantfromthe model of rationalstrategythan the strategy followedthroughthe thousandsof yearsof pre-nucleararmaments'(Aron. ideologuesat theserviceoftheprince.what makes reasonablebehavioreven more desirableis thefactthatthestakesare nothinglessthanmankind'ssurvival.Like Thucydides. This is why.sincefor all players'thermonuclear war means an infiniteloss' and one cannot 'calculate the rationaldecisionwhen the loss risksbeing infinite'. The ethicsof wisdomis that of moderation.or racial hostilities displace 'the intelligenceof the personified state' thatchancesformoderationdisappear: 'nothingguaranteesthemoderationofstates. he neverwentall theway.and by Clausewitz as Aron analyzes him.e.kindofwars.108. But ofimmorality.deemed Thucydidesamoral. This is whyAron retrospectively condemnedAmerica'ssubordination. What givesa chance to such an ethics.But he was always much more reluctantto judge the foreign behaviorofstates.1976: 263).e.forthefuture. as an ideal typeand as one of history's realities. 17 Jun 2014 20:53:01 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .This discipleofWeber believedinan 'ethicsofwisdom'whichtakesintoaccountboththenecessity to calculate forces.78. to a victoryofthatpartofhumannaturewhichis not'a beastofprey' universality. duringthe Second World War.1962: 756).1962: 595).It had already been advocated by Thucydides.what makesit possiblenot to findin the ethicsof strugglethe only possibleone. and why he criticizedthe allied objectiveof unconditionalsurrender(Aron.but 'easily debases itselfinto becoming commitments the ethicsof criminals'and 'will neverprovideany perspectiveof lastingpeace or universality' (Aron. On the contrary.'which ordersindividualsto be brave and to keep their disciplinedand to sacrificethemselvesand whichorderscollectivities and to care fortheirhonor'. thisis evenmoretruein theatomicera. 1972: 452). and the aspirationto i.i.and partlyfromhis calledpoliticalmoralists.wronglyin my opinion.) Aron showedClausewitzto be boththetheorist ofhyperbolicwar. rationalbehavior'(Aron.throughthe speechesof his characters. (Aron.Aronknewthatit is duringcivilwars thatmoderationis mostimpossibleto preserve. moredesirable. 1962: 763). is Aron's familiardistinctionbetweenthe rationaland the reasonable.andthephilosopherwho wantedto subordinateviolenceto politicalcalculationsand recommendeda limitationof objectives.Diplomatico-strategic conductdoes not lend itselfto thereare no gameswith'a mathematicalsolutiondefining mathematicaltreatment.1962: 596). the duty of selfishness which states must obey. but the politicsofa personified ideologyor of a messianicclass excludesmoderation and entailsa struggleto thedeath' (Aron.to theendorsement nor did he ever accept what he called the ethicsof struggle. Aronhad an ethicstopropose. of politicalobjectivesto militaryconsiderations. 1976: 181). 1962: 763. and forinstancetocondemnAmericanbehaviorin Vietnamoreven someepisodesofAmericanconductthere.e. aboutthepossibility ofa moralpoliticsfollowing skepticism Kantianprescriptions.The game is 'essentially historicaland psychological'and therefore does not 'rule out reasonablebehavior' (Aron.147 on Tue. and thatthestatesman'sdutywas therefore onlyto promotenationalvaluesbylooking afterthenation'smight.

78. wisdomaccordingto Aron is on the side of flexibleresponseratherthan massive retaliation. Finally.he did not believe escalationto be fatal.STANLEY HOFFMANN 23 generalwar (Aron. and theFrenchforcealonecouldnotpreventtheSovietizationofEurope' (Aron. Thus.Flexibleresponseis a wayofavoiding at reducingto a minimumthe risksof choice. totalwar and that the threathas therefore 1983: 59-80.1976: 179).Accordingto him.towardthe theory of the equalizingpowerof the atom that General Gallois had developed 20 years ofthestrongby theweak.1983: This content downloaded from 195. politicaldestinyofFrancecannotbe separatedfromthatoftherestofWesternEurope. 1963: 137) but neverthelesshe deemed it devoid of as a counter-city force.sincedeterrence furthermore. always believed in the usefulnessof giganticbut incrediblethreat. happen.147 on Tue. flexibleresorttonuclearweaponsmorebelievable.escalationis not inevitableaftera firstuse of nuclearweapons. on the even ifit is not totallycredible.1976: 237-238). Robert McNamara and the otherfathersofflexibleresponsetodaywant the United States use in Europewould lead to to abandonsucha threat. and in orderto overcomeand manage inevitablecrises.becausetheybelievethata first stoppedbeing believable (McNamara. it is thelimitationofviolencewhichwisdomrequires.108. Unlike the AmericanCatholic bishops.a scenariohe thoughtquite implausible(Aron.in thiscase.suicidalwar.We must 'aim consciouslyat the geographical localization and toward reachable objectives. and the preservation of a firstuse of nuclearweapons in case of a conventionalwar in Europe.an important point. necessaryin ordertolimitwarsifthey WhatAroncallsforis 'politicalunderstanding'.This is one of the reasonswhy Aron saw no betweena strategyofgradual resortto force(includingif necessarya contradiction of the threat passage fromconventionalto nuclearweapons).and towardtheFrenchtheoryofdeterrence ofthe theFrenchforcea 'beginningofan insurancepolicyagainsttheunpredictability diplomaticfuture'(Aron.in orderto 'slowdownescalationand bringtheenemiesback towardarmed mutualobservation'(Aron.Aron'swarningis of the greatestimportance. Furthermore.The latterrisksbeing ineapable of deterringthe adversaryfrompartial to choose attacks.Aron therefore forsucha coursewouldmakethethreatofa limitedor increasingconventionalforces.did not want to give up this threat. Now that 'decapitationweapons' have arrived. thethreatentailedby flexibleresponseis. opportunitiesforwisdom remain. Concerningstrategicweapons. especiallyifthenuclearweaponsused weretacticalones. 1972: 491). 1972: 490) and that communicationsbe maintainedamong adversaries'in orderto avoiderrorsby excessor default'(Aron. Ball.except againsta nuclear attackaimed at France credibility 'the alone. even aftersuch a firstuse. it 'aims effectively the all-or-nothing escalationand totalwar' (Aron. onlybetweencapitulationand total. HenryKissingerhas recentlytendedto move in the same direction.He thoughtthatthe threat.disastrously.1983:462]).especiallyas technologicalevolution bringsforthmoreaccurateand lessdevastatingweapons.1963: 139). He saw in before.has the advantageof preservinguncertainty side ('an elementof bluffseemsto be inevitablein diplomatic potentialaggressor's crises'[Aron. 1983). the attackedstatesmanwould be forced. in theatomicera. He fearedthatgivingup thethreatwouldinnowayeliminate theriskofactualnuclearwar breakingout.1976: 183). whichhe deemedneitherentirely something This defenseof a flexiblestrategy(of threat and of use) led Raymond Aron towarda rathercriticalattitudetowardthe Frenchnuclearforce. cannotbe based on a lessincredible.withouttotalvictory'(Aron.he believedthatgivingit up would signal that NATO would accept defeat ratherthan resortto nuclear weapons. crediblenordesirable.For severalreasonsAron. 17 Jun 2014 20:53:01 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .however.

lessserious ofthe United States.thegradualsuicideofEurope.even absolutewar. (This is veryclose to withoutany actual threatof resorting Bundy'smore recentspeculationson the effectsof existentialdeterrence.it is impossibleto enjoya 'farewellto repliedwiththreearguments arms'at all levels.The bulkofthisbookis international It consistsofstudiesaboutpresent-day formedbyan essayon whichhe was stillworkingwhenhe died.outofthealliance.alwayson the lookoutforchancesforwisdom. relations.now that the nuclearweapons of the neutralizeone anotherto some extent.a book was publishedunderhisname. And thusRaymond Aron.thereexistsa chanceformoderation. 1976: 179). 1976: 182).theworldbeingwhatit is.'The This content downloaded from 195.108. Aron was aware of theseobjections. of (global) thermonuclear war'.a 'Cato-like strategy'againsttheSovietUnion.towardtheend ofhislife.and one shouldnow be able to substitutelimitedstakesfor stakesthat are too dangerousbecause theyare 'intangibleand unlimited'(Aron. since'theprincipleofannihilation'no longerapplies'to armedforcesalone.in thepast. 17 Jun 2014 20:53:01 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .147 on Tue. 'moralsurvivalby safeguarding and peace 'throughthemutualacceptancebybothblocsoftheirrightto exist'(Aron.thetransnational worldeconomicsystem. aimed at disarmingtheenemy'can no longer'serveas an instrument ofpolicy'(Aron. The FrenchforcehassomevalueonlyintheAtlanticAlliance. This is also whythe veryreal riskof a 'suicidalexplosion'(Aron.the usefulness reinforcement it contribution to nationalindependencethan in the supplementary bringsto the 'efficiency of the Americanforceas a deterrent'(Aron. Now thatillusionsaboutpeace throughlaw havealso been blownaway.it is now possibleto committhe state'screditwithoutnecessarilyending in the 'cash payment'ofa majorwar.78. 1983: 304) comingoutoflimitedwarsappearedto him. Moreover.The West'striplegoal oughtto be 'physicalsurvivalthroughthe avoidance liberalcivilization'. First.itcan onlygiveFrance'a reprieve'in orderto adjustto Sovietization.theunpredictability seriousmalaiseofWestGermany. Accordingto manypeople on theotherside oftheargument.flexibleresponseand thedevelopmentofmeansto wage limitedwars-even limitednuclearwars in the hope of avoiding escalation and the destructionof cities.orwhonow proclaimthatonlya changeofregime in Moscow could make coexistencepossiblein the long-term that 'to surviveis to win' (Aron.When thestakesare veryhigh. theSovietregimefromthe 1962: 687).dependsabove all on domestic superpowers movementofideas and ideologies. 1962: 666).1962: 654) and thattheWestneedsto pursuea 'moderatestrategy'(Aron. risk making war conceivableand 'banal' again and makinga resortto nuclearweapons more likely because it would appear less terrifying.and theevolutionof the politics. This is preciselywhy Aron.the thantheinternaldisarrayoftheWest. the archtypicalvigilant anti-totalitarian liberal.and althoughhe reassertedthe systemwithinternationalsociety. and whosetitle. V The problemsbesetting theinternational thelast systempreoccupiedAronthroughout yearsofhislife.24 Relations The TheoryofInternational of the Frenchforcelies less in its 467).1976: 283).A fewmonthsafterhisdeath. asserted-againstthoseintheUnitedStateswhohad proposed.)Finally. It shouldhave no illusionsabout transforming outside.1976: 183).thanksto the'paradox ofour ofunlimitedviolencewhichrestrainseffective violenceeven era: it is the possibility to it' (Aron. Therefore.in Aron'sopinion.But he ofhisown.nevertheless primaryimportanceof the interstate acknowledgedthat the futureof thatsystem.war.

essaymaintainedhis originalstand.eitherbecause of the of societyor because of the internaleffectsof the competitionwhich heterogeneity dominatesinterstate relations:theconflictbetweenthe United Statesand the Soviet Union.Othercritics.108. the conceptof the state as rationalactor does not ignore the complexityof decisionmakingprocesses.withinthemultiplerelationships society.Aron had borrowedfromJean-Jacques Rousseau the idea of a radical difference betweenthe wellorderedconditionofcivilsocietyand thewarlikestateofnaturein which relatively statesfindthemselves. whichforma world Moreover.Aronhad lefttwoversionsof his essay.as Oswald Spenglerhad done beforeconcerningtheend of thelast century.Aron recognizes theuniquesituationoftheUnitedStates.Aron had ofdiplomatico-strategic showntheindeterminacy obstinately behavior. But thiseclecticand synthetic workwas based on a rigorousconception.a second versionwas incomplete. On all threepointsAronin this leaders.and futurologists of international relations. a firstdraftwas almostfinished. therelationsbetweenthe capitalistcenterand the exploitedperiphery.whichdetermines system.The ofthetwodrafts. ofa Marxistor para-Marxistorientation. Some critics. In thelast 20 yearscriticisms had multipliedagainstthosepostulatesand choices.from1983 to the year2000. Finally.he had onlystudiedinterstaterelationsin the diplomatico-strategic realm. today.e.themodelofthestateofnatureis stillrelevant. the book addresses itselfto theorists.On thesethreepoints. the competitionofstates.or rather.Thisessayhad a doublepurpose. thusneglectingtheworldeconomyand transnational phenomena(suchas the movementofideas) orsupranationalones.Othersstill and incoherenceofdecisionmaking emphasizethecomplexity in modemstates.78. the alternationofpeace and war.as well as theveryconceptionwhichAronhad used as theframework to evaluate thechangesthathad occurredin the worldsince 1961 (the date of the completionof Peace and War). believethatthestudyofworldordermust beginnot withthe relationsamongstates.Finally.bureaucrats.Arondiscussestwonotionswhichhe criticizesfortheirexcesses. Accordingto him.The firstis the notionofAmericanimperialism.where and pressuregroupsfightit out.Also.it is because.Aronseemsto me to be essentially right. Thosewhoare interested in thetheoryofworldorderwillfindin thesecondchapter oftheposthumous essaya new analysiswhichgoesbeyondPeaceandWar: theanalysis oftheworldeconomy.whetherthesenext yearswouldbe 'decisive'.147 on Tue. withoutrejectingthemin toto.insofaras the contrastbetweencivilsocietyand thestateofwar appearsexaggerated. He deniesthat Americaexhibiteda This content downloaded from 195.e. The otherpurposewas to thinkabout threatsand prospectsin thefuture.Whenhe died in October1983.but withthe worldeconomicsystem.thecomplexity and the uncertainties ofcorrelations.have rejectedthemodelofthestateofnaturealtogether. the theorydevelopedin Peaceand War had not satisfiedloversof general laws and determinists of all sorts. 17 Jun 2014 20:53:01 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .in many countriescivil societyitselfis in trouble. Aron asked himself.impressedby the moderationwhich atomic weapons imposedon the as well as by the moderationwhich the economicinterdependence superpowers. was givento thewhole book. publishedtextis a kindofsynthesis Thus.he assimilatedthestateto a singleactor makingdecisions.STANLEY HOFFMANN 25 Last Years oftheCentury'('Les demie'resanneesdu siecle'). ofnationalmightand ofinternational systems.i. of statesentails. thereis no 'causal predominance'ofth4worldeconomicsystem:it is the interstate i.As I indicatedabove.The first onewas toprovidea newpresentation ofPeaceandWarin orderbothto replyto certaintheoreticalobjectionsmade against ofhisanalyses.historians.because ofitsmilitarypowerand becauseofthetransnational role of the dollar.

on concreteissuesdo not concernthe forwardlook. Aron's These disagreements answerto thequestionconcerningthefuture. probably.78. wrotethattheAmericanstrategy whichwas dangerousforextendeddeterrence coveringEurope.and he concludesthat Americaneconomicpolicyand diplomacyare neitherindependentof one anothernor inseparable. The fragility of the relationsamong statesand ofthesituationwithinstatesin theMiddle East worrieshimevenmore.accordingto whom thereis no such thingas a Sovieteconomy(Aroncomparesit witha war economyin whichtwosectorsexist.proclaimeda doctrineof limited doctrine.the theoryof Castoriadabout theruleofthe militaryin Moscow. and the theoryofsome Reagan about theimpossibility forthe SovietUnion to sustainan acceleratedarms followers race.. But he reachescomplex and thecivilsocietyand thestateare stillindistinguishable.and theSovietmilitarybuildup successesare notprimarily can be explainedmoreby thewill to meetthechallengeofAmericanpower.American not cities.was nevermorethanan attemptat imposinga ceiling the militaryrequested.thanby a will to aggression.based on force. a limitedcounter-force fromthedoctrinalviewpoint.thatofAlain Besan?on.it was in 1974 strategicplans have alwaystargetedmilitaryobjectivesfirst. As always.but also hisstrongstandin favorofthedeployment ofAmerican middle-rangemissileson West European soil. it correspondsto a on the expenditures thewholeworld. 17 Jun 2014 20:53:01 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . The analysisof currentissues providesthe substanceof chapters3 to 6.e.and by the hope that an increasein Russian power will cause the disintegration of the adversary'scoalition.His concernabout the 'coupling'betweenWest European and Americansecurityexplainsnot only his oppositionto any American renunciationof the threatof a firstuse of nuclear weapons in case of a Soviet conventionalattack. In reality. He examines in less detail thetheoryoftheexploitationoftheperiphery by therichcenter.theriskof reality:theexistenceon bothsidesofmeansofdestroying escalation that existseven if the war begins only with attacks against military objectives.108.almostall ofAron'sanalysesareextraordinarily subtleand showhisdesire to be fair. Aron concludesthatthemainchangesthathave occurredin thelast 20 yearsconcernthe relationof forcesbetweenthe superpowersand the evolutionof minds in West Germany. nuclearoptions.i. A longerchapterdevotedtotheSovietUnionrejectsvarioustheoriesorhypothesesthatofa possiblecollapseofthe regime.He continuesto say thattheratioofnuclearstrategicforcesofWashington and Moscow has not determined.especiallyinEurope.Mutual assureddestruction.26 The TheoryofInternational Relations willtoexploit('theEuropeansowetheirthirty systematic gloriousyearsofgrowth to the Americans'). action: theSovietUnion's conclusionsabouttheSovietUnion's diplomatico-strategic caused by militarymight.I thinkthat he theprogression oftheSovietmilitarymachineand also.James Schlesinger. so far. that the Secretaryof Defense.Buthe fearsthatstrategicparitywillmakethesituation ofWesternEurope moredangerous.on the otherhand.he possibility ofcontrolling ofthe1970swas thatofmutualassureddestruction.This does not mean that one mustagree on all points.the outcomeof conflictsbetweenthe two rivalsin anypartoftheworld.He mentionsthecontradiction betweenthe Zionistdream and the realityofthestateof Israel.147 on Tue. For Aron the Soviet Union remainstotalitarian:it still has a state ideology.He givesitin thelasttwochaptersofthe This content downloaded from 195.whichhe deemsnot proven.the overestimated a limitednuclearwar.'one to whicheverything good and everything possiblegoes and one to which one sends what is indispensableor what is left').In manyplaces.

R. instability confrontation CentralAmericashouldnotlead to a worldwar. waged with nuclearweapons. (1948) Le grande enchaine. R.the hisconceptionand hismethod.108. Clausewitz. Paris. ARON.147 on Tue.thedangerofan apocalyptic in is small.France: Gallimard.' In 1914.Reading.STANLEY HOFFMANN 27 war is unlikely. (1979) Theory This content downloaded from 195. ARON. 17 Jun 2014 20:53:01 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .Let us also hope thattherace to new complicity weapons (and new domainsforweapons) as well as the importanceof manystakes neitherto thinkagain thattheycouldwage warwhileavoidingthe willlead statesmen worstnorto calculatethata defeatmightbe worsethana war thatcould perhapsbe controlled.France: Calmann-Levy.duringthe yearsto come. 2.France: Calmann-Levy.S. (1951) Lesguerres Paris.and whichhas no 'motivefor urgentand dangerousaction'. politiques.ever since his Introduction ofprophecy.May the impossibility ofthisglanceat thefutureturnoutto be asjustifiedas theconceptionsthathe serenity hislifeabout thesocietyand theworldof his time. R.the only statescapable of waging a general war.New YorkReview ofBooks. BALL.Paris. (1972). Paris.New YorkReview HOFFMANN. (1983) Memoires. incomplete. K.AccordingtoArontheAtlanticAlliancewilllast. BUNDY. R.16 June.once again.BetweentheSoviet essay.has taughtus thefutility determined ofgraspingthewholeofreality. (1983) The CosmicBluff.and also that it has remained and thefutureremainsundetermined. ARON.and an insularAmerica. Paris.21 July.Paris. (1983) The CatholicBishopsand theBomb. Aronis pessimistic states. ARON. R. la guerre.For one is neverfinished. References del'histoire. Paris. L'ageplanetaire. R.Let us hopethatin therelationsofthe wantedby'a manwhowas following superpowers. (1976) Penser Paris. ARON.theroleofeventsand accidents.whichcounts on a favorableevolutionin variouspartsof theworld. a la philosophie ARON. no demon-likeor obtusestatesmanwill come and put an end to the mix of inevitablehostilityand whichhas preservedpeace untilnow.R.78.NY: Praeger. M. Affairs McNAMARA. Etudes Vol.France: Gallimard. (1963) Le granddebat. (1983) The MilitaryRole ofNuclearWeapons.statesmen'could not imagine whatwar would cost thewinnersand the vanquishedalike'. of historywhich to the philosophy Aron himself.France: Gallimard.In any has developedthroughout case. R. 62(1): 59-80. (1965) TheStateofWar. ofBooks.France: Gallimard. ARON. (1938) Introduction schisme. ofInternational WALTZ. (1962) Paix etguerre. ARON.Foreign Politics.New York. Union.It is thesame as in 1947: peace is impossible.itis symbolicthatthislastessayis. an attemptat makingintelligible the historythat we are in the middle of living. R.Julliard. whichis certainlyneithersaturatednorsatisfiedbut cautious.France: Gallimard.He saysthathe is not among 'thosewho believein a majorwar. The mostdangerouspartoftheworld aboutthefutureoftheregimesin theGulf is thePersianGulfarea. in 1939 war had been hisdemon'.MA: Addison-Wesley. G.