Durham University: politics lecture. Sample containing about 9735 words speech recorded in educational context

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  1. Tape 120801 recorded on unknown date. LocationDurham: Durham ( Lecture hall ) Activity: lecture

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(JSKPSUNK) [1] Right can I have your attention please.
[2] ... Last week if you remember I was talking about the primary concern of the state, a concern er which is paramount is a concern for its security and I said if you remember that there was an approach er toward the study of international politics called realism which stressed the importance of what has been termed the power security hypothesis.
[3] And if you remember I said that, because of its concern for security, the state creates a capacity for violence in the world of states, its, its environment ... and since this is er erm a characteristic of all states, however large or small the resources, they all create this capacity, they all have a defence policy er there is a consequent competition ... and this competition, far from resolving the problem of security, in fact exacerbates it, it makes it worse, and so states find themselves competing at different levels er competing particularly in the creation of military capabilities and the consequence of this is a more or less sustained and permanent arms race which frequently er produces armed struggles and war.
[4] Now this er capability is not solely designed er for the protection of the state, the defence of the state.
[5] That, that is its primary function, that's its primary purpose, but it has a secondary purpose as well it is concerned for the pursuit of what are now termed er in the jargon sub-strategic objectives.
[6] That is er objectives which are not directly concerned er with the safety of the state er but with, with er certain of the state's needs a as a state er defines them.
[7] Er and so er although in security struggles in the event of war we find er that these wars tend to become total wars, and we've had two of these in the present century, historically speaking in recent times we had another one, anyone know what it was?
[8] ... Mm?
[9] ... A total war?
[10] ... Outside of this century? ...
(JSKPSUNK) [11] Napoleon?
(JSKPSUNK) [12] Yes that's right.
[13] The wars with republican France and Napoleon lasted for nearly twenty years and although erm er temporary truces and peaces were negotiated, the struggle continued until the overthrow of Napoleon and that was, although it was a, a largely European war, it did have ramifications, it brought Britain, for example, into war with the United States in nin in eighteen twelve.
[14] Erm and I suppose you could regard the Thirty Years War too er as being a, a total war in this sense in, in that the objectives of the war is the crushing of opposition, unconditional surrender.
[15] Well fortunately these wars are fairly rare except perhaps in, in our present century.
[16] Er but the most characteristic kind of war er our i is rather limited war a and violence need not necessarily be expressed in the form of erm a formal attack, it can be used of course to threaten or to deter.
[17] And so we have a dimension of politics in international politics and within the state which is related to securing objectives which are not directly connected to security using the means of violence.
[18] And the sorts of objectives that er these wars are concerned with er may be control over resources, over particular minerals, control over markets ... con control over trade ... the acquisition of territory or the recovery of lost territory ... and ideological or political objectives, objectives which are strictly speaking er to do with the belief system which predominates in particular states or where there's a conflict between states er which have radically conflicting er ideologies.
[19] Erm ... the problem for the state in using violence in this limited way is first of all of course creating a capability to achieve by threat or use of violence limited objectives.
[20] Now this is a problem er because if you don't sharply define your objectives and if you don't know what you need to achieve them, then you're likely to stumble into the possibility of an uncontrolled war ... e even into a total war whereas the original objective was not in fact er as serious er as, as er as that.
[21] Erm ... in short we're talking here of the concept of rational war.
[22] Now what is rational war?
[23] Klausovitz defined this as a commensurability between means and ends.
[24] Now by that he meant that the ends sought should be closely defined and should not change and the means adopted should be effective and they should not change ... and the consequence is that adversaries then move into er er conflict but the conflict itself is self-limiting in the sense that one side will accept defeat er and, and the consequences of victory and clearly these consequences are not so severe to the state as to jeopardise its existence.
[25] If the means themselves are changed, if the war moved into a total war phase, then of course the security of those states engaged in that contest is immediately threatened.
[26] Erm ... a classic example is of course erm the second world war.
[27] None of the belligerents intended to fight what was called the second world war, they all entered into conflict, they all began er a rearmament programme with the idea of using violence as a means to secure lesser objectives.
[28] Now what where these objectives?
[29] So far as Hitler was concerned, and he was certainly the person who started the war, his objectives were, was to achieve a form of economic autarchy which involved the conquest of, of, of er territory in Europe er but which would not push his adversaries to the point of fighting a war of national existence.
[30] He really believed that he could do this through, through the form of the Blitzkrieg, that is through a limited war er which would secure military objectives and then produce a political peace and the model er for his er policy was in fact the eighteenth century where many wars occurred between European powers wa impo imperial wars and wars on, on t on er total Europe, but none of these wars resulted in the destruction of any state.
[31] Only one state disappeared.
[32] Anyone know which state it was? ...
(JSKPSUNK) [...]
(JSKPSUNK) [33] Mm?
(JSKPSUNK) [34] Poland.
(JSKPSUNK) [35] Yes Poland, that's right.
[36] Poland disappeared for over a hundred and thirty years in a series of partitions erm er between it's ne er er by, by its neighbours and wasn't restored in fact to political existence until the end of the first world war.
[37] Er so states could re resort to war and these wars were limited.
[38] But of course limits are self imposed, they depend very much upon political will as well as upon resources.
[39] There were some er structural factors in the eighteenth century which limited war, for example governments could not easily tax ... erm raising taxes by usually erm er monarchs, by, by er emperors er kings and so on, was not a popular move as the previous century had shown.
[40] Er people did not, in fact, wish to pay taxes in order to allow erm their rulers to play the game of war ... and the limited sums of money available for these wars was soon expended so when your cash ran out, then you sued for peace you, you engaged in negotiations.
[41] Another factor of course er was the fact that no state then could conscript, could, could in fact force people to serve in its armies and so on erm manpower was, was limited.
[42] There's a host of factors of that kind which in fact kept the er conflicts to a minimum i in terms of their extent, in terms of the, the damage they did.
[43] Frequently generals thought it best if they were outmanoeuvred to in effect accept an honourable surrender ... er and er bargains of this kind occurred from time to time between largely mercenary armies.
[44] Well what happened to change in fact this er notion of limited rational wars with the means, ends in balance etcetera, the kind of, of erm halcyon days if you like to which Klausovitz wished to return?
[45] Well the French revolution occurred and what the French revolution did, it transferred hus a huge assets to the, to the, the er government, it allowed conscription, a people's army and it also turned the biggest country in Europe er biggest with the exception of, of Tsarist Russia, er into a, a war state.
[46] If you remember the attempt, the first attempt to overturn the revolution came from outside, it came from invading foreign armies ... and this gave them a hell of a shock, the re the revolutionary government.
[47] We had the terror and then we had a series of successful wars which put France as a dominant power in Europe ... and brought inevitably er its neighbours, er those that were able to [...] fight, into a permanent hostility.
[48] In other words we have modern warfare first make its appearance.
[49] Now ... the assumption that erm Napoleon made about the future of Europe was Europe with France as the leader and this is an assumption which challenged directly the political integrity of all the other European states.
[50] Consequently that war or series of wars er was a total war.
[51] Equally in nineteen fourteen when er the Kaiser invaded Belgium he made a direct threat towards British security.
[52] As I said last week, he c he er made it appear to the British that he s sought to control the channel ports and with a large navy was then capable of interfering with our trade and in in indeed mounting an invasion, and that brought Britain into a war which could not be ended until the Germans sued for surrender ... and vice versa.
[53] Now the point I'm making here is that security competition creates a capability which is designed to defend the state and that capability comes into direct conflict with non-security objectives which are er supported by threats er of violence.
[54] In short the limited war always has the potential to become a total war.
[55] I'm speaking here of the period of conventional warfare by the way, this is not the case with nuclear war as I shall show in a later lecture.
[56] Well let's look at a few examples ... I'll take the Korean war of nineteen fifty to fifty three, the Cuban missiles crisis which, although was not an actual war, very nearly threatened a nuclear war, of nineteen sixty two and the Vietnam war of nineteen sixty three to nineteen seventy two.
[57] Now the Korean war was a limited war in that the United St neither the United States nor the Soviet Union wished in fact to fight over the Korean peninsula.
[58] What actually happened?
[59] ... The whole story is not yet known, although it's claimed that North Korea er invaded South Korea er I sh I should take that as a hypothesis and not as a fact.
[60] However, the event erm was that North Korea rapidly er er er conquered most of South Korea until the United States decided to intervene.
[61] Now it used the United Nations as its cover and it's fortunate in that the Soviet Union was absent from the Security Council and so was not able to veto the resolution which authorized American intervention.
[62] Now what kind of war was it going to be?
[63] The United States got the United Nations to adopt a resolution which called for the expulsion of North Korean troops from South Korea, that was the objective, that was the immediate war aim.
[64] How could this be done?
[65] It was done in fact by a brilliant military er tactic er and indeed the Americans succeeded in throwing the North Koreans back over the Yalob the river Yalob So up to that point limited force had been used to achieve a political objective, the objective was to s s to erm contain communism wherever communism looked like spilling over into other countries, non-communist countries.
[66] But then President Truman made a big mistake ... he got the United Nations to authorize another resolution which called for the unification of Korea erm through United Nations intervention and American forces crossed the Yalob
(JSKPSUNK) [cough]
(JSKPSUNK) [67] Now the big mistake was this ... it wasn't of ve of very great importance who governed North er North or South Korea, er they weren't particularly important strategic areas, they didn't have er important ports or, or er or base facilities or any resources then ... erm the mistake was in fact to directly challenge Chinese security, and if you looked at a map you'll see in fact how this er came about.
[68] As the victorious American troops poured towards Manchuria, the, the North Korean border with, with China, then the Chinese beg began to become increasingly alarmed at the, at the notion of a united Korea right on its doorstep.
[69] It warned the United States through the Indian ambassador to the United Nations that if this advance continued, that China would intervene.
[70] The United States ignored the warning and the Chinese forces then made their successful assault and defeated the American troops very badly, driving them in fact into the south.
[71] The war that followed was a stalemate ... both sides lost enormous casualties and the Chinese lost far more than anyone else, but the United States wound up that war with forty thousand American dead ... and with the only er partial success of managing to ma maintain the status quo in South Korea.
[72] It was a case do you see of the end itself changing in the course of a war.
[73] Now what are the means?
[74] While the American forces are being defeated, its Commander in Chief then called for the war to change its character.
[75] General McArthur urged the use of the atomic bomb against Manchuria and against Chinese targets.
[76] So worried was the United States allies that the British prime minister flew er to the Unites States, to Washington, to er tell President Truman that if the United States used atomic weapons in that war, then this would seriously affect the alliance, the, the NATO alliance.
[77] In other words we were, we were considerably concerned about the extent of the war.
[78] Now you can see what would have happened if McArthur's advice had, had been followed.
[79] The original objective was to liberate South Korea, it then began to unite Korea but if you raise the objective to an assault on China proper then, then you would have to quote General Ridgeway, who was a commander on the spot, er you'd be fighting the wrong war, the wrong time and in the wrong place.
[80] What would be the purpose of that escalation?
[81] And the answer was nothing unless you actually wish to attack China and er defeat China through military means and the task of doing that of course was enormously out of proportion to the original er cause of the war.
[82] Er the Cuban missiles crisis.
[83] Now here you had a very different situation because the nuclear dimension was now starting to become very important.
[84] The erm onset of that crisis was the attempt made by the Soviet Union to emplace erm medium range missile bases on Cuba.
[85] And President Truman, sorry [laugh] er President erm Kennedy er a democrat, it's democrats that always seem to get involved in these kinds of wars as, as was the case in the Vietnam war, erm er President Kennedy in fact took this to be er a radical change in the strategic balance and th this is the way the crisis was represented.
[86] But in fact the problem was the position of Castro and of the communist regime in Cuba.
[87] The er Soviets claimed that, that these missiles were not offensive, and indeed the weren't offensive.
[88] The United States had the same sort of missiles in Italy and in Turkey and, before this crisis had developed, President Kennedy had in fact ordered them er to be er er returned to the United States, these missiles had no strategic purpose at all because a major change that had come into the strategic equation was the arrival of the intercontinental ballistic missile, and it was these missiles, really, which held the strategic balance er and were to change in fact radically both international politics and global strategy over the years to come, but I'm going to talk about that later, the point I'm making here is that er Khrushchev claimed that the missiles were there in the event of an American assault on Cuba, they were a deterrent weapon in exactly the same way as the defensive deterrent weapons er were d were defensive er for er the United States and for the Soviet Union.
[89] And the context in which this was er argued er was er the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, a C I A American supported invasion, er which er failed very badly but which certainly indicated the American desire to get rid of Castro ... and er Khrushchev was asserting in effect that he had as much right to defend an ally as the United States had er to defend erm its allies and in the same sort of way.
[90] Now Kennedy had a dilemma ... although Cuba was in the Caribbean, and although the United States had the biggest navy in the world, and the biggest airforce and was easily able to exterminate Cuba if it wa if it wished to, it was vulnerable, however, in other areas, in particular it was vulnerable in Berlin and it was vulnerable in Indo-China.
(JSKPSUNK) [91] In nineteen sixty one, prior to the crisis, the Americans had to face the rather humiliating settlement in Laos by which they accepted a communist erm er government, or at least a government which had communist members, erm Kennedy wanted to intervene in Laos but again was restrained by his British ally, MacMillan wouldn't in fact accept er that we should get involved in a ground war in Indo-China.
[92] Er in the case of Berlin, the er situation there was er that Russia er of course the Soviet Union could intervene in Berlin more or less at will, given that it was a small island in East Germany and was always a vulnerable, always, always in a position of being a hostage.
[93] So Kennedy couldn't act precipitantly, he couldn't simply do what he wanted to do which was to get rid of Castro, because if he'd done that then his policy objectives in other parts of the world would be in jeopardy.
[94] He couldn't threaten the Soviet Union directly because the Soviet Union was a nuclear power and couldn't be threatened ... er so the course of action he took was intended to be moderate and to secure the objective solely of removing the missiles from Cuba, not of doing anything about the Cuban government or the regime or anything of that sort.
[95] And so they came to a negotiated settlement by which the Soviets agreed to withdraw the missiles and the United States promised that they would not interfere with Castro again, although from that day to this they have maintained of course their economic embargo.
[96] Er and here you have a case of diplomacy succeeding er and the spectre of war and possibly nuclear war erm fading out.
[97] Limits were set in short by both sides on what they sought to do and how they sought to do it and these limits erm weren't self-evident at the time I can tell you because the American military, the Chiefs of Staff on the Executive Committee that discussed this an and took the decisions, were all in favour of making s air strikes on these bases and possibly er an er an armed intervention ... and so the military advice here er was er was rather similar to that of McArthur's, that is turn the, the crisis into er a different kind of crisis, turn it in fact into a war.
[98] ... Now thirdly the Vietnam war, now this was perhaps the most harrowing war the Americans ever got themselves involved in and has had deep and permanent effects upon American policy making to this very day.
[99] Now what were the limits so far as the Vietnam war was concerned?
[100] Well initially the United States genuinely believed that with a small force, perhaps about a hundred thousand, maybe two hundred thousand troops, but principally using air power, that they could prevent the North Vietnamese from helping the Vietcong in the south and thus continuing the civil war.
[101] Now one can make judgments about means and indeed as I was saying in my last lecture, the actual capability of the weapons you have can only really be found out when you use them and then you can see, very often, that they are in fact ineffective.
[102] Now wa the, the erm war began with Operation Rolling Thunder and this was erm er President Johnson's plan er to pound major targets in North Vietnam by aerial bombardment and make, make the cost of their intervention in the south very high, so high that they would cut off the umbilical cord and starve the, the Vietcong into submission through ground operations in the south.
[103] That was the basic plan.
[104] He started off, as did Truman, in the United Nations by trying to get the Security Council to adopt a resolution er calling er the North Vietnamese aggressors and authorizing er an American, I E U N intervention.
[105] This failed.
[106] It failed because the French and the British were unhappy about supporting such a move ... and indeed the United Nations looked very likely er er to be more erm willing to condemn the United States than it was to condemn North Vietnam ... but the view of most countries in the world at that time was that North Viet that North and South Vietnam were part of the same country, that the Geneva accords in nineteen fifty four which called for unification should be upheld, and that the United States was interfering in, in a south east Asian country for no good reason.
[107] So it is a hostile atmosphere ... and so hostile was it in the United Nations that the Americans decided to cripple it, and what they did was to invoke erm an article which called for the removal of votes from those states who were in, who were in arrears in the payment of their dues, of their, their funds ... and there were several countries in that category, two of them the Soviet Union and France, and the reason why they had not pal paid their dues was because they objected to the use of the, these funds for peacekeeping forces which had not been authorized by the Security Council, in their argument the Security Council was the, the supreme authority and the General Assembly had in fact not the right to authorize er peacekeeping activities and indeed, if you read the charter, this is the case although legal advice is conflicting on that point as it usually is.
[108] Erm well the solution to that was to hold the meetings of the General Assembly, where the hostile American majority was, but not to permit a vote to be taken on any resolution ... and this meant that President Johnson could pursue his, his then secret plan of bombing the north without any hostile United Nations resolution being passed against it.
[109] Two years later the Americans quietly dropped the whole issue and the, the UN returned to normal but by that time of course the situation had become what it was, er er a war.
[110] Well limits then, so air, air, air bombardment and the use of some ground forces but principally to, to get er the South Vietnamese army er to contest er the Vietcong on the ground.
[111] Well that failed ... as you would imagine it to fail if you take the civil war in Vietnam as being in effect a, a war of national liberation, as the Soviets called it, because what the North Vietnamese wanted was in fact national unity.
[112] They were fighting for an objective which was far more important than local arrangements or local agreements er with er foreign imperial powers about who governed what er in, in their own country.
[113] And so they were prepared to go on taking the punishment, taking the cost because their objectives were,ha had a different scale of value to the objectives sought by the United States.
[114] ... Two or three years later with half a million troops they are still no further forward in their struggle in Vietnam and the cost this time was to the United States' political system because the effect upon domestic politics was fairly severe.
[115] After the North Vietnamese revealed that they were able to sustain erm a w er their war in er erm the south it seemed regardless of what, what the United States could do to them, er after they'd revealed this in the Tet offensive of nineteen sixty eight, then President Johnson announced he would not be standing for re-election, and that was a significant admission of political defeat ... and if you remember, well you probably won't [laughing] remember but you [] certainly should've read about it, President Nixon was returned with a, a majority er er on the platform of ending the Vietnam war.
[116] The casualties I think were something like fifty, fifty seven thousand dead and a very very large number of people wounded because of the particularly beastly kind of war with all kinds of weapons being used.
[117] Now why was the United States defeated and was this war a rational war?
(JSKPSUNK) [118] Well the objective was the maintenance of a friendly regime er in a country which had become part of the American sphere of influence.
[119] No one however at the time questioned why it was necessary to do that.
[120] What was the significance of keeping South Vietnam in the American fold?
[121] No one asked that question, they simply focused upon er the, the communist insurrection in the south and the American, American commitment to the global containment of communism meant that they had to go and do something about it ... and domestic political pressures were there too ... er President Kennedy came out of the Cuban missiles crisis a hero because his people mistakenly believed that he'd won a foreign policy success and that he'd acted in a restrained and statesmanlike manor.
[122] Well regardless of the hyperbole and the rhetoric, in fact it was an American defeat ... er he had to accept the existence of a communist regime in Cuba and to keep his hands off it.
[123] Now in the case of Vietnam, a decision had to be made ... to intervene or not to intervene.
[124] If they'd not intervened er then indeed the consequences would certainly have been a communist victory ... so the intervention was necessary to maintain that policy position.
[125] What limits would be placed, and Kennedy was very acutely conscious of the big mistake that Truman had made in Korea in, in fact, seeking to extend the intervention and bringing China into the war ... under no circumstances must China be allowed to take that step in the case of Indo-China.
[126] Now this meant that the neutrality of Laos and Cambodia, er the main er route, the main supply route er from China, the, most of the weaponry incidentally came from the, the Soviet Union, China provided the facilities ... er so under no circumstances could the Americans intervene there, nor could they cross the demilitarized zone in force and erm invade North er Vietnam as they had done with North Korea previously.
[127] Now these limits were fatal, they believed that they could win the war through air power and they, they couldn't and the ground casualties, although fairly slight, when you think of it fifty thousand people killed is not a bi a large amount in a major war, far from it ... erm although erm militarily not that significant, politically they were devastating because people in America started to ask the question, what is this war for?
[128] ... Er and this of course er became er er a major domestic political crisis as well a difficult military situation, a difficult one to win.
[129] ... Now ... the points I'm making here, firstly we have the problem of separating security from non-security er objectives.
[130] We have the problem of defining and keeping er established limits so that the pursuit of a non-security objective does not lead you in to directly erm having to er fight a security war or a total war.
[131] Now it's true that since the second world war all wars have been limited in one sense or another, but then comes the question, if you do, in fact, succeed in defining objectives er and de in defining the means to those objectives, how can you know in fact that you possess genuine capability without putting it to the test, without actually fighting the war and then finding that you cannot win it?
[132] You can't win it by changing the parameters er if you do change the parameters of course then you'll be fighting a different war and your objectives then become different.
[133] Erm ... the problem of limits then erm is paramount when yo you're contemplating threatening or using violence.
[134] Think of the present problem with Bosnia ... there isn't a single er advanced industrial country that wishes to get engaged in ground warfare in Yugoslavia ... because there would be simply no point in it and any casualty er would be seen as a waste, as a throwing away of resources ... and you'd have many casualties it's argued.
[135] It's argued that you'd need at least a force of eighty thousand troops, that's in Bosnia.
[136] Erm well why would you er get engaged in a, a contest erm with er the three warring factions, because you certainly wouldn't be able to con confine yourself to one, and since there's no national interest as such, I know there have been many attempts to link er Bosnia with er peace in the world generally or with world order, in fact there is no threat ... er this is a civil war, strictly speaking, and th there's no evidence that it would er sp spill over into a major war unless it was made a major war er by those er with the er forces that exist.
[137] Erm so how then do you stop the fighting?
[138] How do you secure order?
[139] And we now have got the first step er sorry not, not strictly speaking, the first steps of course were economic ... th that we had a strategic embargo and an economic embargo er on er on the Serbs and er on, on the er the, the different regions er th the first military step however is air strikes and we'll know er within a week I think whether in fact this step will be actually taken or whether the threat is sufficient to induce er the belligerents to come to a negotiated settlement.
[140] It's a fairly low risk erm threat at the moment, air strikes are cheap er they're not particularly dangerous ... whether they're effective or not is another matter, er and there's no immediate come back on the domestic scene because no one is expecting any one state to be the saviour in that particular situation.
[141] Er the United States er in, in short, the, the principal er actor here er is immune from criticism because if these strikes fail it's simply er bad luck, erm there's no cost to the United States that can be translated into the domestic er arena and made dangerous to the incumbent president.
[142] Er this tells us that domestic political considerations are very important in deciding whether to use er violence or whether to threaten it or, or, or whatever ... erm so there is er er a domestic political dimension to this which is well worth examining if you wish to understand the limits that actually exist on politicians' powers.
[143] Erm secondly erm if you do get engaged in a contest, the consequences of failure should be weighed before you actually get involved.
[144] In short if you er ta er taking er Kennedy's decision over Vietnam, if he decided to do nothing, this would have been very damaging to him politically because of the declared er policy of the global containment of communism and the expectations of his domestic public that the United States would take action to defend the free world wherever the free world was challenged without much questioning about what the free world actually was, I mean the fact that er er South Vietnam was run by a rather squalid dictatorship was neither here nor there ... erm so erm you have to er evaluate when you're contemplating er actions of this kind what failure would mean in domestic political terms.
[145] Now Mrs Thatcher certainly did this er when she authorized the Falkland expedition.
[146] The consequences of failure there wo would certainly ha have meant her removal from office ... erm however she did calculate erm that within the limits she set that success would be,wo wo would in fact be the result, and it was.
[147] It was a strictly limited operation.
(JSKPSUNK) [148] The Argentinian mainland was not threatened, er the major erm influences in the region were placated, particularly the United States.
[149] The, the force levels were added, were sufficient given the inability of the Argentinian government to reinforce er the Falklands once the action had begun and again the equation of air forces etcetera were, were evaluated.
[150] I think she had a fair amount of luck, but luck is always an el element in anything of this kind.
[151] Erm ... the demonstration effect of failure should also be considered, that is if you fail once you've undertaken an enterprise, this will affect your other policy objectives too, that is er you will be seen to be weak, your commitment to intervene on behalf of other allies might be seen to be, to have weakened er and, and generally you, you might have done your, your overall foreign policy stance er some, some considerable damage.
[152] Erm ... the world is indeed inter-related erm we are talking in strategic terms of a multilateral er er erm system just as we, as, when we come to the later lectures we will see, as is the case with economic relations.
[153] What a country does in one part of the world reverberates throughout the system.
[154] Er there are interests all over an and some er have a higher value er er and some have a lower value but they are all related ... erm so it's not possible to regard er a contest solely as an isolated advers adversarial struggle where you're weighing up the rel the relative forces, the relative military capabilities that exist, you have to consider a whole range of political, economic and strategic effects of, of your, your, your action.
[155] Erm anoth another example of a successful war was of course the Gulf War.
[156] Now here again calculation of forces er and er the, the er er conduct of operations was in fact strictly limited.
[157] The Iraqi armies were not pursued into their own country, er the attacks made were largely erm the fairly cheap and as we now know fairly ineffective er air strikes and that the main contest was in fact over Kuwait which was indeed the declared objective er of the whole operation.
[158] In fact the erm er the, the actual agenda was far more to do with the price of oil than it was to do with er who ruled Kuwait.
[159] Erm but the point there is that restraints were observed.
[160] Bush said this will be no Vietnam and he well understood and everybody else well understood what he meant by that.
[161] Erm the limits, the means, the ends were held in a commensurable relationship and so we have an example, if you like, of a rational war, a war in which the objectives can be er successfully attained er without them changing er and the means held.
[162] Well that's as far as I want to go with this, this particular topic, erm as is my practice I'm ending now so that we can have questions.
[163] Erm I'm ranging over a lot of what for you perhaps is historical material, given your age, but er ... you're probably not very familiar erm if you want to ask questions about er detail or whatever please feel free to do so.
[164] There are a number of books on contemporary world politics and you've got some recommended er for you to read.
[165] Who'd like to ask me a question?
[166] ... Cos I'm not recording this for myself, it's for a, a publisher who wants the department's lectures on tape for some reason. ... [tape change]
(JSKPSUNK) [167] [clears throat] ... Before we start this morning I'd just like to make one brief announcement er one of my colleagues has asked me to announce er a lecture to be given on Thursday at five fifteen, that is er directly after the second systems lecture of the week, erm on the title of the transition from totalitarianism to democracy, changes, challenges and opportunities in the former Soviet Union ... and it will be given by ... the Baroness of Queensbury ... erm and that's er at fife fifteen, one four one in this er in this building.
[168] ... Thank you.
[169] This is the first of er two lectures on the American presidency and erm ... I want to begin just by putting the presidency in, in context erm thus far ... I hope it's clear that the American pol political system is one in which authority is firstly limited ... by the constitution in which [...] [microphone moved] authority dispersed by the [...] by virtue of the separation of powers.
[170] ... We know that the congress has the legislative power but the president has a veto.
[171] ... The president, according to the constitution has the executive power ... that executive power depends to a large part on the willingness of congress to provide the legal framework [...] [problems with the microphone] moments in which there is harmony and cooperation between president and congress tend to be exceptional rather than er a regular feature of the American system ... and if er the president manages to get something through congress, you can bet that very quickly the president will face some defeat in congress shortly thereafter to remind the president that the United States does not have, contrary to the popular press, does not have a presidential system of government.
[172] ... And what has happened over time is that, in the twentieth century, with the advent of two world wars, with the impact of the worst economic depression that the world's ever seen, with the rise to global dominance, both economic and military, indeed one might say culturally, the rise to global dominance of the United States, the scale and er scope of the U S executive branch has grown and with it an increasing er attention and focus on the presidency.
[173] That's understandable and to some extent justifiable but if it creates the impression in anyone's mind that the U S has a presidential system of government er then they would be sadly mistaken.
[174] The Am American system is one of, as I've said, a dispersed, limited and shared form of authority and the president is but one actor, and in Reagan's case not a very good one, in that particular er set of arrangements.
[175] ... Okay [clears throat] I think what we've seen in American politics in the last twenty, twenty years or so is a, an in is er an increasing trivialization of politics ... the er the mass media, the so called er piranhas er ... focus on the daily lives of presidents.
[176] We know much more about the state of Chelsea's teeth than we do about the state of the nation.
[177] We know much more than anyone could possibly want to know about Bill and Hillary's sex life er than we do er about prospects for economic recovery ... and this has happened to successive American presidents and it happens in part because in the U S the president and his family, and it has been a his so far, the president and his family take the part, not only the part played in England by the prime minister, but also the part played by the monarchy.
[178] The president is both head of state and head of government and in that capacity serves to some extent as a symbol of the nation, a focus for loyalty ... and Americans have a curious capacity for er im imputing to whoever wins the presidential election a set of er outstanding qualities.
[179] So that every American president is a sort of ... half breed, a cross between Daniel Boone and Jesus Christ ... and that however corrupt and venal a politician he might have been before, once he assumes the White House it is assumed that he changes.
[180] They talk about people growing in office ... always worried about people who think that forty seven year old men can grow, but there you are.
(JSKPSUNK) [181] Er the, the, the office itself, the trappings of the office transform the man.
[182] So even someone as obviously corrupt as Richard Nixon, people started talking about the new Nixon, new Nixon the statesman.
[183] They stopped saying, you know, would you buy a used car from this man and started talking about him as the international peacemaker.
[184] And this means, or this has an impact, this dual role as head of state and head of government, has an impact on what any president can do.
[185] Because a very large part of any president's time is taken up in the ceremonial, in the ritual, in meeting heads of states from other countries, from opening the equivalents of garden fetes, receiving parties of boy scouts, er and whatever else the Queen and her family do these days.
[186] ... Er and that means that the president's attention is both diverted from substantive concerns and it also means the president, there's a limitation on the extent to which the president can appear to be partisan.
[187] So the president tries to encapsulate the national interest ... to embody the common good ... and he puts forward policies, not in any spirit of er personal or partisan advantage, but simply for the good of the nation.
[188] ... And so you have then a political system in which you, which you have a presidency er faced by a powerful legislature, a president who is not part of legislature but who has to lead the legislature without any significant controls over it ... a very difficult and demanding task.
[189] Erm ... one of the best known commentators on the American president, a man called Richard Newstat er ... who's occasionally known as Mr Williams because he's married to er Shirley Williams a ... clapped-out Social Democratic politician of er yesteryear, erm ... Richard Newstat once said, well once said many things but er on this particular occasion said that er if you want to know what presidential power is, it is simply the power to persuade ... and that er when you look for er an American president what you need to look for er is not somebody who is clear minded, far sighted and so on but you need somebody who has the capacity ... the skill, the talent, to persuade other people to do what he wants them to do.
[190] It has to be persuasion because he has few, if any, powers of coercion ... unlike the British prime minister.
[191] ... Okay well if we look into the development of the presidency what we've seen is a gradually changing conception of the office.
[192] Er I said I think in the first lecture, the founding fathers saw the presidency as a check, as a control on the legislature ... er and er in periods of crisis legislatures find it very difficult to respond.
[193] Any group of five hundred and thirty five people find it difficult to agree on a common purpose or a common decision ... and increasingly, in period of crisis, attention turned to the presidency ... and presidents were not always willing to supply the leadership er that er the country expected.
[194] Erm ... presidents of the nineteenth century very often took the view that the president was not much more than a sort of constitutional monarch, er a dignified part of the constitution to use er Bagehot's phrase.
[195] ... Erm in the eighteen fifties, in the years immediately preceding the American civil war, the er then American president er was placed under great pressure to do something about the increasing tensions and increasing conflicts between north and south but er he declined to do so.
[196] Does anyone remember the president before Abraham Lincoln?
[197] ... Not many people do.
[198] Erm his name James Buchanan ... James Buchanan was asked to do something about the violations of the Fugitive Slave Law, this is the one that returned slaves back to their owners, erm and Buchanan said, I quote ... [reading] wisely limited and restrained as is the president's power under our constitution, he alone can accomplish but little for good or for evil on such a momentous question.
[199] ... After all he is no more than the chief executive officer of government, his province is not to make but to execute the laws.
[200] ... Congress alone has the power to decide whether the present laws can or cannot be amended so as to carry out more effectively the objects of law.
[201] ... Apart from the execution of the laws the executive has no authority to decide what shall be the relations between the federal government and South Carolina, any attempt to do this would be on his part a naked act of usurpation [] .
[202] So you have a very particular view of the constitution, that given by the founding fathers and one which is still in force some seventy eighty years later as America headed towards its most momentous and divisive crisis in its history.
[203] Now this is a turning point in, in American history and er ... cometh the time cometh the man and the man in this case was Abraham Lincoln and Abraham Lincoln took a rather, a rather different line.
[204] ... And I shall quote to you from ... er a message of Lincoln's to congress in eighteen sixty one ... and from some of his er private correspondence.
[205] [...] [microphone moved] if you remember the question that the founding fathers faced was how do you create a government which is strong enough to endure and to defend the nation and defend the country yet a government which is not so strong that it erodes the rights of individuals within it, this is the, the essence of the, the problem of government as, as the founding fathers saw it.
[206] During the er civil war Abraham Lincoln er suspended, unilaterally, without consultation, er suspended the writ of habeas corpus who knows what habeas corpus is? ...
(JSKPSUNK) [...]
(JSKPSUNK) [207] Right to a fair trial, any, any advance on that?
[208] ... We must have one lawyer amongst our presence surely. ...
(JSKPSUNK) [...]
(JSKPSUNK) [209] Mhm.
[210] It literally, it literally means produce the body ... only you can't simply, well the difference between a constitutional system and er an arbitrary government is that in arbitrary governments people get arrested and disappear, locked up, throw away the key and worry about it the next generation or after the next er military coup or whatever ... but in a constitutional government there have to be procedures and one of the safeguards of individual liberty is that if you're ever arrested and detained by law enforcement agencies you have to be produced before a court within a specified period and charged with something.
[211] There has to be evidence produced to say why you are being detained and you have a chance to, to refute that evidence.
[212] Er as you can imagine in the circumstances of the civil war the government, the federal government, was much vexed about the question of spies and fifth columnists and people er in the, in the northern states er engaged in sabotage and collecting espionage of, of various kinds so er Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus.
[213] There were arrests, people were detained er without trial, they weren't charged with anything but on suspicion of being spies for the confederacy.
[214] And Lincoln was criticized, attacked for this, that er ... and he said in response to this [reading] the attention of the country has been called to the proposition that one who is sworn as the constitution says to take care that the laws be faithfully executed should himself not violate those laws [] a fairly reasonable proposition you might think, if your oath says to uphold the law then you start going round breaking the law er something wrong here somewhere methinks.
[215] He goes on to say [clears throat] [reading] of course federal laws were not being obeyed in the confederacy because they'd rejected the entire panoply of federal laws and Lincoln goes on to point out [reading] must they [] these laws and the confederacy [reading] be allowed to [...] [microphone moved] to state the question more directly, are all the laws but one to go unexecuted and the government itself to go to pieces less that one be violated [] .
[216] So you get the ... impression here of Lincoln talking about an unusual crisis situation [...] [microphone moved] ... in a letter to one of his mates in eighteen sixty four Lincoln goes on [...] [microphone knocked] Lincoln goes on to, in his letter to a friend to deny that civil war was fought to, to free the slaves ... er as a moral crusade, he wants no part of that argument.
[217] Lincoln says in a letter to his friend er ... Hodges in eighteen sixty four, quote [clears throat] [reading] I am naturally anti-slavery.
[218] If slavery is not wrong nothing is wrong and yet I have never understood the presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act officially upon this judgment and feeling and I aver that to this day I have done no official act in mere deference to my abstract judgment and feeling on slavery.
[219] I did understand however that my oath to preserve the constitution to the best of my ability imposed upon me the duty of [...] [microphone moved] that nation of which the constitution is the organic law.
[220] [...] Was it possible [] rhetorical question [reading] was it possible to lose the nation and yet preserve the constitution [] ?
[221] Now here we move in to a bit of Plato ... always be aware of those who argue by analogy [reading] by general law life and limb must be protected yet often a limb must be amputated to save a life [] ... can you guess what's coming next? [reading] but a life is never wisely given to save a limb [] .
[222] Pretty acute stuff eh?
[223] ... [reading] I felt [] and this is the bit I like, I, I some I, I used to set this at one point in the examination question and ask people to guess which American president said it ... I'll read, I'll read it to you ... [reading] measures otherwise unconstitutional might become lawful if indispensable to the preservation of the constitution through the preservation of the nation [] ... just, I'll just get the essence of that, [reading] measures otherwise unconstitutional might become lawful if indispensable to the preservation of the constitution through the preservation of the nation [] ninety percent put Richard Nixon ... er no one put Abraham Lincoln ... er cos he was one of the good guys ... [reading] right or wrong I assume this ground [clears throat] I could not feel [clears throat] that to the best of my ability [clears throat] I had even tried to preserve the [...] if to save [...] [] [microphone moved] James Buchanan is essentially the Pontius Pilate of American politics ... he says yes these are very acute problems er and very difficult er and I'd like to help but I'm sorry I can't ... and I really do have to go off and wash my hands now erm and, you know, you carry on and when you've resolved it tell me what you want me to do and I'll,
(JSKPSUNK) [224] I'll do it.
[225] Lincoln ... takes the opposite view, Lincoln says here is a crisis ... the person uniquely placed to deal with major crises in American politics is the president ... and I, Abe Lincoln, stand forward and I'm prepared to do almost anything if in my judgment it's necessary to preserve the nation and the constitution.
[226] So from a view of the president as impotent and ineffective and helpless you have a view of the president as being er the action man, the crisis manager ... and it's Lincoln's view, the Linc Lin Lincolnian view of the presidency which has survived er an and developed ... with, with the odd, the odd hark back to a previous, a previous age.
[227] And you find successive presidents er claiming some special authority that the constitution doesn't give them but which they, they believe that er a accrues to them by virtue of they're being presidents.
[228] One of my favourite presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, president from the early part of the twentieth century ... and known as the damned cowboy erm ... you might be interested to know how people become president erm Theodore Roosevelt was an arch imperialist [clears throat] and got very excited about the er war with Spain er America had a s little brief war with Spain at the end of the nineteenth century erm over the possession of Cuba, and erm ... in eighteen ninety eight, and this aroused great patriotic feelings in all red blooded Americans and especially in Theodore Roosevelt and er er Roosevelt formed his own ... company of cavalry called the Rough Riders ... and erm Roosevelt wore glasses and was asthmatic but he had this group called the Rough Riders, sort of early kind of Clint Eastwood stuff, and erm anyway he g he was engaged in the war with Spain er and there was one wonderful moment in the war Spain in which the Spaniards were at the top of a hill called the San Juan hill er and er Teddy, as he was known, of course he gave his name to the teddy bear, did you know that did you?
[229] ... You learn something every day in these lectures.
[230] Er Teddy Roosevelt down at the bottom with the Rough Riders ... the guns at the top of the hill, the horses at the bottom of the hill ... you've heard of the charge of the Light Brigade haven't you?
[231] They were smart guys compared to Teddy Roosevelt.
[232] Er Teddy Roosevelt leads a charge of horses up hill, up hill, into the mouth of the Spanish guns ... smart guy, smart move ... how did he become president after doing something as fatuous as this?
[233] Well fortunately the Spanish were even more incompetent than he was and what the Spanish commander, instead of rubbing his hands at the prospect of er the damage they were about to wreak, he discovered that they had the wrong calibre shells for their guns [laugh] and Roosevelt and the Rough Riders overran the Spanish guns a and Teddy Roosevelt became a war hero ... and on the strength of becoming a war hero, he become vice president of the United States, got the vice presidential nomination and in good American fashion the president was shot er by an assassin er and Teddy Roosevelt became president, so there you are, there's a ... there's a career plan for you to er to think about.
[234] Erm Roosevelt was er despite the er rather unusual route to the presidency, really rather a good president but he had a, he had a very particular view of the presidency which was one which he shared with Lincoln but he took up Lincoln's arguments and, and developed it further [clears throat] ... and I quote from er Roosevelt's autobiography, which is rather more revealing than most autobiographies, erm Roosevelt wasn't modest I should say in case you, if you wonder when I read you something.
[235] He says in the autobiography [clears throat] erm ... [reading] my view was that every president was a [] and this was a famous phrase [reading] every president was a steward of the people, a steward of the people, bound actively and affirmatively to do all he could for the people and not to content himself with the negative merit of keeping his talents undamaged in a napkin [] ... curious turn of phrase ... [reading] I decline [] he says [reading] to adopt the view that what is imperatively necessary for the nation cannot be done unless the president can find some specific authorization to do it in the constitution.
[236] I did and caused to be done many things not previously done by the president.
[237] I did not usurp power but I did greatly broaden the use of executive power, in other words [] this is the modesty part [reading] I acted for the public welfare, I acted for the common wellbeing of all our people whenever and in whatever manner was necessary unless prevented by direct constitutional or legislative prohibition [] ... Roosevelt suggested that the president subject only to the people of the United States and he identified himself with Andrew Jackson and with Abraham Lincoln.
[238] To Roosevelt the view propounded by our friend James Buchanan [...] was narrowly legalistic in which the president was the servant not of the people but of congress and this, to Roosevelt, was [...] .
[239] So you get, if you like, a development here er of presidential authority and the perception of the presidency both from the point of view of incumbents and from the point of view of the American people ... and gradually in the twentieth century you get an increasing focus ... an increasing focus on the presidency as the engine of government, that it's the president who makes things happen, it's the president who fixes things, it's the president who responds to crises ... and as the crises become more frequent and the crises become more intense so the focus on the president also expands ... and the Buchanan view is now no longer tenable, the Buchanan view ... it's not possible for any president to play the dignified monarch.
[240] They like to do it a bit but they really can't sustain it because ultimately there's a, there's a call for action, a demand for action.
[241] In the twentieth century er the president who did most to, to develop the office further was, was Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore's cousin ... er and Franklin Roosevelt, who became president in, in the nineteen thirties and the time of the great depression, and remained president for, till nineteen forty five ... so He was president for thirteen years ... er and his political opponents were so upset by this that they actually amended the constitution afterwards to prevent any future president from serving more than two terms of as president, so eight years is the maximum that anyone can serve as president.
[242] Roosevelt served for thirteen years and led America through the depression, into the second world war and emerging at the other end as