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15 J. Conflict Resol. 1 (1971)

handle is hein.journals/jcfltr15 and id is 1 raw text is: 












Editorial  Notes


  As we  begin our fifteenth year of publica-
tion, we find strong echoes of problems raised
in the first issue of JCR. Then, Morris Jano-
witz argued that to understand war and war-
making, we must  understand the organization
of political and military elites as crucial to
the outcomes  of high-level policy decisions.
He sought especially to identify social condi-
tions under which military elites might come
to dominate, and the contrary conditions un-
der which  such  unanticipated  militarism
could  be prevented  in democractic   states.
Now,  Benjamin  and Edinger  offer data con-
cerning the general conditions under  which
military elites prevail when they oppose the
manifest preferences of political elites con-
cerning particular policy decisions. Though
the data obviously do not measure all aspects
of militarism, and certainly do  not permit
unequivocal identification of factors leading
to  totalitarian or garrison  state sys-
tems of military control, they do bear directly
on  an aspect  of military control which  is
highly relevant to international relations. It
is noteworthy  that of the many  factors ex-
amined, two  variables are especially valuable
in predicting military dominance over foreign
policy decisions-the proportion  of national
income  devoted to military expenditures, and
the size of the military establishment. These
were two  of the main factors, influenced by
technological developments,  that  Janowitz
implicated in the causal nexus of militarism.
  The  view that military control over foreign
policy is something to be avoided, or at least


minimized, stems from  the assumption (com-
mon  among  peace  researchers) that military
leaders are more warlike than civilian leaders.
Thus, concern with who controls the decisions
is rooted in concern with the content and con-
sequences of those decisions. In their analysis,
Benjamin  and  Edinger  do  not pursue  this
underlying concern, but  their data contain
directly pertinent information. For each his-
toric decision in their sample, the case sum-
mary  describes the alternative actions pro-
posed by military and by civilian leaders, and
then specifies which alternative was finally
chosen. In a large proportion  of the cases,
the issue was whether to take a stronger, more
militaristic action or a milder, more diplo-
matic action. Two striking facts appear upon
inspection of these case summaries: in several
instances where the civilian leaders prevailed,
their preference was the more warlike alterna-
tive; and in several instances where the mili-
tary prevailed, their preference was the more
conciliatory action. Added  to the fact that
the sample excluded cases where civilian and
military preferences coincided,  this raises
doubt about  the significance of the civilian-
military distinction for the quality of foreign
policy decisions. An obvious next step is to
extend the Benjamin and Edinger  data to test
directly the widely shared assumption   that
military elites are more warlike than civilian
elites.
  But the quality of foreign policy decisions,
and their conduciveness to war or peace, may
depend more  on the process by which the de-

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