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Violence Reconsidered Academically

An academic takes a look at the effects of violence that may be at odds with that of many of his peers. “People say that problems cannot be solved by the use of force, that violence, as the saying goes, is not the answer,” Benjamin Ginsberg [1] writes in The Chronicle Review. “That adage appeals to our moral sensibilities.”

“ But whether or not violence is the answer depends on the question being asked. For better or worse, violence usually provides the most definitive answers to three major questions of political life: statehood, territoriality, and power. Violent struggle—war, revolution, terrorism—more than any other immediate factor, determines what nations will exist and their relative power, what territories they occupy, and which groups will exercise power within them.”

To his credit, although Dr. Ginsberg quotes Mao, he finds him “odious.” Moreover, he notes that not only violence but the threat of it sans its usage serves to achieve national success, so that a strong defense can achieve desired ends.

Nevertheless, I pointed out to Dr. Ginsberg that according to the Congressional Research Service [2], the U. S. has engaged in more military interventions since the official end of the Cold War than it ever did while it raged. “On your question, the collapse of the USSR freed a number of former Soviet clients to act unilaterally and, at the same time, gave the US more freedom of action to intervene in 3rd world countries without having to consider the implications for relations with the USSR,” Dr. Ginsberg stated. “Put the two together and you get more US military engagement.”

The USSR was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the official name of the Soviet Union.


Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org [3].