Uncivil wars: does Kantian Adaptive Networks Theory provide significant indications and warning of intra-state conflict
Sullivan, Dennis J.
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Reviewing inter-state warfare literature, I observe a correlation between the growth of international institutions, economic interchange, and levels of democracy, and corresponding decreases in incidents of international war. Conversely, internal conflicts comprise most conflicts in the post-1945 world, compared to inter-state conflicts. Within the larger intra-state literature, I note an underlying lineage to concepts evolving from Kant’s writings, specifically Kantian democratic peace theory (DPT) literature posited by Russett and ONeal (2001), and the informal social-juridical relationship within Metaphysics of Morals. From that pedigree, could a deeper understanding of internal political risks gained through application of Kantian DPT, interpolating Putnam’s (2002) Social Capital Theory (SCT) hold potential to provide researchers and policy makers insight into propensity for descent into conflict early enough to implement corrective actions? This investigation initially questions existence of intra-state processes performing similar ameliorating or exacerbating functions observed at inter-state level. Assessing that intra-state dynamics exhibit an elevated dependence on social factors necessitates adjustments to DPT to accommodate the adaptable nature of social constructs, leading to the designation of my theory as Kantian Adaptable Networks Theory (KANT). To test hypotheses, I start with DPT, incorporate elements of SCT, and identify a hybrid combination presenting greater explanatory power than either DPT or SCT factors alone. Fund for Peace’s Fragile State Indices (FSI) for 2005-2013 provides the dataset to conduct regression analysis to determine significance of DPT and/or SCT elements in static and time-series. Initial results indicate DPT/SCT provides explanatory value at the intra-state level with the Group Grievance factor generally presenting the most significant effect on probability of conflict. To assess resilience to intra-state conflict, I then explore brittleness of social-contract dynamics through the lens of Clausewitz’ center of gravity theory. In my exploration of applicability of KANT at the case level, I analyze FSI data for Syria and Kenya to determine resilience to shocks and ratcheted pressures, and explanation for differing outcomes. Based on the results of quantitative and case analysis, I present policy prescription considerations. Finally, I discuss additional avenues for follow-on research of issues and opportunities identified during the course of the investigation.