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Transitions Bad – Elite Takeover



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Transitions Bad – Elite Takeover




Democratic transitions cause war – elite use nationalism to mobilize the masses.


Mansfield and Snyder 95 (Edward, Chair of the Political Science Department, and Director of the Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics – University of Pennsylvania, Jack, PhD in political science and Professor of Political Scienc/Director of the Institute of War and Peace Studies – Columbia University, “Democratization and the Danger of War” International Security, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Summer, 1995), The MIT Press, pp. 28-30, Jstor)
COMPETITIVE MASS MOBILIZATION. In a period of democratization, threat- ened elite groups have an overwhelming incentive to mobilize allies among the mass of people, but only on their own terms, using whatever special resources they still retain. These have included monopolies of information (e.g., the German Navy's unique "expertise" in making strategic assessments); propaganda assets (the Japanese Army's public relations blitz justifying the invasion of Manchuria); patronage (British Foreign Secretary Palmerston's gifts of foreign service postings to the sons of cooperative journalists); wealth (Krupp steel's bankrolling of mass nationalist and militarist leagues); organiza- tional skills and networks (the Japanese army's exploitation of rural reservist organizations to build a social base); and the ability to use the control of traditional political institutions to shape the political agenda and structure the terms of political bargains (the Wilhelmine ruling elite's deal with the Center Party, eliminating anti-Catholic legislation in exchange for support in the Reich- stag on the naval budget).48 This elite mobilization of mass groups takes place in a highly competitive setting. Elite groups mobilize mass support to neutralize mass threats (e.g., patriotic leagues to counter workers' movements) and to counter other elite groups' successful efforts at mass mobilization (e.g., the German Navy League, as a political counterweight to the Junker-backed Agrarian League). Thus, the elites' resources allow them to influence the direction of mass political partici- pation, but the imperative to compete for mass favor makes it difficult for a single elite group to control the outcome of this process. For example, mass groups that gain access to politics through elite-supported nationalist organi- zations often try to outbid their erstwhile elite sponsors. By 1911, German popular nationalist lobbies were in a position to claim that if Germany's foreign foes were really as threatening as the ruling elites had portrayed them, then the government had sold out German interests in reaching a compromise settlement of the Moroccan dispute with France.49 In this way, the process of elite mobilization of the masses adds to the ungovernability and political impasse of democratizing states. Ideology takes on particular significance in the competition for mass support. New participants in the political process may be uncertain of where their political interests lie, because they lack established habits and good informa- tion, and are thus fertile ground for ideological appeals. Ideology can yield particularly big payoffs, moreover, when there is no efficient free marketplace of ideas to counter false claims with reliable facts. Elites try out all sorts of ideological appeals, depending on the social position that they need to defend, the nature of the mass group that they want to recruit, and the type of appeals that seem plausible in the given political setting. A nearly universal element in these ideological appeals is nationalism, which has the advantage of positing a community of interest that unites elites and masses, thus distracting attention from class cleavages. Nationalist appeals have often succeeded even though the average voter was not consistently pro-war or pro-empire. For example, the French public was not keen to enter the Crimean War when it began in January 1854, and after sustaining 100,000 war-related deaths by 1855, the public's war-weariness led Napoleon to make concessions to Russia at the bargaining table. Likewise, the French public was initially opposed to participation in the Italian and Austro- Prussian Wars, fearing a disruption of the economy 50 Mass opinion was simi- larly pacifist and anti-imperial in Britain during the high tide of Richard Cobden's Anti-Corn Law League, which succeeded in linking foreign military intervention and military budgets to the popular issues of free trade and democracy 51 In Japan, too, the Naval Arms Limitation Treaty of 1930 was initially popular with the public.52 And even in Germany, where public opinion was more consistently bellicose, the two largest mass parties, the Social Demo- crats and the Catholic Center Party, had no interest in imperialism. Though the German leaders' strategy is often called "social" imperialism, its appeal was almost entirely to the middle classes, not the workers. And Catholics backed the fleet not out of conviction, but to get side-payments on domestic issues.53 Since mass opinion was typically mobilized into politics by elite interest groups rather than by broad-based parties competing for the median voter, mass voices tended to reinforce the pattern of elite interests, rather than to check them: in Germany, the Agrarian League clamored for grain tariffs, the Navy League for a fleet, the imperial groups for settler colonies abroad, and the Pan-German League for a bigger army. In cases where mass opinion has been articulated through different channels, such as the institutionalized two- party competition in twentieth century Britain and the United States, its impact on foreign policy has been very different.

Transitions Bad – Integrates Opposites




Democratizing states inevitably enter conflicts . Pressure to cobble coalitions leads to antagonistic foreign policy.


Mansfield and Snyder 95 (Edward, Chair of the Political Science Department, and Director of the Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics – University of Pennsylvania, Jack, PhD in political science and Professor of Political Scienc/Director of the Institute of War and Peace Studies – Columbia University, “Democratization and the Danger of War” International Security, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Summer, 1995), The MIT Press, pp. 32-33, Jstor)
SQUARING THE CIRCLE, OR INTEGRATING OPPOSITES. Since democratizing states typically comprise such a broad spectrum of social interests, would-be ruling coalitions must often be cobbled together from diverse or even contra- dictory bases of support. For this reason, one of the characteristic problems of the leadership of transitional, democratizing states is explaining away the self-contradictory aspects of a coalition or policy that must integrate antithetical elements. In foreign affairs, this often means sweeping tough trade-offs under the rug, pretending that contradictory policies actually make sense or cannot be avoided. As a consequence, the foreign policies of democratizing states are often overcommitted, provoking too many enemies at the same time, while claiming that the resulting conflicts are due to the others' inherent hostility For example, Wilhelmine iron-and-rye policies leading to a hostile encirclement of Germany were explained away in two ways: first, that the hostility was inher- ent in the nature of Germany's opponents, and that German policy had done nothing to provoke it; and second, that the way to break apart the hostile coalition was to issue threats, rather than to make concessions that would have jeopardized the policies of the iron-and-rye coalition.58 Palmerston and Louis Napoleon faced a somewhat different problem of in- tegrating opposites. Their strategies required winning over substantial middle- class backers to a strategy of social conservatism to safeguard the interests of old elites in an era of mass politics. In part, the rise of the working-class threat made this alliance possible. But in order to win converts from middle-class radicalism, Palmerston and Napoleon both had to show that their conservative policies were somehow actually liberal. The simplest way to do this was to back liberal goals abroad, such as national self-determination and the expan- sion of commercial opportunities, while fighting a rear-guard action against them at home. This was convenient because liberal goals abroad could easily be made to dovetail with geopolitical goals that Palmerston and Napoleon wanted to pursue anyway59 However, liberals were not completely passive dupes of this strategy In Britain, for example, they used the Crimean War to force an opening of the administration of the war office to middle-class ration- alizers, a move that Palmerston could hardly prevent in light of the way he had justified his foreign policy.60 In Russia today, foreign policy is likewise providing glue for an emerging "red-brown" coalition of nationalists and neo-communists. The Soviet system created organized vested interests in a particular pattern of industrial invest- ment, a large military establishment, a working class protected from market forces, a local elite that served as a substitute for the market in administering the economy, and a division of labor on an imperial scale. The collapse of the Marxist-Leninist state took away the ideological underpinnings of this collec- tion of interests, but many of these interests remain in place. The doctrines of nationalism and of the distinctiveness of Russia from the liberal West provide natural ideological justification for reasserting imperial control and retaining at least some of the strong-state, limited-market tendencies from Russia's past. It may also help to justify a truncated approach to democratization, which would help secure these traditional elite interests




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