GST 6320 Peace and Conflict
November 18, 2012
The concept of ‘status quo’ is one of maintenance of distribution of power at any given point in time and the preservation of such. The term is derived from ‘status quo ante bellum’ which refers to maintaining the peace treaties and settlements that stabilized the region since the last general war. Thus status quo is about keeping things the way it is, its motive is to preserve and not necessarily gain, boast or heavily influence any new positions that may break the balance. To apply it in current times and specifically to the new and less known form of war- unconventional terrorist war post 9/11, it has shifted global status quo to a certain degree and definitely shifted regional status quo in areas such as North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. According to Morgenthau, domestic and international politics have three standard patterns of policies. A policy that seeks to keep and maintain power- which is referred to as status quo, a policy to increase power- which is referred to as imperialism, and a policy to demonstrate power- also referred to as a policy of prestige. In this essay, focus will be on the two policies of ‘status quo’ and ‘imperialism’. A nation that is seeking to keep the power that it already has, and has no intention in changing the level of power, is pursuing a policy of status quo. (Morgenthau, 2006, p.50) A nation that tends to increase its power or attempt to enhance in power status is pursuing a policy of imperialism. He also discusses concept of status quo as a diplomatic term of foreign policy “referring to the usual clauses in peace treaties that provide for the evacuation of territory by enemy troop and its restoration to the prewar sovereignty”. (Morgenthau, 2006, p. 51) The essential purpose of status quo is to maintain the distribution of power at the particular moment, and generally is focused in time at the end of a conflict or war. Also, the purpose for policy of imperialism is to expand and grow even at the cost of others. Obviously the two policies are different in philosophy, approach and ultimately in actions. Morgenthau reflects that imperialism and the status quo are fundamentally different as in its nature and main attempt to gain more power than it had and overthrowing the status quo. (Morgenthau, 2006, p. 64) Morgenthau noticeably points out that imperialism has been frequently and indiscriminately applied to any kind of colonial expansion, or to which the user is the opponent. He further points out the foreign policy that aims to increase the power of a nation is not necessarily imperialism. (Morgenthau, 2006, p. 56) Furthermore, Morgenthau refers to the three methods of imperialism that a country may choose to adopt when attempting to pursue imperialism- military imperialism, economic imperialism, and cultural imperialism. He points out that military imperialism is the riskiest method but it is usually the quickest method of acquiring more power. Thus, it has been the most obvious, ancient, and crudest method of imperialism rather than economic imperialism. (Morgenthau, 2006, p. 69) However, it is my opinion that economic imperialism will be far more affective in deterring rebellion in current state of global affairs. I believe economic imperialism is not aiming to control the territory, but cleverly attempting to control the leaders or systems of the territory. Similarly, cultural imperialism tends to take control of social paradigm for both leaders and citizens of territory. And though historically, military imperialism was the quickest and most effective, with the current changes- economic imperialism has taken a bigger foothold in the arena. In terms of violent conflicts, civil war is the first in discussion. According to Ayoob, most civil wars have been located in the post-colonial countries that constitute the Third...