ABOUT THIS BOOK
With the collapse of the Cold War following the Eastern European revolutions and the ongoing democratization of the Soviet republics, optimism about peace has transformed the international political climate. Incidents such as the Gulf War, however, have tempered this optimism and cast doubts on the prospects for demilitarization. In this book, Martin Shaw examines some of the developments that lie behind the recent momentous changes and argues that, despite the Gulf War and other regional wars, militarism is in decisive retreat.
Writing from a broadly sociological perspective, Shaw examines the roles of war and military institutions in human society and the ways in which preoccupation with war has affected domestic, regional, and international politics in the twentieth century. In doing so, he asks: When does the post-war era end? How have nuclear weapons altered the perception of war by society? What is the relationship between industrialism and militarism?
The author contends that, despite the militarism of some Third World countries, societies in the advanced industrial world (especially in Europe) have been undergoing a profound demilitarization. These societies have become politically insulated from war preparation, have recognized the effect of social movements on inter-state relations, and are experiencing a "revolution of rising expectations."
Offering evidence of "post-military citizenship," Shaw describes the increasing resistance to military conscription throughout the Western world, the replacement of blind obedience with demand for accountability in Eastern bloc countries, and the simultaneous rise of nationalism and communitarianism among common market members. And, in light of the collapse of Stalinist militarism in Europe and the USSR, Shaw suggests some of the changes that face Soviet society.