The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

The Peacenik Profession


January 5, 2012

 Given some of the recent discussion on the Duck about the use of force in the Arabian Gulf, I thought I’d point out something interesting from the recent TRIP survey of international relations scholars. It turns out that between 60 and 90 percent of IR scholars surveyed simply reject the U.S. use of force in five hot-button regions. Asked “Would you approve or disapprove of the use of U.S. military forces in the following situations?”, scholars responded:

  • War between North and South Sudan: 84.6% disapprove.
  • If it were certain that Iran had produced a nuclear weapon: 79.9% disapprove
  • If extremists were poised to take over Pakistan: 63.3% disapprove
  • To support democratic transition in Syria: 78.6% disapprove
  • To support democratic transition in Yemen: 84.4% disapprove
The repository of all human knowledge on the Internet suggests that this means that IR scholars, as a community, are more hostile to the U.S. use of force in these cases than economists, as a community, are hostile to raising the minimum wage.
This raises a new wrinkle for the discussion that we had last week. Should IR scholars advocating for the use of force be required to add a disclaimer that they are–given the TRIP data–arguing against the judgment of the mainstream of the discipline?
 (Note that I’m not taking a position on this question or the five questions raised above. Indeed, on at least two questions I would be prepared to contemplate the use of force, given more information about the circumstances. Nor do I think that heterodoxy is invalid!)
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