7.1.2 Classification of Ungoverned Power

(This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3 book contents.  An archived copy of this page is held at http://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/712.htm)

The previous section outlined some of the reasons why people bypass the available governance framework and rely upon their own resources to protect their interests.  This chapter does not take a moral position on any of the phenomena described here, because that is more properly part of the Moral Dimension of power; it takes a purely pragmatic view of ungoverned force, examining whether it works and whether it benefits those who use it.  The following segments analyse how it works in practice:

(7.2)   This segment lists types of ungoverned power: isolation; self-protection against economic or physical threats; violent abuse of State power; corruption; use of force to counteract threats from inside or outside the country; spying; terrorism.  All of these are outside the legal and political frameworks of the territory concerned and several of them provoke a violent response.

(7.3)   The international use of ungoverned power involves the use of force across national borders.  Attempts to seize territory by force have been much less common since the United Nations was formed, but various forms of military intervention have nonetheless taken place – some overtly using force and some covert.  Recently ‘hybrid warfare’ has combined covert destabilisation of a country with military force to support one side in the ensuing struggle.

(7.4)   The use of military power against other countries almost always creates problems and has rarely been successful recently.  This segment traces some of the reasons for failure, ranging from the inherent weaknesses of fighting in someone else’s territory to the propaganda effects which multiply resistance against invaders.  The role of defence spending is examined.  The chapter ends with a summary of the security impact of international coercion.

At this point, readers who are just seeking an overview of this book’s contents may wish to move to the next chapter (8).  Alternatively, they may wish to go directly to a particular segment by following the above links or continue to read sequentially.

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