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Machineries of War and Mechanisms of Change in World Politics
Williams, Matthew David
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The purpose of this dissertation is to anticipate changes in the international system by examining changes in Western defence industries. The defence industries are a mechanism for producing power. In an anarchic international system, power is the means by which states find security. To produce power through a defence industry, a state must possess a range of attributes of power. The investment needed to produce an array of defence equipment is considerable, and so a state must possess appropriate economic resources. The cost also necessitates acts of political will, to direct resources away from other ends which might be more readily enjoyed. Finally, the defence industry must produce equipment that is strategically relevant—which requires a high level of technology derived from domestic research and development. The structure of the international system is fundamentally a question of the nature of the distribution of power, and the factors that make up state power are all to be found in defence industries. The question posed here is “to what extent is change in the system predictable through looking at trends in the defence industrial base?” After establishing the theoretical perspective, this paper goes on to look at the changes that are taking place in the strategic environment. This is followed by an analysis of the forces that act upon the defence industrial base, and of the implications of the adverse trends that they generate. From these, the indicators which signal change in the international system are derived. Then the responses of both state and industry are examined to test for the presence of these indicators. Finally, the conclusion is an assessment of how changes in the defence industrial structures of the West reflect and may be able to anticipate change in the international system.