War and peace in contemporary international relations: an empirical study of the concept of intermediacy in international law and politics
The conventional understanding of war and peace in international relations is that nation A is either at "war" or at "peace" with nation B. War as a legal condition is usually viewed as an aberration from the norm, a malfunction of an organism whose normal condition is one of peace. Recent theoretical developments question the rigid adherence to this old dichotomous approach of defining contemporary relations between nations.
This study, therefore, raises a general question as to the juxtapositioning of the legal and political nature of war and peace since the end of World War II. Three dyadic relations--U.S. and U.S.S.R. from a global perspective, Israel and some selected Arab neighbors from a regional perspective, and Algeria and France from a national perspective--were used as case studies. With data from the Conflict and Peace Data Bank (COPDAB) and using a simple frequency distribution, the researcher analyzed dyadic events that may have led to cooperation and conflict from 1948 to 1978 on a 15-point conflict and cooperation scale.
Findings suggested that the either-war-or-peace paradigm does not apply to the characterization of the behavior of the selected actors in the period the data covered. It was found that the conventional use of the terms "war" and "peace" gives an unrealistic image of the characterization of how nations behave in contemporary international relations because these conditions were found to be in a state of flux and constantly evolving. Therefore, the conclusion was that nations are neither at war nor at peace. Their affairs are conducted in a state of intermediacy.
These findings further suggested that the conditions of war and peace in today's international relations should be seen from a holistic point of view in which war and peace are interdependent, interconnected, and interrelated, and simply different aspects of the same phenomenon. The difference between them is relative within an all-embracing unity. Such pair of opposites constitute a polar relationship where each of the two poles is dynamically linked to the other.