MICHELLE ENGLISH: Greetings. And thank you for coming to today's MIT Starr Forum, Rebel Power, Why National Movements Compete, Fight, and Win. I'm Michelle English from the MIT Center for International Studies. The center sponsors these amazing Starr Forums and also is home to many global research programs and speaking series. You can learn more about the work being done at CIS, as well as upcoming Starr Forums, by signing up to receive our email notices at our information table.
Today's talk is a book talk. And if you haven't already, please take time to purchase a book from the MIT Coop in the back of the room. We will first hear from the author who will then be joined by a discussant. And we will end with a question and answer session with the audience. For the Q&A, I just want to remind everyone to please line up behind the mics and please ask just one question for sake of time.
The discussant for today's talk is Roger Petersen. Professor Petersen has taught at MIT since 2001 and is the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science. His work focuses on within-state conflict and violence. He has written three books and is currently working on a manuscript entitled, A Social Science Guide to the Iraq Conflict. He teaches classes on military intervention, conflict and violence, and emotions in politics. Professor Petersen will introduce our guest speaker at this time. Please join me in welcoming Roger Petersen.
ROGER PETERSEN: Thanks, Michelle. It's always a pleasure to have one of our former students and see one of our dissertations that was supervised here at the Security Studies Program become an influential book in the field. So this is a real honor to be able to come here and participate in this. So just a couple words about Peter's research. He focuses on international security, Middle East politics, terrorism, political violence, national movements.
And so this is the book he has, The Rebel Power, which we're going to discuss today. He also has co-edited a volume entitled, Coercion: The Power to Hurt in International Politics, which is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. He's previously published articles, or has articles forthcoming, on the effectiveness of terrorism, social movements and territorial control, US intervention in the Syrian Civil War, which might be worthy of a question or two at the end here, the politics of division within the Palestinian national movement, the war of ideas in the Middle East, and also things more specific like the reassessment of US operations at Tora Bora in 2001.
Peter is a faculty associate in the National Studies Program and the Islamic Civilization and Societies Program at Boston College. He's also a Research Affiliate here at MIT with the Security Studies Program. The most important quality that Peter has, in my estimation, is when he was a student here. He was captain of our softball team, which did quite well. And Peter was so good that he earned the nickname, Big Papi Peter Krause. So I think his abilities in social science are as good as his hitting and fielding. So we'll turn it over to Peter with that.
PETER KRAUSE: Thank you so much. And actually, I didn't ask this before, but do you guys want me to stand behind the podium, or can I move around? I can move around. Great because I like to move around. Excellent. Well, it's such an honor to be here.
As Roger mentioned, and Michelle mentioned, I got my PhD here at MIT in 2011. I remain a Research Affiliate in the Security Studies Program. And it's just an honor to be close by in Boston. I'm an Assistant Professor down the road at Boston College. And it's just always a pleasure to come back and engage with the MIT community, which to my mind, is both the most humble intellectual community but also the most high powered intellectually.
So I really look forward to the Q&A and the discussion at the end of the talk, emailing me afterwards if you have questions. I'm just going to talk for about 15 or 20 minutes about my book. Obviously, I can't give you the whole run of the mill in terms of what it's about, but I'll give you some of the basics. Some of the rest will come up with Roger.
But I want to try to entice you to, hopefully, read the book, which would be the most important thing to me, but also, hopefully, teach you a little bit about why political violence and terrorism happens. Why when we see the Kurds or Catalonia today trying to get a state, are they likely to be successful or not. Let's talk a little bit about Middle East politics. So I'll go into each one of these things in the course of the little time that I have here.
So my book actually starts with a story of four individuals. And you might not recognize these four people. This is how they actually roughly look today. I interviewed and spoke with all four of them in the course of my research. But if you don't recognize them, you might recognize them if we look at them. Maybe they were more famous or perhaps infamous from your perspective.
The upper left hand corner, this is Leila Khaled. Leila Khaled was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or the PFLP. She was involved in a multi-airplane hijacking in 1970 designed to try to coerce the Israelis as well as, to some extent, the Jordanian monarchy in 1970 of September.
Upper right hand corner, this is Zohra Drif. Zohra was a member of the FLN, the major organization that fought for independence of Algeria against France from 1954 to 1962. If you guys haven't seen the movie, Battle of Algiers, by many it's considered to be maybe the best film on insurgency in broader national movements. It was actually made four years after Algeria got their independence. So a lot of the extras in the film are Algerians who actually struggled against the French.
Zohra was the one who actually put the bomb in the Milk Bar. So, think, a malt shop from Greece or something like that actually killed and wounded a number of civilians. She was taken prisoner. This is her here being taken prisoner by the French. But she was released in 1962 when Algeria got their independence from France, became the Vice-President of the Algerian Senate, and that's where she was when I met with her in Algiers a couple of years ago.
Bottom left hand corner, this is Yoske Nachmias. Yoske was a member of the Etzel, or the Irgun, which was a right wing Zionist militia that fought against the British as well as against the local Arab/Palestinian population for the independence of Israel. He also faced off against his brother, who is in a rival Zionist militia, on the beaches of Tel Aviv in 1948 in a struggle over, in many ways, who would control the broader Zionist movement and the new fledgling Israeli state.
Finally, the bottom right hand corner. This might be the person you're most familiar with. This is Gerry Adams. Gerry Adams is currently the head of Sinn Fein, one of the largest political parties in Northern Ireland. By many accounts, he was also a member of the Irish Republican Army, or the IRA. And I actually was in a march with him to Bodenstown, which is basically this grave of Wolfe Tone, a guy who's seen as the godfather of Irish republicanism.
Now, the reason my book starts with the story of these four individuals, in their broader sense, starts with the movements that they're part of, is because they have variation. Variation in outcome. If we look at the four of these individuals, Zohra and Yoske both, in a large sense, succeeded collectively. There's a state of Israel today. There's a state of Algeria today. Certainly for Algeria, and somewhat for Israel, on the map that those individuals wanted for their state.
But if we look at the Palestinians, or even if we look at Gerry Adams and the Northern Irish, we don't have a Palestinian state in a real way today. And Northern Ireland remains part of the UK, not part of Ireland. So in that sense, my book, first and foremost, is trying to explain that variation. Why some nations get states and others don't. And again, hopefully I don't have to convince you, but this is certainly a live issue today as well.
Whether we look at Scotland where they had a referendum in 2014 for independence, or we look at the Kurds in Northern Iraq who voted 93% for an independent Iraqi Kurdistan, or we look at Catalonia in Spain, or the most recent new state, South Sudan, national movements are with us today all over the place. In fact, on this map, anywhere you see a yellow shaded country, there is an ongoing secessionist movement there. Now, some of them like in the United States or maybe Texas or Alaska, which are not necessarily going to be very likely to succeed, but others are quite active and often quite violent national movements today.
In terms of statistics, there have been hundreds of national movements historically. There are hundreds today. Worth noting, Bridget Coggins at UCSD in San Diego found that about a third of the actual movements succeed historically. So we're trying to explain that variation in many ways.
The other key thing I want to do-- and I'm not the first person to say this at all. In fact, people like Roger and others have written about this for a long time. When we think about national movements-- even though we have this idea of a collective fist fighting for independence, in reality, it actually looks much more like this, where there are multiple factions and organizations all inside of these movements, simultaneously striving for that common goal of independence while they're also organizationally fighting over who's going to lead that movement and ultimately lead the new state.
So I show you the individuals here next to the icon of their organizations. In fact, if I took this slide and just did the Palestinian national movement, it would be covered with over 15 to 20 organizations. So these are just a couple of the organizations inside of each of these national movements.
The other question that my book answers is not just when national movements succeed collectively, but it's also why organizations within them opt for violent or nonviolent tactics. And then, why also they opt for negotiating with the potential regime or-- I had to make up my own icon here. This is spoiling. So spoiling in political science basically means someone from your broader movement is trying to negotiate with the state. But you don't want those negotiations to happen. So you set a bombing up, or you do something where you're stabbing them in the back or basically driving a wedge of mistrust so the two sides won't talk, and ultimately there won't be a negotiated peace. So I'm also trying to answer that question.
Now, a little bit about my theory. Whether you're a sports fan or not, hopefully you can understand this analogy. Think in terms of political debates or otherwise. But let's just take a look at this scoreboard for a moment. This is a basketball scoreboard, the fourth quarter, there's about 58 seconds left. So the game is almost over. One team is winning 104 to 89.
What I want to know is, what's the strategy of either one of those teams? Tell me either the home team who is up 15 points, or the away team who is down 15, what would they do in this scenario? It's not rhetorical. Let me see a hand. What do you say, sir?
AUDIENCE: They're going to stall.
PETER KRAUSE: Who's going to stall?
AUDIENCE: The home team.
PETER KRAUSE: So the home team is going to stall? What are they going to do?
PETER KRAUSE: So they're going to sit there, and they're going to throw the ball. They're going to do the four corners offense from Dean Smith. They're basically going to try to run out the clock. Why, because they're on top. They're in line to win the game. In any basketball league, you don't get more points for winning by 15 points versus two points. It's a winner take all scenario. You're on top. You just want to run out the clock, keep things as they are, be very status quo.
What's the away team going to do in this scenario? They're going to foul. They're going to foul the other team. How are they going to shoot? What type of shots are they going to take? Three pointers. Now, three pointers go in less often, but they're worth more points. Following that strategy of fouling, trying to take three pointers, actually makes it more likely the away team will lose by even more than 15 points. But it gives them a slightly larger chance that they'll actually come back and win.
Now, that's exactly what we're talking about in terms of the strategy that people take based on their position and their incentive structure. The home team, they're very risk averse. They're very status quo. The away team, very risk accepting, going to do these types of things. If you ever watch a sporting game where at the end, all of a sudden, this team goes up 105 to 104 with two or three seconds left. It's fascinating because the strategies switch immediately. And now, all of a sudden, the team that's down, starts fouling, and the team that all of a sudden just came on top, tries to run out the clock.
AUDIENCE: Do you mean fouling or drawing the foul?
PETER KRAUSE: Fouling. So if you're behind, you're actually fouling the other team because it stops the clock. They shoot free throws. They're probably going to make them. But if they miss them, you, all of a sudden, get the ball and get a chance to come back up.
AUDIENCE: If you draw a foul, that's even better.
PETER KRAUSE: Sure. You could do that as well. Now, let's talk about this in the context of national movements and political violence. What I do is I take all the organizations inside a national movement, and I rank them by their relative strength. So if you are the strongest group in your national movement, I call you either a hegemon or a leader. I call you a hegemon if there's no organization at least one third as strong as you are.
You're a leader if there is a group at least one third as strong, and that would be called a challenger. Subordinate organizations are ones that aren't at least a third as strong as the top group, and they're much weaker, more marginal players. This has presented a couple of subfields. If you look at party systems, a lot of comparative politics looks and says, is this a one party system, a two party system? How many parties are there in the United States today?
PETER KRAUSE: A lot. Hundreds.
PETER KRAUSE: And then someone said, two because there's two that matter. So that's the same idea. We have the Libertarians, the Greens, the Democrats, the Republicans. But in the broad sense, it seems like two that matter at least in terms of winning most elections, or having a significant chance too, especially at the national level.
Now, I make the same argument regarding national movements to say, I'm not looking at all factions. I'm not looking at all organizations. I'm looking at the ones that have significant numbers. And I measure power by saying membership size, funding, popular support, or vote share in elections. And what I do from that, is I make a couple of arguments.
First and foremost, I argue the stronger organizations are more likely to be in line to organizationally benefit from independence than weaker groups are. So what they're basically saying is, if I'm the strongest group at the moment we get independence, I'm likely to win an election that happens thereafter or win a civil war against these other factions if that happens.
And so what does that mean? That means that I'm going to be a little bit more status quo, a little bit more risk averse because I want to maintain my position on top. Also in terms of the cost from violence, I know that if the regime is going to crack down and repress in response to, say, a terrorist attack, they're often going to go after the strongest organization because they're the people the regime knows or because they feel like we have to do something. These are the only people we can lash out at, or we see them as the biggest threat.
If you're a weaker organization, like a challenger, the story is reversed. You are actually not in line to benefit organizationally very much from success. You'll get independence. You'll get citizenship in your new state. You'll get these broader public goods. But the private goods, the organizational goodies, those are the ones that go to the stronger groups. So you actually have incentives to be very risk acceptant, to use things like violent attacks or trying to spoil negotiations until you are able to actually become on top. And then, all of a sudden, you want victory to occur at that point.
And so that's the predictions I'm making. Which groups are likely to pursue victory and success? The strong groups. The hegemons and the leaders. Which ones are likely to initiate escalatory violence like terrorist attacks or insurgent attacks? The weaker organizations. And that's the basic story.
And there's a broader saying for that, where you stand depends on where you sit. It's called Miles' Law. It was based on the idea that if you're the Assistant Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of State or the Vice President, you might have your own personal feelings about policy, but some of the policies that you actually push for are going to be based on your position in government. I'm making the same argument, where you stand on violence and victory for these organizations depends on where they sit in the hierarchy of their movement.
Now, the only other broader argument I make is about which movements succeed and fail. And I say that basically like a stoplight here. The green ones, the hegemonic movements, are the most likely to get independence. The reason being that their internal environment is noncompetitive because you have one dominant faction. And you might have 20 or 30 other factions, but they don't really have a chance or a prayer to unseat that top dog.
And so what happens is they have a cohesive strategy as a movement. They have clear signaling. And there's less blood and treasure spent on internal flights instead of external ones. On the other side of the coin, if you have two or more significant groups, whether they're united or not, they're going to spend a lot of their time fighting one another, not having clear signaling, and ultimately being less effective or less likely to get an independent state.
Now, how did I go about empirically trying to assess or test these arguments? First, I did interviews. I interviewed about 150 people from all these different movements, Members of the Palestinian national movement, the Zionist movement, the Algerian, the Irish movement. I lived in about seven different countries throughout the Middle East and Europe. I spent time in about nine different archives.
I worked both in the archives of these organizations, so I looked at, say, the Haganah Archives, which was one of the Zionist militias. But I also looked at, say, the British Archives to get the state perspective on these fights. And then, what I was gathering was information that allowed me to make charts like this where I gathered up the information on the number of members, the amount of money, the popular support for these groups, which, again, is difficult to get.
When I started this project, I knew I wanted to capture this info. But there's no data sets out there that have this in full, group strength by year within these movements. So I'm able to create something like this, and this allows me to test both of my predictions. First, my prediction about which groups are going to use violence or which going to pursue victory, I'm going to say that these organizations over here, that are challenges or subordinates, they're the ones who are likely to escalate and use types of risky violence. Whereas these groups up top, the leaders or the hegemons, they're more likely to restrain that violence.
At the same time, in terms of success or failure, I'm going to argue that this movement is more likely to be unsuccessful during this period here because there's no hegemon. It's a leader plus some challengers and some subordinates. Whereas in this period, when there is a hegemon, that's when they're most likely to have their highest rate of relative success.
How does this actually play out? I'll just give you a couple of snippets from a couple of the cases and then wrap up, and we'll go to discussion. In terms of Fatah's case, this is from the Institute for Palestine Studies. It's one of Fatah's documents, talking about launching armed struggle against Israel on January 1, 1965. And what they say is, there must be a period in which the armed revolutionary vanguard tries to embody its real struggle in front of the public sector so that it can attract them in the end.
When Fatah decided to launch their first attack against Israel in 1965, they had fewer than 30 trained fighters. They didn't have a lot of weapons. But the reason they did that is they looked and saw, hey, guess what, the PLO, and the PFLP, and the ANM, they are stronger than us. And so we need to do something to get notoriety, to get popular support, even if strategically it doesn't make sense.
So they start launching attacks against the Israelis that helped to contribute to the start of the '67 war, which is a disaster for the Palestinians and their Arab supporters. But organizationally, it potentially helps Fatah, which is one of the reasons the violence is launched when it is. In terms of present day, what's fascinating is that you see a group like Hamas. So Hamas, generally thought of as being a religious organization, maybe a much more extreme organization, certainly has launched a series of terrorist attacks over the past couple of decades.
And yet, just a couple of years ago-- and in fact, we could find headlines like this today, Hamas arrests some Palestinians who are launching rockets against the Israelis. And that just totally seems crazy. It's like Hamas is arresting Palestinians launching rockets against the Israelis. Why are they doing this? Well, they're doing it because about 10 years ago, they gained control of Gaza. And by controlling Gaza, what happens is, number one, they're now in line to benefit if Gaza becomes an autonomous Palestinian area or potentially part of a Palestinian state.
But also, if rockets are launched into Israel, the Israelis have one address that they respond against, which is Hamas. So they're going to pay the cost of those groups doing that, so they're the ones who are cracking down. Where you stand depends on where you sit. What about the Zionist movement? I can do the same thing in terms of hierarchy. Now, unlike the Palestinians, there's less up and down.
The Haganah was always this very strong, if not the dominant, militant organization, whereas the Irgun and the Lehi were much weaker. But the same predictions hold true. The Haganah's main strategy was called Havlagah, which in Hebrew means restraint. And so they were actively using violence at times but either in consultation with the British or against military forces for the most part, whereas the Lehi was assassinating British officials.
And the Irgun was sometimes putting bombs in Palestinian and Arab marketplaces and on trains vis-a-vis the Haganah who was calling that terrorism, denouncing them, and then in some periods, arresting other members of the Zionist movement because they wanted to restrain this stuff. Here's a quote that, in some ways, personifies this. When the leaders of the Lehi and the Irgun got together and started talking about British evacuating, which was a necessary condition to get the state of Israel, they said the following.
"In the meeting with Menachem Begin-- who later on was the Prime Minister of Israel but at the time was the leader of the Irgun. I suggested that we deliberate on the question whether, from our perspective, such an evacuation would be premature, as the underground organizations had not come to the point where they could fill the governmental gap that would be created with the British evacuation. Would it not be worth our while, in light of this, to slow down the pace of our war and acquire more time to consolidate power?"
Now, that's fascinating because these are all Zionist organizations whose number one goal is, supposedly, founding the state of Israel. And yet here we have two of the three militant organizations saying, maybe we should slow our role on the British leaving, not because that's going to make it less likely we get Israel, but because us, organizationally, we are not ready to assume the mantle of governing. Instead, it's going to be the Haganah and the Labor Zionists. We could see the same thing with the Algerians.
Who launches the revolution against the French? It's the FLN when they are actually a weaker challenger. But ultimately, even though they were initially killing people for negotiating with the French or whatever else, once they become the hegemon, actually by physically eliminating a lot of these factions, now, they're saying, we'll talk to De Gaulle. We'll talk to you, France, about an independent Algeria. And the French look everywhere else. They want to talk to anyone else but the FLN. But they're the only game in town, and that's one of the main reasons they get independence in 1962.
In terms of violence, look at the violence against civilians, which is the small dotted line here, versus the violence against security forces with a solid line here. This is data I found in the French Archives in Aix-en-Provence. All I did was put on top when the movement was fragmented and when it was hegemonic. And it matches up pretty well in terms of in the earlier period when you have a fragmented movement, much of the violence is against civilians, Algerian, French, and some of the Colognes who are there.
After it becomes hegemonic, there's still violence against civilians, but much more of it is against security forces. So to conclude in terms of some of the data, what do I see overall in terms of my findings in the book? And a lot of this is talked about in the conclusion chapter. There's 44 different campaigns that these four movements launched. And what I find, just in terms of crosstabs, is that if you're hegemonic, it's no guarantee you'll get independence. In fact, only 40% of the time did people get independence being hegemons.
But they got it 0% of the time if they were united or fragmented with multiple significant factions. Secondly, in terms of getting any success, like some degree of recognition or autonomous territorial control, you can get success at any level, but again, much more likely if you're hegemonic. In terms of the organizations themselves, again, the pattern fits the basic assumptions. Again, there's no laws in social science, so there's exceptions to all this stuff.
But in the basic sense, who's using violence and escalating it? It's the challengers half the time. Still, some hegemons do but a much smaller percentage. Who's restraining violence? The hegemons and leaders. Who's negotiating the top groups? Who's spoiling negotiations? Again, not most of the time, but more often these guys, the weaker organizations.
So to conclude, what are the policy implications of this? If I'm talking to governments about this, or I'm talking to movements about this, again, both the US, or others depending on whether you're supportive of it, have backed national movements, have fought national movements. So my book isn't just giving one perspective on that stuff. You can apply it regardless of your political predispositions.
A couple of things. First and foremost, in terms of US involvement in the Middle East in particular, I think it's fair to say whether Syria or Iraq or Libya or elsewhere, regardless of which political party has been in power otherwise, those interventions have mostly been disasters in terms of achieving the objective that the United States wanted to achieve. And I think my book gives a unique insight on why that is.
The US is often trying to do three things in these countries, at least rhetorically. Number one, try to cramp down on violence, whether it terrorism or insurgency. Number two, trying to defeat or support some insurgency for victory. And number three, at least rhetorically, trying to support democratization. My argument is that you need different movement structures to achieve those three goals.
So if you are trying to prevent violence, you actually want to fight a hegemonic movement that doesn't have that internal dynamic of fighting and competing. But if you want to defeat that movement, you do want it to be fragmented. So the challenge is, if you're trying to tamp down violence and defeat a movement, it calls for different strategies. What if you're supporting a movement, and you want it to be a democracy thereafter. If you want it to win, you want it to be hegemonic. But if you want it to actually be a democracy thereafter, you want it to be fragmented because if not, you get Algeria.
You know who runs Algeria today? The FLN. It's been over 70 years since independence, and that's because they were the only game in town when independence happened. They set up basically a one party state. So there's challenges there in terms of achieving those three different things. In terms of the stuff the US has tried to do in Syria, trying to have unity among the factions, I think, honestly, that's mostly a waste of time. I find again and again alliances between militant factions are fleeting or don't actually get realized. They don't really change group behavior.
So really, what you need is, honestly, either a merger or sometimes, honestly, a bloody destruction of another faction. So now, all of a sudden, you have hegemony. Finally, in terms of next projects, I have assumptions about which groups actually inherit the spoils of victory. But I didn't have any empirical evidence when I started this book.
My next book actually tries to answer that and says, if you overthrow Bashar al-Assad, or you overthrew the Shah in Iran or whatever else, which organization is likely to take power, the most ideologically extreme one, the one that's the best organizationally, the ones that use violence or nonviolence? I'd be happy to talk about that. But with that, I will conclude. Thank you guys so much.
ROGER PETERSEN: So I just want to press Peter on a few things. So the first thing I want to do is talk about a couple of his findings. So I think the major positive finding he has is that hegemonic national movements are far more likely than united or fragmented movements to, one, restrain the violence, to negotiate, and to pursue national independence in a very focused way. And that all leads to higher chances of strategic success.
So I'm not sure this is so surprising, in some ways, that a hegemonic movement is better at doing these things than a fragmented movement. I actually find another finding much more stunning, and that is the finding about the united movements. For Peter, united movements are those where you can connect all the challengers in a single alliance. And he finds that they're no better than fragmented movements.
So there's a pretty bold statement here. But alliances between non-state actors are generally so weak and wracked by commitment problems and struggles over relative power, that united movements are often not much different in their actions or outcomes than fragmented movements. So in this table, you don't predict any different behavior, really, from fragmented to united movements.
So just to get a little bit more on the fact that Peter finds that alliances are not really very important in national movements. He has no support for slogans like unity through diversity, diversity is strength. His actual slogans are victory through hegemony and hegemony is strength. And so the strong assumption about political behavior alliances-- this is from page 19. Alliances have comparatively little impact. In an alliance, individuals are generally loyal to their group first. So if you could just say a few more things on that finding, and if you've gotten any pushback from it. And why is it that something we generally think of as positive is not positive.
PETER KRAUSE: So that's an outstanding question. So Roger was actually on my dissertation committee. So the challenge continues, which is great. But Roger also knows, even better than I do, the literature that I'm responding to. And so that's a great question because it's correct to say, I think, hegemonic versus fragmented, that seems to intuitively be right that a divided movement wouldn't be as successful.
Now, I will say, one of the most prominent articles to come out in recent years in the APSR, which is the top political science journal, said that fragment movements were more successful, by a professor at the University of Maryland, Kathleen Cunningham. So in some ways, I was responding to that. But I agree with Roger, the general sentiment is more that the ones that aren't fragmented will do better.
But he's also correct that my main contribution is to say, the ones that do better, that aren't fragmented, aren't united ones. So most people I've written about this to this point, would make that dichotomy and say, your movement's either united or it's fragmented. And my contribution is to say, there's actually not a big difference with those. They're pretty similar in terms of how many significant members they have, two or more. I'm saying the key difference is hegemonic.
So that, I think, you're right to say, in terms of the literature, that's my main contribution. I'll talk a little bit about evidence of that, and some pushback from it. So in terms of evidence, I think it fits in-- I can't remember if he was one of your mentors, Mearsheimer. He was definitely on your committee or someone-- But John Mearsheimer is a very prominent person in international relations. One of his famous books is called, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.
And I actually use in my book a saying where I say, this is the tragedy of national movements. It's not a nice story in the sense that-- I would much rather tell the story of all these organizations that can come together and unite, and say, we're going to work together but keep our own independence and autonomy. And then, we'll succeed and we'll win. And that does happen sometimes.
But unfortunately, unlike a state which has these strong institutions and things that make it so you can compete in an election, but you're still not killing each other, in national movements, which are often happening amidst civil wars or insurgencies, that's not the case. So competition is often much bloodier, and it often means that when you say you're going to work together, you're not.
So going through the Palestinian example, I counted over 35 different alliances that the group said were going to lead to changes in strategy or effectiveness. And more than half of them had a name but never actually led to anything. And the ones that actually had meetings and whatnot, the groups would still mostly do whatever the heck they wanted to do anyway. And so that's why I say alliances don't seem to make that much of a difference.
Today, you guys have probably seen the news. Fatah and Hamas are talking about some new agreement that's going to be in Gaza. And I'm happy to talk about that extensively. I've written some op-eds on previous attempts of this agreement. And my answer is simply this. I think that in Gaza, it'll change a little bit in terms of having the PA ruling and controlling some of the border crossings into Gaza.
But in the broader sense of the Palestinian movement being successful or unsuccessful, it's going to have zero impact because guess what? They're still talking about when they're going to have elections. Do you think either Fatah and Hamas are going to let elections happen if they think they're going to lose those elections? Most likely not. And so what happens is, if you don't have these state institutions to mold and shape competition, much of that competition is often ineffective and counterproductive. And I don't find alliances being that important.
Now, the one caveat I'll say to Roger's question is, I think you could have certain types of alliances that are stronger than others. That's why I say something like a merger. So for example, the FLN with Algeria, what they did to other groups is they would physically eliminate and kill some of them. But then they would say to the members of the other groups, you can join the FLN. But you can't join it as an organization. You join in as individuals, and now you're a member of the FLN.
And so, actually, one of their key leaders, Ferhat Abbas, who is a leader of a rival group, became a strong political leader inside the FLN. That works because now you're in this same institution working together. When it's multiple autonomous groups saying they're going to work together, the ties to want to do your own thing and get your own spoils, to me, are most often too strong. So even though I do see a slight difference-- that's why I put united as orange and fragmented as red there. The much bigger difference is hegemonic.
I faced some pushback on this because there are a number of scholars-- I mean, Fortini has been very supportive. But another great professor here, Fotini Christia, wrote an world winning book on alliances and civil wars. A lot of people's research looks at alliances, and how they change and shift. And to some extent I'm saying, that's nice. But it doesn't matter that much for outcome. So I do face some pushback there. And I have some reviews coming, so we'll have to see what people say.
ROGER PETERSEN: Well, Peter and I have known each other a little too long because my second point was about mergers, which he's already addressed in his comeback here. But let me press you on mergers a little bit because your theory is that groups will ally, but then they won't give up much power within that alliance. But groups will also merge. It seems to me like they're giving up pretty much total control. You also had the example of the Nicaraguan groups merging into the FSLN.
So this merger, I think, is a critical part of your story because it can be a really efficient path from going from multiple groups to hegemony. But the puzzle still is, why would groups give up almost total power in a merger while they refuse to give up limited powers in an alliance?
PETER KRAUSE: Great question. And the answer is, they mostly don't. And that allows me to expand on the previous thing I was saying which is, the tragedy of national movements is that when I interviewed these people, almost to a person, they either knew or agreed with my argument once I presented it to them. But what they would say is, yes, and we should be the hegemon. So all these groups think, yes, we need one strong, dominant actor, but they all think it should be them. So they basically say to everyone else, merge under our umbrella, merge under us. And they say, no, you merge under us.
And so that's the real challenge is that, you're right, in alliances they won't give up much power. So mergers, for the most part, I don't find are voluntary or anything that groups are willingly going into. And they're, in fact, quite rare. So when do they happen? In these somewhat rare scenarios, like in the Algeria case where the FLN is basically destroying, physically killing members of these groups, and members of the groups look around and they're like, hey, I could stay part of this group that's going to basically eventually be exterminated, or I can throw my lot in with these guys and at least have a somewhat better shot.
So my book really looks at organizations as a unit of analysis. But there is this individual level story here that I think somewhat parallels it. So when Ferhat Abbas goes from his group to the FLN, he does it, in part, because they promised him a prominent political position. So that's when I think mergers happen. But to your question, I think, you're right, it would be a puzzle if it happened a lot, but it doesn't. And it would also be a puzzle if groups were just willingly doing this. Instead, they're constantly saying to the other, we want to swallow you.
So the Irgun and the Haganah, those two Zionist organizations, in the late '30s, the Irgun thought they would swallow the Haganah. And so David Ben-Gurion was talking about negotiations between the Haganah and the Irgun, and he was like, look, we're not negotiating with the Irgun at all, unless, ultimately, they're going to join our group. Whereas some of the leaders of the Irgun, like Jabotinsky and others, were saying, no, the reality is we're going to swallow you guys. So it's like corporations talking about who's going to swallow and eat the other one. Same idea here. Everyone wants to be the one who you merge into, not who you merge into someone else's group.
ROGER PETERSEN: So let me follow up one more on this with the policy prescription that follows from it. So the prescription is, if we want to help a group coherently gain and negotiate a deal where they get some autonomy or national independence, in some cases, that we need a hegemonic movement to do that. But the prescription then, is it to actually encourage the elimination of challengers leaving one group standing as the hegemon?
If you look at the International Crisis Group reports, all the time, their recommendation always is that we should be inclusive, have allies come together, have them all represent their opinions. And then, there's a value of multilateralism here. So is it realistic to really-- is a policy to be promoting hegemony instead of alliances, giving existing Western norms and rhetoric?
PETER KRAUSE: It's a great question. And I'm certainly someone who considers myself a small-l liberal who likes the idea of diversity, likes the idea of democracy, thinks that should be a goal for not only our society but for others. I think you put your finger right on the catch-22 I talked about, which is, if the society you want after independence is a democracy or one with pluralism, you do want to have diversity. You do want to have multiple significant factions because, again, I don't find any selfless organizations.
It's not that groups are saying, oh, yes, I want to have this competitor. All of them would like to, in many ways, have a one party state, or at least one in which they're dominated. So you really need some type of viable competitor to have it so they're competing over your votes or whatever else in terms of democracy. The challenge is, I would say, you're not going to get victory as often if you do that.
So what I would say is the following. Number one, push for diversity at the individual level, less so at the organizational level at least in terms of a national movement if you want it to be successful. So try to have various viewpoints expressed but inside a single cohesive organization instead of competing ones. That's number one. If you can't do that, one of the best books that my book engages with is by a professor at Northwestern named Wendy Pearlman. And she talks a lot about how having strong pre-state institutions can make a difference in terms of how movements succeed or fail.
So I would say that's not a bad way to go either. You can mitigate some of these alliance problems if you have strong pre-state institutions. I'll give you an example. You might have looked at that chart with the Zionists and said, hey, the Haganah, the Labor Zionists are on top. How did they get there? What's really fascinating is all the groups compete, but they compete using different things.
In the case of the Zionists, how did the Labor Zionists become number one? Land and immigration. They were able to control Aliyah, which was Jewish immigration to the Yishuv, by getting about 75% of the certificates from the British to determine which Jews got to go to the Palestine mandate. And guess what? They didn't hold random draws in Eastern Europe for who got to go. They took members of their youth group or people who supported their parties. That's how they became dominant.
They also established kibbutzim, these collective farming areas that have land and territory. And by doing that, like a political party, they're delivering to the population, the Yishuv. That's why they get popular support. That's why they become stronger. In the case of the Palestinians, Mahmoud Abbas would love to compete over territorial control. But he just, for a variety of reasons, doesn't have the ability really to do so. So a lot of the competition that happens among the Palestinians is by means, like violence, as opposed to ends, like delivering land or immigration.
So the long and short to your question is, I think diversity matters. It certainly matters for the society thereafter. But if you don't have these strong institutions, or you don't have this type of competition, it can go poorly. And you might ultimately not get success in the first place. So you're putting the cart before the horse.
ROGER PETERSEN: Are we taking questions at the end?
PETER KRAUSE: Whatever Michelle says.
ROGER PETERSEN: I'll finish, and then we'll have [INAUDIBLE] or [INAUDIBLE]. So let me just switch over then to violence and terrorism. So you have a pretty strong statement here that terrorism is driven by movement structure. It's not driven by ideology. It's not driven by desperation or things like that. You can predict terrorism by the structure of the movement, whether there's a hegemon, fragmented or united.
You also say that nonviolence was not the key to success for these movements. In fact, there were massive amounts of violence in them. So I think you have an argument here about counterproductive violence, that in-fighting against the other group is counterproductive, outbidding because that's not really about the goals of the group, but just to put your flag down as a serious player, like in your Fatah example when they had 30 people.
But then, this starts to set up a categorization of violence where you have counterproductive violence, of infighting and outbidding, and then, nonviolence though, is not a key to success. So in between there is productive violence. And so what you are, Peter, is an advocate against nonviolence and for productive forms of violence. Is that correct?
PETER KRAUSE: I feel like I'm being grilled here on a jury panel or something. So that's a great question by the way. First answer to it. In terms of the types of violence, and why that matters, and why it happens, I want to make sure I give scope conditions for my arguments because I'm not saying I can explain all terrorism or anything like that.
The violence that I'm talking about is escalatory violence. And I define that a couple of ways. Number one, a group using violence, if up to that point, no other groups are using violence. So when there's no violence, and, all of a sudden, someone launches the first attack, I code and think I can analyze that. Secondly, qualitatively, a group using a new type of violence that's an escalation, that's qualitatively different.
So examples. When Fatah's using violence in '65 when no Palestinian groups are, that's the quantitative difference, from nothing to something. What the PFLP does with Leila Khaled, that's a qualitative difference where no one was doing hijackings before. Now, all of a sudden, they're doing hijackings. So I think my argument, again, not all the time but probabilistically, can identify which types of groups are more likely to take those risks and do violence when there wasn't or types of violence that was not being done before.
Now, in terms of violence and nonviolence-- again, I'm referencing some other people, great books. You should check this out. Erica Chenoweth with Maria Stephan wrote an outstanding book, won a lot of awards about the effectiveness of nonviolence. And basically said, for social movements, of which my stuff is a subset, nonviolent movements are more successful than violent ones. So that would seem to be a counterargument to what I'm suggesting.
In fact, though, if you look at, not the fine print but some of the smaller stuff that they talk about, the one exception they find to movements that are successful or unsuccessful, violent and nonviolent is for secessionist movements, which is another way of saying national movements. So they don't hand out states on street corners. These are not easy things to get. As I showed you guys at the outset, only about a third of nations actually get states. And so for that reason, are there some examples of fully nonviolent national movements? Yes.
Do the majority, and if not the vast majority, of national movements have some, if not a lot, of violence involved? Yes, they do. And so it's not that I'm advocating for it. Again, to the best I can, and we can debate this, I don't consider myself to be someone who's advocating for any of these movements individually or collectively for success and failure. I'm just trying to tell you when they're likely to succeed or not. And I do find that violence often is a necessary condition.
Now, the final question you're asking is, I'm differentiating types of violence, counterproductive violence versus productive violence. That's a little harder to distinguish in practice. But the basic way I do it is to say, if you are using violence against civilians, I find that to be less effective than against security forces. And if you're using violence against your coethnics or your conationals, that's generally counterproductive. But this is the hard part. Until you're at the point that you're eliminating rivals, and then it can work.
So that's the challenge. The FLN took a gamble in Algeria where they started killing the other members of these groups. Because for a while, that bogged down the Algerian revolt. They did worse. The French were kicking their butts on the battlefield, in part, because of a lot of that internal squabbling. But the FLN pushed onto the point. They basically physically eliminated any significant rivals, and that's why they set themselves up for winning.
A similar thing happened in Eritrea with the EPLF eliminating the ELF. For a while, they had a civil war. That was bad for the movement. But if you get to the point you eliminate them, you win. The problem with the Palestinians is that they've outbid and competed each other, but Fatah's never eliminated Hamas or vice versa, or the PFLP or vice versa.
So they constantly have this competitive movement where people are changing their position, the deck chairs of the Titanic, but that Titanic is still going down for the most part. So that's how I did it for those three parts. But those are great questions.
ROGER PETERSEN: Let me ask about one more, and then maybe we should turn it over for questions. But you talk about a Gramscian war of position at several stages. And it always sounds really intelligent to talk about Gramsci.
PETER KRAUSE: That's was I was going for.
ROGER PETERSEN: Forty years ago when I was a graduate student or whatever, this was how you impressed women at parties is to talk about Gramsci. But the idea on Gramsci is about hegemony, that things become common sense. And how does your common sense become the common sense? And one is you eliminate the other groups. This is the war of position.
The other thing, though, is you're just attacking the dominant hegemony, at the time, which is the war of movement, which in Peter's case, is the independent state saying the common sense is our state and not the one that you want to have. But something it's missing, I think in your book, is the quality of violence as part of this war on position. So example, ISIS their brutality markets itself to potential recruits. It's a form of outbidding, probably.
But alternatively, couldn't groups position themselves as nonviolent choices and have political marketing appeals? And who's the war of position against in this? Is it against other groups? Or how much of it is towards signals to the population?
Is it possible that in a Gramscian sense, a group could foster and develop a nonviolent hegemony, a belief in the pop target population, that nonviolence is the only way forward. Isn't that the way Gandhi acted? And is it really true that the nationalist secession movement in Catalonia-- are they going to see the same kind of ideas about the usefulness of violence? Or is this just a different kind of a secessionist movement?
PETER KRAUSE: So a lot of questions in there, but I'll take them quickly one by one. So first and foremost, regarding the whole idea of competing nonviolently, I totally agree with that. In fact, one of my working papers I have is to try to explain some of what I was saying to you guys before about in these movements competition is happening much of the time, especially if it's not hegemonic. But the nature of that competition changes. For the Algerians, a lot of the time, it's groups killing one another. For the Palestinians, it's, a lot of the time, outbidding by killing Israelis, but not as much each other.
For the Zionist groups, it's sometimes killing each other, although very rarely. That time when Yoske Nachmias faced off against his brother, there were 19 different Zionists who were killed, three from one group, 16 from another. But for the most part, the groups weren't fighting each other. They were competing nonviolently over land, immigration. And so one of the great questions is, why is that? Why does competition, even if it's happening in all these various cases, take on a different nature?
And that goes to your question. I think, absolutely, thinking from the idea of marketing or advertising, groups try to look at what can I do that differentiates me. Violence is one of those things, especially if no one's doing it. But if everyone's using violence, maybe it's the opposite, maybe nonviolence makes you stick out. So I'm totally open to that as a possibility. And again, I have this ongoing paper that looks at when it happens one versus the other.
In terms of talking about how you get Gramscian vision of like, what's the common sense argument? Or what's going to happen in Catalonia? I do think that in terms of this type of competition, I look and say, in the Irish case, you had the IRA and Sinn Fein who were competing violently within one wing of the movement, the Republicans. But then, you had the Social Democratic and Labor party. I talk a lot about them in the book, in the Irish case. They never used violence. They were always on top as a party, but they had a band of various tactics they would follow. And I'll close by explaining this.
Let me explain to you ISIS versus the SDLP. No one would do this comparison. It's a crazy one. ISIS is very extreme in terms of their ideology, in terms of their violence. SDLP is about the total other end of things. They're just running for office in Northern Ireland. They're not using violence. And so this is where I say, look, even though I'm arguing about the power of movement structure and the importance of power, I'm not saying ideology doesn't matter at all. I can never envision ISIS becoming the SDLP, or the SDLP becoming ISIS.
So the way I see it is this. The ideology that you have as an organization, it gives you a band of possible options. And then what I'm saying is, within that band of options, that's going to be driven by where you sit in your hierarchy. So for example with the SDLP, when they were winning all these elections, and Sinn Fein wasn't really competing in the elections, they were running for office. They were serving in their positions. They were negotiating with the British and the unionist Protestant groups.
The second Sinn Fein became a legitimate challenger, who was running in elections and beating them sometimes, they started abstaining. And what that means in the Irish case is you run in the elections, but you don't actually take your seats when you win. And that's their way of saying, we're going to do something more extreme to compete with these guys, but we're not going to start bombing churches or doing car bombs, things like that.
So again, to be fair in social science, there's no laws, other factors matter. It's not just balance of power like I'm talking about. But a lot of what I'm trying to show is how power can sometimes overwhelm ideology. But for something like ISIS, they're the most extreme example.
So do I think that when they've held territory the size of Indiana, like they did recently, versus losing all that territory, some of their tactics will change? I do. Do I ever expect them to become Weberian leaders of states and Democrats? I don't think that. So ideology still matters, but hopefully I've convinced you that power does as well. So thank you very much. So should I pick one side? Please, sir.
AUDIENCE: Thanks. We just got into what I was going to ask about which is, doesn't ideology matter? And because in a way-- and I follow your argument. It's a cynical view of national liberation movements, that they're just trying to see who can be the top dog. And so in relation to what you were just saying, don't we have to bring back into this picture the extent to which the goals, the objectives matter?
The goal of national liberation, does it matter at all? How is that part of this story, not to say that struggles for power don't have a very ugly dimension? And then the other thing is-- by the way, I met John Hume and Gerry Adams. An interesting story. But on our currency is the slogan E pluribus unum. So how about the American Revolution? How would you analyze that?
PETER KRAUSE: Love it. So on the first question, you're right. You could look at this-- and it is a cynical thing where I'm saying, look, these are organizations. They're self-interested. They're looking out for number one. And this whole idea of this glorious national liberation trying to have independence, it tamps down some of that. And that makes us uncomfortable. Certainly, if it's one you support.
I support the American Revolution. Some of my family background is Irish. I don't support the IRA, but the idea of independent Ireland, if not Northern Ireland, is something I probably would've been behind. And so to look at these organizations that made it happen, and say, they're just selfish, just doing stuff for themselves, that jars me a bit in terms of this stuff.
So I guess I'll say a couple of things. One is, just think about it in terms of politicians. When they're on the stump, what do they talk about? I'm going to give you better health care. I'm going to make it so your taxes are lower. I'm going have better schools. But what's the number one thing they care about? Getting re-elected, having their party or them personally do well.
And so it's not that they don't lead to good outcomes, sometimes. It's just the number one thing they care about is often that. And I don't think you ever go broke assuming that for these organizations as well. To be clear, I don't study any organization that doesn't honestly believe that they want independence. So that has to happen. I'm not just looking at groups-- and there are some of these, like on the battlefield in Syria-- who are just taking weapons, and then they're selling them. They're just making money. They don't care about some broader cause.
All of my groups do care about the cause, do consider themselves proudly, Palestinian, Zionist, Irish, Algerian, want the independent state. All I'm saying is when you go from individuals, who I often find are very selfless, individuals who are charging into a hail of bullets, or individuals who are out protesting against a dictatorship and recognizing they or their families can be disappeared, I'm the last person to ever say those people aren't incredibly selfless. They absolutely are doing selfless things for the broader cause, not necessarily for their organization.
It's just like when you think about corporations or organizations. There's a lot of research on this, but it goes to the lowest common denominator that everyone has in common, which is the power of that group. And so that's why I find if you assume that that's what these organizations are trying to do, you get a lot of insight into behavior that otherwise wouldn't fit with their public statements about what they're trying to achieve.
Now, in terms of the American Revolution, I actually do talk about them in the conclusion chapter of the book. I actually argue, it fits my argument. I think it's the first National Liberation Movement, and in many ways, it was successful. And I would argue it was hegemonic because it had the Continental Congress, the Continental Army. Now, to be clear, there were the Minutemen. There were local state militias.
But at the end of the day, they were under the broader umbrella and the broader command, in some ways, of Washington, the Continental Army. When it came time to do diplomacy for the French or otherwise, you're sending over Jefferson or Franklin or others that are giving a clear message about what the American Revolutionaries need. There aren't competing revolutionary groups going and talking to the French about what they need. They're not fighting each other. And that's one of the main reasons I would argue the American Revolution was successful.
Some of it was they were better on the battlefield than they would have been if they weren't cohesive. And some of it was getting French help or others that were also necessary conditions. That happened because they had that kind of hegemony, that kind of cohesive strategy. So I do think it fits the model. Yes, sir. Please.
AUDIENCE: Thank you for the talk. I really appreciated it. I've got a couple questions. So first of all, what are the costs for changing strategy once you become the hegemon? So I'm thinking about a group that's a little bit weaker. And as they're making their way up, they are, perhaps, using violence and attacking the other groups and making statements. They get to the top and, all of a sudden, they're like, we're going to restrain. We're going to hold back. How do they get the population to go along with them? How did they get their enemy state to be like, these are the real actors now?
And then, related to that question, something Roger was saying a little bit earlier-- I don't want to say you left it out, or you focused specifically on the movement. But with the rival states, how did they either try to legitimize or delegitimize the hegemon? Are there strategies where they're thinking, we've got one hegemon, let's just deal with them?
The reason I ask is, I've worked with, I think, one of your colleagues, Paul Staniland. So I was working with Paul on a project on groups in Northeast India. And a lot of these groups-- there's usually one big group in some of these Northeast states, and the government's like, we've got to deal with this group.
And then, there's these other little groups running around, and they delegitimize them. They push them to the side. But when they negotiate with the group, they end up trying to cause splits in the group, at least this is my reading of-- the Indian government tries to cause splits in the group, so that they can legitimize the moderates, get rid of the extremists. But that leads to more split groups. So I'm just wondering what your thoughts are on this?
PETER KRAUSE: Great questions. And Paul was a year ahead of me in the MIT program and was also a student of Roger's and great inspiration to me. So I'm glad you've done work with him. So I'll take the second question first. So you're absolutely right. You can't disaggregate and nuance everything. So I made the choice of saying, I'm going to disaggregate these movements and focus on the internal politics of them. And what suffers, to some extent, is I do less about the states and the internal politics of the state.
So if you're interested in that, there's a couple of great books on the internal politics of states for national movements. Hendrick Spruyt, also at Northwestern, and Ian Lustick at Penn both talk about why these movements succeed, but from the perspective of the state, and why they let these states, or these movements, become independent. Still, though, I do say some certain things about states.
So let's take the Algeria example. In the case of first the French before, and then after de Gaulle taking power in France in the late '50s, they tried everything they possibly could to fragment the opposition, to try to negotiate with one of the weaker groups to get a deal that was short of Algerian independence, to do all the type of stuff it sounds like what's happening in Northern India.
So I do find the states do that again and again. Ultimately, though, I think their success or failure is driven a lot by the movement structure. So they tried four different things with the Algerians. They tried to fragment the FLN and take some of the regional commanders and talk to them. Those guys got killed. It didn't go anywhere. They tried to reinvigorate the MNA, which is the rival that the FLN basically eliminated. That didn't going anywhere.
They tried to take former leaders of the MNA and form a new group, couple it with other minority groups, like the Jewish minority, and others who may be afraid of the FLN. That didn't go anywhere. I forget what the fourth one was, but I think basically, they tried to prop up elections or have new people arise, and the FLN boycotted that. And so that didn't work. At the end of the day, they had to negotiate with them.
The other way that states really play a role is a lot of people talk about them supporting these national movements. So a lot of people would say, well, the reason you get a state or not is if you have strong external support. And I think there's a lot of research that shows that. Again, I think my argument gives some interesting insights there. If you have a fragmented movement, then I consider it a buyer's market for foreign influence.
What I mean by that is, say I'm Iraq, and I want some influence with the Palestinians. I could go to, say, Fatah and say, I'm going to give you this money or these arms, but I want you to do xyz for me to get that stuff. Fatah says, no. We're not going to do that. That's against our interests. They can say, now I'm going to go to the PFLP. Now, I'm going to go to the ALF. And so they're able to call the tune. If you have a hegemonic movement, I find the opposite. Now, it's ultimately a seller's market for influence.
And so Fatah says, you can't go anywhere else. I'm the one stop shop. So now, I get all this support. But I get to determine what we're going to do, and that's based on the idea that many of these supportive states, maybe they want to help the movement. But a lot of time, they have their own purposes. When you can make a strong argument with the Palestinians, they haven't gotten independent Palestine, in part, because some of the Arab states, like Syria, at various points have tried to prevent that for their own purposes. So that's how the state story factors in.
In terms of your first question, talking about what happens when you ascend to the top. And that's a great question because I had a couple examples of that. Fatah started as a challenger, becomes a leader, then the hegemon. The Zionist case, the Haganah and the Labor Zionist go from leader to hegemon but not all the way up. FLN, similar story, the bottom to the top. And the Irish case, IRA, Sinn Fein in the troubles they split, but the provisional IRA goes from the weaker faction to the stronger faction.
So here's what I find. Internally, they'll often justify it based on power position. But they won't do that externally as much. So fascinating examples of where this turn is just like in the basketball game where, all of a sudden, you go on top. When Leila Khaled and the PFLP did that hijacking, Fatah and Yasser Arafat said to them, you have to return those planes. The PFLP blew up the planes. Fatah said to the PFLP, you have to return those hostages. The PFLP dispersed the hostages around Aman, so they couldn't be rescued.
Fatah signed a cease fire agreement with King Hussein in Jordan to try to forestall anything happening. The PFLP rejected the cease fire. Then, you have Black September. King of Jordan cracks down. Palestinians get expelled. So what I find is it's tough to turn on a dime. And so in the aftermath of that, the "Black September Organization" was a group formed by Fatah to start to do hijackings and some of these types of things, like in the Munich Olympics.
That was formed somewhat in response to internal pressure from some of their members saying, look what the PFLP's doing. We have to get back to this stuff. But the second they realized-- and Aziz Siad and others have written on this, that this wasn't actually helping them organizationally, they cut it down. They shut it off. So I think the internal thing is you have people who are used to doing this. So that's harder to stop. In terms of the external stuff, a lot of it's about what you're delivering.
And I think that's Fatah's challenge today is that Abbas has said Second Intifada didn't help us. We need to not be using violence, but many of the Palestinians are saying, fine, but how are you delivering stuff? This get external pressure on the Israelis, that's not going anywhere either. And that's one of the reasons that Abbas is way under water in terms of popularity. So anyway, great questions. I'm happy to talk more about it. But those are really good. Thank you. Yes, sir.
AUDIENCE: Hi. The Kurdish nation. Would you say that's an anomaly in that it occupies territory in, what is it, four countries?
PETER KRAUSE: Yeah.
AUDIENCE: And what would be your prescription for Kurdish success?
PETER KRAUSE: Great question. So obviously, we've seen a lot about the Kurds, particularly the Iraqi Kurds, recently. But as this gentleman says correctly, you have significant Kurdish populations over the border in Syria, over the border in Turkey, and over the border in Iran. And so one of the questions is, will there be a Kurdistan? Could there be? And some of the Post-World War I negotiations in the Middle East, there was going to be a Kurdistan, and then that went away, in part, because of regional interests.
So I wrote an article that just came out recently about when states negotiate with ethnopolitcal organizations and movements. And the part that I wrote about it in depth was a longitudinal study of the Kurds. So I've written a little bit on the Kurds. And I actually find, again, a lot of what's happened with them fits in with my argument. So the Iraqi Kurds have had historically these two major political groups, the PUK and the KDP. Now, they have the Gorran as well, but those are the two big ones.
And if you look at a lot of the things that have happened, first off, they've squabbled and fought against each other at some points. But other things have happened. Before this recent referendum, there was an individual who said, many members, or at least some members, of the PUK would not support an independent Iraqi Kurdistan if Barzani and the KDP declare it.
So again, the idea that they want Kurdistan, but also they're a little bit hesitant about who's going to rule that new state or who's going to have control of it. So I see these same types of internal fragmentation, not just today, but historically with the Kurds which has helped prevented them from getting statehood. In terms of my prescription, again, it wouldn't be that surprising, but it would be incredibly challenging, is that ultimately they should end this fragmentation. But they have a double whammy of having multiple parties and militant groups and also across multiple international borders.
That's one of the challenges the Palestinians have too. One of the questions I get sometimes is, where does the movement structure come from? And one of the key things can be geographical contiguity or lack thereof. So the fact that you have the West Bank separate from Gaza, makes it somewhat likely you're going to see what you see today, which is Fatah running the West Bank, Hamas, at least somewhat, running Gaza. And so for the Kurds as well, I think it's unlikely you're going to see a Pan-Kurdish movement in any way be successful or viable.
What you can have, and that's what's trying to have happen in Iraq, is local within-state Kurdish movements that try to get more autonomy or potential statehood, and then you can build from there. But the build from there is exactly what the regional other states don't want to have happen. So that's why we have the politics in the region we do today.
AUDIENCE: Mike [INAUDIBLE]. First of all, let me begin by thanking you very much. This is absolutely a very fantastic presentation. My question is this, and it's interesting that you brought up John Mearsheimer. It got me thinking. So when I think of structural realism, we think of these different state actors operating in a state of anarchy within the international system. And there are some obvious metrics that we can use to decide relative power vis-a-vis this state or that state or whether we have a rising or declining hegemon.
Now, In your study, when we apply this to non-state actors, I'm curious how you've defined power specifically as it relates to-- because the only thing you could really look at is organizational structure. You have a series of competitors operating within an environment also by extens-- My first question is, how exactly have you defined power within this system and at the substate system?
And then, the other question is, it seems as though you're arguing that it makes no sense for non-hegemons to balance against a hegemon. In which case, the only real option they have is to be to the bandwagon or to be blown out of existence. Is that what your assertion is?
PETER KRAUSE: Sure. Great questions. So on the first one, I think I said it quickly, but I'll say it more clearly here. I do have three ways that I measure the strength of these organizations. The one is the number of members that they have. And again, it's like Churchill with democracy. These are the worst potential measures of power, except for all the other ones. So they're the least bad ones. So membership size, I think, can be one proxy for how strong a group is. So I measure that.
Secondly, I measure how much money they have when I can get that data. And then thirdly, popular support either through-- Sometimes these groups are running in elections, so I can get it that way. Or sometimes there's polling. So, for example, [INAUDIBLE] has a Palestinian polling outfit that's constantly polling Palestinians about which of these groups they support. And so I can gauge that over time. I combine those things to give me a measure of power.
And then in terms of who gets categorized as a challenger or a subordinate, as long as you're within one third as strong on any one of those three indicators, I count you as a challenger. So the only way you're a subordinate is if your number of members, your amount of money, and your popular support are all less than one third than the strongest groups. That's how you measure power. You have a quick follow up on that?
AUDIENCE: Sorry. I just saw Graham Allison speak the other day. Is there a Thucydides Trap for non-state actors as well?
PETER KRAUSE: So another question. Now, you have to let me explain what Thucydides Trap is. But I can happily do that. So basically, the idea of becoming the hegemon or of the fact that they're going to fight each other because of their relative power. So it bleeds into your second question. So I guess I'll say this. It's not unheard of for a subordinate to become stronger. In fact, Fatah when it started out was a subordinate faction. It formed in Kuwait the late '50s. The FLN, to some extent, was as well. It just takes a while, and you have to be pretty lucky to get to the top.
So you can balance. It's just you need to get pretty lucky, and you also need to stay under the radar a little bit because that top group can so easily quash you if they take notice of you. So it can happen. What I find, actually, and if I show back on the chart, challengers, in some ways, are the ones who are the most vigorous spoilers or whatnot because they're not going to get a lot from victory, but they're right on the precipice of getting something that could potentially get to the top.
Subordinates are the ones who are like, I'm not close to the top, but I'm also not really going to get there. They're like the kids who are taking a pass, fail class. It's like, well, as long as I'm passing, it's fine. I'm not going to get the A. So what do they do, they'll ultimately say, maybe I can actually throw my lot in with the hegemon, and then just get a couple of the scraps from the table. So I see that sometimes.
AUDIENCE: Hi. So my question is, how do you define what a national liberation movement is? I'm thinking of something like the Confederacy? Would that count or something like the Naxals in India, or maybe an organization like Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which isn't really so much a [INAUDIBLE] national movement, it's just Iran funding people to attack Israel or something. And so where do you draw the line between just some crazy armed insurgency or-- And what is really a national movement? Is it just they have to identify themselves as such or-- When does this model stop applying on the spectrum?
PETER KRAUSE: So in the intro chapter-- I don't have the slide here of it, but I'd love to show you. I have this chart that's all these concentric circles, and it talks exactly about what you're saying. It's like, what's a civil war versus a national movement versus a revolution? And how do these cross over? And I go to the definitions because, again, in social science, I think we're dealing with really cool stuff. But we have to be very rigorous in our definitions so we can then say what does this apply to or not.
So to be clear, too, this is also contested. One of the key points of debate between the Israelis/previously the Zionist movement and the Palestinians is who counts as a nation. There have been a number of Palestinians who say, yes, Judaism is a faith, but it's not a nation. There have been plenty of Zionist/Israelis who say, yes, is there really a Palestinian nation or is this just broader Arab population. So this issue of who counts as a nation is much debated, and it's not something that's going to be black and white. These definitely are. These definitely aren't.
How I define it is this. A nation generally is a collection of individuals who have a common language, common culture, common history, and tie to a common piece of territory that they claim and want to be autonomous or independent. So in terms of who qualifies as that, I would say Palestinian Islamic Jihad count as being part of the broader Palestinian national movement as an organization. But I wouldn't say that they alone count as a national movement. In terms of the Naxalites, I'm not an expert on them. But even though they're ideologically-- I think, they're Marxist, right, in terms of what their ideology is?
PETER KRAUSE: But if they're fighting for an independent Naxalite state or something like that, then I would count them as a national movement. If they're just saying, we want to take over India, or we want to ultimately have policies that are more aligned with economic Marxism, I would not qualify them as a national movement. I would say they are, therefore, a social movement or a political movement.
If you look at the civil rights movement in the United States, that's a social movement of which national movements are a subset. But unless it's Marcus Garvey, Back-to-Africa, or some type of national thing where we're going to found a state, I wouldn't count it as a national movement. So that's how I would distinguish the two.
AUDIENCE: How about the Confederacy? Does that count as a national movement?
PETER KRAUSE: Confederacy. I have never thought about that. I guess I would say, yes, that would qualify, in some ways, as a national movement to the extent that the individuals of the Confederacy are defining themselves as a separate nation. The challenge there is that you might say it's a secessionist movement, trying to form a new state. But I'm not sure if they would define themselves as a different nation in terms of language, culture, history, although there certainly are elements of that.
So I'd have to think about that more. But I would say I could be open to concluding that as a potential national movement. Yes. And again, determining it is not justifying it or saying it's a worthwhile one or I wouldn't support it. It's just, would it qualify in terms of terminology and analysis.
AUDIENCE: Hi. I would like you talk a little bit more about Catalonia. First, in my opinion, I think it's like a hegemony. But I don't see any clear future. And I also would like to know how the future of this independence movement depends on the state they are fighting against. So how does the Catalonia issue depend on the Spanish government?
PETER KRAUSE: Great. Now, this is where I tell you there are certain things I know a lot about, and they're certain things I don't know a lot about. And I'm not going to sit here and pretend I know a lot about Catalonia. I just don't. I've been following them in news a lot because it's obviously very relevant for my book. And I know when I come give talks, I'm going to get questions about it. But I'm not an expert on European politics. I'm not an expert on internal Spanish politics.
The first thing I would say is this. If it's hegemonic-- and as far as I understand, there is this very strong party that I'd have to look at the percentages about because I know there's a couple of different pro-independence parties in Catalonia. But there might be one very strong one. If it fails, again, that's not like this whole debilitating thing to my argument because, again, it's just very probabilistic. There are hegemonic movements. As I showed you, there were only 40% of the hegemonic campaigns got independence in my four cases here. So that wouldn't be a shocker because there's other things that matter.
That being said, if you look at national movements across that initial map with the yellow and the white labeled countries, I would say Catalonia is closer to independence than many other national movements are. I mean, closer than, say, the Texas secessionists or many of these others. And I would argue, to the extent-- again, I don't know the history of it. But if I would look at the signaling that they've done, their ability to hold a referendum, these types of things, that might have stemmed from the fact that they were broadly hegemonic.
I mean, certainly, in the Scottish case, the SNP was able to hold the referendum, in part, because they had a dominant control in some sense of Scottish politics, and even got to the point that the prime minister of the UK is saying, if you vote for independence, we will allow you to go. Now, the Spanish government has not said that. In fact, they were beating people over the head and doing violent stuff when people are voting.
And so that's a very different thing. I think that goes to your second question, which is state response matters. Going to this gentleman's question from before, a lot of my stories are the internal politics of the movement. But of course, one of the reasons that it's a probabilistic theory and not a law is because I'm leaving out some other important factors, and certainly, the state is one of them. So whether the state is very willing to give up independence or not, certainly makes a difference.
One of the things I get people push at me sometimes with my book is they say, hey, these ones that got independence, Algeria from France, Israel from the British, and whatever else, those weren't countries they cared as much about. Whereas the Israelis care a lot about what the Palestinians consider Palestine, the British care a lot about what you consider Northern Ireland. So that's one of the key differences. And I grant that to some extent. Although my counter is people said [INAUDIBLE] al a France, a third of the French parliament, was based in Algeria. So they did consider it part of their state and then some other things there.
But long and short, if it doesn't lead to independence, that would go against the argument in terms of what's more likely to happen, that versus another kind. But what would really go against the argument is if, all of a sudden, it fragments and then gets independence thereafter. That would be a real shot against my theory. If it's hegemonic, it doesn't get it. But it's still doing better than in the periods when it's not. That's, I think, a better test, and that's what I would look at. You can probably just hold it.
AUDIENCE: Hi. My name is [? Zavia. ?] And I have a question regarding your argument on how easy it is to defeat fragmented movements. And I'm hoping that you have some knowledge on Al-Shabaab because that's the movement I'm studying. And I'm wondering, what is the African Union and its allies, the European Union and America, missing because they have been in Somalia since 2006? And up to now, they haven't defeated them.
And my second question is regarding how these movements have changed in the 21st Century given that we have more actors now that are involved in the movements. These include the Diaspora. In talking about the Diaspora, I'm not only talking about people in the US or Europe. But in African countries, you have the Diaspora in the neighboring country because they are the same people. So they influence what's going on in another state. And we also have more national corporations. I'm thinking of many companies that are in Africa and are influencing internal politics and into the movement. How does your book speak to that?
PETER KRAUSE: So on the first question, I think I know a little more about Al Shabaab in Somalia than Catalonia, but not that much more. I'll say a couple of things. The first is, what my book says is that Al-Shabaab, or that some of the broader Somali insurgencies at various points, were unlikely to get full control of the country because of some of the fragmentation. But it doesn't say as much about how you fully defeat or extinguish an insurgent group like Al-Shabaab.
But a lot of my studies or things I teach does look at that. So I can offer a couple of things. Number one, I think that sometimes these organizations-- And honestly, if you want to read a book about this, here's a plug. Roger has two outstanding books on where organizations come from. You can look at the cohesion or some of the social capital that these organizations have in their communities in terms of whether people are trusting one another or whatnot, and that tells you a lot about the strength of the organization inside of it.
And so I would look at Al-Shabaab's social roots and to what extent, whether through providing social services as some other people have written about, or in terms of the networks and whether they know their neighbors or things like that, that that helps give them strength and endurance beyond just the militant stuff that they do. That also links to your second question about Diasporas.
So when you have large population flows going like you do in the Middle East, on the one hand, it can create potential bases of support or sanctuaries for some of these groups. A lot of these groups use refugee camps or things like that to recruit or do things of that nature. So it makes it harder to stamp them out. But it also can make it so you get landless individuals or people who aren't tied to their communities. So in that sense, they become more willing or at least attractive potential recruits for some of these organizations.
So I think to solve the issue of Somalia-- which is not just Al-Shabaab, but it's a broader state that hasn't delivered a lot to its people, that has problems of development and governance and whatnot. I think it has to be an all the above strategy to the extent it's going to happen, which is whether they, you, or whatever else needs to simultaneously outcompete Al-Shabaab in terms of their governance and delivering to the Somali people while also trying to starve Al-Shabaab organizationally, whether in short term stuff like decapitation strikes or whatever, or again, trying to root out some of the networks that they have at the local level.
But that's painstaking work. Counterinsurgency is very difficult to do. The US doesn't do, necessarily, a great job of it, and many of our PhDs have talked about that. But those would be some of my insights on that. And I'm happy to put you in touch with someone who's more of a Somali expert on Al-Shabaab if you like because I can't give you as much of the in-depth as I would like there. But it's a great question, and good luck with your work.
So maybe we'll call it there. I'll sign books. If people want to buy books, please buy a book. But if not, thank you so much for coming. It was an honor to speak to all you guys.