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Core Visualization:
A Graphical Model for Understanding
International Conflict

Timothy A. Asta*

I. Introduction70
II. Visualization as a Tool for Understanding International Conflict71
A. Visualization and Graphical Models72
B. The Complex Nature of International Interactions73
C. Using Visualizations to Illuminate International Conflict Analyses73
III. The Core Visualization Model74
A. State Power (Y-Axis)75
B. Proximity in Geography or Socioeconomic Interest (X-Axis)78
C. Levels of Aggression and Justified Responses (Z-Axis)82
IV. Conclusion85

* J.D., 2017, Florida State University College of Law. Special thanks to my wife, Heather McLellan Asta, for all of her support.

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A physicist, an engineer, and a psychologist are called in as consultants to a dairy farm whose production has been below par. Each is given time to inspect the details of the operation before making a report.

The first to be called is the engineer, who states: “The size of the stalls for the cattle should be decreased. Efficiency could be improved if the cows were more closely packed, with a net allotment of 275 cubic feet per cow. Also, the diameter of the milking tubes should be increased by 4 percent to allow for a greater average flow rate during the milking periods.”

The next to report is the psychologist, who proposes: “The inside of the barn should be painted green. This is a more mellow color than brown and should help induce greater milk flow. Also, more trees should be planted in the fields to add diversity to the scenery for the cattle during grazing, to reduce boredom.”

Finally, the physicist is called upon. He asks for a blackboard and then draws a circle. He begins: “Assume the cow is a sphere. . . .”

—Lawrence M. Krauss1

I.   Introduction

As suggested above, there is a common jest directed at physicists in reference to their tendency to reduce complex objects and concepts to “spheres,” although physicists are not alone in utilizing this tool. This is done in order to take advantage of the natural logic of physical modeling by conceptualizing abstract concepts as representative two- and three-dimensional objects. To borrow a page from that book, this Article will utilize three-dimensional nested spheres and two-dimensional concentric circles to illustrate the complex tensions that are involved in the interaction of legitimate states and how these behaviors shape global justice. In a global context, the primary creators and sustainers of either justice or injustice are states, their national institutions, and the movement of wealth. The interactions among states and between states and their citizens naturally have significant impacts at the regional, local, and individual scales. The fair distribution of wealth at all scales also affects individual and collective freedoms. To put it another way, “people need political freedom and sufficient material wealth to pursue their life projects and flourish. Global justice is about the fair global distribution of those goods and about the institutions that are most likely to secure that distribution.”2 Global justice is therefore concerned with the oppressed and the poor, and any normative theory for state interactions and behavior is centrally concerned with freedom and wealth, as the basic prerequisites for individual human growth or happiness.

1. Lawrence M. Krauss, Fear of Physics: A Guide for the Perplexed 3-4 (2007).
2. Loren E. Lomasky & Fernando R. Tesón, Justice at a Distance: Extending Freedom Globally 6 (2015) (footnote omitted).

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So, assume global justice is a sphere. More specifically, assume the interaction between legitimate state power, international aggression, and justified action is a sphere. That is the foundation of “Core Visualization,” a tool for elucidating and analyzing global justice and international and supranational interactions in the context of promoting individual freedom and fairness. This Article is intended to be an accompaniment to the general discussion on global justice, focusing on legitimate state interests and justified action in the face of various levels of aggression by other states, against other states, as well as against their own and other states’ citizens. Core Visualization is intended to provide a graphical model with which to better understand the interactions between conflicting states globally. This visual, less-abstract framework seeks to incorporate the philosophical concepts involved in the analysis of international conflict in a physical representation of justified state action. The Core Visualization model plots the limits of justified action based on a state’s inherent power, the state’s proximity to the population involved (both in geographic location and socioeconomic interest), and the level of aggression the state seeks to remedy. Core Visualization is so named due to its resemblance to scientific models of the earth’s interior composition in three-dimensional space,3 with both models concentric and striated in layers, and the contrived spherical foundation of the Core Visualization model helping to reinforce the global aspect of the subject visually (literally and figuratively). Envisioning the model on three axes (and in three dimensions) facilitates a holistic approach to conceptualizing justified state action in the face of international conflict.

II.   Visualization as a Tool for Understanding International Conflict

Visual aids can be a crucial tool in effectively communicating abstract ideas, especially when those concepts are complex and interactive.4 In the legal context, visual aids have been shown to be more effective than traditional discourse,5 such as shortening the length of trials6 and increasing the dramatic impact of evidence.7  Visualization tools can also help promote

3. See, e.g., Rebecca Morelle, Heart of Earth’s Inner Core Revealed, BBC News (Feb. 10, 2015), http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31322817 [https://perma.cc/C4N5-WQ7V] (providing an example of a common way to visualize the makeup of the Earth’s core).
4. Gilbert G. Weaver & Elroy W. Bollinger, Visual Aids: Their Construction and Use 1-2 (1949).
5. Ellen Freedman, Donald J. Martin & Freedman Consulting, Inc., When Old Dogs Learn New Tricks: Courtroom Presentation Tools and the Rules of Evidence (2005), http://www.freedmanlpm.com/pdfs/technology/
WHEN_OLD_DOGS_LEARN_NEW_TRICKS.pdf [https://perma.cc/8EQT-2VME].
6. Id.
7. Charles L. Babcock & Jason S. Bloom, Getting Your Message Across: Visual Aids and Demonstrative Exhibits in the Courtroom, 27 A.B.A. J. Sec. Litig. 41, 41 (2001).

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a given industry, practice, or company; illustrate why a particular legal action should be taken in response to a given set of factors; and assist in all types of decisionmaking through the use of graphical analysis.8 In an area of law and regulation as complex as international relations, acquiring even a basic understanding of the issues may be difficult, let alone comprehending or fully interacting with in-depth theories or detailed analyses.9 This is where the transformation of the observable and underlying interplay of conflicting states into a graphical model can help shed some light.

A.   Visualization and Graphical Models

Visualization tools have a long history of being praised and encouraged as essential parts of the educational curriculum.10 The importance and usefulness of these aids persists and is perhaps even more apparent today, as modern information and informative design struggle to make sense of the vast (and vastly unorganized) data-pools available online.11 Communication through visual formats, like those utilized by countless web pages across the internet, “bridges the communication gap between the sophisticated presenter of information and the less sophisticated audience.”12 Graphical models, or visual aids that take the form of a graph, are capable of condensing complex information into more palatable and comprehensible visual representations.13 Similarly, “infographics,” which have increased in popularity in the past decade,14 are illustrations that seek to efficiently convey information in an often simple and usually aesthetically pleasing way.15 Visualizations like graphical models and infographics offer a unique and nearly universally appealing way to envision and analyze complex subject areas, including, but of course not limited to, international relations.

8. Gerlinde Berger-Walliser et al., Promoting Business Success Through Contract Visualization, 17 J.L. Bus. & Ethics 55, 57-58 (2011).
9. See generally Harold Hongju Koh, Why Do Nations Obey International Law?, 106 Yale L.J. 2599 (1997) (explaining the general adoption of complex international law).
10. See generally Weaver & Bollinger, supra note 4.
11. Sarah Snow, How to Communicate Complex Ideas with Visuals: David McCandless’s Information Design, Soc. Media Today (May 27, 2015), http://www.socialmediatoday.com/technology-data/sarah-snow/2015-05-27/how-communicate-complex-ideas-visuals-david-mccandlesss [https://perma.cc/X86E-CM99].
12. Babcock & Bloom, supra note 7, at 42.
13. Graphical, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/graphical (last visited July 31, 2017).
14. See, e.g., Snow, supra note 11.
15. Infographic, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/infographic (last visited July 31, 2017).

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B.   The Complex Nature of International Interactions

International law, communities, treaties, and the interdependencies of various states make conceptualizing conflicts between nations especially difficult.16 Despite the now almost-constant on-slaught of information provided by access both to the twenty-four-hour news cycle and to data available on the internet, knowledge by the general public of current events and international relations remains roughly the same as it was almost twenty years ago.17 A study conducted by the Pew Research Center, which compared survey responses on similar questionnaires from 1989 and 2007, found that “the coaxial and digital revolutions and attendant changes in news audience behaviors have had little impact on how much Americans know about national and international affairs.”18 Surprisingly, or not, similarly educated Americans performed worse across the board in 2007 than they did in 1989.19 And one subject about which Americans seem to have less information than two decades ago is international affairs. For instance, the 1989 Pew survey revealed that 81% of Americans were able to exhibit some knowledge about the trade deficit between the United States and other countries, but only 68% knew about this aspect of international relations in the 2007 Pew survey.20 In 1989, 47% of respondents could identify the president of Russia, but nearly twenty years later only 36% could correctly answer the same, updated question.21 Obviously, the public’s comprehension of international relations could benefit from the aid that graphical models like Core Visualization can provide, which is especially essential when those relations involve conflict on any scale or the likely possibility of violent intervention.

C.   Using Visualizations to Illuminate International Conflict Analyses

As visualization of this sort is especially effective at communicating complex ideas22 and the analysis of international conflicts can be quite (even quintessentially) complex,23 then it stands to reason that graphical models can be helpful in understanding how differing states interact on the global scale. Indeed, this model would not be the first to utilize spheres to better comprehend state power. The “sphere of influence” is a concept used to describe both the physical and conceptual

16. See Christina Hitrova, Social Complexity in International Law and International Relations as a Complex Adaptive System (unpublished manuscript), http://www.academia.edu/
2464915/Social_Complexity_in_International_Law_and_International_Relations_as_a_Complex_Adaptive_System [https://perma.cc/64ZV-YZ4C].
17. Public Knowledge of Current Affairs Little Changed by News and Information Revolutions, Pew Res. Ctr. (Apr. 15, 2007), http://www.people-press.org/2007/04/15/public-knowledge-of-current-affairs-little-changed-by-news-and-information-revolutions [https://perma.cc/VX8W-EJ73].
18. Id.
19. Id.
20. Id.
21. Id.
22. See supra Section II.A.
23. See supra Section II.B.

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control that a state may exert:

Sphere of influence, in international politics, [is] the claim by a state to exclusive or predominant control over a foreign area or territory. The term may refer to a political claim to exclusive control, which other nations may or may not recognize as a matter of fact, or it may refer to a legal agreement by which another state or states pledge themselves to refrain from interference within the sphere of influence.24

The Core Visualization model not only seeks to integrate state in-fluence similarly but to also combine those concepts with philosophical principles regarding the legitimacy of governmental action and justified reaction to the threat posed by other states. The model is intended not as a strict, data-driven plotting device, but rather as a tool for conceptualizing the foundational principles of justified state action. Core Visualization demonstrates how legitimate state power, as applied to areas of geographic and socioeconomic proximity, may be utilized for justified action against differing levels of aggressive action.

III.   The Core Visualization Model

The Core Visualization model seeks to illustrate the interplay of legitimate state power; aggressive actions against the state, its interests, its allies, or humanity in general; and justified responses in the face of such aggression. Below is Core Visualization25 in its entirety:

Figure 1 – Core Visualization

24. Daniel H. Deudney, Sphere of Influence, Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/topic/sphere-of-influence (last visited July 31, 2017).
25. All graphics used throughout this Article were created wholly by the author in conjunction with the development of the Core Visualization model. All source files are with the author, and available upon request.
26. Lomasky & Tesón, supra note 2, at 174.

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The axes in the model above correspond to state power (on the vertical, y-axis), geographic proximity to the state (on the horizontal, x-axis, divided here into population groups as well), and the level of aggression necessary to justify action (on the transverse, z-axis). The graphical representation is limited to characterizing the action by a legitimate state that can be justified based on the aggressive action of other states. As state power decreases (moving upwards along the y-axis), and as the proximity to either the state’s geographic, physical location or the state’s more conceptual, socioeconomic interests (moving outwards along the x-axis), increasingly more aggressive action by another state is required to justify state action. Less aggressive actions by another state may justify intervention, and increasingly so the closer it hits to home, while the most extreme of aggressive conduct (such as genocide) is required for a state to act on behalf of humanity, where the state’s scope of legitimate power is the weakest. The following sections will outline and describe Core Visualization from the ground up. Defined by the source and scope of state power, the model depicts the limitations that legitimacy places on that power, how geographical proximity to the offending state alters that power, and the level of aggressive conduct that may serve as the reason for justified action. Each of these and how they are represented in the model will be examined.

A.   State Power (Y-Axis)

A state is generally considered to be a population within a confined geographic area ruled by a government, which is both independent of and subservient to no other authority, save perhaps for international laws.26 “A state is made of persons, institutions, and territory; it consists of populated institutions . . . [that] may endure over time and be animated by different persons at different times . . . .”27 Legitimate governments, which serve as the basis for Core Visualization,28 have a dual-natured right that looks both inwards, towards governing its citizens, and outwards, towards acting against or with others on behalf of its citizens.29 In other words, legitimate governments have both the right to rule over their own citizens, as nationals under the sovereign entity, and the right to amass resources to effect change or progress outside of the state in the interest of its subjects.30 Correspondingly, the foundation of Core Visualization is the power that a legitimate state may exert over, or on behalf of, its citizens. The state and the power that it wields through legitimate governance creates the central “core” of the Core Visualization model.

26. Lomasky & Tesón, supra note 2, at 174.
27. Id.
28. See infra Section III.A.2.
29. Lomasky & Tesón, supra note 2, at 177.
30. Id.

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1. The “Core” of Core Visualization

In Core Visualization, the state’s power emanates from the center (or “core”) of the model. The core represents the philosophical, legal, and institutional foundations of power for that state. In democratic countries, this power would stem from the citizens and their votes, flowing through the government and out across the reach of the state.31 The state may exercise the most control over the people from whom it derives its power—its own citizens, as the state is directly responsible for their care as their governing body. The very core of the sphere would correspond to the centralized seat of power for the state. In the United States, for instance, the core would consist of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, which are housed in the Capital in the District of Columbia.32 The state’s power radiates from this core, represented in the model below as the darkest circle, with increasingly larger and lighter red concentric circles emanating from that core. This represents the decreasing strength and scope of the state’s power as the circles radiate out from the state’s power core, shown by decreasing color saturation towards the edge of the model.

Figure 2 – State Power

In other forms of government, executory and lawmaking power can be thought of, abstractly and for the purposes of this visual aid, as springing from the government itself. As this model is concerned primarily with legitimate states acting globally and with global ramifications to remedy aggression, the form of government is practically inconsequential, so long as it leads to a legitimate governing body through which the state may act. Though there are numerous conceptions of what

31. See, e.g., U.S. Const. pmbl.; Constitution of the United States, U.S. Senate, https://www.senate.gov/civics/
constitution_item/constitution.htm#preamble [https://perma.cc/4JLS-ZAUN].
32. Welcome to the U.S. Capitol, U.S. Capitol Visitor Ctr., https://www.visitthecapitol.gov [https://perma.cc/PWP9-5Y54].

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constitutes a “legitimate” state, some not widely accepted and many that are the source of much global tension, at its most basic a state is legitimate if it adheres to a generally accepted “moral threshold,” which can be assessed on a wide variety of criteria.33 Criteria for judging whether a state is legitimate includes factors such as whether the state respects the rights of its citizens, works towards the common good of its people, and provides basic services.34 For the Core Visualization model, assuming that the state involved in the analysis is legitimate according to whatever standards are agreed to or applied,35 the state’s power extends outwards from the governing core, enveloping its own citizens, and may extend quite far beyond.

2. Limiting the Model to Legitimate States

If the Core Visualization model was not limited to legitimate states, then the outer limit for state action would simply be the actual extent of that state’s power. In other words, a state unfettered from justifying its actions or adhering to the aforementioned “moral threshold” can be as aggressive as its power will allow.36

Figure 3 – Unfettered State Power

Illegitimate states do not respect the rights of others,37 which means they are already acting outside the bounds of the power of a state to take justified action. Thus, further analysis of their powers using a model delimiting those bounds is unnecessary.

33. Lomasky & Tesón, supra note 2, at 175.
34. Id.
35. Id. at 183-97. There must, however, be some standards in place that create an actual legitimate state, following more of a Rawlsian view than that proposed by Thomas Hobbes. Id.
36. Id. at 180-81 (explaining ways in which a state may suffer from governmental illegitimacy or from being illegitimately usurped).
37. Id.

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If the Core Visualization model were not to take legitimacy into account, the circles depicting state power would have no outer boundary. The state’s actions, unfettered by the burden of legitimacy, could extend its power continuously outward, as any reasonable constraints imposed by respect for basic rights have been removed. As Figure 3 demonstrates, an illegitimate state’s unfettered power can emanate from the state without concern for the rights of the state’s own citizens or the legitimacy of other state actors or their citizens. When justification is appropriately figured into the model, as it is in a legitimate state’s decisionmaking, respect for the rights of others serves to limit state power—similar to the role that gravity plays in limiting how far the earth’s atmosphere extends.38

B.   Proximity in Geography or Socioeconomic Interest (X-Axis)

How much a state is able and willing to act on behalf of those outside of the state itself depends on the closeness of the relation-ship—or the literal or figurative proximity—between the two states. The distance may be expressed in geographic terms, where countries likely have closer relationships with states they are physically closer to, or in socioeconomic terms, where the relationship between the states creates reciprocal duties.39 In both cases, the further a given action is from the core interests of the state, the less power that state may express to constrain or affect that action. This power, again emanating from the center of the Core Visualization model, decreases as it hits natural breaking points in either distance or ties to the state. The state may exercise differing amounts of power with regards to the type of population the state is acting on behalf of, designated in the model as the citizens of the state, people within the state’s interest, allies, and the whole of humanity (the most general category).

1. Geographic Proximity to the State

At a minimum, every state owes a duty of noninterference in all areas reached by the state’s power;40 however, a state may owe more to and be able to exercise more power over places and peoples that are closer in proximity to the state.41 Often this proximity is geographic in nature, where the state may exert more power over those closer in distance.42 This is represented in the Core Visualization model along the x-axis: the power the state may deploy decreases in effect the farther in geographic distance the offending action or actor is from the state. Geography, however, is only a proxy for areas of legitimate state

38. Why Doesn’t Air Float Off the Earth?, Smithsonian Nat’l Air & Space Museum (Sept. 15, 2011, 11:20 AM), http://howthingsfly.si.edu/ask-an-explainer/why-doesnt-air-float-earth [https://perma.cc/68ZL-ZCTA].
39. Lomasky & Tesón, supra note 2, at 57.
40. Id.
41. Id.
42. Id.

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Figure 4 – Geography

interest, and though the strength of geographic proximity often correlates with the strength of proximity in other interests, close relationships to the state may also be based on less physical factors.43 The state may exercise power on behalf of its citizens, its interests, its allies, and, in certain circumstances, the state may intervene on behalf of humanity at large.44

2. Socioeconomic Proximity to the State

As a consequence of being limited in this model to independent and legitimate ruling institutions,45 the state has the power to govern its citizens through legal means that incorporate personal rights46 and to act on their behalf and for their protection.47 In Core Visualization, this is represented by the core: the dark circle at the center, labeled “State,” with the grouping label “Citizens,” signifying the power the state has over its own people.

Figure 5 – Citizens

43. Id.
44. Id. at 220.
45. See supra Section III.A.2.
46. Lomasky & Tesón, supra note 2, at 175.
47. Id. at 221.

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A state’s power, however, is not limited to the governance of its own citizens. The next layer of the Core Visualization, immediately beyond the central core and a less saturated shade of red, represents the dominion of the state’s interests.

Figure 6 – State Interests

This area of the model encapsulates physical areas where the state exerts various forms of control, such as territories belonging to the state, surrounding waters where the state’s protection has less weight, disputed lands, and socioeconomic realms where the state has a vested interest, such as economic dependencies and investments.48 This layer represents spheres of interest for the state partially or immediately outside of the state itself, but more closely related than allies or humanity at large.

A state may still be justified when acting on behalf of people that are not under the direct control or indirect control of the state, especially when aggressive actions by others threaten the safety of the country’s allies.49 International law, which regulates the conduct among states, is created and executed by international treaties, agreements, and mutually permissible behaviors.50 These ties bind states together and may require or encourage international action in the interest of mutual benefit among the cosignatories or allies.51 The corresponding third layer in the Core Visualization model, therefore, represents the power and legitimacy of the state to act on behalf of its allies (seen below in Figure 7).

Figure 7 – Allies and Their Interests

48. Deudney, supra note 24.
49. Lomasky & Tesón, supra note 2, at 220.
50. Uphold International Law, United Nations, http://www.un.org/en/sections/what-we-do/uphold-international-law [https://perma.cc/C57Q-YRDK].
51. Id.

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Finally, the outermost, fourth layer represents the power that the state may exert on behalf of humanity in general. Here, the state has no direct or indirect interests in the involvement, nor do any of its allies, yet there still may be times in which the state may act in the interest of humanity—whether that action be in the form of direct intrusion to stop something as extreme as genocide or in the form of humanitarian aid.52 However, in general, the very least that a state with no ties whatsoever to members of a population owes them is to not interfere with their lives.53 Individuals and groups with closer geographic, socioeconomic, or emotional ties may be owed greater duties (represented by the darker colors nearing the center of the model), but the basic minimum—or floor—required by the universal right to liberty is noninterference.54 That standard, which increasingly constrains state power over and against those with whom they have weaker relationships, is communicated by the fading saturation of the layers of the Core Visualization model as the distance from the core increases.

Figure 8 – Humanity in General

With the addition of the last layer, humanity at large, the complete picture of the state’s power with respect to various groups is formed. The model at this stage illustrates the ability of the state to act on behalf of those closest in proximity to the state—like its own citizens, its interests, and its allies—as well as those with whom a state has the weakest ties or the same ties as any other state: humanity, the unknown persons across the globe.

52. See Lomasky & Tesón, supra note 2, at 226-67 (discussing humanitarian intervention).
53. Id. at 57.
54. Id.

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3. State Power and Proximity Combined

By overlaying the visualization for state power (Figure 2) with the one for geographic and socioeconomic proximity (Figure 8), the two-dimensional picture begins to take shape as represented by these three characteristics.

Figure 9 – A View of State Power and Interests

Figure 9 illustrates the lessening impact of state power as it is applied to places and groups farther and further from itself, respectively. The state has less control over and less justification for acting on behalf of each group as one moves from the center of the figure (the state) to its edge (humanity). Yet there are duties owed even to those most distant from the state. The demand for noninter-ference—again, the most basic and inextricable of rights owed to others—extends to everyone, regardless of the intensity of their relationship with the state.55 In Figure 9, this duty is depicted by the thin, outermost ring of the model within the humanity layer, but it really underlies every layer of the concentric model.

C.   Levels of Aggression and Justified Responses (Z-Axis)

The final axis of Core Visualization increases the complexity of the model from two-dimensional to a fully formed, three-dimensional model. The z-axis (originating in the center of the model and extending outwards towards the reader, transverse or perpendicular to the page) represents the level of aggression required to justify the use of power to act on behalf of the various groups. At the center, less aggressive conduct by another state is required for the state to act in protection of itself, and these actions are more commonly known as national self-defense.56 At the edge, the most aggressive of conduct by another state is needed to justify action through the use of state power, representing the weakness of the state’s power in that context, which limits the scope of justified action.57 Core Visualization expresses this relationship along the z-axis, where each sphere of grouped populations (moving outward from the center) requires more and more aggression on the part of an intrusive state to justify state action.

55. Id.
56. Id. at 223-25.
57. Id. at 226-33.

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1. Levels of Aggression

In the graphical model of Core Visualization, the relevant conduct of another state is represented by the “aggression” line. That line signifies the level of aggressive conduct by another state. This serves as the basis for the state to act justly, in defense of its citizens, allies, or humanity. Conduct by foreign states, however, can vary widely, so the model is confined to examining aggressive or intrusive—not merely irksome, offensive, or unusual—conduct by other states. Core Visualization adopts and incorporates the theory that the justifications for war and the reasons for humanitarian intervention stem from the same defensive right, rejecting the traditional dichotomy between the two.58 The state’s power and right to act, then, is directly responsive to the amount of intrusion or aggressive conduct that the state seeks to remedy. Figure 10 illustrates this principle with the aggression-required line increasing in strength (moving from the center of the model to the most aggressive conduct at the outer sphere).

Figure 10 – Aggression

2. Justifying Action in the Face of Aggression

The concentric circles (now nested spheres in three-dimensional space) built thus far describe the basic breaking points where a state may act in the interest of either its own citizens, its interests, its allies, or humanity at large. These divisions correspond to just reasons to intrude on the rights of another state and, if necessary, go to war.59 A legitimate state may take action for national self-defense, where the state defends itself from an unjust attacker,60 which is integrated into the model under the first two layers of state power that cover citizens and their interests, as well as the state’s interests. The state may also be justified in defending an ally via collective self-defense,61 found in Core Visualization in the layer corresponding to allies. Although states owe humanity in general only the right to noninterference,62 high enough levels of aggressive intrusion by another state can justify humanitarian intervention or crisis relief, for states with which they have little to no geographic or socioeconomic proximity.63 As the gravity of the aggression increases along the transverse axis, the state’s scope of justified action can extend to protect each layer of groups and people that the state’s power reaches.

Figure 11 – Aggression and Power

58. Id. at 219.
59. Id. at 218-21.
60. Id. at 220.
61. Id.
62. Id. at 57.
63. Id. at 220.

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3. Integrating All Aspects of Core Visualization

By overlaying the new aggression line with the existing graphical model for state power and proximity of interest, the final over-all picture (represented three-dimensionally) created by Core Visualization emerges:

Figure 12 – Aggression, Power, and State Interest (The Core Visualization Model)

Figure 12 represents the complete model: nested spheres of influence that express the scale of power a legitimate state may wield on their own and on the behalf of others as applied to the necessary levels of aggressive conduct required to justify state action. The state itself (depicted by the innermost and darkest color sphere) represents the height of the state’s power, where the power to rule is strongest, the proximity of interest is maximized, and the least amount of aggressive intrusion is required for the state to act on behalf of its citizens. Compare this with the outermost sphere (or the “crust”) encompassing humanity at large across the globe, where the state’s power is weakest (shown with the lightest color interior). The proximity is at its farthest, both in geographic location and in socioeconomic or emotional relationship, and therefore only the most severe of aggressive actions against humanity justifies intervention if any is justified at all. The layers between the core and the crust (representing a state’s interests and allies) show the relationship between power, proximity, and aggression for the intermediate levels of proximity. As proximity decreases, a state’s ability to justify its responsive actions decreases, which necessitates increasingly more aggressive actions by an offending state to justify taking interventional action. Similarly, increasingly heinous or extreme aggression by another state can justify state inter-vention—even for increasingly distant or distantly-related states.

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IV.   Conclusion

Core Visualization could prove to be a helpful visual and conceptual tool in future discussions of global justice, as a way to keep several interactive characteristics in mind when discussing state actions and interactions. The model uses state power and legitimacy as its foundation, exploring the limitations created by the legitimate rule of government, and integrates concepts of state interest and justification of state action to create a cohesive visual aid. Undoubtedly, there is more work to be done on the model, and the visualization would benefit from an exploration and application of the framework as applied to a historical incident. The existing graphical model, however, does serve as a first step towards creating more comprehensive visual representations for thinking about and analyzing international conflict using a consistent core structure and assumptions, including the source of state power and the basic limitation that a presumption of noninterference places on that power. There is also room to develop multiple Core Visualizations and methods for their interactions. Perhaps by overlaying Core Visualization models with different assumptions or scales, increasingly complex international conflicts—such as World Wars I and II—could also be considered anew. Hopefully, visualizations such as these may contribute to the public’s understanding generally, and in particular to the understanding of those who have little to no instruction in international conflict and global justice, facilitating the capacity of citizens, in all states, to understand the interplay between the potential powers and limitations of global actors.