Theories of Global Politics 1/10/2013 12:00:00 PM
Find connections and links
Economic crisis- ongoing, prolonged
- Cutting back social programs- working class fighting back
- New Revolutions- Arab world
9/11- New security concerned. Rogue states- Iraq, North Korea. Weapons of
mass destruction, terrorism
Human Rights- military conflict. Syria
Neoliberal development policies- free market policies- lots of economic
growth but polarization of rich and poor.
Environmental Crisis- growing concerned
How do we theorize these elements of the world?
What are theories?
Set of concepts or ideas people and academics use to understand the
world or society
Different theories emphasize different things.
Hypothesize that seek fundamental structure or operation
Based on abstraction, drawing links between them
Dominant theory in Canada
Suggestions on how political practice should work
Historical context: 1930‟s/1940‟s US
Why US? Failures in policy, after WW1 strongest economy in world, but
isolated itself from the world. Idea that if countries just interacted with each
other economically it would produce peace too. It was wrong. WW2
*Realistic study of world politics, how it really works not how it should work.
Get away from preferences on how it should work ideally.
Morgenthau: 6 principals *see slide. Struggle for power
Dark scary world- inherent to human nature, no escape
States must be ready for military conflict. It‟s human nature to produce
Balance of power, between power, have different capacities. Does your
neighbor have a better military? You better build yours up BITCH! **Security
Balance of power drives international politics. This should be the paramount
Critique: post-war period. By people on left.
- Too close to the fire, Done by Americans intellectuals, they didn‟t have the
science it was an ideology, it was designed to support American primacy.
- Inside realist tradition: co-evils- power and politics. Conflicted w/ cold war
ideology which was that capitalism was good it was freedom.
- Purge normative foundation of classical realism- get rid of assumptions
about human nature. Wanted it to be more scientific.
- Waltz- founder. Reject individual or national level. Rid of reductionist.
Wanted to focus on systemic factors. Have to study the state system.
Competing nation-states, they form world politics.
- Anarchy constitutes international state system. Unregulated/ungoverned
- States focus should be to rely on itself. Self help. It pays to be selfish in a
- Concerned with balance of power to ensure survival. National Security
should be the main focus.
- State is the key unit of analysis
- Weak view on the state. Presumes that the state isn‟t impacted by
domestic issues. Cannot treat them as though they are disconnected
- Tends to be militaristic ideologies.
- Treats states all the same – democratic etc. and the difference between
them will differentiate them
Liberalism: - 2ndmost dominant.
- Broadening framework, doesn‟t just focus on state and power etc
They look at economics etc.
- Insist politics of states matter, and that the state system can be changed.
Doesn‟t have to be endless war. War is not inevitable
- Can have multinational security. Not self help
- The individual is the focus.
- Supports capitalism the most. It‟s human nature. Freedom. Get something
out of trade.
- Trade investment. Everyone benefits in international trade. More peace.
Interdependence. More wealth all around.
- More development more trade more interdependence.
- Increase international convergence.
- Free trade encouraged
- Political character of states determines how international politics plays out.
- two types of states: Liberal democratic states and non-liberal democratic
- Define states: Liberal states: individual rights protection, they‟re peaceful,
because they are democracies, Democratic caution. If they engage in
violence they will be voted out – that‟s the fear. Encourage peace.
- Non liberal states: Exist in a state of war in non-liberal states. They don‟t
worry about the population. They can just suppress them. More prone to
war. Not accountable to their people.
- Non-liberal and liberal states are in a constant state of war. Liberal states
believe they need to intervene in non-liberal states for humanitarian right. -
- International law disagrees with this. States are sovereign. Liberals believe
they do not deserve their sovereignty.
- Defends capitalism and equal exchanges. However, unequal state powers
manage this system. Certain states given the right to manage the system.
- Calls for military action for humanitarian rights, this in itself…in waging war
- Sometimes serve as ideology of capitalism…not scientific
- Capitalism is not created equally. 500 years of it and it‟s still not equal Marxism:
- Social relations.
- Theory about how capitalism works
- Marxism is back. It‟s Britney bitch.
- All the problems are linked to the capitalism system.
- Class is the key dynamic
- State is dominated by rich and powerful.
- defined by imperialism or exploitation of poor countries for larger economic
- Capitalism is unique, a motive production. Social relationship- working
class and those who own those productions
- Recognize dynamic of capitalism. Contradictory motive production- very
productive system and innovated, created a world society that‟s integrated,
allowed humans to conquer nature. Democratic states, enhanced human
freedom. HOWEVER! It is uncontrollable, profit controls everything. Cannot
be regulated. Built in crisis tendencies. Nurtures individualism, therefore
pushing away from community and locality. Exploits nature. Exploits labour.
Serves the wealthy.
- National security is a fiction. Classes are highly divided. There is no nation,
the nation is a fiction. Only benefits rich nations.
- Being economist, have a big focus on economics.
- Sometimes they simplify explanations: 2 classes in the world
- Political reduction
- Gendered lens, how are women and girls affected. Gender social
- Gender hierarchies
- Other theories ignore this
- Womens labour in 3 rd W. China
- Migrating- oppressions, sex industry
- Rape as a military strategy
- Militaristic tendencies, gendered approaches
- Intersections of race/class/gender US Power 1/10/2013 12:00:00 PM
European powers formal colonization, territory. Formal Empire. Berlin treaty-
Africa divided into colonies. Expansion, resources. They globalized
capitalism, spread it around the world. Fierce competition for territory.
Allies. Exploded in 1914- world war
US was outside this system, they had a few colonies but not many.
1900- US biggest economy in the world. WW1 huge amount of exports.
Trade surplus. Export more goods than it imported. Euros needed American
resources. US lended money to Euros. Lots of people owed money to the
state. Crediter state. Wall St. Key financial spots in the world. US
corporation investing abroad more than foreign companies were investing in
US enters War.- US wanted to secure loans (England and France)
- Gain military experience
US still remains isolationist with respect to Europe. After the War, they kind
of abandoned Europe and their rebuild didn‟t want to get caught up in
conflict. US opposes League of Nations and Treaty of Versailles. Britain and
France divide up Middle East. Asian and Italian expansion. US contradictory.
Global economic power.
WW2 changes this. Key economic/political/military elites begin significant
planning for post-war period. Wanted to secure economic primacy and
Joined WW2- US was worried that perimeter Eurasia would be dominanted
by Germany and Japan, which would exclude US primacy
Europe, they were scared of communism
Feared GB would be extended into post war period if they took Germany. US
wanted to break down British Empire in the post-war period
* New world order that they expect to lead.
Hegemonic Liberalism: Strategy: US wanted to expand capitalism globally,
formal euro colonies dissolve. Support liberal state system, wanted everyone
to be soverign
- Wanted to expand/maintain their primacy After WW2:
US had a lot of economic/political power. Occupied key industrial centers.
Lots of military bases all over the world. 50% of all economic activity in the
states. ***See slide
Very privileged position
- Dependant on foreign resources. Need access all over the world, a lot in
developing countries. Need that relationship
- Needed export market, but needed the demand. Rebuild capitalism all over
the world. Especially in Japan and Britain
- Worried about communism and movement. Capitalism needed to be
- Needed Western Europe to not be neutral in Cold War. Wanted allies.
What they did:
- Wanted Europe to be capitalist
- Contain left wing movements
- Build institutions under US
- Militarism to enforce informal empire: imperialism without colonies. To
enforce global capitalism.
1945: UN formed, Rid of old alliance system. Keep peace for world as a
1944: Brentton Woods Agreement: Key economic institutions: World Bank,
IMF (help countries with balance of trade). Monetary system: linked dollar to
gold. Allowed for capital controls- governments could control the amount of
money in and out of their economies- taxes etc.
Link Germany NATO, 1949- defend Europe against communism, making sure left
movements couldn‟t come to power. “Americans in [Europe], Russians out
and Germans down”
Dismantle British Empire. Access colonies. Uses finances to bribe British
- Contain and destroy Soviets. NSC 68
Support French colonizing- Vietnam. Failed.
Broadly: Eclectic strategy to 3rdW- Fears losing resources. Liberal principles
for the world. Fear revolution and the left.
Middle East: Resources, oil especially. Strategic power.
Backs a lot of military coups
CRISIS: Hegemony discredits it. Poorest people beating the richest people.
Economic: Japan and Germany catching up economically, too much
production, declining profit. Competition.
Importing more than its exporting
Nixon: Cancels Brentton Woods agreement
***NEOLIBERALISM: extreme free market economic program, pushed by
US. 1970‟s to present. Enforce on other countries too. Tax cuts,
privatization, cuts to social programs.
Does this to prop up its power
Rid the world of tariffs (taxes on trade) Encourage riding of capital controls:
to improve US power.
1979: VOLCKER SHOCK* - US central bank, jacks up interests rates,
companies don‟t borrow and invest. Recession imposed intentionally. Wanted
competition and inefficient firms to go bankrupt and discipline trade unions and power of labou