POLI 243 Lecture Notes - High Politics, Stephen Walt, Bandwagoning

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System-Level Theories 4/3/12 10:59 PM
Recent System-Level Arguments from Realists
Stephen Walt: balancing versus threat
All you need to know is the distribution of power ! any state with
power is a threat. (realist view)
Bandwagoning: whether you think you can counter a really
powerful state by forming alliances
Mearsheimer: Europe and NATO; the instability of unipolarity
o “the falling of the Soviet Union would led to the fall of NATO
because there was no reason for it anymore”
Wohlforth and Brooks: unipolarity will last
Examples of System Level Theories with Economics
Albert O. Hirschman: National Power and the Structure of Foreign
o Notion of the structure of foreign trade and how do we
understand those patterns
" Economics: comparative advantage
" Trade decisions are made on a very political basis:
relative gains, structure the relationship
" Trade is not mainly about economic wealth
" National Power
o Economic blocs in the 1930s
o Dependence in development
o Realists remain vague about sources of power
o Trade, Alliances and war
o Linking Politics
o Economic Sanctions: use, effectiveness
Other System-Level Theories
Keohane and Nye on Interdependence
o Against realism
o Complex Interdependence
o The smooth running of one economy depends on how other
economies are working
o High politics: security, power, threats (old idea)
o The use of power is not nearly as likely today as it used to be
because it is much more devastating and because the
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