POLI 243 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Pax Britannica, Kenneth Waltz, Liberal Democracy

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22 Feb 2016
Structural Realism after the Cold War (Kenneth Waltz)
-Changes of the system would profoundly alter the world of
international political system, but changes in the system won’t
Examples of Changes in the system: Transportation, communication,
and war ghting, a change in polarity (i.e number of superpowers
reduces from two or one)
Democracy and Peace
-Dispelling the notion that democracies are agents of peace
-Questions the denition of democracy (citing Weimar Republic)
-France and Britain fought in 1898 at Fashoda but with Germany
lurking in the background, united and resolved con/ict
The Causes of War
-Powerful states often gain their ends by peaceful means where
weaker states either fail or have to resort to war
-“Wayward” (di2icult to control or predict) democracies are especially
tempting objects of intervention by other democracies that wish to
save them
-What is a “liberal democracy”? When democracies ght, they will
look less and less like democracies
-Conclusion: Democracies rarely ght democracies, but the “internal
excellency” is a brittle basis of peace
Democratic Wars
-Michael Doyle: Although democracies seldom ght democracies, they
ght at least their share of wars against others [non-democratic
-Peace is maintained by a delicate balance of internal and external
The Weak E2ects of Interdependence
-Interdependence promotes peace by multiplying contacts among
states and contributing to mutual understanding; it multiplies the
occasions for con/icts that promote resentment and even war
-Interdependence is a WEAK argument in international politics
(because Waltz pushes for anarchic system)
-Under Pax Britannica (period of relative peace in Europe and the
world when British Empire became the global hegemonic power),
interdependence became unusually close, yet a prolonged period of
war followed (World War I and II)
Explaining International Institutions
-The ability of the United States to extend the life of NATO illustrates
how international institutions are created and maintained by stronger
states to serve their perceived or misperceived interests
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