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Lecture 7

POLSCI 1AB3 Lecture 7: L7a-International Relations Theory

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McMaster University
Political Science
Todd Alway

Monday, February 6, 2017 Lecture 7a International Relations Theory Is politics in the international realm fundamentally different than politics in the domestic realm? If so, why? The Discipline of International Relations is divided into different theoretical camps Each theory offers a different explanation for why the international realm looks as it does o Why war and peace o Why cooperation and conflict Political Idealism Context of World War I Given its frequency throughout human history, is war inevitable? Idealists suggested no it may be widespread and recurrent, but it is not inevitable The logic here is as follows: 1. Human Nature is essentially cooperative, not antagonistic nor belligerent We know this to be the case from the fact that humans always group together into social organizations 2. This being so, war must be caused by something that channels this natural cooperation into something more destructive Poorly designed institutions can pervert the natural human tendency to cooperate 3. Because war is caused by institutional failure rather than Human Nature, war can be rendered obsolete o Provided that defective international institutions are reformed Peace requires the right International organizations and welldesigned international law Collective security is an institutional mechanism that can contribute to peace where an attack against one state automatically triggers a war by all states against the aggressor Idealism in Practice in the Interwar years (19191939): 1. League of Nations 2. Permanent Court of International Justice 3. Washington Naval Treaty, 1922 4. KelloggBriand Pact, 1928 The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another Signed by 60 states including Japan, US and Germany Try to create an international environment more conducive to peace Did it work? Example is Hitler signing a document, agreement may have looked good on paper but in reality World War 2 still happened. 1
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