2I03 Session 3 Chapters 3,5,23 5/22/2013 3:23:00 PM
Theories of International Relations
Should Theories be:
o Describes natural laws?
o Natural sciences?
Interests – What do people want? What do states want? How do they translate identification
Identities – How important is cultural identity? National? Heritage, language, philosophy?
How important is it how they perceive themselves?
Ideas – What role do Ideas play? Ideas in terms of arguments? Visions of the good life? How
important are actor‟s ideas in international relations?
Classical, Structural Neo-Realism, Neo-Conservatism
Is a tradition that emerged in the aftermath of the second world war
Thucydides – Sparta and Athens
o Along the course of the Peloponnesian war
o “The standard of justice depends on the equality of power to compel and that in fact
the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to
o Power is the currency that determines the fate.
o At the end of the day those arguments depend on the ability to reinforce them with
o Brute force power that matters at the end of the day
Thomas Hobbes (The Leviathan)
o “Life in the state of nature is marked by “continual fear and danger of violent death,
and the life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
1 o Agrees with Thucydides
o At the end of the day the deciding factor becomes, who has power. Deals that are
made are broken, promises are set aside.
o Fear of a violent and grizzly death
Outbreak of World War II
o Appeasements mean the ability or attempt to satisfy the emerging Nazi power.
o Limits of Idealism
o Critics of Chamberlain and his policies referred to his ideas as „idealism‟
o Idealism was later developed.
Emphasis on power and domination
Conflict is inevitable because of egoism, human drives, and other dimensions of human
Exploration of how questions of morality apply to the international realm
Adopts a state-centric or statist approach to international relations, focusing on the nation-
state (Statism) – Core number 1 of Realism: term given to the idea of the state as the
legitimate representative of the collective will of the people.
o Nation-state should be the fundamental unit
o We should pay attention to the nation-state
o Explain world politics best by focusing on nation-state: as a result
o Legitimacy of the state is what enables it to exercise authority within its domestic
borders. Outside of the state is ANARCHY.
Emphasis on „statesmanship‟ or wise leadership by foreign-policy makers and heads of state
o White male upper class domain
o Statesmanship was seen as the governing factor that decided how global politics was
o How to identify the fundamental truths of global politics
Intended to be a guiding set of understandings
Trends in Social Science (1930 and 1940s)
Behaviorism: An approach that focuses mainly on examining what human beings do, on
their actual behavior, rather than trying to „get into their heads‟
o What people do
o What actors do
o Setting aside interpretations, motives and ideas
o The best thing to do is step back and watch what happens
2 Cause & Effect
What does external stimuli do?
Scientism: The idea that the social world, like the natural world, operates according to
o The natural sciences and the scientific method have universal applications. Not just in
the sciences, but in the social sciences. Scientific experimentation.
Rationalism: The idea that complex insights can be developed by analyzing what typical or
model actors would do, given certain clear preferences and rules.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things
I can; and wisdom to know the difference”
Some things in global politics cannot be changed
E.H Carr – 20 years crisis 1919-1939
“Immature thought is predominately purposive and utopian. Though which rejects purpose
altogether is the thought of old age. Mature thought combines purpose with observation and
We shouldn‟t see the world through rose tinted glasses hoping to see what we‟d like to see,
but instead what it is
Scientific man VS power politics
Politics among nations: The struggle for power and peace (1948)
“Politics, like society in general is governed by objective laws that have their roots in human
Classical realism emerged as response to the perceived failings of interwar „*idealism*‟ and
advocated an approach that emphasizes the omnipresent danger of community breakdown
Classical realists explained this danger with reference to human nature and the nature of
It emphasized the consequent need to pursue the accumulation of power to ensure survival.
Classical Realism – Begins with Thucydides‟ representation of power politics as a law of human
behavior. The drive for power and the will to dominate are held to be fundamental aspects of human
nature. The behavior of the state as a self-seeking egoist is understood to be merely a reflection of the
characteristics of the people that comprise the state.
Morgenthau, Hobbes and Thucydides in Classical Realism
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Structural Realism – “Defensive realism”
Emergence of the Cold War
1. Rivalry between the USSR and the USA
2. A clash of Competing Ideologies
o Capitalism, Communism
3. A series of conflicts fought through proxies
Called the Cold war, the USSR and the USA never fought each other. It never emerged as a
„hot‟ war (so to speak)
o Series of conflicts fought through proxies around the developing world
o Sought to emerge influence over the new economies
Structural realists concur that international politics is essentially a struggle for power but do
not endorse the classical realist assumption that this is a result of human nature.
o Attribute security competition and inter-state conflict to the lack of an overarching
authority above states and the relative distribution of power in the international
o Kenneth Waltz – defined the structure in terms of three elements
Organizing Principle Differentiation of Units Distribution of Capabilities
Anarchy: decentralized realm of Functionally similar sovereign Relative distribution of power
international politics states. Level-unit variation is is key variable in
Hierarchy: basis of domestic irrelevant understanding outcomes such
order as war and peace, alliance,
politics and the balance of
The Russian Revolution (1917)
Communism and Communist bloc
Social and political ideology that suggest how politics and the economy, suggest placing the
economy in the hands of the workers that do most of the work
Karl Marx (1818-1883) – The elite were in charge, and the proletariat produced the goods the
o German Thinker
o Marxism, Socialism and Communism
o Suggesting how socialist and communist societies would work
o Explaining how social relations worked
5 What was at stake ideologically?
o Free market shaping of the economy and society
o Emphasis on private property, investment and individual rights
Investment of private property
Freedoms that come with property, investment and individual rights
Allowed people to take risks and be creative
Elections of leaders from social elites in questionable elections
o Central planning of the economy and society
o Emphasis on socially shared property and overall collective goods
o Elections of leaders from social elites in questionable elections
Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924)
“Leninism” or “Marxism-Leninism”
Leading party should emerge that exercises a strong leadership role. They should drag the rest
of society. Russian revolution saw Lenin bring some of his visions of society
Union of socialist soviet republics
o Some of the collective and local organizations that had emerged during the revolution
o Debate of economic ideas
Joseph Stalin (1879-1953)
Purges of political opponents
Became the leader of the USSR once Lenin passed away
Non aggression pact with Nazi Germany
Molotov Ribbentrop Pact
Betrayal by Germany (Operation Barbarossa)
USSR joined the allies to fight the Nazis as a result
The Big Three Allies