POLSCI 1G06 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Billiard Table, Power Projection, Marshall Plan

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Political Science 1G06 2013 II Lecture 6b International Relations
Theory
Realism
-Given the differences between politics in conditions of hierarchy and
politics in conditions of anarchy, the following Realist tenets emerge
-1. State
-For Realism, the state is the most important actor in the international
system
-Other actors are subordinate to the state – consider the UN and the
Security Council
-If you want to understand international outcomes, you should be
looking at states, their political interests, and their relative power
with respect to one another
-A billiard ball model of politics
-2. Survival is the primary motive of every state
-Any means to secure this end will be pursued
-Military power is the best means to secure this end
-Therefore states are constantly trying to accumulate it
-3. Relative Gains
-Given the above, states must be more concerned with Relative gains
than absolute gains in any agreement
-This makes international politics a zero-sum game
-Why Cooperation?
-1. Power projection
-It might be easier to agree and loose a little than to disagree and suffer
a lot
-2. Peculiarities in the Balance of state power
-Where a greater third party threat exists, for example
-Marshall Plan?
-Critiques:
-A state which uses realist theory to guide its policy could create the
very outcome that realism suggests is innate
-Realism can create a self-fulfilling prophesy
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-Realism has not been very successful in predicting significant
alterations in world politics
-Most notably, Realism did not predict the end of the Cold War
-Liberalism: several variants
-1. “At its core, is a belief in reason and the possibility of progress”
-2. Politics is a “struggle for consensus and mutual gain” rather than
for relative power
-Absolute gains are more important than relative gains in most
instances
-3. International organizations can play a key role in bringing about a
more harmonious world order
-Neo-Liberal Institutionalism:
-Takes most of the assumptions of realism: states are the key actor, and
they are rational, unitary and self-interested
-Liberal Institutionalism asks the question of how it is possible to
create cooperation in conditions of anarchy – where there is no
international government to enforce agreements
-Recall the Prisoners dilemma once again
-If the fear of defection could be eliminated, cooperation would
become a rational choice
-International organizations can play a significant role here
-1. They increase the amount of information available to
participants
-This makes it more likely cheaters will be caught
-2. They increase the number of transactions over time
-The more frequent the interaction, the more it pays to be a reliable
partner
-3. International organizations act to link different issue areas
together
-Cheating in one area will make it less likely that cooperation will
occur in another
-More give and take becomes an institutional requirement
-Liberal Interdependence Theory
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