POLS 110 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Tl;Dr, Democratic Peace Theory, Territorial Integrity
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POLS 110B W2L1
Week 2 – Lecture 1
Tuesday, January 13th 2015
How is the world organized? (Politically)
How did it come to be as is?
World Politics is broader, more inclusive.
oInterested in relationships that are international and domestic, institutions other than states
(multi-national corporations) or trans-national NGOs.
oEncompasses International Relations, comparative politics, and when we ask these questions,
these provide answers to us.
International Relations focus primarily on those interactions between nation states in the international
Simplifying device that relies on the assumptions on how the world works, identify which facts matter for
understanding the world and generally point out that over the last century or so, we’ve had 4 dominant
paradigms, which have now turned to 3.
20th century dominated theories: realism, liberalism and Marxism. Since collapse of Soviet Union (last two
decades), Marxism is on a decline and not many political theorists left and instead we have a new field,
Readings – main events of the 20th century, describes what these theories are trying to explain, lenses for the
Collapse of Colonialism
Two World Wars – changed the world fundamentally (formation of international organization as a means
to prevent wars, unsuccessful League of Nations (WWI) and after WWII formed the United Nations
(Human rights regimes – protecting civilians).
oInternational organizations – deal with crisis that is affecting more than a single state, rebuild
Europe after the War (IMF, World Bank)
Cold War – geo-political terms: two superpowers, communist soviet union seeking to promote
communism, and liberal-capitalism US side and allies seeking to advance liberal capitalism in the world.
Rise and fall of the Soviet Union
Rise and fall of fascism in Europe
World dominated by Empire to a world gradually dominated by States – look at map from 15th century,
wouldn’t be so many states, world was a world of Empire, core state conquering vast territories and
controlling them. Notion of the modern state emerged in Europe, empire and colonial powers planted it
else where – Africa, Asia (territories they captured that were organized differently) – important
characteristic of World Politics
oWar between Empires and war between states have led to formation of international relations,
which did not exist before, how important are these international relations?
Monetary regime (IMF)
Human rights regime (UN)
Why do we have so many wars today? Theories trying to explain. Have assumptions about the world,
how it works and why it works.
States as main actors in World Politics
States are sovereign actors/entities, no actor above the state that can force the state
to behave in certain ways, other actors that are subordinate to states, have to work
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within the state system, multi-national corporations, etc. States determine how
they act and no one can compel how they act. How do they act?
Maximization of national interest
Just like rational-choice theory, they are self-maximizers, human nature is selfish
and to think otherwise is naïve (idealistic, normative terms is naïve and
dangerous, for a community to think that everyone else is not selfish will put itself
in peril). Because all states work to maximize national interest, world politics is
characterized by the balance of power.
World politics as struggles of power between states ->-> Balance of power
What we have in the balance of power is states acting to prevent other states from
Anarchy – no overarching, central authority above the individual states
Result is a lot of bargaining, alliances (interest driven alliances – ex: alliance
between Us and Saudi Arabia – two countries that are seemingly very different,
ideologically, how would we account for this kind of strong bond between one
country that claims to advance liberal-capitalism values and other that is
autocratic, restrictions on freedoms and rights and economy is controlled by
ruling apparatus): national interest, each have something to gain from this
alliance. But what they can’t get what they want through diplomacy, states rely on
owns military capabilities. Principal of self-help.
Self-help – a principal of action in an anarchical system
Reliance on own military capabilities. Realistic characterize world order as
Anarchy (key term). Term is different than ideologically, in world politics as used
by politics, refers to principal of world dominated by states in which there in no
overreaching authority that sets the rules for the state actors, no central authority
above the states that can compel it to act according to its own rules. No
enforcement mechanism is international law, but potentially an inter-state alliance,
through the balance of power, to compel the states to act different ways (because
they are stronger).
Neorealism: Behaviour determined by structure
Pessimism: war/conflict as a natural state of affairs (observation as opposing to
Because states seek to maximize there national interest and because all states
behave that way, bound to be conflict between conflicting interests, often figured
out by war (but what about weaker states, Netherlands – doesn’t have military
capacity, irrational to behave that way – and instead builds alliances (NATO –
North Atlantic Treaty Organization) can fight a war to advance its own interests.
Point to world during 20th century, WWI and WWII and identify it as evidence
(don’t endorse war, view it as a sad, unfortunate state of affairs).
States are not the only actors
Important actors include international organizations, multinational corporations,
oInternational organizations are far more important tan what realistic say,
some might provide guidelines for behaviour, and although not formally
enforceable, might lead to make states behave certain ways because they
want to reflect there image a certain way.
Ex: states might sing a treaty about protecting minorities and might
comply with that treaty because they want to project an image that
they respect human rights and minorities. – International treaties
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