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International Organizations, International Security - Political Science 101

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University of Alberta
Political Science
POL S101
Davina Rousell

Security, Insecurity, and Power Politics o IR is “properly” concerned with state survival in an anarchic environment o Mearsheimer (realist): Goals like prosperity and protecting human rights always take a back seat to survival o “Power Politics” (‘peace through strength’) approach to security sees self- reliance as the ultimate key to survival. The Distribution of Power in IR o Multipolarity: division of power among three or more states within a system; used to define international politics from 1648-1945 o Bipolarity: power divided between two major states; typically refers to the US and USSR in the Cold War era (1949-91) o Unipolarity: domination of a single global hegemon, specifically the US after 1991. o Some have argued that the bipolar system and the deterrent effect of nuclear weapons is responsible for the “long peace” of the Cold War o The stability of a unipolar system Is debated and its assumption are challenged by the rise of non-state actors such as al-Qaeda. o Recent conflicts do not lend themselves to realist balance of power analysis since they are not essentially state-based. Liberal Approaches to Security o Emphasis on international institutions that have proven to be fairly successful after WWII o Particular attention to the UN and other collective security measures as means of reducing the negative effects of anarchy. The UN and Collective Security o Replacement for the League of Nations underway from at least 1941 o “Dumbarton Oaks” meeting in 1944 produces a draft charter o Official UN charter signed on 26 June 1945 in San Francisco The UN Charter o Establishes basic principles of order all members must agree to including:  “Faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small” The UN Security Council o Established by Chapter 5 of the UN charter o Originally had 5 permanent members (UK, US, USSR, France, China) and 6 non permanent members o Now ten non permanent members (serving two year terms) o Permanent members (P5) have veto power. o Intended to ensure the most prominent states played a special role in international system, correcting one of the issues with the League o Some see permanent membership as unfairly representing developed states to the exclusion of those from Africa, the Middle East, South Asia or South America. The Role of NATO o North Atlantic Treaty Organization created in 1948 o Emerged in the early days of the Cold War as a means to “contain” the spread of communism in Europe o Collective security agreement between its members (originally Canada, US, UK, France, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Netherlands, and Luxembourg) NATO After the Cold War o Reinvents itself to become the primary security organization in Europe and the North Atlantic o New members include former soviet-dominated countries o Current membership is 28 states. Alternative Approaches to Security o Peace activists from the 1960s onwards have promoted “positive peace” which is ore than the absence of violent conflict o Peace movement has many dimensions and promotes different issues at different times. Feminism and Security o Feminists are at the forefront of bringing the issue of rape as a weapon of w
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