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Security and Insecurity

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Political Science
POL S101
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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 o 51 original members, now expanded to 193 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” o Also calls for tolerance and limits on the use of force 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. Reform of the Security Council o Some have suggested dropping France and the UK in favor of a single EU vote o Who gets the open seat? India, Japan, Brazil, Egypt, or Nigeroa? o Should permanent membership be eliminated? • This would meet guaranteed resistance from all current permanent members. 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 a
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