September 11, 2013
A realist perspective is the view of power politics.
A liberal perspective tends to look towards and care more about the international community.
The Ottoman Empire ran the Arab world until they were dismantled during World War I.
The Arab Spring
It is a revolutionary uprising by civilian populations in numerous Arab countries. It originally
began in Tunisia in December of 2010. To date the governments have been overthrown in
Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. The major social upheaval had been in Syria and Bahrain.
There have been sporadic protests in Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco,
Lebanon and the Sudan.
The Arab Spring is taking place through the entire Arab world, not just the Middle East.
The Arab spring in Tunisia originally began when a man was trying to provide for his family and
took some fruits and vegetables to try and sell at the market. The police tried to ticket and
blackmail him and when he could not pay they smashed his cart and produce. After this
happened the man went to the government building and set himself on fire, this was the catalyst
of the events of the Arab Spring. The thought began to be, shouldn’t the government be trying to
helping us instead of hindering us.
Some governments all but bought off their population when they began to up rise by giving them
what they wanted but at a higher price. In some cases they also took a step back from their
government and let the people have a say.
2 years ago...
Argument 1: This was about pro democracy. Populations of these states want representation,
elections and greater individual rights and freedoms. The population also wanted development
and jobs. They wanted to secularize their states political institutions (separate church and state).
They wanted to live in an anti-corruption and anti-elitism country.
Argument 2: This was about anti-Western influence in the region. There was a prolonged US
military presence in the States. Free market economic reforms “pushed” on these states by
Europe and the US. This created corruption and elitism. There was unbiased support of Israel
by the United States; there was a failure to address the Palestine Issue. The United States get
blamed for many things that happen in Israel because they are the greatest allies of them and
had the power for them. Hypocrisy came into play in that there were interventions in some but
not in others.
Future 1: This would be a good thing. This would create the spread of democracy and rights.
State after state will embrace changes and slowly all corrupt regimes will fall and there will
become increased rights and freedoms for the people. There will be an increase in investments,
development and quality of life. It will help balance out trouble states and governments in the
region. Future 2: This might be a bad thing. There will be instability in the region, especially in Israel and
create problems for Western interests. This will take many decades. There could be a rise of
fundamentalism (someone who takes a literal view of their religious book). The Egyptian
election results would be a Muslim brotherhood. It would create civil wars and fracturing of
existing states. “The Devil You Know,” was Saddam Hussian who the United States basically
owned. They know he was not a good person but would do what he was told when push came
to shove. They would turn a blind eye to certain things because they knew who he was and how
he would act. The Western military began to take action against other countries in which they
didn’t know the leader or have any kind of links with the government or leader. There becomes
the possibility that the US may have to go into Libya in a small capacity, however this could drag
the Western world into a larger war.
In February of 2011 Hosni Mubarak resigned from his post of leader of the country.
From November 2011 to February 2012 there were parliamentary elections and an Islamist
majority returned, it was the coalition of two Islamist parties. However there was only one real
political party that could run because no one was prepared to run in an election.
In June 2012 Mohamed Morsi, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, was elected in a
In November 2012 there was a declaration giving the President sweeping powers (centralized
power) and this renewed the protest.
In January 2013 the Egyptian economy was collapsing; the strategic reserve was down 20
billion dollars in two years.
From January to June there begin growing protests about Morsi.
On June 30 millions of people demonstrate and the army issues an ultimatum with the
government for negotiations.
On July 3 the army seized the government and took over power. They tore up the constitution
and tried to start fresh.
September 13, 2013
Big Questions on Egypt:
1. Military coup or democracy in action?
2. Role of outside players?
3. Stability of.... religion; economy?
4. Mubarak 2.0?
5. Does the West have a role?
These were mostly lose-lose scenarios. The idea of
democratic trajectory of Egypt (and other states in the region) versus democracy in the West Military Coup- When the military overthrows the established government of a country
Literally this was a military coup, however there were many things that prevented people from
actually calling it that. For example if a military coup were to happen in a country that the United
States is providing financial aid then by congressional law they are to withdraw their help,
however the states did not want to so they have been dancing around that term.
The difference between our democracy and Egypt’s democracy is that we are more peaceful
and know that we will have our say at another time; this however is not necessarily true for the
people of Egypt.
The Mubarak regime was a very repressive state of affairs. Certain groups were not allowed
and if you were in one or accused of one you would be sent to jail, usually without a trial and the
state of the prison was not good. Are we going back into that? The same army is still
implementing the laws and following them so how much are things really going to change?
What is our role over there in this situation? We are taking on a “parenting role” in this situation.
Basically stating that we have already gone through this and we know what we are doing, let us
help you, but instead in most cases we take over and prohibit the nation from growing in their
way and developing their own system.
Religion in Syria
“Other” Muslim- 6%
The leader of Syria, Assad, is actually a minority of the entire country. The nation is being held
down and restricted by this fact; it is a minority ruling a majority.
There is basically a civil war happening right now in Syria.
What happens in the surrounding countries through this civil war? What if it flows over into other
states? What if people come in and start taking sides?
March 2011: Protests as part of the larger Arab Spring; army deployed
October 2011: Syrian National Council formalizes itself as an opposition to the government;
China and Russia veto UNSC (the security council)
November 2011: November 2012: Free Syria Army and Assad loyalists battle for control of
country; numerous failed UN efforts to broker peace
November 2012: National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces is founded.
December 2012: US, Britain, France and Turkey and Gulf states recognizes group’s legitimacy.
August 21 2012: Obama announces “red line” speech that they will not do anything or attack
unless chemical weapons are used. th
March 19 : Rebels and Assad regime accuse each other of a chemical attack in small city north
April 2013: US government t says that they are “fairly certain” chemicals were used by Assad on
March 19 and decides that they will start providing small weapons to the rebels
The five great powers are the US, Russia, China, England and France. Should one of these
countries say no then the motion that is trying to be carried is vetoed.
Total population- 20 million
Left Syria- 2 million
Displaced within Syria- 4.5 million
Humanitarian toll: women and children
Neighbouring countries are trying to help people find refuge from the fighting; however other
countries have their own problems and can only do so much.
1. Were chemical weapons used? By whom? Burden of proof?
2. What should happen next? Intervention? In what form?
3. International law on: use of chemicals; intervention
4. Role of UN
5. Is this the West’s business? (civil war versus humanitarian crisis)
6. What happens if you remove Assad? Who is the “opposition”? Locally, regionally,
September 16, 2013
There has been a rapid growth in the number of states. Around World War II there were
approximately 50, post cold war there is now around 200.
A nation is a presumed sense of shared culture and identity based on language, religion,
common ancestry, and common history
The state is the territorial entity. It is literally the physical land mass.
Nation-states are those that within the physical land mass that are dominantly under one
ideology. However, these nation-states are becoming less and less common as it is getting
easier for people to move about and people are more vocal on their differences of opinions.
After a war there is generally an increase in the number of states as the previous states break
down during the war and new, smaller ones are created or recreated. The new states that are created are usually created as nation-states. They would be created almost on purpose as a
way to stop wars, by giving each nationalist their own state.
Origins of the State
The State is the product of two separate but interconnected factors. The state was thought of as
an “organization” or bureaucracy.
Charles Tilly says that “war made the state, so that the state could make war.”
The roving bandit was lead by a warlord and would travel across the country side and would
take things from that village and extort them with fear of death, setting towns on fire, etc. The
stationary bandit begins to stay on one place in an area close to some small towns that he likes
and takes some things from these towns on a regular basis. Slowly they would begin to expand
the area that they would rule. This is the first example of bureaucracy and census taking. It
became common that there would be different leaders for different areas that would eventually
work their way up to the stationary bandit. This was the beginning of multiple level government
The idea of “state” as a result or sovereign entity emerges later in 1648 the Treaty of Westphalia
was established. The end result was an establishment of form territorial boundaries, the
recognition of the right to exist by all members; with the idea of equal standing from one to
another. It extended provisions of religious minorities within each state. There was an
agreement not to meddle in others affairs.
A state is subjective to many different opinions. However, there are three basic requirements
that people believe in; a territory, a population and a sovereign government.
Others argue that it must also include ideas of common culture, identity and stability.
There was the assumption “that a delimited geographical area is the responsibility of a single
Historically territory is the biggest source of conflict amongst states (or more) States
simultaneously claiming the same territory. There has to be some leeway in this criteria.
September 18, 2013
September 20, 2013
In becoming a state there is a final step in that someone, meaning another country, must
recognize you as your own state. In order to be a sovereign state, another sovereign state must
recognize you. The bottom line is that someone cannot unilaterally declare a State in your
backyard as a government and have your family as your population.
What are the Purposes of the State? There are different rationales for its existence. Regardless, most people accept it is an important
piece of machinery geared towards achieving a certain ends. Some ideas would be:
• Promotion of international order
• As a means of survival; security
• Protection of a particular “way of life” or ideology
• Defense of dominant class interests
According to Karl Marx the state was only kept as long as it was to keep an order to it and the
rich minority could keep their power.
It can still be seen that “State to State” interaction remains a predominant form of international
relations. Non-state actors are also becoming more important.
An example is that the IMF (International Monterey Fund) dictates the loan terms it makes prior
to loaning money to States.
Grounds for Over-riding Sovereignty
Recent arguments are acknowledging that the norm of “non-intervention” may be over-ridden.
a) Self Defense- pre-emption or retaliation. Pre-emption is when you have not yet been
attacked, however they are on the verge of attacking you so you would attack first. This
becomes prevention war.
b) Humanitarian intervention- rescue one’s nationals, or end humans rights abuses
(Lebanon on 2007). At what point can you intervene and defend your own people in
another country? What kind of trouble do they need to be in before you can step in?
c) Civil War- responding to an intervention made by another state previously (Afghanistan
in 1980s). Once a country’s sovereignty has been violated the sovereignty does not exist
in that country anymore. There is almost always an underlining reason as to why people
go in to “help.” Generally people only intervene if they can gain something from that
country as well and they go in under the pretense of helping.
The problem is arbitrarily and subjectively done.
States and the End of the Cold War
The changes and consequences in the last 25 year have been profound for Statehood. States
creation and viability has been affected. New States are coming about but old states are
weakening. There has been an emergence of “quasi-states”, those which are created based on
violence but are not or should not actually be considered states. There have been changes to
the ideas of non-interference. This is being increasingly accepted in theory. This idea is really
starting to become stretched and harder to recognize. There is an integration into world
economy. States are starting to lose power because they are being forced to deal with terms that they might not have set themselves. This is creating an increase in numbers and scopes of
Future of State and Sovereignty
There are four main views on what could happen to states and sovereignty.
1. We are witnessing the end of the state. Some people view the UN as framework global
government, which is that all states will become one large state taken and ruled under
one global government. The question arises, if you don’t have the state, how can you
2. The state is retreating due to changing functions. This does not mean that it is going to
go away; it is just going to have to adapt.
3. Nothing has really changed. The state still remains the dominant actor in the world.
4. It is a period of uncertainty and transition but it is too early to comment.
Anatomy of a Failed State
The Failed State Index ranks world states. They get together to decide how “failed” a state is.
In 2012: Somalia (4 year in a row), Chad, Sudan
The biggest leap: Haiti
The top four are all Scandinavian countries.
All of the more failing countries are clumped together in an area that is farther away from the
more stable countries.
Failed State Indicators
1. Mounting demographic pressures
2. Massive movement of people/refugees
3. Vengeance seeking group
4. Uneven economic development
5. Sharp or severe decline in economics
6. Absence of government legitimacy
7. Progressive deterioration of public services
8. Violations of human rights
9. Security challenges 10. Ride of factionalized elites
11. Intervention of foreign actors
Challenges of Failed States
What do you do with failed states? The term “failed” is not generally used because it means
there is no hope; the term “failing” is commonly accepted because it means that people can still
help them recover. But at what point do you intervene? And who should decide when and who
should help? Does this actually help or hurt the states, both those being helped and those who
The international system is an “area” for international relations. It looks at where states (or
others?) interact with one another. These interactions are what we call “international relations.”
The field of international relations is the “study of interactions among and between States and
the workings of the international system as a whole.”
Elements and Processes at Work
Cooperation and Conflict
It refers to political actors proactively working together. Note that cooperation is a broader
concept than peace. Peace is the absence of war. Is conflict war? Cooperation and conflict are
not mutually exclusive. It is one relationship with different issues.
Globalization versus Fragmentation
Globalization is the world being “pulled” together. Fragmentation is the “pulling apart” or
breaking it into smaller pieces.
Link between globalization and fragmentation?
Natural processes or controllable?
Anarchy versus Order
How do we characterize the international system? Predictable or chaotic? Can it be managed?
Levels of Analysis
There are three levels of analysis.
1. Systemic Level: in our case the international system.
2. Domestic Level: the level of the state
3. Individual level: an individual Why do we distinguish between levels?
It is a simple way of sorting out the complexity of world affairs, especially when trying to study
and compare it. It gives different theoretical approaches attach varying degrees of significance
to the levels. Depending on which theoretical approach you prefer, the different levels play
This is the biggest picture and encompasses all other levels. This is the level in which all other
actors “play or interact.” The most distinguishing feature of the international system is that it is
anarchic. Two important assumptions about the international system are A) all states are unitary
actors; that is they are all the same despite internal make-up. B) All states are rational actors.
That is that all decisions based on preferences and cost-benefit analyses.
This level shifts the level of analysis down to the state. Here we examine domestic structures in
an effort to understand how a state may behave in institutions and culture. It says that a
democratic state operate differently from a non-democratic one.
At this level we talk about the individual; a leader of a state who is constrained by two levels.
Can one individual make a difference? Are they constrained by their own internal state
mechanism or the rules which govern the international system? The answer to these questions
depends on the paradigm or “worldview” that one believes.
We have to recognize that our beliefs, perceptions and assumptions directly affects how we
understand international relations and therefore the international system as a whole. A paradigm
is the lens through which we view. Other worldviews looked at will be: realism,
liberalism/idealism, constructivism, others in the way of Marxism and feminism.
The general idea is that the world as governed by the law of the jungle; every state must protect
itself and its interests and weak states will not survive. It can be articulated at all levels of
analysis; classical realism (individual), neorealism/structural realism (systemic) and neoclassical
September 30, 2013 Liberalism/Idealism
This is essentially created in response to realism. The idea of this is that cooperation is not only
possible but beneficial. Trust is then built. Cooperation creates stability and ca