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POL 2103 E - Intro to International Relations _ Global Politics - Joseph Roman - 03 Jan. 13.docx

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Political Science
Mark Salter

POL 2103 E - Intro to International Relations & Global Politics - Joseph Roman - 03 Jan. 13 Realism - Context for its development - Common themes and concepts - Causes of war - Role of science Realism vs. Idealism & the Inter-War Crisis - E.H. Carr’s The Twenty Years’Crisis reacts to the Paris Peace Conference - He thinks the people at the Conference were responsible for WW2, b/c they were idealists. They looking how the world ought to be, not what it actually is. - He says that Idealists forget about 1) the role of power in IR 2) the inherent inability of humans to be good all the time, & 3) states having unlike interests - Basically, a question of “what is” (realists) vs. “what ought to be” (idealists) The Hard Core of Realism - All types of realism share these assumptions 1) Statism - States are the only legit actors in international affairs which can represent the collective will, only actors that matter 2) Survival - Anarchy is inherent, there is no true order in IR, absence of central authority - Thus, you gotta look out for yourself, the state, it’s national interest 3) Self-help - Responsible for its own survival and well-being 4) Balance of power - Ex: StateAthreatened by B.A teams up with C, to balance power against B. 5) Realism as a predictive theory: interested in mostly Why do things happen? - Some realists also ask what do we do when they happen? 6) Modelling objective laws - Realism wants to make objective laws - Lending scientific credibility to realism 7) Parsimony - Wants simple explanations for large concepts - Wants to ignore side subjects (Ex: gender inequality) 8) Hobbesian epistemology - Their lonestar 9) States are the only actors that matter - back to ontology Classical Realism - Classical realism takes its cue from Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War, which argues that humans have an 1) innate drive for power and a 2) will to dominate - Hans J. Morgenthau echoes this stance in Politics Among Nations, which is the essential classical realist statement - Accepting the innate drive for power and a will to dominate means understanding how the international system of states works Elements of Classical Realism - Power is an end in itself - States want to grab power precisely b/c it affords them security in a self-help - Power is psychological, i.e.Agets B to do what B would otherwise not want to do - Power is fungible (different types) - Asuccessful balance of power depends on the strength of international society The balance of power - The balance is a double-edged sword b/c it prevents & causes war - Status quo & revisionist states - Maybe a status quo state thinks a revisionist state has too much power, then boom, a war - Or maybe a revisionist state thinks the status quo state won’t get something done, war - Stability of the world depends on polarity, which determines the kind of system we live in - Soviets vs. US - Systems change when poles change - Today, mostly a uni-polar world - Hegemonic wars ignited when capabilities change - Hegemonic wars = great powers going to war - These wars are the basic cause for system changes - In addition to power, classical realists say: - material (science & tech, mostly to warfare) & - ideological transformations - can chart courses for the international system - Materially, science & technology can make war more destructive, thus lessening is likelihood - Nuclear weapons & mutually assured destruction (MAD) - Thou (?) says nuclear weapons are great, and made up MAD. B/c of MAD, you have assured peace. - Ideological transformations involve acceptable & unacceptable behaviour in the international system - Before, it was unthinkable for an empire to not have colonies. Nowadays, imperialism is unthinkable. Classical Realism and the National Interest - The national interest, i.e. raison d’etat, involves maximizing the interests of the state - The national interest eliminates morality in the international system - If a state acts moral, the state’s jeopardizing his national security - An anarchical system gives license to states to do what would people cannot - States that act morally will put the national interest at risk - Realpolitik - Yet, states have 1 moral duty: to protect the ethical political community which resides within its borders - There is a clear line between the international and domestic spheres for classical realists - In the domestic sphere, there’s a central authority as well as a common political culture. This is completely unlike the international sphere. - Therefore, domestically, norms can exist The Place of Justice for Classical Realists - Justice does serve 2 ends: 1) It helps others to see & act towards a state
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