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POL208Y5 Lecture Notes - Security Dilemma

Political Science
Course Code
Todd Hall

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May 10th
Fifty key thinkers in international relations
Caul von Clausewitz (1781- 1831)
War is ugly and brutal.
Amoral – ignore morality and ethics. Ex.You must always finish your enemy when u
have the chance
Ethics and morality do not play a role in extosential war—the survival of a society
BUT if it is a limited war (minor conflicts) there should be ethics and morale
Hans J. Morgenthau (1904-1980)
Wrote the books “politics amongst nations”
the most known and popular modern realist
states the major assumptions of the realists
1. the science of politics
Modern realists assume politics is a science because it is based on laws that are
unchanging (Universal loaws of politics—the understanding of human nature)
Note. Hans is pessimistic about human nature
Thomas Hobbes
2. the nations state(the principle actor)
The state is the most important because it controls the principle instruments of violence.
Ex the military, bombs nuclear weapons
3. Unitary Rational Actor
A united voice
National Intrest
Raison de tat
4. The international system is anarchic
This means that the international system has no meaningful higher authority to regulate it.
Controversy: The UN claims to be above the state but they are only effective at the
margins. For the most part they do not play a big role. They are often controlled by one
or more Nation State.
5. Security dilemma
Because the international system is anarchic wach individual state must look out for itself
by pursuing its own national interests.
Ex. Very efforst by an indivual nation to increase security makes every other nation feel
less secure, and then makes an effort to increase the secutiry . It will become an ongoing
arms race. Where nations only win if another nation loses.
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