POLD89H3 Lecture Notes - Antonio Gramsci, Hard Power, Free Trade

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15 Apr 2012
Week 4: Jan 31
“Old” Governance vs. “New” Governance: The (Nation)State and Global Governance Institutions and Global
“OLD” or Traditional or Westphalian “Global” Governance
I. Aspects of Power
A. Power and Influence
B. Soft Power
1. Power of Agenda Setting
2. Power of Ideas, Norms and Values
C. Power and Capability
II. National Capabilities: Tangible Elements
A. Geography and Demography
B. Economic and Military Resources
C. Comparing Capabilities: Indexes of Power
III. National Capabilities: Intangible Elements
A. Intelligence
1. Goals, Plans and Intentions
2. Knowledge of the Other
3. Feedback
IV. Diplomatic Influence
A. Five Substantive Functions of Diplomacy
B. Negotiation and Bargaining
C. Conflict Resolution
V. Military and Economic Influence
A. Use of Force
B. Threatening to Use Force
C. Beyond the Use of Force
D. Economic Persuasion
I. Aspects of Power. National power can be thought of as a relationship. It takes on meaning only as it
affects a state’s behavior toward another state or international actor. The menu of any state, then, is
constrained or affected not only by its own capabilities, goals, policies, and actions but also by those of
the other entity with which it interacts—by the state’s attempts to influence others and by the attempts
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of others to influence it. Broadly defined, power is the ability to overcome obstacles and influence
outcomes. Power can be seen as a set of national capabilities or as a process of exercising influence.
Influence can mean coaxing another country into stopping an action it is already pursuing, in which case
it is called compellence [A policy aimed at influencing another state or nonstate actor to stop an action it
is already pursuing; also called “coercive diplomacy”+. In contrast, deterrence *A policy aimed at
influencing another state or nonstate actor to not do something it would otherwise prefer aims to keep
an actor from doing something it would normally do.] If a nation has potential influence, which is hard
to measure, other countries may not attempt certain actions for fear of reprisal. Relationships between
states can be seen in two ways: First, we can look at how two states compare on a set of national
attributes or characteristics. Second, we can look at the actual set of interactions between pairs of
states. We will be concerned with both power as a set of national attributes or capabilities and power as
a process of exercising influence. Capability and influence become meaningful only when compared with
the capabilities of others and their own attempts to influence outcomes. Comparison implies
measurement; a key question in international relations is how much power an actor has. In looking at
power both as a set of capabilities and as influence, we highlight the problems of creating indicators to
measure power.
A. Power and Influence. In an era of growing interdependence, power may simply mean the
ability to have an impact on the behavior of other actorsto affect the opportunities available to others
and their willingness to choose particular courses of action, which is possible even for a small and
relatively weak actor. Some people see power as the ability to reduce uncertainty in the environment,
and for some it is a means to an end. For others power has come to mean causality, because explaining
who has power explains why things happen. Realism is a view of international politics that begins with
the observation that actors seek power and aim to dominate others. This view of power is centered on
struggle among sovereign states within the anarchic international system and is usually characterized by
the use and manipulation of military resources. Other observers, however, object to the realists’
emphasis on constant struggle and their highly conflictual, coercive, and militaristic interpretation of the
concept of power. They argue that although power is central to international politics, it takes many
forms. Power is not exercised only in situations of armed conflict or potential armed conflict but also
through influencing setting the agenda and influencing rules in a variety of arenas including trade.
B. Soft Power. Soft power is a more subtle form of structural influence over the values held by
other states. Soft power is a way to exercise influence through attraction, as opposed to coercion (hard
power). Influencing the agenda of issues under consideration is a form of soft power. Powerful states
can influence more than the choices of other states; they also influence other states’ menus by
removing some options altogether. This has been called “structural power” because it involves the
ability of state A to influence the context or environment surrounding state B’s decisions—that is, the
structure of the situation in which B finds itself. Structural power enables one country to influence the
environment surrounding another country's decisions Once the purview of radical scholars of world
politics, this notion of power has become widely accepted and applied by realists and liberals as well.
1. Power of Agenda Setting. Foreign policymakers know well the importance of
controlling the agenda; human rights violations and other nondemocratic practices are usually
declared to be internal affairs (matters of national sovereignty) by states subjected to
international criticism. That the issue of human rights is in fact increasingly discussed by states
gives some indication of the structural power exercised by the United States and other Western
democracies in world politics. By concentrating exclusively on whether and to what extent
states such as China or Iran or Cuba actually change their behavior in response to U.S. policy, we
might miss this more subtle exercise of power.
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2. Power of Ideas, Norms and Values. Another, even more subtle, form of structural
power is influence over the values held by other states, and therefore what they take to be their
own interests, goals, and desired outcomes. When the state’s culture, ideology, and institutions
enjoy widespread appealfor instance, American-style democracy and free-market capitalism
other explicit and more transparent exercises of power are unnecessary. “Indeed, is it not the
supreme exercise of power to get another or others to have the desires you want them to have .
. . to secure their compliance by controlling their thoughts and desires?” This is the dimension of
power that radical political theorist Antonio Gramsci had in mind when he discussed the
“hegemony” of one class over another. Like those realists who predict that the predominance of
U.S. military power will be met by the rise of new challengers, restoring the equilibrium of a
balance of power, some believe that there are limits to soft power as well, and that Americans
need to brace themselves for a “clash of civilizations.”
C. Power and Capability. National attributes or capabilities greatly influence the menu of activity
available to states. What is possible or probable relates to the means at one’s disposal. This is especially
important in gauging the actions and reactions of specific states in specific situations. Capabilities
include any physical object, talent, or quality that can be used to affect the behavior (or desires) of
others. Capabilities are important because they affect others’ perceptions, including what one has the
opportunity to do and what one is willing to do. Threats and promises are common instruments of
influence, but they have to be credible. For a threat or promise to be credible, the targeted party has to
believe that the other party is able to carry it out. Credibility, of course, also implies a perceived
willingness to carry out a threat If threats and promises do not work, often punishments (political,
economic, or military) are carried out. States require capabilities in order to impose the costs or the pain
necessary to coerce others to behave as they wish. By doing so, and by doing so effectively, a state also
enhances its credibility by showing that it is willing to carry out threats in a way that gets results. If this
occurs, then at some point in the future threats may not have to be carried out; the mere hint of
punishment will bring about the desired action. Thus, reputation can be central to successful
compellence or deterrence.
II. National Capabilities: Tangible Elements. National capabilities are resources that a state can draw
upon in order to achieve a desired outcome, some of which are more tangible than others. Those who
study international power and influence usually develop a set of attributes on which a state’s power is
based, consisting of some sort of power inventory or power potential. It is often not important which
specific set of attributes is used. What is important is that the analyst of international politics has some
such system for representing the variety of possible power bases; without a systematic and explicit
checklist, the analyst is likely to pay far too much attention to certain power attributes and forget about
others completely. Power and influence are multifaceted and depend on a combination of capabilities.
A. Geography and Demography. A nation's capabilities can be measured through tangible
elements such as population, land mass, demographics, natural resources, economic output, and
military strength. States are constantly assessed in terms of size. The national attributes of land mass
and population are central elements of a state's base of power. Wealth and material development are
important. The skill-set of the population is important as well. Another aspect of a state's human
resources involves the health and well-being of the population. We also must look at the age, sex, and
spatial distribution of a population and the quality of human resourcesthe degree to which a people’s
capabilities have been developed by education or good health care so that they can contribute to the
state’s economic, military, and cultural bases of power.
B. Economic and Military Resources. A states economy is vital to its ability to wield influence in
world politics. The wealth and economic growth of a state are also related to the availability of natural
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