POLB80 - Lec #4 - Oct. 2, 2012
Liberalism's Big Points
1. Importance of Domestic Systems: State-Type Matters - "Democracies haven't fought yet."
Liberals would argue that different state-systems create different behaviours.
2. Collective Security: Removing the Security Dilemma - In 1935, the League of Nations and
Collective Security failed. Realism argues that you can never escape the security dilemma.
Liberals say that anarchy usually does lead to a security dilemma, but you can ameliorate your
situation through Collective Security (one for all and all for one).
3. Cooperation Under Anarchy (Neoliberals): Overcoming Anarchy - Realists believe that
cooperation in World Politics is rare. Liberals say that there is a possibility of cooperation under
anarchy because of the existence of mutual interests and because international organizations
can help with the mistrust that comes from the Security Dilemma. International organizations
serve as a forum for countries to observe one another and provide a place for multiple
interactions over time. Once you have these multiple interactions, this reduces the level of
mistrust and allows cooperation to become a greater tool for states.
Wars can be prevented by restraint of military action. You can deter aggression by the notion
that everybody will respond if aggression if shown.
Aggressors must be stopped.
The aggressor is easy to identify in a conflict.
The aggressor is always wrong. This must always be clear.
Aggressors must know that the international community will act against them.
"A threat to one is a threat to all." - UN Reform
Political Will must be there in order to stop a security dilemma.
Is NATO a Collective Security Organization?
A little perspective: The UN is considered a Collective Security Organization.
NATO is a Collective Defense/Alliance. This is a group of countries that have agreed to come to
each other's aid if they are attacked. They are usually aimed at a particular threat (when it was
created, they were aimed at the Warsaw Pact). NATO exists to help countries live within the
Security Dilemma. So no, NATO is not a Collective Security Organization.
Unlike Liberalism and Realism, Constructivism thinks more about what is appropriate. Context shapes interactions.
What we think of as normal is not objective. It exists because of interactions over time and we
create ideas of what is appropriate.