POLB80 Lecture 10
IR Forum: There’s not much of a change in Obama’s re-election or is there? US elections
usually put things on hold. Is there a national interest that politicians follow regardless
of public opinions?
Review from last week:
Coordination – Realist say that there is only coordination problems in regimes.
Coordination Problem – There are multiple options and cooperation is necessary to
arrive at the same choice. Powerful actors are able to make the choice or influence the
choice of option.
Liberals say it’s not just coordination but you will also see collaboration regimes.
Collaboration problems - actors have different interests but have mutual gains. Since,
we don’t trust each other we both get weapons. The solution to this collaboration
problem is to set up rules and interactions that will build trust.
Looking at the stages to get a regimes. There are 5 steps:
Issue Definition - To have a regime, you have to define the issue. This is a
problem that needs international relations to solve.
o For example, climate change issue. In the 1980s, they set up an
international interaction Panel on climate change. The goal was to define
climate change. IPCC usually gets reports that redefine the issue.
Negotiations – Problems that will occur is Coordination problem or collaboration
problems or both. Negotiation can take a long time. The goal is to make a treaty.
Actors try to bargain with each other and eventually have a coordination or
o Climate change had a series of treaties. These treaties make rules norm
that will govern how actors deal with climate change.
Implementation – carrying out the rules to deal with an issue.
o They got stuck with Kyoto Protocol. Consent is a problem.
Implementation can be set back when actors don’t consent.
Enforcement - This is difficult. Self-enforcing regimes are the easiest. Self-
enforcing means they follow the rules because they are better off following the
rules. Once you have agreed on the standard, no one has the interest in breaking
the rules. Essentially, what you need is some combination of incentives and
punishments. Punishments are tough in international regime because each state
is sovereign. Effective punishments are very rare.
o Kyoto Protocol did have punishments. If you break the rules, the
punishment was that in the next negotiation you have higher emission.
Canada pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto Protocol punishment wasn’t very effective. You can also have incentives for developing
countries to comply with Kyoto protocol by having development aid.
Eventually, Kyoto Protocol evolved to become even weaker.
Revision – Coming up with the same treaty is not the extent in making a regime.
They go through multiple revisions and end up going back to issue definition.
o There are many scientific changes year to year in climate change. What
kind of technology do we have to solve this problem?
Agents of Collective Politics – IGOs
States are not alone in developing regimes. IGOS, NGOs, MNCs help too
IGOs – are clubs of states. Examples of IGOs are UN, EU, World Trade Organizations, etc.
Members of IGOs are states. States create IGOs to help themselves. They are
multilateral institution meaning that there has to be more than two states involved.
IGOs are problem solving aids, help state interact smoothly, help powerful state get
what they want, increase international interactions/relations, and protect state
Autonomy – Realist and liberalist differ on how much autonomy states have in IGOs.
Realist would argue that powerful states influence IGOs. This is another arena of
power politics. They don’t have any independent effect on the decisions made.
There is barely any cooperation. IGOs are nearly a place to meet.
In a Liberalist perspective, IGOs have some autonomy. They are still actors. IGOs
are certainly clubs of state. Rules of IGOs create and can change how states
interact. Working towards common goals over time builds trust. IGOs can change
how states interact and how they pursue their goals. You’re more likely to