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Political Science
Aisha Ahmad

Week#2 POLC09 Tuesday, September 10 2013 th Realist explanations of War What does Realism say about the prospect of conflict in the international system? Within the Realist paradigm, what are the theoretical differences of opinion between Balance of Power theorists, Hegemonic Stability theorists, Offensive Realists, and Defensive Realists? According to these different theoretical models, how does the structure of the international system (i.e. unipolarity, bipolarity, and multi-polarity) affect the probability of major war? Readings Robert Jervis (Anarchy prevents Cooperation from occurring)  Question: Anarchy and security dilemma make it impossible for states to cooperate, So why then would states cooperate anyways?  Main Variables and Predictions: Predicts the offense/defense balance and distinguish between offensive/defensive postures; This then creates four types of environments  A) Offensive/Defensive (indistinguishable) : (Offensive ADVANTAGE) : world is dangerous, mistrust each other , determines neighbours intentions from actions , security dilemma is strong in this environment  B) Offensive/Defensive (indistinguishable) : (Defensive ADVANTAGE): SD exists, but defensive is an incentive to invest in primarily defensive capabilities ; security needs to be compatible  C) Offensive/Defensive: (distinguishable) : Offensive ADVANTAGE: SD will not operate here, but incentive to use offensive action to protect themselves. Status-quo can differentiate themselves from aggressors and there will warning of an agressors intentions.  D) Offensive/Defensive(distinguishable) : Defensive Advantage : safest environment , SD does not have influence actors can differentiate between types when analyzing their counterparts; invest in greater resources in defensive capabilities that do not threaten their neighbours.  Application to WORLD WAR ONE (broke out faster, Europeans expecting offense to be decisive quick , cheap victories) WORLD WAR TWO : cautious : WW1 left England and France expecting defense to have upper hand; German preparations were less worrisome. Therefore SD ( was powerful in WW1)  Factors that determine (defense/offensive posture and balance) - priors and memories of previous events effect decision makers mind - Technology and geo in given context - Ability to determine neighbours intentions - If defense is stronger then SD, doesn’t operate powerfully, if offense over defense then the SD is more difficult.  Factors that contribute to cooperation - Increasing gains from mutual cooperation - Cost of being exploited are low , countries will have less need to take defensive action - Functioning collective security also reduces a country’s perception of threat and its need to respond quickly - Gains from exploitation of a second country can be decreased if second country is non-threatening and if it provides goods that will be lost of country one exploits - Monitoring regimes to support CC solutions= make international agreements - Understanding of SD to begin with Week#2 POLC09 Tuesday, September 10 2013 th Realist explanations of War Thomas J.Christensen and Jack Synder  Chain ganging and buck passing are causes of alliance behaviour, which prevents efficient ways to prevent war.  Chain gaining is basically when State A chains itself to State B because survival is seen as indispensable to the security of the whole alliance. (Offense is seen as an advantage: to have the upper hand) HOWEVER leads to WAR, because conquest is seen as easy.  Buck-Passing: State A passes the costs of sustaining the balance of power to other states in the system. Defense is perceived as the advantage. HOWEVER deterrence fails and will lead to war.  These two ideologies can only occur in a multipolarity because in a bipolarity system, ( superpowers do not need to depend on anyone else for survival AND they cannot pass the buck because smaller allies don’t pose threats)  The authors argue that chain-ganging is expected when offense it believed to have an advantage and it is caused by systemic factors such as powerful technology and geography and an example is WW1. Moreover, buck passing is expected when defense is perceived to have an advantage and it is caused by domestic factors such as civil-military relations. The method the authors used to answer the question is analyzing historical case studies. Stephen Van Evera Van Evera. 1998. Offense, defense, and the causes of war. International Security 22 (spring): 5-43. MAIN ARGUMENT: "war is far more likely when conquest is easy... shifts in the offense-defense balance have a large effect on the risk of war" (5). The shifts in the offense-defense balance can be either real or perceived, but shifts will affect the likelihood of war. Y = War (the costs and benefits of war, to be more specific) X = the offense-defense balance DETERMINANTS of the Offense-Defense Balance:  Military Technology and Doctrine: military technology can favor either the aggressor or the defender.  Geography: conquest is more difficult when states are geographically insulated from invasion or strangulation.  Social and Political order: popular regimes are generally better at conquest and self- defense than unpopular ones.  Diplomatic arrangements: three types of diplomatic arrangements strengthen the defense: collective security systems, defensive alliances, and balancing behavior by neutral states. THEORY: Offense-Defense's Ten Explanations for War  Opportunistic Expansionism: when conquest is hard, aggression is dissuaded by the fear that victory will be too costly  Defensive Expansionism and Fierce Resistance to expansionism: when conquest is hard states with secure borders are more willing to accept the status quo.  Moving first is more rewarding  Windows are larger and more dangerous  Faits accomplis are more common and more dangerous  States negotiate less and reach fewer agreements: states let more disputes fester when the offense dominates  States are more secretive: information advantages lead to rewards Week#2 POLC09 Tuesday, September 10 2013 th Realist explanations of War  States Arms Race Harder and Faster: when defense dominates you get a "virtuous cycle" [shouldn't that say "vicious cycle"?]  Conquest grows still easier: offense dominance is self-reinforcing. CASE STUDIES Van Evera uses three case studies to check whether the predictions of Offense-Defense hold up empirically. He studies: Europe since 1789, ancient China during Spring and Autumn and Warring States eras, and the US since 1789. He claims that these cases all show variation in the (real or perceived) offense-defense balance (IV). He admits that the Chinese case study is weak, but pins it on lack of knowledge. However, Van Evera claims that the overall indications of the three studies combined support the theory. Week#2 POLC09 Tuesday, September 10 2013 th Realist explanations of War Class Notes How NEO-REALISM has broken into different camps Core Assumptions of the Neo-Realist Paradigm  International system is Anarchic no government)(exception of power transition theory which looks at hierarchy)  States are the primary actors in the international system  Its level of power, not regime power  States operated based on self-help  States are primarily concerned with security  States measure power through relative gains (point for you, makes me weak)  Differences in theoretical methods, significant relevance to policy makers; What do we make of a rising “china”; Defensive Realism  Under anarchy states are defensive and concerned with survival  States want to protect themselves from a potential hegemon and maintain the status quo  States are security-seekers, not power-maximizers  Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics 1979 Offensive Realism  States are not only concerned with security but also with power, and seek security through aggrandizement (increase/power)  All
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