nov28polisci .docx

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19 Apr 2012

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November 28th, 2011
Cold War Realism: International Relations Theory
and War
Cuban Missile Crisis: first time that nuclear weapons play a gigantic role in how
affairs are conducting each other
Realism: Origins
- Thucydides: Melian Dialogue “The strong take what they can, the weak
accept what they must”
o When Athenians attacked Melos, and surrounded it with ships,
soldiers and proceeded to negotiate terms of surrender
o If the Melians didn’t want to surrenders, the Athenians would take
over Melos
o Melos as weak
o Politics isn’t about morality, its about power
o Anarchy:
o Self- Help:
o States do not have friends, they have interests and these do not being
because of “good relations”.
- The relations between countries must come to terms with the fact that there
is No global government, or global police first
o States must help themselves
o The only thing permanent is Canadian Nation Interest
o What ever serves our interests
- It became clear to scholars as early as the 19th century when from 1815-
World War I there were no continental wars in Europe
o Long peace
o What preserved the peace was the balance of power and assistance of
system of alliances : weaker band together against stronger.
o German Unification (18711) and rise in industrial and maritime
power upsets the balance
o World war I and world war ii a function of power: economic power
translates into military power
Power on the continent
o The wars are about power
Relations between countries are about power and power
For the realists: what matters in relations between states is
relative power gains (power is zero sum) not absolute gains
(possible is get a win-win)
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