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Lecture

Liberalism


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL208Y1
Professor
John Haines

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International Relations: Week 4 t October 5th, 2010
Liberalism
Anarchy is lack of government, not chaos
- Fundamental objective of liberalism is to try to transform the international system to overcome
these constraints, to overcome these forces
Liberalism is a philosophy of liberty of the individual
- Freedom from constraint from other individuals
- Freedom to participate in politics, freedom from fear
- State is the servant and the guardian of these freedoms
- Self-government is the safest precaution against arbitrary intrusion of rulers, of other individuals
o This intrusion needs to be opposed, best way to achieve that is self-government
- Framework to organize and mediate between liberties of citizens
o Liberal state creates institutions, respect for the minorities, checks and balances, law
o Forms: laissez-faire capitalism to social democracy to constitutional monarchy to
republics, from presidential regime to parliamentary regime
- Liberalism is the world of self-restraint, moderation, compromise, and peace
- Tragedy of liberalism in international affairs: attempt to project liberalism into world politics,
difficult encounter between liberal ideas on one end and very nature of international system on
the other, contradiction
o Projection of liberal ideas seems nearly impossible
o Logic of the liberalism is the weak individual protected by the powerful
o Powerful rules against the weak, logic of international affairs
If anarchy is excluded inside the state, outside the borders of a liberal state,
anarchy seems to remain the main characteristic of relations between states
Liberalism is a philosophy where the state is the solution
In international relations, very same state seems to be the problem
- A liberal state inside does not seem to behave in a liberal way outside
o Democratic states may compromise their own values when dealing with foreign policies
o May be tempted to project liberal ambition, liberal ideals, by using violent means, war
and conflict
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E.g. '}PtXµZ[]vÀ]}v}(/}]vPu}Ç}ZD]o
x Contradiction between liberal state and foreign policy
E.g. Issue of torture in Afghanistan
- Liberal states in international system may be regarded as week compared to dictatorship or
authoritarian regime
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o A leader may face constraint and opposition from its own public opinion
E.g. Decision to build armament program may be opposed at home, whereas
dictators will not face same kind of constraint
x Better prepared to face hard realities of international system
o During Cold War, analysts though US democracy was too weak
to win the Cold War against the Soviet Machine
- Rise of China triggers questions about the role of liberal state in world economy
- Democracy is fine at home but in world democracy, regarded as weakness
- Very universality of liberal values is in question, different countries debate content, nature of
these values, core values are not universal
o E.g. Asian Values vs. Western Values, 80s
o Rights of women are not regarded in same way in different cultures
o When West tries to export these liberal values, encounter huge problems, some cases,
violent opposition
o ^]uo]ZµÀXdZu[
- Since the early 90s, UN trying to solve civil wars around the world, ensure human rights are
protected and implemented
o UN Peacekeeping part of agenda of world politics today
Attempt to project, to defend core liberal values outside
Trying to export a sense of justice around the world
x International Criminal Court
o May not be an efficient institution, President of Sudan indicted
by the court for crimes against humanity, no attempt has been
made to arrest him
- How to reconcile liberal values at home and build a nation-specific national interest?
- E.g. Obama engaging with Iran by applying liberal core values, cannot do so as they are opposed
to liberal values
- Manifestation, origin of liberalism in world politics
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In his mind, a process with three steps
x 1. Establishment of liberal state, Liberal state that is based on citizen
consent where rulers are constrained by domestic polity, they cannot
impose war on their citizens, there are checks and balances, liberal state
is a safe guard against war
x 2. Establishment of a pacific federation among liberal states, what is
being practiced in one liberal state, can be agreed among liberal states,
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among liberal states, will eventually become universal
x 3. Because you have a zone of peace among liberal states, universal
community will appear after where the community of the people will in
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