POL326Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Kenneth Waltz, Comparative Literature, David Easton

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14 Dec 2016
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Course
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of 4
Paper:
1st part: research component; quality and quantity of sources and how they are sourced;
2nd: analysis;
3rd: presentation
10 sources;
Bibliographies as research tools;
Look at pofessioals’ iliogaphies;
Final exam: answer one of the two essay questions and eight identifications;
Textbook: 6th edition
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US FOREIGN POLICY
- Good reason to argue that it is the most important topic in political science;
- Why: Kenneth Waltz wrote a book called Man, State and War; his doctoral thesis; put forward a
question and answered it: What explains the prevalence of war in the international system?
ANSWER: explanation of prevalence of war; most of literature fell into three categories/images:
individuals, societies and international system; or prevalence of war on the basis of individuals
involved in starting those wars; explaining WWII, emphasis on Hitler and those who opposed
Hitle ad thei atios that led to a; hile Waltz does’t agee with that, he understands the
importance of individuals; but not convincing; therefore, second image: that of society; if
idiiduals ae’t the easo, the atue of soieties ight e; hih soieties a-like and
which ones pacifist; perpetual peace theory or democractic peace; democracies do not make
war on democracies; those that are autocratic more violent towards other states, underlining
assumption that autoracts not accountable to the general public thus more likely to resort to
war; however, WALTZ not convinced; democracies go to war as much as authoritarians go to
war; in fact democracies go to war against authoritarians more to achieve equality;
- Final image: international system; the nature of IR makes war inevitable; as such, his book
became a Bible of realist school; IR fundamentally influences the nature of state and war
making;
- Waltz made an interesting observation in the aftermath of collapse of USSR; tried to explain the
actions of the most powerful states; argued that states are rational actors; their policy decision
makding process relatively open; when confronted to situations, they look at all alternatives;
and determine which is the most rational action to take and then pursue that;
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- He found out that one of the actions taken against US did not appear to be rational;
furthermore, US walked away from the conflict more secure than before; was not true and did
not appear rational;
- Iais did ot pay fo the a ad otay to Rusfeld’s peditio, US i a fa ose fisal
situation before IRAQ WAR; does’t look ey atioal;
- Is the US a declining empire? Probably not;
- The absence of threat allows policy to become capricious; not in the inherent nature of states to
be rational actors; they are forced this way because of the threat; consequently they have
policies to thwart that existential threat;
- In post-cold-a ea Waltz’ appoah has to e eosideed; d ad rd image to be reversed;
no longer them, but rather the action a particular state that defines the nature of IR;
- As such, studying American foreign policy a key to understanding international politics;
- Study of US foreign policy kind of falls within the cracks of certain disciplines within POLSCI
- They have their own approaches; falls within two subdisciplines: comparative politics and
internnnational relations;
- Politics: institutions that shape American foreign policy; in this regard, following comparative
politics; how various groups compete within existing structures;
- IR: to look at fundamental disagreements between comparativist and IR-ist;
- The very definition of politics:
o Who gets what, when and how and where; the power game; this definition is
representative of comparativists; also the Anglo-Saxon tradtion of poltical thought; one
of those thinkers: David Easton; wrote the Concept of Political Role; politics about
allocation; argued all societies have to deal with this problem firstly; three ways to do
so; allocation of what to desire but what not to desire (taxes for example); three means:
tradition, exchange and third is command; most simple societies, tend to allocate most
of resources through tradition/custom like divine rights of king; EXCHANGE: dominant
role played by the market; those with skills and resources highly rewarded, those
without fairly poor; neither of these relay to politics; one reason, because custom and
tradition depends on consensus; everyone basically agrees; EXCHANGE: not political
because above all else, exchanges always based on fundamental notion of equality
between parties involved; and those exchanges are voluntary; politics is different and
politics is allocation by command and backed up by method of force, violence and
coercion; politics is fundamentally inegalitarian and violent; not all commands are
inherently political; furthermore, commands apply to the narrow confines of where
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exchange is done when not political; to become political will have to enforced against
the will of the person commanded; is poltics avoidable?; ut e a’t do ithout
politis eause you a’t est all politics to custom and tradition; they are predictable
but certain circumstances where not predictable; for these situations one is given power
to take command; libertarians argue that exchange possible and politics minimized;
however, not possible because fundamental basis of exchange is the sanctity of
contracts; implicit or explicit; sanctity of contracts have to be enforced and that sanctity
cannot be created by contracts; so the apparatus of the state enforces the sanctity of
contracts as such we come back to politics;
- FOREIGN POLICY an outgrowth of domestic politics, allocation of processes including taxes,
spending, penalties on enterprises; in these processes different gourps have different interests;
foreign policy an outgrowth of such competition; EXAMPLE: normalization of relations with
CUBA; some reject and some agree; each of groups try to pressure Congress to sway in their
favour; outcome of competition determines foreign policy;
- Particularly important when it comes to trade policies;
- WE CAN’T LEAVE IT AT THAT; it leaves out the perceptions of many in IR and political sciences;
they see it differently; KARL SCHMIDT; Concept of Political; tried to provide an answer; found
works of fellow scholars frustrating and circular; his conclusions: they did this because they
did’t like the ase; eause politis a ugly usiess; he agued udestaig politis
requires a basic dichotomy; what is that dichotomy: US VERSUS THE OTHER; friend versus foe; a
process by which a society determines what other societies they can coexist with and with what
other states they cannot; politics in this sense is survival; as such, that decision of determing
between friend and foe is overriding; therefore, overrides issues of morality, legality, domestic
issues and values; politics prior to the law; effectiveness over legality; war not the content, the
ed o the sole ed; ut the oditio politis pesupposes; a does’t have any normative
significance;
- In essence if it is about survival then the dominant criteria is the efficiency of dealing with these
situations; the ideal means of doing is to concentrate power in fewer hands as possible to deal
with existential threats; the most inefficient system: democracy, and more specifically the US
government; power is very much divided; from such point of view, the US should be doomed;
but that is not true;
- David Easton: representative of anglo-Saxon radition that goes back to John Locke and John
Rowles; a matter of allocation; why would be so focused on this? England is an island that has
been safe from outside invasion; upshot, within the British isles, the biggest threat was civil
wars; the best way of dealing with this is to allocate fairly; same true of the US; bigger mote
Atlantic and Pacific; meant American security threatened came from civil conflict; the CIVIL
WAR; numerous other instances of disorder; indication of perception of unfairness; therefore
understandable why that image looms large;
- In continental Europe, different; Karl Schmidt; Germany in the middle of Europe; permanently
under attack from all sides; most countries tried to keep them disunified; Germany overrun on
many occasions militarily; consequently that image loomed larger, especially in 1920s in German
imaginations;
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