POL326Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Hegemonic Stability Theory, Hegemony, Noam Chomsky

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15 Mar 2018
POL326 U.S. Foreign Policy
9/25 Lecture 3
Discussion of Current Events: Trump’s speech to the UN (sovereignty), threatened
sovereignty of four countries (Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, Cuba)
-North Korea
-Trump (National Defense Authorization Act): increase in military spending [53 billion
dollars], USA spends more than next 10 military spenders combined, 7 of which are U.S. allies.
-1 Senator [only got two others, Oregon/Vermont] refused to sign this act, unless amendment
was added that lifted the authorization to use military force (added in 2001)
-Obama used this power (Libya): wasn’t inclined to limit his own power, Democrats weren’t
going to object to it.
-Congress authorized National Defense Authorization Act [gave him 78 billion extra dollars over
the budget
IR: Game of chicken: helpful to convince your opponent that you are unhinged (Nixon proposed
this first in the 1960s)
-Trump providing evidence that he is unhinged.
-China: willing to pose stricter sanctions on North Korea.
-Increasingly responsive to potential of nuclear conflict (Implications would be devastating for
-U.S. and South Korea sent planes to waters off of North Korea (designed to appear as an attack
on North Korean territory) This can backfire, because North Koreans know that only way U.S.
would intervene would be if they destroyed North Korean’s ability to retaliate militarily.
Within international context, U.S. has involved from a relatively unimportant actor in
international realm (18th and 19th centuries: multipolar system):
-Multipolar system: enormous benefits- off-shore balancing
-American foreign policy kept European adversaries pitted against each other.
-To maintain this, U.S. neutral in European affairs and to throw support behind weaker side in
Europe whenever Europe threatened to foster a regional hegemon.)
-Neutrality allowed U.S. to trade with anyone in international system, particularly WW1 and
WW2: sold armaments to both sides to maximize their profits and to grow their economy on the
basis of external demands.
-Destroyed multipolar order. (Formation of alliances between Germany, Austria, and Russia)
Formation of Triple Entente (Russia, France, England)
-Europe: bipolar order, rather unstable.
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-Bipolar order of alliances which initiated WW2.
-Renewed rise of Germany (bipolar order)
-Europe lost its centrality in international affairs to the benefit of the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
Emerged from WW2: bipolar order.
USA exercised a hegemonic role over western alliance system and Soviet Union over own
sphere of influence.
-All of the theories suggesting that this would be unstable were proven wrong, superpowers
managed to avoid a major conflict with one another due to enormous destructiveness of war.
-Nuclear weapons: stabilizing force in this environment.
-U.S. and Soviet Union tried to lessen tensions as much as possible in order to avoid conflict.
-Deterrence and containment largely defensive in orientation.
-Prevailed in the United States well into the 1970s, replaced by a forward-leaning orientation to
the Cold War under the Carter admin. (Focused on HR, foreign policy)
Brezinski: -U.S. wrapped up into its own conflict (Vietnam) Tried to create a Vietnam for
Soviet Union
Afghanistan (1979): with intention of sucking Soviet Union into Afghanistan, that they could not
get out of.
-Collapse of Soviet Union.
-Unipolar system.
-Numerous writers have described U.S. as an empire.
-ex) Thomas Johnson, Ferguson, Chomsky, etc.
-What kind of empire is the U.S. and how stable is it?
-Relationship to hegemonic stability theory.
-Understanding that the U.S. would become the global hegemonic force, could usher in a
worldwide liberal order, spreading benefits that developed after WW2 to regions of the world
that were previously exempted from it.
-Negotiations with Soviet Union and successor government in Russia: greater level of
cooperation between U.S. and Russia.
-Rise of China
-U.S. incorporation of including these countries (ushering a liberal world order)
-U.S. would become hegemonic force and not an empire.
Uni-polarity different from hegemony. (You have a uni-polarity or you do not)
- Hegemony: refers not to quality of hegemonic force, relationship with other members of the
international community.
-Relationship that can be understood by looking at role that U.S. adopted with role to Western
countries post-WW2.
-Relationship could be described as hegemonic (not pure dominance, but negotiative
relationship, profited from the arrangements that were made, but allowed other countries to profit
from this relationship as well.)
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