POL326Y1 Lecture 3: Continuity and Change Lecture

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26 Aug 2019
Continuity and Change
Continuity and Change
US is unique in terms of understanding one’s foreign policy under the same institutions that was
established in 1789
o It’s remarkably stable; developed in an environment within a multipolar system, which was stable
in the international system which allows for shifting of alliances
o Up until WWII, multipolar system was better than bipolar system in maintaining stability (
o The multipolar system (Washington) provided unique circumstances favoring US
Multipolar system protected US from European military powers; any move by a European
power would make them vulnerable within Europe
Threatened by War of 1812; occupied Washington, D.C.
o Offshore Balancing: they played their foreign adversaries off each other; US acted very rational in
accordance to their security interests
Had the US acted differently, it would’ve sided with French against the British; natural
tendency of government
Realists: US had the luxury for protection in; 20th century reduced those benefitsUS had
to become more efficient
US prevailed over New Order (unipolar system): the US has become a hegemonic power and
usher in the end of history
Requires cooperation with congress
o Bush and Obama argued that this authorizes him to take whatever military measure he needs
o Aggregation of congressional authority \
o Rand Paul: objected to NDA along with Bernie Sanders
o Congress may not be an effective check on military issues
Game of Chicken: conductive to give impression of insanity, madman theory (Nixon)
o Donald Trump is unhinged
o This has driven up tensions on Korean peninsula
China has ended business ties with North Korea
Chinese worry that this may turn into nuclear conflict that may result in refugee spillover
China has plenty to worry about
This may result in miscalculations on both American and N. Korean sides
o If China guaranteed security for N. Korea, there’d be no reason that the former would develop a
nuclear capacity
Kim Jong-Un builds nukes in fear that United States may change its regime
Multipolar International Order: provided United States with enormous benefits; allowed US to practice
offshore balancing (focus on keeping its adversaries pitted against each other)
o United States enjoyed much security in much half of 20th century
o US must remain neutral in European affairs and throw its support in weaker areas of Europe
This policy has a lot of benefits; the US may trade with anyone in this context
o WWI and WWII: it maximized profits for us; destroyed this multi-polarity
The descent into war began with the formation of alliances
This wasnt a natural alliance; France and Britain were historical rivals; broke Europe into an
unstable bipolar order which initiated both World Wars
30s: Europe broke down into bipolar order; United States exercised a hegemonic war over
the Western Alliance System
Spheres of influence post WWII
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