Lecture 3 - A World of Nation States
The World System – there is a system that we are all a part of that governs the world. This has been true
throughout human existence. One element brings about changes in another element and then changes the
whole system. We live in a system of interconnected states connected by trade, economy, and this will
affect the behaviour of individual states as a whole.
The Thirty Years War 1618-1648
The Westphalian State system draws itself from the conclusion of the Thirty Year‟s War. This war was
fought mainly in Germany, brought about by Martin Luther and his followers and the Catholic Church.
This conflict was a culmination of the 30 year‟s war, which was finally brought to a stalemate. From this
emerged the Peace of Westphalia, which stated that each Sovereign was ruler of their particular territory.
The state is the ultimate authority in their territory independent of other states.
The Modern State System:
1. They are Sovereign of other states
2. Diplomatically recognized by other states. Diplomats arise out of this – one needs now to go
through the channels of diplomacy between diplomats.
3. Modern states possess a monopoly in the use of force, coercion, and violence both within and
outside the territory.
4. Borders were imposed on territories
The World System spread around the rest of the world largely through colonialism. For example for Latin
Americas, South Asia and Africa‟s were colonized lathely for their economic, labour, etc advantages. As
these countries gained their independence in the 20 century, the boundaries that the states had previously
from their colonizers from the Westphalian Peace boundaries, stayed the same, thus the world acts upon
this state system. Most of the countries that came under colonization broke out into civil warfare, such as
the revolutions in Rwanda, in Angola, etc. Colonial powers usually interfere in other states for economic
advantages and for power balance.
Sovereignty and the UN
“Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations o intervene in matter
which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to
submit such matter to settlement under the present Charter.” (Article 2/7)
“The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.” (Article 2)
Is the Westphalian system a myth? To a certain extent with all the violations of the system it is a
myth. Does the Westphalian state system make a difference? A good way of dealing with that is to
imagine how a world state would deal with a crisis. A demonstration of this is the possibility of
global warming from human induced climate change. This is a global crisis, and we need global
action to reduce GHG emissions substantially. This would be easier if we lived in a world system
that would be able to pass law and all states must listen to the world power. However because of
the Westphalian system each country makes their own decision, causing any substantial action to
be taken against global warming very unlikely.
Where sovereignty (either internal or external) is contested one can expect troubles
Contestation from the inside: failed states and civil wars
Congo, Former Yugoslavia, Somalia
Lecture 4 - The Liberal Solution
Domestic analogy: institutions solve the problem of anarchy
The quality of institutions affect the stability of the solution
Domestic structures matter; institutions matter
Rights exist independent of power
Progress is possible
1. Liberals are different from their realist counterparts. They believe that humans are inherently
good, but that this good human nature can be corrupted by certain circumstances.
2. Liberals argue that the state is not the only important agent in the International System;
increasingly multinational corporations are important actors on the international stage.
International organizations like the League of Nations, the International Monetary Fund are
important actors because they create an environment in which there is an increased corporation
between states and countries.
3. John Locke is considered the founder of Liberalism. “It is rational for individuals to subject
themselves of a state, sovereign as long as the sovereign upholds a basic social contract.” – This
is Locke‟s idea in his book, “The Second Treatise of Government.”
4. Ideologically the main supporter of the great Revolution, and a great catalyst for the American
Revolution. He argued for the right of revolution when a government no longer suited the means
of the population.
Immanuel Kant‟s Perpetual Peace (1795)
Kant rejects the separation between the moral imperative and the political realm (Machiavelli)
Following self-interest will lead to a “perpetual in the vast grave that swallows both the atrocities
and their perpetrators.”
There is unavoidable historical progress towards world federation-but we have the obligation as
rational human beings to speed the process
To reach peace: “The civil constitution of every state should be republican”
A world federation should be established
Economic and social interaction across borders should be encouraged
Modern reading of the „Kantian Peace‟: democracy, trade, international organizations
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776
The central question that he asks in this text is -- what determines the wealth of nations? What
makes some countries so very rich and others poor? The Wealth of Nations is determined by how much a particular country could produce and
therefore how it much it could consume. The standard of living of its citizens also shows how
wealthy a country is.
The extent of the division of labour determines which country is rich and which is poor. The
greater the division of labour, the richer the country. Specialisation created efficiencies, which
therefore created more production within a country.
How do societies achieve this greater level of wealth? For this we require a market. These
markets in order to be conducive to the needs of society, they need to be free of the constraints of
politics (no government intervention).
We measure the wealth of nations today in the international society with GDP or GNP, which is,
Gross Domestic Product and Gross National Product, respectively.
The best way to enhance the wealth of states is through free trade – thus their overall wealth
increases, trade will lead to benefits, and the less war at the end of the at that we are likely to
have. This is basically the idea of commerce super ceding war.
Wilson‟s Fourteen Points
“Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas”; “The removal, so far as possible, of all
economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions.”
Nations have a natural right to self-determination: “a strict observance of the principle that in
determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must
have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government….
Historical materialism – by virtue of the fact that he argued that all human progress depend on a
material base that is able to sustain them. That material base is the economy, and everything
outside it is the human superstructure.
The history of society is the succession of different modes of production. This in agreement with
Kant, is progressive.
Bourgeoisie versus Proletariat.
Feudalism he argued was more progressive in many ways from the slave based societies, and
therefore was able to get rid of the slaves. However it was still based on class differences, i.e. the
dominant class (lords, kings, nobles) and the peasants.
Capitalism – the locomotive of…it rationalizes societies and bring them towards progress.
Capitalism is based on the ownership of capital; also based on the class that exploits and the
class that produces.
In capitalism the ruling class is not free; they have very few choices as to what to do with their
surplus. If they want to remain capitalist, they must always produce everywhere to stay within
Over production cause problems – people then lose jobs because demand is less and the great
amount of labour is not required. This creates economic crises of demand, and as less people can
soak up the product, thus the prices of the product will be reduced.
How is this important to I.R.?
Lenin and Hobson: Imperialism explains the lack of revolutions (Marx assumes a closed market)
Imperialism leads to war: class is the problem rather than anarchy or the nation state
The main unit of analysis is therefore class; The state is controlled by capital and serves its
What kind of IR do Marxists predict? Conflict over markets, imperialism,…dependency theory.
Dependency Theory – sees the development of the first world and the underdevelopment of the
Neo-Marxism World System Immanuel Wallerstein
Holistic view: analysis based on systemic production processes and class relations
Long term processes – historical perspective
Core vs. periphery” a powerful and wealthy core dominates and exploits a weak and poor
periphery; this hierarchy is quite stable.
A different critique; focuses on the very notion of rationality. Rationality is always bounded by
certain assumptions and certain institutions in society that make some things seem rational and
Institutions i.e. family, marriage, lecture, border, sovereignty; war, etc.
Political culture is important in framing the rationality of society. Culture answers our questions
about who were are, and what is our motivation.
The importance of ideas, and identity are most important in understanding international politics.
The Cuban Missile Crisis takes over Cuba
o November 1860 JFK Elected
o January 1961 Bay of Pigs
o June 1962 USSR decides to introduce nuclear missiles to Cuba
International Dimension – the Cold war involved an international competition, in which every
single I.R. state was crucial to maintaining order.
No country no matter how trivial or no matter how small could fall into the hands of the Soviet
Union, because it would provide an advantage for the Soviets. Bay of Pigs Invasion – the U.S.
invasion of Cuba, which the Cubans demolished effectively.
The Strategic Dimension of the Cold War – the nuclear confrontation between the Soviet Union
and the United states, emerging after the U.S. first tested their weapon ion 1949.
o The Americans had missiles in Turkey stationed towards Cuba.
o The Soviet Union sought to support the Cuban Revolution to station nuclear missiles far
closer to American territories in the Island of Cuba.
o Spy planes noticed the building of missiles, resulting in the Cuban Missile crisis.
o JFK gathered a panel of advisors, a deliberation that lasted 13 days – the final decision
being resulting in the decision of the blockade.
Possible American Responses –
o Ignore the Missiles, Diplomacy, Invasion
o Surgical Bombing
Would worsen the situation
The United States acted rationally as to what was to be done about the Cuban Missile Crisis and
therefore acted accordingly to the rational model.
Rational; Organizational, Bureaucratic (cognitive) – Allison‟s three Models.
o Rational Model: Unitary actor
Sates will act rationally, collect information, do cross/benefit analysis and opt for
the decision that best suits their situation.
o The Organizational Model:
The state is a collection of organizations – breaks the unitary actor
Organization follows procedures
They will use the most appropriate, easily available, most salient pre-set
procedure/scenario to deal with the crisis
o The Bureaucratic Model Rejects the Unitary actor bureaucracies in governments are constantly in
competition with each other over resources and power.
The outcome reflects the balance of power within the government
Where you sir is where you stand
Rational Actors – Maximizing political gain
Like levels of analysis – these models provide us with competing explanations for political
outcomes – competing description of the process of decision making.
Crisis in the I.R. usually have more than one bureaucratic actor with many interests.
How do Crises affect Human Decisions?
o Cognitive Models
Past experience, personality, skill, etc. Individuals are not strictly speaking
rational; we all to a certain extent have selective memory. It is easier for us to
remember some things than others. Causal Inferences – we tend to see things are
causally linked, whether they are or not.
The effects of stress reduction in cognitive complexity, increased cognitive
rigidity, reduced time horizon (curvilinear relation; selection process). Crises
increase stress, and in many cases they tend to inhibit rational decision making.
Group pathologies: group think – in situation of crises in particular, leaders have
a tendency to surround themselves with people whom they trust. That is those
who do not lean on the leader only; group think as such can become very
problematic in reaching rational decisions.
The Crisis of 1914
o Misperception of other countries interests, intention and likely responses that culminated
in this crisis.
o Insensitivity to warnings
o Suppression. Distortion and rejection of contradicting information
o Failures to recognize miscalculations as the crisis escalated (no re-evaluation or
o Our decision making ability is influenced by how the decision is framed and presented to
us. Many decisions are in a way forms of gambling – domain is the realm of gains or
losses. We are willing to gamble.
1962 – War Averted
o The decision making environment encouraged debate
o Explicit sensitivity to the likely perceptions and calculations of the adversaries
o Adopted policies that bought more time, such as the blockade
o Created more room for gradual escalation
o Exercised decent and tight control over actual naval deployment
o Created and operated multiple channels of communication…
Crises Behaviour – Final Points
o Nationalism, modern economics. Weaponry. Tec