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Lecture 2

Theory of Politics: Reading: Zombies- Week 2 .docx

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Political Science
Lilach Gilady

THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS ZOMBIES – Week 2- Drezner:  Zombies being used as a metaphor for the “ unknown unknowns” as referred to by Ronald Rumsfeld  The unknown players in the world system, international security that can pose catastrophic damage to society/ a given country  Z stories can only end in 2 ways 1. the elimination or subjugation of the main threat ( zombies) 2. the eradication of all humans from earth - from very few narratives do we see the coexistence of both entities in the world structure MAIN PROBLEM: - the realms of social sciences- politics, economics have not explored the issue of the unknown unknowns- they overlook it, have not devised clear ways to define them, deal with them, or prevent their uprising - the realm of international relations in particular suffers from a “zombie gap” - Thucydides even explored the zombie issue “ a plague that showed itself to be quite different from ordinary dieseases” would lead to general lawlessness and chaos WHY WE NEED TO BE CONCERNED WITH THE “ ZOMBIE ISSUES” - as demonstrated in recent years- low probability events can elicit hyperbolic policy responses if the predicted effects are severe pg. 8 - asserts that more strategic planning and serious thought should be given to the unknown, low likelihood scenarios--- intl security - in IR- many countries conduct foreign policy with a weak knowledge of the foreign actors that they are dealing with, or who exist in the world system with them - fear is a powerful emotion- can profoundly effect policymaking - the need to take extra- precautious measures, to expect the unexpected no matter how outlandish the scenario may seen because history and the past decade alone has shown us that international relations is unpredictable and we must therefore be prepared for the worst at all times - failure to discuss policies or theoretical implications of the advent of a zombie attack MAIN QUESTION: - How would existing International Relations theories predict the outcomes of an outbreak of zombies? - There are multiple paradigms of international relations that can answer this question quite differently - Scholars and policy makers used deductive reasoning to explain the complex world WHAT IS A METHAPHORICAL ZOMBIE? -events that are similar to attacks on the undead - pandemics, disasters etc - a transnational phenomena, threat that does not see borders, ethnicities, people etc - do not possess attributes of other human identities - there is no answer on how long it can exist before decomposing, being overcome - biggest question? What causes them to reappear and prey on civilization? PREVENTATIVE MEASURES: - From a national security perspective, the primary reason to be concerned about the cause of zombies is to adopt preventative measures - Pre-emptive doctrine - The above requires comprehensive and draconian list of policy measures - Without a prior history- no government could create a cost- benefit analysis to warrant such policies - International relations is not too concerned about what causes these transnational threats- but how they will affect the world system - Whether the spread is slow or rapid, they are unlikely to stay confined to one country. The virus, whenever it hits is 100 percent contagious - Zombie: disease- carrying, hostile vector - Spreads with certainty - Threat that all countries must consider when creating their national- security policies THE REALPOLITIK OF THE LIVING: REALISM: - no centralized authority - states and the quest for power is central to realist IR theory - self help measures must be taken to continue own existence - national interest is the guiding compass - deter external influences - bolstering of military capacities is common to protect national security and thus national interest - don’t believe that international institutions can regulate world politics- they must take matters into their own hands - all states are forced into similar policy preferences- maximize national security - it is often the most powerful states that triggers the policy dilemma- all other states become fearful/ skeptical ZOMBIE INVASION IN A REALISTS’ WORLD: - despite it being a transnational threat- not all states suffer equally- some have favourable conditions, superior military/ financial capacities to be able to fight off the threat - countries would use the threat to augment their own power- play the threat off against their enemies states, not the pandemic - states will exploit the pandemic to satisfy their expansionist desires- use it as an impetus to expansion - despite a common individual threat that can obliterate the entire international system- cooperation will be near impossible - futility of international cooperation is a common threat throughout realist interpretation of history – pg 14 - use the pandemic as a strategic opportunity- reabsorb formerly occupied lands - lust for power - it might alter the global distribution of power - human- zombie alliance might be more common than human human alliance - the zombies and humans will strike a mutual agreement to live together in coexistence- the alien population will then be forced to moderate and adapt to the human world - there is no conflict in the world system if the actors do not desire the same things - “human beings have an innate lust for power, zombies have an innate lust for human flesh” NEO-CONSERVATIVE POSITION:  very quick to respond to threats and conflicts- prepared  zombie issue quickly labeled as existensial threat  defensive  would probably initiative an aggressive, militarized response to ensure their hegemony  do not shy away from invasion to exterminate threat  combat with heavy focus on air power  they would encourage uprisings and revolutions against the threat THE LIBERAL POSITION:  pacifists, optimists  economic interdependence- open global economy- open up borders ( this would facilitate the spread of the threat)  democratic governments  international institutions that facilitate multilateral cooperation, custodians of peace  truly belief that cooperation is still possible in an anarchic system  mutual cooperation- the system is interdepent, that would allow all players to cooperate to ensure their own wellbeing, and in that, the well being of their counterparts  gains are possible in long term mutual cooperation, but cannot be realized in short term settings/ scenarios  the collective action problem is always an obstacle in a liberal system  the benefits generated from mutual cooperation are non- excludable, therefore, actors can choose not to cooperate from the greater good and defect to ensure optimal benefit for themselves as a single unit ( tragedy of the commons)  everyone is best off in a situation where they unilaterally defect  Solution to free riding? Punitive penalties that must be reinforced by some non state actor. The longer the time frame, the greater the rewards of mutual cooperation- if actors know that their long term well being is proportionate to the wellbeing of another, they will be less likely to free ride  Democracies are more likely to cooperate with eachother- avoid death and casualties  “ the only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation” 18 must legitimately commit to eachother  the strongest incentives to cooperate come when actors know they wil be dealing with eachother in the long run  liberal internationalism- there is always one actor who leads the way (US has typically occupied that role)  zombie threat
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