Political Science 2231E Lecture Notes - Preemptive War, Global Commons

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Wednesday, 13 March, 2013
The Unipolar Era
What defines unipolarity?
- Command of the global commons
- The US can credibly threaten to deny use to others
- Sea, Space & Air
- The absence of competition (no peer competitor)
Is Unipolarity Peaceful?
Yes, because:
- No great power conflict: Only one great power
- No structural sources of conflict: balancing is not possible given power preponderance
- The U.S acts as a global policeman: conflicts do not escalate, rogue states are kept in check
No, because:
- There has not been a threat comparable to the Soviet Union but,
- The U.S has been at war for fourteen of the twenty years since the system became unipolar
- The type of conflict that emerges depends on the strategy that the United States adopts
Unipolar Grand Strategies: Overarching approaches in the international system.
Primacy
- Aims at preventing the rise of a peer competitor through overwhelming power preponderance
(Realist)
- Makes it impossible for minor powers to deter
- Makes it difficult for other countries to project power in defense of a state without US approval
- Arguably characterized the Bush administration policy of preemptive war - fought to keep an
opponent from acquiring military capabilities that would shift the balance of power in its favor
Selective Engagement
- Emphasis on strategies to defend the status quo
- Military force should be used with discrimination based on limited conception of national
interests
- U.S unable to deter smaller powers from obtaining means of defense unless it engages in
preventive action
Cooperative Security (Liberal)
- Aims at maintaining an interdependent world at peace through international institutions and
collective action
- Presumes that democracies will not compete
- Contends that use of military force should be sanctioned and preventive
- Assumes a high level of strategic interdepence and that states will rise above narrow
conceptions of national interest
Restraint (Based on 3 assumptions)
- US is physically secure
- Economic interests do not require the projection of military power
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Document Summary

The us can credibly threaten to deny use to others. The absence of competition (no peer competitor) No great power conflict: only one great power. No structural sources of conflict: balancing is not possible given power preponderance. The u. s acts as a global policeman: conflicts do not escalate, rogue states are kept in check. There has not been a threat comparable to the soviet union but, The u. s has been at war for fourteen of the twenty years since the system became unipolar. The type of conflict that emerges depends on the strategy that the united states adopts. Unipolar grand strategies: overarching approaches in the international system. Aims at preventing the rise of a peer competitor through overwhelming power preponderance (realist) Makes it impossible for minor powers to deter. Makes it difficult for other countries to project power in defense of a state without us approval.

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