Political Science 2231E Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Hedley Bull, Chanakya, Hans Morgenthau

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Note: these thinkers, according to Realists, are the first realists, but there is considerable disagreement
about this
Thucydides (modern Greece)
Kautilya (modern India)
Sun-Tzu (modern China)
Machiavelli (modern Italy)
Thomas Hobbes (modern England)
Creation and control over territory by a single ruler was considered power
You had power relative to others
1 - not fighting
2 - pre-fighting
3 - fighting only when victory is assured (if winning is not an option, you don't want to use
up your power) = just war theory
Sun-Tzu says that power is winning wars by strategy:
So, power is primarily linked to CONTROL
Power (for them)
Talking to kingdoms & city-states & empires (monarchical, single ruler structures)
Writings directed at key leaders [mirror] who are military officials
Act to pursue power (need new people in the system as well, act to bring all of these elements
together but act as a single ruler)
His goal: state-building & state-maintenance
Immorality is not about what is good or bad, but what is the state's interest
Rulers must always do what is in the best interest of the state, and to do otherwise is
To act to create a world which ‘ought to be’ ( human proclivities/normative) would lead to
‘Ends justify the means' --> do they? "It's better to be feared than to be loved"
Thucydides: focuses on the city-state
Kautilya & Sun-Tzu = aiming at kingdoms & empires
Machiavelli = the early modern state
Hobbes = the modern state
So at best, their level is not global but is regional
Not a conception of the ‘global’ in contemporary terms, but thinking in broader terms (we might
term ‘regional’)
Level of Analysis
"Security dilemma" that emerged: where an increase in the power of one state causes
insecurity in its neighbours & rivals, and results in them seeking to increase their relative
power as well -- is a feature of global politics, states seek to reassure themselves
His example was based on Athens and Sparta
Distribution of power in an inter-state system -- it's not about how much power you have,
what constitutes power? Understanding power as a relationship.
Power is relative
Alliances (Sun-Tzu,too) -- "Mandala" or Circle of Kings: my neighbour is my enemy, so my
enemy’s neighbour is my friend
Governments & State don't have structures to deal with this war of all against all
‘state of nature’ is an inevitable ‘war of all against all’
absence of government authority, so "continual fear and danger of violent death"
State of anarchy means the absence of government
‘state of anarchy’: the situation of people before government
Ancient Thinkers
Realism (AKA Classical Realism or Historical Realism)
The point about studying ancient thinkers is really
important because realists have a:
claim to tradition -- IR has been done this way for so
long (1000s of years)
Lecture 3 - Realism
11:21 AM
POLITICS 2231E Page 1
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