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The Cold War & Bipolarity .pdf

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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 2231E
Jessica Trisko

Wednesday, 23 January, 2013 Review From Last Week - Buck-passing: Passing burden of responsibility in a conflict to another nation to accomplish your nations desires because you may loose on your own. Ex. Germany toAustria-Hungry to go to war with Serbia - Principle of National Self-Determination: Principle put fourth byWilson in his fourteen point declaration. People form nations and nations have right to be self governing. Collapse of multiethnic empires at the end of WWI. - Triple Entente: France, Britain, Russia (Italy prior to 1915) - Weltpolitik: Goal of establishing German Empire, aggressive foreign policy. - Is the Cult of the Offensive a constructivist explanation? Does it accurately account for the outcome of WWI? - Realist explanation; attacking before you are attacking. War is inevitable. - How did the economic downturn of the 1930s contribute to WWII? - The Great Depression, related to WWI cost (war loans taken out from European nations to US), led to extremist, Germans believed the blame fell solely on them. - What were the long term implications of World War II for the international system? - Emergence of US & Soviet Union as World super powers; arms race between - Creation of United Nations & Israel - Nature of warfare has become so dramatic no one wants to see another war - Dismantling of empires (British Empire), - Reconfiguration of European alliance system under NATO - Division of Germany - US-Japan alliance and the nuclear umbrella - End of Chinese civil war - Expansion of international law and establishment of the United Nations The Cold War & Bipolarity Causes of Cold War Systemic: - Bipolarity - Misperception (nations do not know other nations thoughts) Domestic: - Soviet expansion - U.S. decision to use the atomic bomb (nuclear rivalry) - Ideological conflict (Communism vs. Capitalism) - Individual: - The personalities of Stalin and Truman Characteristics of the Cold War: - Dominance of two states - Nuclear weapons lead to a “Cold War” between the United States & Soviet Union - Superpower competition through proxy wars - Competing ideological and economic systems (Communism vs. Capitalism- not clear at time which was better) Polarity in the International System Unipolar systems: - One dominant power - External balancing coalitions - Ex. Pax Britannica (Britain), post 1990 U.S.? Bipolar systems: - Only one great power dyad - Internal balancing through arms build-ups - Ex. 1945-1990 U.S. vs. Soviet Union Multipolar systems: - External balancing through alliances - Generates uncertainty due to potential for buck-passing and free-riding - Ex. The Concert of Europe (Alliance system to prevent one power from becoming dominant) The Nuclear Revolution - Total military victory is now impossible - Second-strike capability makes the cost of conflict unacceptably high - First-strike: Use of force to eradicate the opponent’s weapons - Second-strike:Ability to retaliate following a first strike - The threat of force no longer carries the same weight in international politics - Conflict is characterized by mutual vulnerability (both offensive and defensive needed in nuclear world) - Deterrence requires nuclear balance (Triggered arms race between U.S and Soviet Union) Consequences of the Nuclear Revolution - Peace - Preservation of the status quo - Crises should be infrequent (Due to nuclear stabilities) - Nuclear threats do not need to be highly credible to be effective - Military balance of power no longer fully determines political outcomes - Challenges prior views about the offense/defense balance - When offense is dominant, wars are more likely to occur but can be expected to be shorter and less costly - When defense is dominant, wars are less likely but tend to be protracted wars of attrition with high casualties (World War trenches example; defend territory at high cost) -Generates concept of mutually assured destruction (MAD) - Vulnerability creates a situation in which total war could result even though neither side wants it - Protecting the status quo is, as a result, easier than changing it - Unilateral military advantage cannot provide security Deterrence - Intended to discourage an opponent from taking an action by influencing the costs, risks, and benefits of her behavior - Aims to make the opponent not to act - Type 1: Direct deterrence - A deterred from attacking B due to possibility of nuclear retaliation - Type 2: Extended deterrence - B needs to deter A from attacking C - generates
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