IAFF 1005 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Marxism, International Studies, Ethnic Conflict

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13 Jun 2018
Tuesday Lecture: Theories of International Affairs
I. Theories: realism, liberalism, marxism, constructivism, feminism
II. Why study theories?
A. Guides strategy and policy
B. Most liberals are also realists
C. Theory
1. Empirically-grounded and tested (not proven INVALID)
2. An interconnected set of concepts/propositions
3. Trying to develop a framework for the world
4. A source of explanation + prescription/policy
5. Does not mean things are always proven; just a given time
6. Important for analytical reasons - help explain what’s going on
7. Important for politics because nearly every leader of a major power has a theory of
international affairs and how the world works; guide for policy
D. Paradigm
1. A broader framework accepted by a scientific community
2. Contains core assumptions/axioms, methodologies
3. May contain several sets of theories (Nye and Welsh)
III. Realism: propositions
A. International system
1. Anarchy
2. No security guarantors → endemic security concerns
3. Uncertainty compounds insecurity
4. States must look out for their own security (self-help) → understand that other states
can post security threats to them because of this uncertainty
5. States worry about power
B. States are the most important actors → still important to look at nonstate actors and
international organizations (but not important in determining the main security outcomes in
international affairs
C. States are rational actors → an assumption; rationality is classical sense; states are aware of their
interests and have well defined goals in IA; leaders will, in a thoughtful way, weigh the
options, costs, and benefits, and pursue the according policies (psychological predispositions
of leaders do not come into play)
D. Assume states are unitary actors
E. Competition is possible / common / inevitable
1. Escalation is built into the system’s software
2. Security dilemmas abound → arms races, confrontations/crises, war
F. Cooperation is difficult / next to impossible
1. Uncertainty cannot be eliminated; mistrust is endemic
a) Security agreements are hard to make
2. Even when agreements are reached, states worry about cheating and being vulnerable
G. Fairly pessimistic view of the world
H. Variations of realism
1. Structural realism
a) Neorealism: system generates a general tendency toward competition
b) Defensive realism: states seek security; can cooperate under some
circumstances; depends on the intensity of security dilemmas (Jervis)
c) Offensive realims: states seek to maximize power and pursue hegemony
(regional or global); competition is intense (Mearsheimer); the MOST
2. Motivational realism
a) The motives/goals of states vary
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