International Relations 105 - FULL SEMESTER

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Virginia Commonwealth University
Political Science
POLI 105

International Relations 105 A Study of International Politics International Relations: IR Theory Theories: Generalizable Explanations: All theories must be explicitly generalizable to all theories being discussed. Theories will not apply to one hundred percent of cases; however they should be able to apply to most cases. The theory must have logic, however logic alone is not enough, a logical theory must have empirical evidence to support it. THEORIES MUST APPLY TO A MAJORITY OF CASES. A theory functions to explain past events and further serves to solve/predict future problems to improve the world. It does this by providing a causal(XY) explanation using empirical evidence. Theory Diagram: X------------------------->Y (------) Is the causal chain, the chain of logic from the cause to the outcome. Theories should not be degenerated, do not add variables to a theory. With multiple causal variables it is impossible to know which variable has the greatest effect. Parsimony – The least amount of variation in the outcome, the lowest number of independent variables applying to the largest number of outcomes. Theoretical Degeneration – to add to the independent or add more independent variables – hurts the strength of the explanation, hurts parsimony. Trying to explain every case leads only to a theory which explains everything using everything. Anarchy – Not Chaos, but the absence of any known authority over the concept of the sovereign state: Anarchy implies there is no possibility of world govt. State State – Sovereign territories that have political and territorial autonomy and integrity. The state makes its own political laws; territorial autonomy is defined by the creation of borders that are respected by other states. A state is defined by its sovereignty, self-rule/self-determination. The system of international sovereignty was founded by the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, these treaties began with a rejection of the idea that the church ruled the decisions of the state. 1815 is the first sign of true nation-states, this movement was in part spurred by the French and American Revolutions. Anarchy – Not Chaos, but the absence of any known authority over the concept of the sovereign state: Anarchy implies there is no possibility of world govt. Systems Structures, and Actors A system is a group of states that can be grouped together as a result of geography, exports, religion, population, etc. Structure: The way in which a system is ranked, typically power, however participation in international institutions, compliance with international treaties, etc. Structures server to order and organize the international political system. Individuals: Are the ultimate decision makers for states, however the effect they have and the power they wield is under debate. Levels of Analysis st nd rd Kenneth Waltz: Man, the State, and War, theorized that there are 1 , 2 , and 3 Images, which allow for different viewpoints of an issue. 1 Image: Individuals. Cause is found in individuals or small groups based on characteristics. Biological or psychological, THEY CAUSE. Not as theoretically as rigorous others. Ex. Hitler(WWII), Saddam(Gulf War) Once an individual is identified as a potential cause, the other levels of analysis must be brought into play to see if the absence of that individual would‟ve had a major effect. 2 Image: States. State centric – whatever goes on in the state is attributed to the state is causal. What are the attributes of domestic/state level: domestic politics, regime change, crisis or change WITHIN THE STATE, nationalism – WITHIN THE STATE; ANYTHING THAT IS CENTRAL TO THE STATE – not an individual or something on the systemic level. Domestic and Individual levels are considered UNIT LEVEL, not structural, they are UNITS WITHIN THE STRUCTURE. rd 3 Image: Shifts in the systemic structure lead to international events. Structure or system wide causes – power, interdependence, generalized factors that affect virtually everyone. “Systems theory” means systemic or structural variables are causally superior to factors at the unit level. The structure of any given system is what matters as an independent variable. Each Image comes with a set of assumptions, to prove the application of an image, you must contrast it to the other images. Actors STATES ARE THE PRIMARY ACTORS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Multinational corporations, nongovernmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations, international organizations are NON-STATE ACTORS. NGOs cannot control the actions of a state, they can simply attempt to influence the actions of a state. IGOs are perhaps capable of independent actions, however a contradicting theory provides the idea that states join IGOs only because it provides each state with the benefits of an alliance on both regional and global scale. Blurred line of state vs. non-state Non-state organizations such as Al-Qaeda are able to influence foreign policy on a global scale through minute terrorist actions. On the other hand, states are further giving up their sovereignty to supra-national organizations such as the European Union in return for the benefits of mutual alliances and economic strength. Lepgold and Policy/Theory Debate Joseph Lepgold – Claimed that the theory/policy debate is illogical and stereotypical, it is impossible for theory to exist without the existence of policy to base those theories upon in turn it is impossible to form policies without basing them of off some type of theory. Realism - Theory What is Realism? Pragmatic explanation of the interaction amongst States. Essentially states that if a State wishes to advance it must seize power and use it to its own advantage. Stemmed from idealism, which was a set of world views which was a failed idea of the post WWI period, the views had no logical bases and were normative in essence. Hans Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations; first person to explicitly define realism and speak on its effects upon nations. Power- The primary force in realism, power is material, it must be quantifiable. Power is primarily quantified through military strength and economic strength. Relative Power – The power of a State in relation to another State or system. Classical Realism Core Assumption 1. States are the primary actors in world politics 2. States are rational, they choose the best possible choice 3. States seek more power aka the preference of the state, this desire is logical, ethical, natural. 4. Balance of power is a key determinant of international politics, rapid shifts in power create conflict. The Ascendency of Realism Realist states rely on themselves, states must rely on themselves. Distribution of power-or distribution of material capabilities is the independent variable, a shift in power guarantees the loss/gain to another state. Security Dilemma Any increase in the power/security of a State(A) may create fear in another State(B), that State(B) will then increase its relative power, making (A) less secure. This continues to spiral downwards into continually worse situations such as arms races. Neorealism Often referred to as structural realism, almost entirely removes First and Second Images from consideration, leaving only the system. Movement was spearheaded by Kenneth Waltz, “Theory of In
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