INTR2010 Study Guide - Final Guide: Security Dilemma, Great Power, Human Security

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INTR2010 EXAM NOTES
(WK 12)
CONCLUSION & KEY NOTES
COURSE REVIEW AND EXAM PREPARATION
IR THEORY
Review theories/concepts
-Apply them to the Asia-Pacific
Theories and concepts
-Realism, liberalism and constructivism
Realism – focusing on anarchy and power, and how this affects state behaviour. Some realists
see international politics as defensive, states behave in defensive ways. Others see it as states
being expansionist, that is, states always seek hegemony where possible.  Think about how
these assumptions shape realists predictions about the future of the Asia-Pacific region.
Liberals – emphasise progress and cooperation, in international affairs. Concerned with the
application of the rule of law to the regions politics – e.g. a rules-based order. Also concerned
with impact and influence of institutions on how international affairs in the region operate –
e.g. the role of markets. More interested in non-state actors, or supernational actors and how
these shape international affairs in the region. Is interdependence an influential factor
shaping the Asia-Pacific today? How is democracy functioning in the region, is it having
any influence on the regions affairs?
Constructivists – interested in things, such as the construction and meaning of social reality in
international affairs. Particularly interested in how norms and understandings of people shape
their behaviours, so the international behaviours in the Asia-Pacific in this case. So is identity
a significant factor in the region today? Can we identify a growing Asian regionalism in the
emergence of shared norms and practices and beliefs? What kind of nature characteristics do
they have? – is the region forming into hierarchies? Is there a shared understanding of how
hierarchies operate, and where different actors sit in the hierarchies?
-Role of power, types of actors
Role of power – significantly important in any study of international politics, and is
particularly important in the Asia-Pacific region today, given a whole range of situations in the
region – e.g. Korean Peninsula
oRealism - When looking at realisms ability to explain international relations in the
Asia-Pacific, may want to look at whether there is a balance of power, and how might
this have operated in the past, how is it operating today? Is a balance of power more or
less significant than the balance of threat? Etc.
Actors - Look at how constructivists and liberalists see the role of the state in international
affairs, including the Asia-Pacific. What actors are important in regional affairs? Its worth
thinking about who these non-state actors are in the Asia-Pacific, what their influence is – i.e.
we are talking about international institutions in the region, NGOs, and other non-state actors
who play a role in regional affairs.
-Security dilemma, interdependence, institutions and norms
Security dilemma – the dilemma of interpreting the intentions of others, and whether their
actions are defensive or aggressive, and then working out ways to bond, based on that
interpretation – e.g. whether to reassure or deter in international relations. We know that
reassurance can lead to vulnerabilities – to attack or coercion, but the deterrence if wrong (e.g.
building up military), can actually cause other states to respond, which can lead to a security
paradox – as states seek to protect their own security, they can actually worsen it by causing
other states to behave in the same way. Is this occurring in the Asia-Pacific in the same way?
And what are the implications of that? What do the theories have to say in terms of the security
dilemma?
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Interdependence – can we identify transnational interconnectedness between and within states
in the region – e.g. trade and investment. In the Asia-Pacific, is greater interdependence
making states more mutually dependent on each other, thereby increasing the costs of conflict,
and therefore making conflict less likely?
Norms – what have been the norms that we have identified in the course that are powerful in
the Asia-Pacific? Is the ASEAN Way significant, and what does it actually mean? How might
a regional hierarchy look – is it widely accepted, or is it contested? What’s the regions view on
sovereignty – how do states view sovereignty in the region and how do they express this
behaviour in interactions with others?
Order
-Dimensions & types, great powers, negotiated or contested?
Dimensions – normative dimensions, institutional and power dimensions – we looked at in
terms of how/whether states seek to manage a shared international order, by agreeing on some
of these dimensions – e.g. what norms to share, how to establish and manage institutions, and
how balance power effectively/balance power in a way that leads to stability. Can we identify
these kinds of behaviours in the Asia Pacific? Do states share a sense of a regional order, or do
they have different ideas on a regional order? Types of regional order – e.g. liberal vs. realist
orders – and can we identify in the region preferences for one over the other – do states have
different visions of a regional order?
Great powers – talked about great powers and regional order. In our understanding of
international order, great powers have a particular decision or responsibility in terms o actually
managing the basics/framework of regional order. What is happening in the Asia-Pacific, in
terms of the management of regional order by great powers? – What is the US doing, what is
China doing? – 2 examples of great powers that can shape and manage the regional order. This
leads us to the issue of whether regional order in the Asia-Pacific today is being negotiated
today or whether it is an increasingly contested order, because the great powers have different
visions of what order they would like.
GREAT POWERS
Who are they?
-United States & China … Japan & India?
Should be familiar (especially US and China): with their foreign policy traditions, their
current strategic outlook
Japan and India provides another example of great powers or potentially great powers. Both of
these countries are difficulty to categories as great or middle powers
oJapan: large economy, sophisticated military – BUT – restrained by a number of facts:
rising China, threatening strategic environment in Northeast Asia - as well as domestic
challenges: demography and domestic political constraints on how it can use its
military
oIndia: has a foreign policy tradition of alignment, not withstanding its recent ‘Look
East’ policies of the past couple of decades. It has a difficult relationship with China
(incl. territorial disputes). Has an economy that, while growing, is well behind the
economy of China.
What’s their history?
-Politics, diplomacy & trade
We have talked about both the US and China, in terms of the historical evolution of the grand
strategies, and their engagement with the region
How has America’s approach to the Asia-Pacific shifted over time? Can we identify some
patterns in the way they have engaged in the region?
What was the impact of European imperialism on China?
And what influence does this continue to have on Chinese’ Grand Strategy today?
Their role today?
-Status quo powers or revisionist powers?
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Document Summary

Realism focusing on anarchy and power, and how this affects state behaviour. Some realists see international politics as defensive, states behave in defensive ways. Others see it as states being expansionist, that is, states always seek hegemony where possible. Think about how these assumptions shape realists predictions about the future of the asia-pacific region. Liberals emphasise progress and cooperation, in international affairs. Concerned with the application of the rule of law to the regions politics e. g. a rules-based order. Also concerned with impact and influence of institutions on how international affairs in the region operate e. g. the role of markets. More interested in non-state actors, or supernational actors and how these shape international affairs in the region. Constructivists interested in things, such as the construction and meaning of social reality in international affairs. Particularly interested in how norms and understandings of people shape their behaviours, so the international behaviours in the asia-pacific in this case.