POLI 244 Reading notes.docx

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 244
Jason Scott Ferrell

Clarification of Lectures till Sept16. 06/09/2012 6:24:00 AM The realists versus the Idealists o was built on the public revulsion from the carnage of WW1 to dominate the field of international relations, but a rival set of views was already in the background, and within 20 years a great debate arose. Why are laws The Core Assumptions of Classical Idealism: o Human behaviour can be perfected. o There exists a harmony of interests between people and between nations. o Therefore, war is never an appropriate way to solve disputes; instead, the underlying harmony of interests should be uncovered and emphasized. o If the correct laws and institutions guide behavior, the good in humans can be evoked (thereby illuminating the harmony of interests between people and between states). o One World, Rival Theories Ghazal Naimi `Sept 6 th2012, Jack Snyder “The intelligence community faces radical restructuring; the military has made a sharp pivot to face a new enemy; and a vast new federal agency has blossomed to coordinate homeland security.” th …But did September 11 signal a failure of theory on par with the failures of intelligence and policy? Does international relations theory still have something to tell policymakers? Stephen M. Walt‟s “One World, Many Theories” sketched out the three dominant approaches: realism, liberalism and an updated form of idealism called “constructivism”.  Walt argued that these theories shape both political discourse and policy analysis. Realism focuses on the shifting distribution of power among the states WHEREAS Liberalism highlights the rising number of transitions. AND Idealism illuminates the changing norms of society, human rights, and international justice, as well as the increased potency of religious ideas in politics. - Stresses that a consensus on values must underpin any stable political order - Also recognizes that forging such a consensus often requires an ideological struggle with the potential of conflict. Summary:  REALISM: main instruments of international relations are wielded by states and comprised of military power and state diplomacy.  LIBERALISM: states come together in international institutions and global commerce in order to advance towards a common good.  It also highlights the cooperative potential of mature democracies, especially when working together through effective institutions.  It also notes democracies‟ tendency to crusade against tyrannies and the propensity of emerging democracies to collapse into violent ethnic turmoil. For example: President George W. Bush promises to fight terror by spreading liberal democracy to the Middle East and claims that skeptics “who call themselves „realists‟…have lost contact with a fundamental reality” that “America is always more secure when freedom is on the march.” Condoleezza Rice explains that the new Bush doctrine is an amalgam of pragmatic realism and Wilsonian liberal theory… and… Senator John Kerry sounded similar when he said “Our foreign policy has achieved greatness, only when it has combined realism and idealism.” Senator Kerry is the most senior United States Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Fukuyama claimed that Krauthammer‟s faith in the use of force and feasibility of democratic change in Iraq „blinds him to the war‟s lack of legitimacy,‟ a failing that “hurts both the realist part of our agenda by diminishing our actual power, and the idealist portion of it, by undercutting appeal as embodiment of certain ideas and values.” When realism, liberalism and idealism enter the policymaking arena and public debate, they become an intellectual window dressing for simplistic worldviews.  Meaning their policy implications are subtle and multifaceted. Each theory provides a filter for looking at a complicated picture.  They help explain the assumptions behind political rhetoric about foreign policy.  They also reveal the weaknesses in arguments that can lead to misguided policies. The Millennium Challenge program allocates part of U.S. foreign aid according to how well countries improve their performance on several measures of democratization and the rule of law. --The White House‟s support for promoting democracy in the Middle East --- even with turmoil in Iraq and rising anti-Americanism in the Arab world— demonstrates liberalism‟s emotional and rhetorical power. ------------------------------------------------------------------ NOTES FROM INTERNET!! Snyder on realism, liberalism, and idealism: “each theory offers a filter for looking at a complicated picture” • Look at the tables on pages 5 & 9 for a good overview of the three schools and their thinkers ◦ most realist thinkers are deeply pessimistic about human nature, but this doesn't make them amoral...why not? Realist thought is rooted in the works of Thucydides, Machiavelli, and Hobbes Why is realism “the theory that everyone loves to hate...in liberal democracies”? What are some challenges to the state-centric view of traditional realism? • Why hasn't the rest of the world teamed up to balance American power? (Or have they? How?) ◦ How does liberalism part ways with realism? If realism focuses on the centrality of the nation-state and military power, what does liberalism focus on? (The core = self-determination. What else?) Liberal thought is rooted in the works of Immanuel Kant and Woodrow Wilson, among others What is the 'democratic peace theorem' (rooted in Kant's Towards Perpetual Peace)? • The problem of liberalism and the Wilsonian “war to end war” (revived, and modified, in the Bush Doctrine) what are some problems with this idea of 'exporting democracy'? ◦ On idealism and constructivism – if realists care about power and liberals care about democracy, what do constructivists care about? 
 ▪ Why would transnational activist networks (INGOs, etc.) play a more central role to constructivists than to realists or, to a lesser degree, liberals? 
 • “The most prudent course is to use the insights of each of the three theoretical traditions as a check on the irrational exuberance of the others.” _________________________________________ Does Order Exist in World Politics? Ghazal Naimi By: Hedley Bull page 105—Essential readings in World Politics Throughout history of modern states system only 3 competing traditions The Hobbesian or realist tradition—which views international politics as a state of war The Kantian or universalist tradition—which sees at work in international politics a potential community of mankind The Grotian or internationalist tradition—which views international politics
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