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POLI244 Summaries.doc

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 244

Waltz SummaryWeek 2Political structuresa system composed of a structure and of interacting unitsThe structure is the systemwide component that makes it possible to think of a system as a wholeabstracting from the attributes of units means leaving aside questions about the kinds of political leaders social and economic institutions and ideological commitments states may have Abstracting from relations means leaving aside questions about the cultural economic political and military interactions of statesinteractions take place at the level of the unitsArrangement of units is not the property of the units but property of the systemstructure defines the arrangement of the parts of the systemIts not a collection but arrangementplacement of units in relation to each other isnt fully defined by a systemThey also change relative to their capacitiesdomestic political structure how its ordered specification of the functions of units distributioncapabilities of those unitsOrdering Principlesinternational systems are decentralized and anarchicAbsence of govtstructure is an organizational conceptProblem is how to conceive of an order without an orderermarket arises out of the activites of separate units whose aims are directed toward their own internally defined interests by whatever meanseach firm seeks profit and may drive others profits down but is not his intentioninternational systems are individualistic spontaneously generated and unintendedstates seek to ensure their survival and their aims could be variedCharacter of the Unitsstructure of a market is defined by the number of firms competingFirms interpenetrate merge and buy each up at a merry paceto say that states are sovereign is not to say they can do as they please but can be hardpressed all around to act as they may not wantThey vary in size wealth power and formDistribution Capabilitiesrelations defined in terms of grouping of states do seem to tell us something about how states are placed in the systemStructures and strategiesstructures cause nations to have consequences they were not intended to havethe only remedies for strong structural effects are structural changesstates especially major ones are called on to do what is necessary for the worlds survivalVirtue of Anarchygovt emerges where the functions of regulation and management themselves become distinct specialized tasksOrganizations have at least two aims to get something done and to maintain themselves as organizationsThe prospect of world government would be an invitation to prepare for world civil war States cannot entrust managerial powers to a central agency unless that agency is able to protect its client statesthe weak may enjoy considerable freedom of action if they are so far removed in their capabilities from the strong that the latter are not much bothered by their actions or much concerned by marginal increases in their capabilitiesOne who knows that pressing too hard many lead to war has strong reason to consider whether possible gains are worth the risks entailedThe anarchy of that order stongly affects the likelihood of cooperation the extent of arms agreements and the jurisdiction of international organizations John MearsheimerWeek 2Why States Pursue Power5assumptions1 The international system is anarchicthe realist notion of anarchy has nothing to do with conflict it is an ordering principle which says that the system comprises independent states that have no central authority above them2 Great Powers inherently possess some offensive military capability3 States can never be certain about other states intentions4 Survival is the primary goal of great powersStates seek to maintain territorial integrity and the autonomy of their domestic political order5 great powers are rational actorsState Behaviourthe absence of a central authority to which a threatened state can turn for help and states have even greater incentive to fear each otherthis emphasis on selfhelp does not preclude states from forming alliancesBut alliances are only temporary marriages of conveniencegreat powers have aggressive intentionsstates that maximize relative power are primarily with the distribution of material capabilitiesThus states motivated by relative power concerns are likely to forgo large gains in their own power if such gains give rival states even greater power for smaller national gains that nevertheless provide them with a power advantage over their rivalsStates that maximize absolute power on the other hand care about the size of their own gainsCalculated Aggressionsome defensive realists go so far as to suggest that the constraints of the international system are so powerful that offense rarely succeeds and that aggressive great powers invariably end up being punishedthey emphasize that 1 threatened states balance against aggressors and ultimately crush them 2 there is an offensedefense balance that is usually heavily tilted toward the defense thus making conquest especially difficultHegemonys LimitsHegemon is a state that is so powerful that it dominates all the other states in a systemThus one can distinguish between global hegemons which dominate the world and regional hegemons which rule distinct geographical areasPower and Fearthe amount of fear between them largely determines the severity of their security competition as well as the probability that they will fight a waranarchy and the difficulty of discerning state intentions are constant facts of life and constants cannot explain variationHierarchy of State and GoalsSurvival is the number one goal of great powers but have other aims as well 1economic prosperity to help welfare of citizens 2 promote a particular ideology abroad and 3 national unificationSometimes 4 foster human rights around the globeoffensive realism certainly recognizes that great powers might pursue these nonsecurity goalsStates can pursue them as long as the requisite behaviour does not conflict with balanceofpower logicAdam Smith defence is of much more importance than opulenceCooperation Among StatesTwo factors inhibit cooperation considerations about relative gains and concern about cheatingcooperation is more difficult to achieve however when states are attuned to relative gains rather than absolute gainsbalance of power logic often causes great powers to form alliances and cooperate against common enemiesrivals as well as allies cooperateCooperation takes place in a world that is competitive at its coreOffense Defense and the Security DilemmaWeek 2Security dilemmaincrease in one states security decreases the security of othersWhether defensive weapons and policies can be distinguished from offensive ones and whether the defense or the offense has the advantageOffenseDefense BalanceOffense has the advantage meaning it is easier to destroy the others army and take its territory than it is to defend ones ownWhen defense has advantage its easier to protect and hold than it is to move forward destroy and takesecurity dilemma is most vicious when commitments strategy or techonology dictate that the only route to security lies through expansionStatusquo powers must then act like aggressors
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