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Pol208 Exam review

Political Science
Course Code
Professor Bernstein
Study Guide

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what is the difference between a state and a nation?
The difference between a state and a nation is that a state is an entity that demonstrates
sovereignty, territoriality and population. Its best synonym is country.
Sovereignty is an attribute of the state because it should have external autonomy and internal
Territory is the geographical area that the state has exclusive control
A nation on the other hand is a group of people that are bound together by a sense of oneness.
Usually it is based on a common history, shared language, heritage, culture etc.
Nation states can exists whereby a state consists of citizens who are mainly members of one
While a state has the legitimacy to rule, a nation may only have self-determination because of a
sense of nationalism (nation promoting group goals) which can lead to nation states. Some groups
just require fair representation within their pre-existing state. It is more difficult for a state to get
this legitimacy
States receive this legitimacy because they are recognized by other states
States house nations
Liberal View
of the State
State is a process with interests from govt and society.
Many national interests which change according to power positions of
competing groups
Realists View
of the StateState is autonomous, only constrained by anarchy of intl system
Has sovereignty to set goals of national interest defined in terms of
Radical View
of the State2 views of state
Instrumental Marxists view sees states as agents of bourgeoisie who
react to societal pressures
Structural Marxists sees state as operating within capitalist structure,
where it expands
National interest reflects economic goals
view of the
National interests are neither material nor given, they are ever
States share variety of goals and values which are influenced by IGOs
and NGOs
What is sovereignty de jure and sovereignty de facto?
Sovereignty de jure means that a state is subservient to no one, laws made in the US dont affect
Canadians. Usually deals with authority of a state, it is externally recognized by others states
Sovereignty de facto means that a state is free from external influence. Usually deals with the
autonomy of the state. Canada is somewhat influenced by US policy
All states have de jure sovereignty, but no state is fully de facto

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Legitimacy, territoriality
Territoriality is the states right to control fixed part of earths surface
Legitimacy means the right to rule
When determining whether a government is legitimate we ask: whether it came to power through
due process, whether subjects regard it as having a right to rule and whether other countries
regard it as rightful government
First 2 are internal aspects, last one is an external aspect
When determining whether an institution is legitimate we ask: whether it is viewed as appropriate,
whether its rules are justified according to standards recognized by relevant actors, what about
justice, fairness, effectiveness.
Why is power important for international relations? Why is measuring power difficult? What is the
balance of power, why is it important?
power is the capacity to get another actor to change its behaviour when it would not do so
otherwise. It is an empirical concept
you can have natural sources of power (geographic size and position)
natural resources as a huge source of power
population is seen to give great power status
Tangible sources of power: industrial developed states generally have higher education levels,
more advanced technologies and more efficient use of capital
Intangible sources of power: national image, demonstration of public support and leadership
Constructivists see not only tangible and intangible sources of power as important but also the
power of ideas and language
State can exercise its power through diplomacy (influence other actors), economic statecraft
(positive and negative sanctions) and the use of force
also what is known as soft power (Joseph Nye) is the ability to get what you want through the use
of attraction rather than coercion or payments (deterrence and compellence)
ways of getting an actor to change its behaviour: ask, persuade, bargain, threaten or force
measuring power is difficult because power resources are not equally tangible, mobilizeable and
fungible. Also a states real capabilities are not always the same as its perceived capabilities
belief by Kenneth waltz that balance of power is the key to peace
balance of power is used in 3 different ways
As description- as in during the cold war there was a balance of power between the soviet union
and the US
As policy- always align with the weaker side as to preserve balance of power
As theory- states will always balance themselves
Its believed that when one states power increases, states must enhance their own power to protect
Balance of power can become unstable when: one state becomes too powerful or when a states
rate of power increases so great that others start to fear that they wont be able to balance it. This
is the when the greatest danger for war occurs because in the first case you can have danger of a
hegemonic war, or in the second case you can have danger of a preventive war

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States always act to maximize their power relative to other states to improve their chances of
survival. They hesitate to engage in cooperation if the benefits to be gained may be distributed
unevenly among participating states
Also from a neorealist approach they are concerned with cheating, because some states may be
tempted to cheat in order to gain relative advantage over other states
Changes in military weaponry can result in a major shift in the balance of power
Norms in a balance of power system: any actor or coalition that tries to assume dominance must
be constrained, states want to increase their capabilities by acquiring territory, increasing their
population or developing economically, negotiating is better than fighting, fighting is better than
failing to increase capabilities because no one else will protect a weak state, other states are
viewed as potential allies, states seek their own national interest defined in terms of power
What is anarchy?
Intl system is anarchic because there is no authority above foreign states, opposite of anarchy is
the international system is anarchic in the distribution of authority, but it is hierarchic in the
distribution of power
What is the difference between unipolarity, bipolarity and multipolarity? Try to think of examples.
Traditional realists acknowledge that states act and shape the system, whereas neorealists believe
that states are constrained by the structure of the system. Realists differentiate the intl system
largely along the dimension of polarity
Polarity is the number of poles in the system (number of great powers)
According to Kenneth waltz unipolar systems are not interesting because there is no danger of
great power war, and there are few good historical examples
Bipolarity- post-westphalian (1945-1989) with the US and the USSR
Multipolarity- 19th century balance of power: Great Britain (balancer), Russia, Prussia, Austria
and France
In bipolar systems alliances tend to be long term, in a tight system international organizations are
not developed or are ineffective. In a looser bipolar system international organizations may
develop to mediate between the 2 blocs
Bipolar systems are difficult to regulate, but Kenneth waltz believes its the most stable structure
because the 2 sides are able to moderate others use of violence. Because of the power disparity
each of the 2 sides is able to focus its activity almost exclusively on the other and can anticipate
others actions and accurately predict responses because of repeated interactions
Under multipolarity numerous interactions take place among all various parties and thus there is
less opportunity to dwell on a specific relationship, states are less likely to respond to the arms
build up of just one party in the system so war becomes less likely
Advocates of unipolarity believe that when the hegemon loses power and declines then system
stability declines
Weakness of multipolar systems is that when you have 3 powers its unstable because 2 can gang
up on one. When you have 4 powers its unstable because theres no balancer but balancing is
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