POLB80 Final exam review – Andrew, Greg, Ron, Rachella
Term Definitions –
- The liberal tradition in IR emphasizes the great potential for human progress in modern civil society and
the capitalist economy, both of which can flourish in states which guarantee individual liberty
- The modern liberal state invokes a political and economic system that will bring peace and prosperity
- Relations between liberal states will be collaborative and cooperative
Locke and Kant – Human nature, cooperative vs conflict, talk through thing rather violent course of action.
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of individual liberty and equal rights; Liberals have a wide array of
views depending on their understanding of these principles, but most liberals support such fundamental ideas as
constitutions, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights, capitalism, fair trade.
Bentham – who felt that the creation if international law can facilitate cooperation between states just as it does
Kant – who believe that liberal states with relatively equitable constitutions will be more likely to foster mutual
respect amongst their own citizen and in turn, amongst each other – thus leading to peaceful IR. Kant theory
suggest that democracies rarely go to war with one another. Two powerful democratic nations will unlikely go
to war with one another in modern day.
Realism – Thuycdides, Morgenthau, Hobbes, Machiavelly. Human nature, in an anarchy society. Anarchy to
realist, is the absence of overarching authority – NOT the absence of any cooperation. People thll seek to
increase one‟s power through various means( self fish motives, greed). In the early 20 century realist such as
Morgenthau draw an important line between the private and public spheres. That is, the rules of morality that
hold between private citizens should be neither expected nor desired in relations between states, which have a
responsibility to protect their citizens from the security threats posed by other states. Thus emphasis on the
balance of power in IR – i.e., to discourage any on state from driving towards world domination and provoking
violent responses. Realist believe that security concerns will always take priority over economic concerns.
Distinguishing liberals from realist :
1 – A more positive view of human nature compared to realists – Accept that humans are self-interested and
competitive, but only to a point. Thus humans reason can overcome the drive of power and related human
insecurity that, according to realists, make the threat of conflict and war inevitable and perpetual.
2- A belief in the power of progress to increase the scope and need for cooperation- here the notion of progress
is focused on the individual, which has implications.
3 – Thus, while realists tend to view the state more in terms of a collective compromise designed to overcome
the security dilemma, liberals are more inclined to view the state ideally in terms of constitutional agreement that protects individual rights and freedoms while facilitating more efficient cooperation via the
institutionalization of norms, rules and decision making procedures.
4- The believe that IR can be cooperative as opposed to purely conflictual.
Realism examples are world wars, acts of terrorism.
This first Section of realism covers Waltz and his neo-realism theory.
The beginning of this section discusses Waltz belief of an Anarchy system. He believes that an international
change occurs when great powers rise and fall and the balance of powers shifts accordingly. He assumes
that the fundamental concern of states is security and survival, the major problem of great power conflict is
war, and that the major task on international relations among the great powers is peace and security.
Waltz approach has no regard to human nature, cannot grasp normative inquries, he believes that the
structure of the system influences state leaders decisions. Structure/statescraft dictates policy.
He believes that all states are equal to each other. None is entitles to command, none is required to obey.
Equal only in a formal-legal sense.
Great powers manage the international system
Waltz and the bi-polar system and the multi polar system. bipolar systems more stable which provides a
guarantee of peace and security than multipolar systems. John Mearsheimer goes into more depth with this
waltz theory. 3 basic reasons why they are more stable and peaceful:
Number of great-power conflicts is fewer which in turn reduces the possibilities of great power war
Easier to operate an effective system of deterrence.
Chances of miscalculation and misadventure are lower.
being at least there are only 2 great powers rather than 3, 4 or even 5, so this way states are at ease,
and they are not constantly paranoid of the activities going on in other countries. States are not
insecure about the well being of their state, because with more great powers, comes more conflict
with being the more dominant state – and conflicts are resolved through war. Example is the Cold
Mearsheimer believes that the distribution and nature of military power are the main sources of war and
peace. An example he gave was the “long peace,” because there was a bi-polar system of military power in
Europe, the equal military power or the U.S and the Soviet Union and the paranoia of both rival
superpowers were equipped with nuclear arsenals.
To Mearsheimer, the Cold War transformed a historical violent region into a peaceful region because
after the cold war, the withdrawal of the U.S and the Soviets from the European, gave rise to a
multipolar system. But he also argues that the bringing of a multipolar system in Europe will bring
instability and a renewed danger of international conflict, crises and possibly war. Conquest is less
difficult and more tempting, unequal and shifting balances of power.
This brings us to the issue of realism and the NATO expansion.
NATO being the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created in 1949, consisting of 26 members by
2005. to contain and expand to the efforts of confronting and containing the Soviet Union and the
Concluded that enlargement of NATO would improve international security and stability for the entire
Euro-Atlantic area by fostering patterns and habits of cooperations. things like good neighbourly
relations, like the transatlantic partnership, which boosts the confidences of the states for their defences. States of the Soviet-organized Warsaw Pact began to join NATO. NATO was opened for any European
States willing to further the principles of the NATO treaty and to contribute to the security and well-
being of the North Atlantic Area.
But obviously the expansions and alliances of NATO are controversial.
Some of these arguments are:
Those who favour in the expansion of NATO prime objective is greater regional security. It
would stop Russia from trying to recover lost territories or intimidate neighbours and to promote
security for NATO members and as well Non-NATO members like Ukraine. States would not
have to fear for their security if they became members of NATO. states would not tempt on
developing and equipping their armed forced with nuclear arms or nationalism which would
provoke regional instability. NATO could ensure weaponry was consistent witht the overall
defensive goals. Therefore they believe that international order and stability in Eastern Europe
will be more combative and more dangerous for states if NATO did no expand.
Those who DID NOT favour in the expansion of NATO the expansion of NATO would
threaten Russia. It would undermine Russian officials/politicians that were in favour of
cooperative relations with the U.S to bring its nation‟s political system more closely with those
of the West. Russia expressed their concerns of the expansion, and if it were to be ignored by
NATO, Russia would believe that NATO is not taking Russia‟s own security interests in mind.
Thus provoking the antagonism of many Russian communists and politicians who opposed
closer collaborations with the West. And therefore creating the possibility that the Cold War may
reopen between the divisions of East vs. West.
States that were originally in the Warsaw Pact that joined the NATO alliance will now have a
greater security risk and may seek other security alliances.
NATO‟s creditability of its promise to defend without exception any member in the event of
attack will be reduced. Some states of NATO would be nearer to Russia than some others like
The U.S commitment to the alliance will be put into jeopardy. The active strain of
isolationism in American Political culture. Would be crucial to the failing of NATO because the
U.S is the political and military key to NATO‟s success as a defensive military organization
thus causes instability to international peace and security.
Brings us now to the discussion of Hegemony and the Balance of Power.
Mearsheimer like Waltz, believes the behaviour of states are shaped by the anarchical structure of IR,
unlike Morgenthau who sees behaviour as dictated by human nature and ethics of people seeking
security and survival in an anarchical system.
He differs from Waltz, claiming that he is a defensive realist, one whos recognizes states to seek power
in order to secure and survive, and believe that excessive power provokes hostile alliances. Therefore
states only strive for enough power necessary for the security and survival of its state, also known as
Mearsheimer believes states seek for power to be Hegemony, the goal for state is to dominate the entire
system, such as the U.S. This ensures that other states wouldn‟t think of going to war with them. But
because we are boarderd off from different states, states are then strived to become a hegemony of their
region. referred to as offensive realism.
Such examples he gives is Germany being the dominate European state, China in Asia and the U.S in the
- A hegemon, a dominant military and economic power, is necessary for the creation and full
development of a liberal world market economy, because in the absence of such a power, liberal rules
cannot be enforced around the world
- That is the theory of hegemonic stability which is indebted to mercantilist thinking about politics being
in charge of economics
What is a Hegemon? It is a state with both the means and the will to establish a preferred system of
economic and political cooperation within its sphere of influence.
Note that being wealthy and powerful is not sufficient for Hegemony. In a primary sense this because a state
must be willing to play the role of Hegemon. For example, some have argued that the collapse of
international order between the WWI-WWII was due to US isolationism – i.e., it was the only state
powerful enough to support international regimes in trade, finance, security, etc., but at that time it was not
interested in doing so.
What kind of means does a hegemon need? Power. What kind of power? Military might is not necessarily
enough. Unless the system is one of pure domination, may also need economic power (e.g., a large domestic
market, attractive exports, lots of capital) to attract other states to your preferred institutions. Some (e.g.,
Nye) also argue that soft power is becoming more important towards maintaining hegemonic influence.
Note also that Hegemonies do not necessarily have to be global or liberal. For example, prior to the 19
Century China was at the center of a regional hegemonic order in East Asia that was based on tributes to the
center as opposed to free trade and financial exchange.
However, the two hegemonies most often discussed in Western IR theory are the British and the American,
both of which were more than regional, if not global (e.g., the US system did not include the USSR), and
promoted liberal economic systems.
Of course, this is not to argue that hegemonic systems are best explained by liberal scholars. Quite to the
contrary, some of the earliest thinking on the role of Hegemons in IR was produced by realists in the form
What is HST? At its core it suggests that global or regional systems of institutional order require the
stabilizing presence of a Hegemon – not only to be created but also to persist. This role is primarily related
to discouraging other states from “cheating” on rules/“free-riding” on the benefits (i.e., public goods) of the
system while not contributing significantly to its maintenance.
For example, by the 1950s-60s the economic dominance of the US over trade competitors had begun to
diminish as European economies and Japan began to flourish in light of post-WWII rebuilding efforts. Some
proponents of HST tied these events to a weakening of the benefits the US could accrue from the system it
spearheaded at Bretton Woods and, as such, a weakening of US commitment to maintaining the system.
This, they argued could help explain US unilateral movements away from the system (e.g., the Nixon
Shocks). Counterarguments? Some realists and other scholars debated whether or not the US had actually
experienced a significant decline vis-à-vis competitors. However, others – and particularly liberals like
Keohane – argued that international regimes need not decline alongside Hegemonic decline.
Why? Because after they are created, international institutions designed to lower transaction costs in
international exchanges can become valued by states that have grown accustomed to using them – i.e.,
institutions can develop influence that extends beyond the power of the hegemon that originally promoted
them. Thus, even if the US was in a period of decline around 1970 (which is itself debatable), a systematic
decline in support for existing international institutions (e.g., GATT-WTO; IMF) did not emerge.
Marxism – relates to mercantilism and realism
- The political economy of the nineteenth-century German philosopher and economist Karl Marx in many
ways represents a fundamental critique of economic liberalism
- Economic liberals view the economy as a positive-sum game with benefits for all
- Marx rejected that view
- Marx saw the economy as a site of human exploitation and class inequality
- Marx thus takes the zero-sum argument of mercantilism and applies it to relations of classes instead of
relations of states
- Marxists agree with mercantilists that politics and economics are closely intertwined; both reject the
liberal view of an economic sphere operating under its own laws
- But where mercantilists see economics as a tool of politics, Marxists put economics first and politics
- For Marxists, the capitalist economy is based on two antagonistic social classes: once class, the
bourgeoisie, owns the means of production; the other class, the proletariat, owns only its labour power
which it must sell to the bourgeoisie
- But labour puts in more work than it gets back in pay; there is a surplus value appropriated by the
- That is capitalist profit and it is derived from labour exploitation
Marxism are more economically driven vs security driven.
The key unit of analysis for classical Marxists is social class. Bourgeoisie (capitalist class) and the proletariat
(working/ labour class). Proletariat class would rise up to demanded greater control over social forces of
production, just as it was done in the 17 and 18 century in Europe.
Marxist was the foundation of socialism and communism which is still found in contemporary politics.
Mercantilism is an economic theory, thought to be a form of economic nationalism, that holds that the
prosperity of a nation is dependent upon its supply of capital, and that the global volume of international trade is
"unchangeable". Economic assets (or capital) are represented by bullion (gold, silver, and trade value) held by
the state, which is best increased through a positive and healthy balance of trade with other nations (exports
The theory assumes that wealth and monetary assets are identical. Mercantilism suggests that the ruling
government should advance these goals by playing a protectionist role in the economy by encouraging exports and discouraging imports, notably through the use of subsidies and tariffs respectively. The theory dominated
Western European economic policies from the 16th to the late-18th century.
Mercantilism, which reached its height in the Europe of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, was a system
of statism which employed economic fallacy to build up a structure of imperial state power, as well as special
subsidy and monopolistic privilege to individuals or groups favoured by the state. Thus, mercantilism held
exports should be encouraged by the government and imports discouraged. Mercantilism brought rise to what is
modern bureaucracy. States are more concerned with relative gains than absolute gains. Alexander Hamilton
and Fredrick List.
Expansionism, colonies, examples, spainish colonies around, French colonies around the world Great Britain,
every great empire.
A methodology that is focused maing on scientific views and analysis. Is a legacy of behaviouralism.
Post modernism –
a post positivist approach to IR that rejects the modern, enlightenment idea that ever-expanding human
knowledge will lead to an improved understanding and mastery of the international system. A distinctive feature
of the postmodernist discourse in IR is an inclination toward scepticism, debunking and deconstruction of
universal truths that are supposed to be valid for all time and place.
- The projection of power by a political entity for the purpose of territorial expansion and political and
economic influence beyond its formal borders
- Much of history has been marked by the expansion and demise of empires: the Roman Empire, the
Mongol Empire, the British Empire, and the Ottoman Empire, to name but a few
- After WWII, the last of the great empires (with the possible exception of the Chinese) were dissolved
International Society (English School of IR)
- This approach to IR emphasizes the simultaneous presence in international society of both realist and
- There is conflict and there is cooperation; there are states and there are individuals
- These different elements cannot be simplified and abstracted into a single theory that emphasizes only
one aspect – e.g. power
- International Society theorists argue for an approach that recognizes the simultaneous presence of all
- The basic premise of the International Society school is what? As the name implies, the understanding is
that IR occurs primarily within a society of states that is composed of states people – e.g., presidents,
prime-ministers, diplomats, high-ranking military officers, leaders of MNCs, etc. However, it‟s
important to remember that these people actors do not act independently of states, and that states remain
at the foundation of the international society that these people operate within. - Therefore, it will not do to abstract too much from this society when attempting to understand IR
outcomes – rather, IR scholars should try to understand as well as possible the experiences and priorities
of these practitioners.
- Thus, the scholar of IR must understand history and law? Why? Because these are the major fields of
knowledge that inform states people in their decision-making.
- Further, the scholar of IR must understand philosophy. Why? Because ultimately outcomes in IR are a
product of judgments made by real people faced with real political dilemmas – dilemmas often
involving hard decisions regarding the human cost of, for example, going to war or not going to war. To
understand why states people decide to pursue one avenue of action as opposed to another, it might be
useful to understand the philosophical underpinnings of their decision-making.
- With these basic understandings in mind, can we see any major similarities and differences between the
International Society school and other schools of thought that we have previously discussed?
- Well, clearly the International Society school disagrees with highly positivistic/behaviouralist
methodological approaches which attempt to abstract from reality to develop law-like observations
- For example, they would reject the position of neo-realists/neo-liberals that the state can be thought of as
an object of study that can be conceptualized as being distinct from the people that run it, or constrained
by forces (i.e., the structure of anarchy) that people have no influence over.
- Thus, the International Society school is more similar to the classical realist and liberal approaches we
examined earlier in the course – at least, in terms of its methodological preferences. Theoretically, on
the other, it attempts to walk a line somewhere in between the pessimism of the classical realists and the
optimism of the classical liberals.
- That is, war is not necessarily an ever-present threat emerging from the security dilemma and human
selfishness; nor is it realistic to see a world with unlimited potential for rational cooperation and
development. Rather, the international society is, for better or worse, composed of fallible people who
have to make hard decisions. Sometimes these decisions lead to conflict, sometimes to cooperation.
- Important to note that, like most other major schools of thought in IR, the International Society school
accepts anarchy as a basic state of being outside of the state. Thus Hedley Bull termed the international
society as being an “anarchical society”.
- Further, he made a distinction between an international system and an international society. What might
differentiate the two? Well, a system can be said to exist when two or more states have enough contact
and mutual impact that decision-making will have to be based on calculations of what the others might
do. - Conversely, a society of states begins to emerge when those states begin to develop a common sense of
interests and/or values and share in the working of common institutions.
- Thus, the state of anarchy can take on different forms, ranging from system to society, depending on the
extent of shared understanding between the states-people involved. The book gives the example of
Russia. During the Cold War the US and USSR responded strategically with each other within a
system of international relations.
- However, since the end of the Cold War, Russia has been increasingly involved in various international
organizations – for example, has recently agreed to cooperate with NATO on missile-defense to a degree
that would have been unimaginable 30 years ago. Thus, it might be argued that Russia has become a
member of the Western-centered international society.
- Again, for International Society thinkers, the international state of anarchy can be conceptualized to
exist in different forms. Many will point to what are known as the three R’s – Realism, Rationalism,
- Realism informs an understanding of the international system without society, with normative
understandings of states people corresponding roughly with those put forth by Machiavelli; Likewise,
Rationalism involves the emergence of a society based on international rules and greater cooperation.
Finally, Revolutionism points to deeper integration and understanding based on a community of
humankind, along the lines of Kant (soft) in his perpetual peace or along the lines of more radical
revolutionaries like Marx/Lenin.
- Of course, the international society cannot at any time be reduced to one of the three R‟s. Rather,
elements of all three will be present at any given time, and scholars must develop a balanced
understanding of all three if they are to understand why states people make the choices they do.
- With the three R’s, and the notion that anarchy can take different forms, who do the International
Society scholars begin to remind us of? Constructivists. Indeed, in his groundbreaking work on
constructivism in IR, Wendt adopted many concepts from international society scholars.
- What sets Constructivists apart from IS scholars? Primarily methodology. While constructivists focus
their analysis on the constitutive power of ideas, IS scholars adopt a more traditional, eclectic approach
that focuses more on the history of foreign policy making.
IR APPROACH – LIBERALISM p.95-127
- The liberal tradition in IR emphasizes the great potential for human progress in modern civil society and
the capitalist economy, both of which can flourish in states which guarantee individual liberty. The
modern liberal state invokes a political and economic system that will bring peace and prosperity.
Relations between liberal states will be collaborative and cooperative
*Compare and contrast major approaches to IR (core assumptions and methodological differences in each
Basic liberal assumptions are: 1) A positive view of human nature
a. Faith in human reason
b. Convinced that rational principles can be applied to international affairs
2) A conviction that international relations can be cooperative rather than conflictual
a. Liberals realize that individuals are self-interested and competitive
b. But also believe individuals share many interests and can engage in collaborative and
cooperative social action
c. All liberals agree that in the long run, cooperation based on mutual interests prevails
3) A belief in progress
a. Always a progress for individuals
b. Scope and degree of liberal optimism as regards progress has fluctuated over time
c. Progress of liberal optimism after end of Cold War – defeat of communism, rise of democracy
d. Setback for liberal optimism after 9/11 attacks
e. Core concern – happiness and contentment of individual human beings
*Realists see state first and foremost as a concentration and instrument of power
*Liberals see the state as a constitutional entity (Rechtsstaat), which establishes and enforces rule of law that
respects the rights of citizens to life, liberty and property
The process of modernization unleashed by scientific revolution led to improved technologies – more efficient
ways of producing goods and mastering nature.
- Reinforced by liberal intellectual revolution: great faith in human reason and rationality.
- Basis for liberal belief in progress: modern liberal state invokes a political and economic system that
will bring, in Jeremy Bentham‟s phrase: “the greatest happiness of the greatest number”
Types of Liberals
- Sociological liberals
- Interdependence liberals
- Institutional liberals
- Republican liberals
- IR is not only about state-state relations; it‟s also about transnational relations (i.e. relations between
people, groups and organizations belonging to different countries)
- Focusing on transnational relations suggests notion that relations between people are more cooperative
and more supportive of peace than are relations between national governments
- Idea that transnational relations between people from different countries help create new forms of
human society which exist alongside or even in competition with the nation-state
- Sociological liberalism summary:
o IR is not only a study of relations between national government; IR scholars also study relations
between private individuals, groups and societies o Overlapping interdependent relations between people are bound to be more cooperative than
relations between states because states are exclusive – their interests don‟t overlap and cross-cut
o A world with a large number of transnational networks will be more peaceful
- Argue: high division of labour in the international economy increases interdependence between states,
and that discourages and reduces violence conflict between states
- WWII, David Mitrany‟s functionalist theory of integration argues that greater interdependence in the
form of transnational ties between countries could lead to peace
- Welfare improvements from efficient collaboration in international organizations would lead to transfer
of citizen‟s loyalty from state to international organizations economic interdependence would lead to
political integration and peace
- Interdependence liberalism summary:
o Modernization increases the level and scope of interdependence between states
o Under complex interdependence, transnational actors are increasingly im