Pols 2940 Exam Review Short Answer Section:
- Mutually Assured Destruction: The possession of second-strike nuclear
capabilities by two adversaries, which ensures that neither could prevent the
other from destroying it in an all-out war. (deterrence)
- Has to do with nuclear weapons (purpose of possessing nuclear weapons is
almost always to deter another state from nuclear or conventional attack by
threatening ruinous retaliation)
- First Strike: an attack intended to destroy –largely or entirely- a states’
nuclear weapons before they can be used.
- Second Strike capabilities: weapons that can take a first strike and still
strike back give a state these capabilities.
- Thus, MAD implies that the strategy, though reflecting “rationality”, is
actually insane (mad) because deviations from rationality could destroy both
Problem Solving Theory
-Theory that takes the world as it is and attempts to make institutions and
relationships work more smoothly within that given framework.
-usually contrasted with critical theory, which stands apart from the
prevailing order of the world and asks how that order came about
-Written by Robert W. Cox, a Canadian political scientist.
-Cox distinguished two types of theory: problem-solving and critical theory
-Usually contrasted with critical theory, which stands apart from the
prevailing order of the world and asks how that order came about
C I (Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence)
-A way for a state’s military force to provide accurate information about what
is going on in the field -intelligence- to top officials and political leaders so
they might make good decisions.
-An extensive communications network, including the ability to use codes to
-During the Cold War, it was assumed that C I capabilities would be the first
targets in a nuclear war. The information aspect of controlling military forces
has become increasingly important. The ‘Three Great Debates’
-A series of disagreements between international relations (IR) scholars
MIRV (Multiple Independently Targeted Re-Entry Vehicles)
-A nuclear missile with multiple warheads, which is a tempting target for the
other side as a successful strike can prevent multiple enemy strikes
-Considered to be a first-strike weapon –very threatening to the other state
and likely to provoke further buildup of the other state’s weapons in
-Considered inherently unstable in a crisis because they are so threatening
that the other side would be tempted to make a first-strike of its own.
-Fixes land-based MIRVed missiles are considered destabilizing weapons.
-In the 1992 START II treaty (ratified in 2000), the United States and Russia
agreed to phase them out.
-A decision-making model that sees foreign policy decisions as flowing from a
bargaining process among various government agencies that have somewhat
divergent interests in the outcome (“where you stand depends on where you
sit”). Also called the government bargaining model.
-Envisions the state as complex organizations.
-Emphasizes not just the impact of individuals, but the way in which certain
agencies or departments within government traditionally clash.
-In general, bureaucracies promote policies for which their own capabilities
would be effective and their power would increase.
-Pays special attention to the interagency negotiations that result from
conflicts of interests between agencies of the same government.
-Although representatives of bureaucratic agencies usually promote their
interest of their own bureaucracies, sometimes heads of agencies try to
appear loyal to their sate leader by forgoing the interests of their own
Peace of Westphalia (1648) -1648, established the principles of independent, sovereign states that
continue to shape the international system today.
-The key to this system was the ability of one state, or a coalition of states, to
balance the power of another so that it could not gobble up smaller units and
create a universal empire.
-This power-balancing system placed special importance on a handful of
great powers with strong military capabilities, global interests, and outlooks
and intensive interactions with each other.
-The structure is a balance of power among the six or so most powerful
states, which form and break alliances, fight wars and make peace, letting no
single state conquer the others.
-The most powerful states in sixteenth-century Europe were Britain
(England), France, Austria-Hungary, and Spain.
Limited Nuclear War
-Military actions involving nuclear weapons, which seek objectives short of
the surrender and occupation of the enemy.
-A state’s right, at least in principle, to do whatever it wants within its own
territory; traditionally, sovereignty is the most important international norm.
-States are separate, autonomous and answer to no higher authority
-All states are equal in status if not in power.
-Also means that states should not interfere in the internal affairs of others.
-Although states do try to influence each other (exert power) on matters of
trade, alliances, war and so on, they should not meddle in the internal politics
and decision process of other states.
-Principles of state sovereignty were exemplified during the era of South
Africa’s apartheid regime.
-Membership in the international system rests on general recognition (by
other states) of a government’s sovereignty within its territory.
Militarism -The glorification of war, military force and violence and the structuring of
society around war- for example, the dominant role of a military-industrial
complex in a national economy
-This is done through TV, films, books, political speeches, toys, games, sports,
and other such avenues.
-Militarism is through to underlie the propensity of political leaders to use
-Historically has had a profound influence on the influence on the evolution
-War has often been glorified as a “manly” enterprise that ennobles the
-The culture of modern states –and of realism- celebrates and rewards these
qualities of soldiers, just as hunter-gatherer cultures created rituals and
rewards to induce participation in warfare.
-Holding by one state of a preponderance of power in the international
system so that it can single-handedly dominate the rules and arrangements
by which international political and economic relations are conducted.
-Such a state is called a hegemon (Usually hegemony means domination of
the world, but sometimes it refers to regional domination.)
-Nonrealist perspective, the Italian Marxist theorist, Antonio Gramsci used
“hegemony” to refer not simply to dominance, but to the complex of ideas
that rulers use to gain consent for their legitimacy and keep subjects in line.
Rational Actor Model
-Actors conceived as single entities that can “think” about their actions
coherently, make choices, identify their interests and rank the interests in
terms of priority.
-Most realists (and many nonrealists) assume that those who wield power
behave as rational actors in their efforts to influence others.
-The treat to punish another actor if it takes a certain negative action
(especially attacking one’s own state or allies) -If deterrence works, its effects are almost invisible; its success is measured
in attacks that did not occur.
-Generally advocates of deterrence believe that conflicts are more likely to
escalate into war when one party is weak.
Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)
-A superpower crisis, sparked by the Soviet Union’s installation of medium-
range nuclear missiles in Cuba, that marks the moment when the United
States and the Soviet Union came closest to nuclear war
-The Soviet Union’s aims were to reduce their strategic nuclear inferiority, to
counter the deployment of U.S. missiles on Soviet borders In Turkey, and to
deter another U.S. invasion of Cuba.
-U.S. leaders, however, considered the missiles threatening and provocative.
-President john F. Kennedy imposed a naval blockade to force their removal.
-The Soviet Union backed down on the missiles, and the United States
promised not to invade Cuba in the future.
-They signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963, prohibiting