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[AS.190.209] - Final Exam Guide - Ultimate 93 pages long Study Guide!

AS Political Science
Course Code
David, Steven R
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Introduction and Realism
Power in international politics – realism
Level of analysis problem in international politics – idealism vs realism
Concept of power  power is the capacity of A to make B do or prevent an action it otherwise
would not do. More simply, power is the capacity to get what you want.
Hard vs. Soft power  hard power is the power to coerce or force someone to do something.
Where do countries get their hard power? The size of a state’s population and the level of its
wealth are the main building blocks of military power. Wealthy rivals with large populations can
usually build formidable military forces. A state’s actual power is embedded mainly in its army
and the air and naval forces that directly support it. Armies are the central ingredient of military
power, because they are the principal instrument for conquering and controlling territory-the
paramount political objective in a world of territorial states.
Some of it is military power (troops, armaments/weapons, etc.); countries can also draw on
economic power (natural resources, industrialization/technology, etc.); geography also helps a
country (large countries are more powerful than small countries; having oceans next to you as
opposed to being landlocked is also important). Soft power is the power to persuade; to coopt;
and attract emulation by example. Some aspects of power include widespread culture and
globally shared values. A reputation for fairness in foreign policy (perceived to act non-
aggressively) can make others respect you and not resist your actions. Recognized languages
enhance the native speaking countries’ standing in the world. Usability of power  can a
country use the power it has? For example, the US has many nuclear weapons, but the fact that
it cannot use them in many contexts renders them irrelevant. It’s also important to ask what
you can achieve with power. For example, America freely used its conventional military power
in Iraq and was able to get an initial victory. But it was not able to, in the end, transform Iraq’s
political system and was thus unable to achieve what it wanted with the free use of power.
Moreover, you want to look at the ends or goals of power, which are hard to determine. In
international relations, political actions often begin with ends and goals that are unclear. We
don’t know what most states want most of the time. Nevertheless, all states seek to survive and
exist as independent entities in the world. Once they achieve this end of survival, different
states will pursue different goals. Some may pursue economic wealth; others are driven by
ideology to expand; some may seek humanitarian ends. Whatever the specific end a state
pursues, it first preserves survival. How then should power be used? There are two basic views
of the state of the world. One view says we live in a mostly peaceful world (not total anarchy or
conflict). Most norms or rules for behavior work in this world and most countries follow them
most of the time. In this peaceful world, security is the dominant concern for most countries.
What you have is a state of nature as opposed to a state of war. In this world, you try and end
the few conflicts that remain; enhance and build upon the peace that already exists; promote
peaceful governments (liberal democracies); encourage globalization in the belief that if you
trade and invest in each other, you’ll be less likely to go to war with each other; teach people to
be peaceful/extoll the benefits of cooperation over conflict; rely on international institutions to
enforce the peace; and most of all, you convince countries that you don’t resort to force.
Others view international politics as a state of war – that either war is always happening or war
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