PL SC 014 – Exam 1
Lecture 1: Isms of IR?
Fundamental Characteristics of the International System
o Anarchy: absence of central authority
o Uncertainty: about others’ intentions
Due to Anarchy, States have to defend themselves, thus IR is a SelfHelp system.
How do States help themselves? They maximize power.
But then State A’s efforts to maximize power make the other states feel less secure, so
they maximize their power and everyone feels increasingly less secure.
o This is known as a Security Dilemma.
Anarchy + Uncertainty ▯SelfHelp
SelfHelp ▯Security Dilemmas
Consequently, IR is fraught with conflict, and international cooperation is unlikely, and
international organizations are ineffective.
Types of Realism
Classical Realism: adds an assumption that human nature is evil.
Neorealism: most common, the “punchline”
Offensive Realism: very aggressive version of neorealism, warfare a constant fear.
Defensive Realism: mild form of neorealism, only some states seek to upset the status
quo, others stay largely at peace.
Fundamental Assumptions about IR for Liberal Theorists
o International System is Anarchic, but it is not a war of all against all
o States seek to maximize wealth rather than power or survival.
o Power is a different thing in different thing in different areas of interaction
Creates complex interdependence
o Anarchy is mainly a problem due to cheating on agreements. IOs can help
mitigate the risks from cheating.
o States that “merge” their economies are less likely to fight when preferences
Collective Security Theory
There is no one realist or liberal theory of International Relations.
Rather there are “families” of similar realist and liberal theories.
Textbook is right that most recent scholarship is not explicitly realist or liberal.
But these are the foundational bodies of thought from which all scientific IR evolves.
Lecture 2: Actors in International Relations;
Who they are, where they come from 3
Defining States Conceptually
States aren’t interested in joining larger organizations
If states weren’t less influential they wouldn’t be so important.
Main actor in the international system.
States: territorial entitities w/in which a central authority provides public goods.
Governments: BureaucraticLegal Apparatus constituting that central authority. (State and
government are sometimes interchangeable.)
Nations: Sets of people sharing identity of a cultural, ethnic, or historic sort. You can have
nations that don’t have states.
Too many nations. Can’t give all the nations states.
NationStates: combination of above. All the people in state would share the same identity. Ex.
Japan and Iceland
Countries: informal alternative for the above.
Defining States Operationally
Correlates of War (COW) Definition
Premier data organization in IR research.
Specific definition on being a state:
Externally sovereign (in control of your own foreign policy)
Diplomatic recognition (have to be legally recognized by the rest of the system)
18161919 by France and Britain
1920on by League or UN Membership
There are some 190 “states” so identified in the commonlyused datasets. 4
International Organizations, I
International Governmental Organizations (IGOs)
Composed of states as members, and are either global or regional, and are either single or multi
purpose (1 was Int’l Postal Union)
Collective Security IGOs
Ex. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Ex. Organization of Petroleum Exporting Companies (OPEC)
Int’l NonGovernmental Organizations
Composed of nonstate members from two or more countries.
Ex. Red Cross, Doctors W/o Borders, Amnesty International
These usually exist to pressure governments or to provide services that governments will not.
Other NonState Int’l Actors
Transnational businesses with facilities in two or more states.
Nonstate, but often statesupported transnational interest groups specializing in violence.
Extraordinary personalities (John Paul II, Mandela, Matthias Rust) that influence world politics
De Facto States
Control territory, population, which they “govern” to varying extents.
LACK diplomatic recognition.
Usually arise in weak states, early in state histories, or in wartorn areas.
Examples: Confederate States of America, Chan Santa Cruz, Somaliland 5
Lecture 3: Interests, Interactions, and Institutions
Building Block #1: Interests
Interests: what actors want to achieve through political action. Primary motivations
behind choices actors make. Preferences.
Realists assume all actors want power/security.
o Liberals assume all actors want wealth.
Unitary actor assumption: IR conveniently assumes each “actor” has a single set of
Interests matter in IR because actors are assumed to maximize according to their interests
(i.e., they are “rational.”)
Building Block #2: Interactions
Interactions: the ways in which the choices of two or more actors combine to produce
o Strategic decision making
o Uncertaint is central, because actors do not know for sure what others will do;
they operate based on perceptions of what others will do.
o Consequently, errors are common.
Types of Interactions
o Cooperation : Interactions in which two or more actors adopt policies that make at
least one better off w/o making others worse off.
Positive sum interactions
ources of Successful Cooperation
• Coordination problems
o Rather than collective action problems
• The number of actors
o Fewer is better for cooperation
• The relative sizes/strengths of actors
o Presence of a privileged actor helps
o Potential of future retaliation prevents present cheating 6
• Amount of information
o More is better
o Bargaining Interactions in which actors must choose outcomes that make one
better off at the expense of another.
Zero sum interactions
ho Wins in Bargaining?
• he more powerful actor
o Defined as the bargainer least bothered by the reversion
Reversion point: outcome if no bargain reached.
• he less powerful acto then is pressured into making concessions.
• Weakness and strength may be determined by capabilities, resolve,
Building Block #3: Institutions
o Institutions are sets of rules, known and shared by relevant actors, that structure
political interactions in specific ways.
o UN Security Council and IFIs like World Bank or IMF. International norms
against genocide, or slavery.
How Institutions Affect Interactions
o Set standards of behavior
Reduces uncertainty about what qualifies as compliance
o Verify compliance
Runs the gamut from selfreports to onsite inspection by professional and
o Reduce decision making costs
By establishing how decisions will be made ahead of time
o Resolve disputes
Among actors 7
Lecture 4: Introduction to Game Theory 8
Details about Game Theory
Game Theory: A mathematical presentation of interdependent choice.
Invented in the 1920s, continu