Intro to International Relations STUDY GUIDE
Three Images of IR
• First Image: Man (Human Nature)
o Actions of individual domestic leaders
• Second Image: Nature of the State (National Actions)
o Domestic political institutions, interest groups
• Third Image: Nature of International System (War)
o Relative distribution of power among states
• Hellenic system was international system in itself
o BIPOLAR DISTRIBUTION OF POWER ATHENS AND SPARTA
o Divided between Delian League (Athenian empire) and Peloponnesian
League (Spartan empire).
• Delian League represents consolidation of power in Athens
o Growing power/prestige/tributaries of Athens threatens Sparta
o Security Dilemma: each nation, unsure of the intentions of its neighbors,
seeks to build up its security. In so doing, its neighbors interpret their
security buildup as aggressive actions and similarly build up security,
causing greater uncertainty.
o Cause of Pelop. War: power shift.
Classical System of Diplomacy
• 18151914: GB, France, Prussia, Austria, Russia
• Shared goals
o Political stability
• Preserve peace/relative security
o 1 Phase: all powers roughly equal in power
o 2 Phase: more rigid, GB and France/Germ. and AH, ideological
o 3 phase: Germ. and AH dangerously interdependent.
Balance of Power
• Balancing: alliance formation to prevent domination by one state (external) or
increase of military power (internal).
• Bandwagoning: alliances formed with greater power for protection. • Buckpassing: alliance which eventually favors “buckpassers” who give
responsibility for security to “buckcatchers” and freeride to prosperity as
frontline “buckcatchers” are destroyed in conflict.
• Alliance conditions
o Unipolar: one state leads with all other states subordinate.
o Bipolar: two states lead with alliance blocs on each side.
o Multipolar: several (5 or 6) states lead with small alliance blocs aligned
War less likely with multipolar.
o Alliances based on expediency
o Compensation to maintain balance
o Join weaker side
o No elimination of defeated enemies
• Pursuit of power (in uncertain & resourcescarce world) is fundamental goal of
states necessity to dominate.
• Assumption of negative human nature.
• Law of Uneven Growth: while some states gain power, others lose power. This
differential growth rate is primary reason for international crises.
• Focus on the Evil Tradition of IR “animus dominandi”: will to dominate
others drives state action.
• Focus on 1 and 2 Images and INDIVIDUAL UNITS
• Rely on induction: specific▯ eneral
• Classical Realist Thinkers:
Imbalances in power cause war.
States seek to expand relative power.
Hegemony▯arrogance leads to relative decline.
No universal morality of politics (things will not get better).
“State of Nature” State of War
Domestic anarchy can be solved by giving authority to
International anarchy cannot be solved will be state of nature.
“Stag Hunt”: illustrates problem of cooperation in anarchy
In situations of uncertainty, individual states will pursue prospect
of individual gain.
Causes suboptimal outcome for all.
o Machiavelli: Fear of punishment ensures loyalty
Ruthlessness, not cruelty, most favorable
“Animus Dominandi”: will to dominate other states
Strive for maximum amount of power irrespective of moderation.
“Justice is the right of the stronger”
Rejection of harmony of interest
• Pursuit of security among states is fundamental goal of states necessity to
• Based on syrdemic outcomes & distribution of capabilities
• Focus on 3 Image and ENTIRE CONFIGURATION
• Focus on Tragic Tradition of IR inherent uncertainty of international structure
causes states to misinterpret actions of other states, and, in turn, war is caused.
• Rely on deduction: generals▯ pecific
• Neorealist Thinkers:
Theorizes that bipolar balance is more stable
Characterized system of continuity in the international system of
balanceofpower (recurrence of similar systems)
Critical of reductionism: examining parts to determine outcomes
• Hierarchical: within states, interdependent units, provide
• Anarchical: among states, independent units, protect
Theory of Hegemonic War and Change
Mechanisms for control:
• Dominance of great powers
• Hierarchy of prestige
• Distribution of power
• Rules of system
Stability depends on political and economic single great power
• Not unipolar
When power of hegemon is decreasing and power of challenger is
increasing, war is most likely (preventative).
• Offensive Realism
o International conflict is result of fundamental clashes of interest
International system fosters violence o Every power potentially revisionist.
o Do not subscribe to animus dominandi, rather, conflict is induced by
nature of system.
o Mearsheimer “stopping power of water”: only regional hegemony
• Defensive Realism
o Conflicts are result of unintended spirals of hostility.
o Maximization of security not synonymous with maximization of relative
o Buildup of defensive capabilities causes misperception of intentions
Balance of Power Theory: reaction to shifts in relative power
Balance of Threat Theory: reaction to shifts in level of threat
• Steps that one state takes to increase its security have perverse/unintended
consequence of decreasing the security of other states.
• Prisoner’s Dilemma
• Conflict likelihood based on the relative capabilities in each nation of their
offensivedefensive balance of military force.
• Conflict more likely when offensive military forces more powerful than defensive
• Threatened (or limited use of) force to change adversary’s behavior.
o Coercive strategies succeed when adversary can still (hypothetically)
o Deterrence: the threat of military force to prevent another state from
attacking or pursuing a disliked course of policy.
o Compellence: the threat of military force to try to bring about active
change in another state’s policy.
o Defense: actually defending one’s state against another state’s attack
Preemptive: imminent attack must be prevented.
Preventative: future attack must be prevented.
• Basic Coercive Scenarios
Coercer/Target/Protégé of coercer • Dissuasion of harm to protégé
• May cause coercer to be in situation of entrapme