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Chapter 2

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Political Science
POLI 243
Mark Brawley

TheLevelsofAnalysis-SystemLevelArguments -organizing theories by level of analysis emphasizes one assumption embedded in theories: at each level, one actor is assumed to be more important than others System-Level Theories and the Concept of Power -system-level theories concentrate on characteristics of the international system, often its structure, to explain state behaviour -structural realists: use distribution of power to explain state behaviour -power = central concept, but difficult to define -Hall: three different definitions; 1. power over other actors, 2. power over resources, 3. power over events and outcomes; third is more useful, combines other two -Dahl: power is control over actors, appears in three ways: 1. control over actions (getting an actor to do something they otherwise wouldn't - coercion), 2. control over the agenda (control over which issues are debated, what action to take), 3. control over preferences (ability to influence desires of other actors) -problem: definitions of power tend to be descriptive, cannot easily be applied in predictive theories -power is ask relative: only takes on meaning when placed in a framework of comparison -problem of measurement = complicated by intangible aspects of power; Ray Cline: created a formula to depict this - potential power = critical mass of population and territory + economic capabilities + military power x (country's strategy and will to use power) -however we can only assign weights to variables of strategy and will after the fact Power and Structure -realists talk about the system level, define structure in terms of distribution of capabilities; easiest way to do this is to identify number of major powers -unipolar distribution: system with a single power; one state can eliminate all rivals; have never seen this in the international system -are more likely to see a hegemonic structure: one state has greater capabilities than others, but not so much power that it can completely eliminate them -bipolar distribution: two poles, strong states or strong alliances; e.g. after WWII: US and USSR -tripolar distribution: three states have considerably more power; but analysts often disagree: some see tripolar, whereas others may see bipolar -multipolar distribution: system characterized by many poles -realists create theories about how states will behave in these different structures -Waltz (1960s) argued that bipolarity = peaceful and stable system; because each major power only has one state to fear/compete against, both will strive to maintain a balance of power; major powers will be able to constrain and control is own allies; bipolar = limits change of war breaking out -Rosecrance: bipolarity = dangerous; bipolarity makes international affairs a zero-sum game, meaning that every source of power is contested - conflicts likely to erupt over minor issues -theories should provide descriptions and make predictions, but should also guide our policy prescriptions; therefore is important to consider the utility of these system level theories in terms of advising policy -theories can also be based on other characteristics; Rosecrance - identified the notion of the regulator (coping mechanism); is a device or resources that helps keep the system on track - diplomats, colonies (use of non-European resources for compensating European powers) -the distribution of power can be used to explain particular IP outcomes; competition in an anarchic environment may cause states to pursue protectionist trade policies; if there were two power states, and power was equally distributed, may find parallel division in the international economy; unipolar: one state has ability to structure international economic relations Economics and Power: The Concept of Power Transitions -in bipolar system, states would try to match each other's power through two different strategies: internal and external -internal: dedication of economic resources to realization of power or influence in international sphere; but economies were slow to change, so internal sources of power = difficult to modify -external: form alliances; individual powers united as a single force, can change power distribution rapidly -Organski - power transition: when rapid internally driven change in a country's strength (e.g. in Britain, due to Industrial Revolution) alters the systemic distribution of power -as the power gap narrows, war becomes more likely, since newly strong state will try to alter old relationship -more powerful countries = more satisfied with status quo than weaker countries The Many Meanings of Balance of Power -Haas: 8 separate meanings of balance of power 1. Any distribution of power 2. An exact equilibrium distribution of power 3. Hegemony, or dominance 4. Stability in the distribution of power 5. Balance of power results in instability and war 6. Balance of power = power politics 7. Balance of power = universal law of history 8. Balance of power = plan of action, policy prescription -Waltz: expects states to strive constantly to create a balance of power -whenver one state strives to attain a position of unipolarity, other states have banded together to balance the power; as long as states value their autonomy and sovereignty, domination by a single state seems unlikely -Waltz: cannot tell us how this balancing will take places; his theory is precise in its predictions and descriptions, is generalizable; but is also vague in how it understands "balancing"; there is also no clear time reference Thinking of International Politics as a System -Kaplan (1950s) developed six recommendations for maintaining the balance of power 1. Build up your own power 2. Fight, rather than surrender 3. Stop fighting before you eliminate a major power 4. Oppose any state that tries to dominate 5. Oppose any state that seeks to subordinate others 6. Accept any partner into your alliance -Kaplan shows that policy choices shape the use of balance of power to maintain or manage the system -between 1700s and WWI, multipolar systems were more stable, if not peaceful; there were numerous wars, but they were limited affairs -alliances were formed to prevent the domination of Europe by a single power (Napoleonic France); therefore defeated powers were allowed to recover quickly -sates were rebuilt around a set of principles specifically designed to create a stable, peaceful system; became known as the Concert of the Great Powers: were formal negotiations to compensate actors, efforts made to deal with threats before they became vital issues -bipolar post-Bismarck European system proved dangerous because bipolarity heightened the competition between the two sides -bipolarity meant that each alliances was very reluctant to see an alliance member weakened; so when both Austria-Hungary and Serbia were interested in Bosnia, Germany and Russia had to get involved -there may be a high chance of war if there are two major powers, but this lowers with tripolarity, and then goes back up with multipolarity -18th-late 19th century in Europe = multipolar: structure of system did not change very much (except for unification of Germany), so what else did change in order to result in WWI Status Inconsistency -notion of whether states support or accept the status quo; strong states sometimes appear to
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