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Department
Political Science
Course
POLI 244
Professor
Jason Scott Ferrell
Semester
Fall

Description
WORLD POLITICS INTRO Interests: what actors want to achieve through political action; their preferences over the outcomes that might result from their political choices Interactions: the ways in which the choices of 2 or more actors combine to produce political outcomes Institutions: a set of rules, known and shared by the community, that structure political interactions in particular ways. Bargaining: an interaction in which actors must choose outcomes hat make one better off at the expense of another. Bargaining is redistributive, it involves allocating a fixed sum of value between different actors Cooperation: an interaction in which 2 or more actors adopt policies that make at least one actor better off relative to the status quo without making the others worse off Levels of Analysis • International Level: Representatives of states with different interests interact with one another, sometimes in the context of international institutions • Domestic Level: Subnational actors with different interests (politicians, businessmen) interact within domestic institutions to determine the country’s foreign policy choices. • Transnational Level: Groups whose members span borders (MNCs, FTOs) pursue interests by trying to influence both domestic and international politics Realism Assumptions: • States are the dominant actors on the international stage • The institutional setting of world politics is characterized by anarchy o Anarchy: absence of a central authority with the ability to make and enforce laws that bind all actors o Anarchy profoundly shapes interests and interactions that matter in world politics o States must live in constant fear of one another, because of no central government o All states have an interest in security, and it is dominant ▯ Leads to an interest in acquiring power ▯ Brings states into conflict with one another o All interactions result in bargaining and coercion o Zero-sum game ▯ Bigger concern with division of benefits that overall gain • International institutions are thus weak and exert little independent effect on world politics. o They reflect interests and power of dominant countries Liberalism • Many different types of actors • Doesn’t require that any one interest dominate all others o Flexible in ascribing goals to actors • Actors can be treated as if they desire to maximize wealth • Optimistic about cooperation in world politics o See many areas with common interests • Believe conflict is evitable o Arises when actors fail to recognize common interests • Cooperation depends on institutions, domestic and international o Domestic ▯ Democracy is the best way to ensure government’s foreign policies reflect underlying harmony of interests o International ▯ Scope for cooperation gives rise to a demand for institutions ▯ Institutions facilitate cooperation by resolving dilemmas that arise in strategic interactions Constructivism Assumption: • Interests are not innate but are constructed through social interaction o Actors don’t have predetermined interests, they acquire them in the social environment • Social actors pursue what they believe is right and proper given their conceptions of who they are and how they wish others view them. o Institutions embody the rules appropriate for behavior in different identities ▯ Profound effect on action and observed outcomes • Interactions and institutions aren’t fixed, they evolve ONE WORLD, RIVAL THEORIES – JACK SNYDER Realism • Core: belief that international affairs is a struggle for power among self-interested states o Often pessimistic about human nature, but not a theory of despair • Balance of power! o Weaker states will ally to protect themselves from stronger ones and thus form and reform a balance of power ▯ Problem in theory when it comes to the US • Policies must be based on positions of real strength, not on empty bravado or hopeful illusions of a world without conflict • Clearsighted states can mitigate the causes of war by finding ways to reduce the danger they pose to each other • A ruthless pragmatism about power can actually yield a more peaceful world • Shifting distribution of power among states • Instills a pragmatic appreciation of the role of power • Warns that states will suffer if they overreach • The theory that everyone loves to hate • China’s current foreign policy is grounded in realist ideas that date back millennia o “developing its military slowly but surely as its economic power grows, avoiding confrontation with superior US forces” • When a state grows vastly more powerful than any opponent, realists expect that it will eventually use that power to expand its sphere of domination Liberalism • Democracies will not attack each other and will regard each other’s regimes as legitimate and nonthreatening o Closest thing we have to an iron law in social sciences, almost proven • Though democracies never fight each other, they are prone to launch messianic struggles against warlike authoritarian regimes to “make the world safe for democracy” o Emerging democracies often have nascent political institutions that cannot channel popular demands in constructive directions or credible enforce compromises among rival groups • Rising democratic tide creates the presumption that all nations ought to enjoy the benefits of self-determination. Those left out may undertake violent campaigns to secure democratic rights. • Rule of law and transparency of democratic processes make it easier to sustain international cooperation, especially when these practices are enshrined in multilateral institutions • Only elected governments are legitimate and politically reliable • Realism has a stunted vision that cannot account for progress in relations between nations • Rising number of democracies and turbulence of democratic transitions • Highlights cooperative potential of mature democracies, especially when working together through effective institutions • Notes democracies’ tendency to crusade against tyrannies • Notes the propensity of emerging democracies to collapse into violent ethnic turmoil • International trade and democracy! Idealism • Foreign policy is and should be guided by ethical and legal standards • Constructivism: new version of idealism o Social reality is created through debate about values, often echoes the themes that human rights and international justice activists sound • Changing norms of sovereignty, human rights, and international justice • Increased potency of religious ideas in politics • Stresses that a consensus on values must underpin any stable political order • Recognizes that forging such a consensus often requires an ideological struggle with the potential for conflict • Debates about ideas are the fundamental building blocks of international life! o Individuals and groups become powerful if they can convince others to adopt their ideas o Constructivists think their theory is deeper than realism and liberalism because it explains the origins of the forces that drive those competing theories • International change results from the work of intellectual entrepreneurs who proselytize new ideas and “name and shame” actors whose behavior deviates from accepted standards • Believe that ideas and values helped shape the modern state system, they expect intellectual constructs to be decisive in transforming it ▯ Political orders arise from shared understanding = Need for dialogue across cultures about the appropriate rules of the game Liberalism + Realism = Democratic Realism DOES ORDER EXIST IN WORLD POLITICS – BULL Three competing traditions of thought • Hobbesian/realist tradition o Views international politics as a state of war • Kantian/universalist tradition o Sees at work in international politics a potential community of mankind • Grotian/internationalist tradition o Views international politics as taking place within an international society Hobbesian Tradition (Realist) • International relations as a state of war of all against all, an arena of struggle in which each state is pitted against every other • IR = pure conflict between states • Zero-sum game o Interests of each state exclude interests of any other • War o Peace = period of recuperation from the last war and preparation for the next • State is free to pursue its goals in relation to other states without moral or legal restrictions of any kind Kantian Tradition (Universalist) • Essential nature of international politics to lie in the transnational social bonds that link the individual human beings ho are the subjects or citizens of states • Relationship among states o Relationship among all men in the community of mankind • Interests of all men are one and the same o Non-zero sum game • All conflict is superficial • Conflict of ideology cuts across boundaries of states and divides human society into two camps o Trustees of immanent community of mankind ▯ True faith; Liberators o Those who stand in its way ▯ Heretics; Oppressed • Moral imperatives in the field of IR limiting the actions of states o These imperatives enjoin not coexistence and cooperation among states but rather overthrow of the system of states and its replacement by a cosmopolitan society Grotian Tradition (Internationalist) • Describes international politics in terms of a society of states or international society • States are not engaged in simple struggle but are limited in their conflicts with one another by common rules and institutions • Accept Hobbesian premise that sovereigns are the principal reality in international politics • IR expresses neither complete conflict of interest nor complete identity of interest. o Resembles a game that is partly distribu
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