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2-One World, Rival Theories.docx

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Political Science
POLI 244
Jason Scott Ferrell

2-One World Rival Theories 9/13/2012 9:52:00 AM  Realism instills a pragmatic appreciation of the role of power but also warns that states will suffer if they overreach  Liberalism highlights the cooperative potential of mature democracies, especially when working together through effective institutions but notes democracies’ tendency to crusade against tyrannies and the propensity of emerging democracies to collapse into violent ethnic turmoil.  Idealism stresses that a consensus on values must underpin any stable political order, yet it also recognizes that forging such a consensus often requires an ideological struggle with the potential for conflict.  The theories act as a powerful check on each other. Deployed effectively, they reveal the weaknesses in arguments that can lead to misguided policies. Realism 9/13/2012 9:52:00 AM  Realism’s core is the belief that international affairs is a struggle for power among self-interested states. o No hierarchy among states therefore anarchy  Realism helps explains the continued centrality of military strength and the persistence of conflict and also explains the US military response to September 11 in terms of a powerful state moving to expand their sphere of dominion.  It is harder for normally state-centric (realism regards states as the important actors) realists to account for the US declaring war on a nonstate terrorist organization.  Standard realist doctrine predicts that weaker states will ally to protect themselves against stronger states and thereby form and reform a balance of power o However no combination of states or other powers can challenge the US militarily and no balancing coalition is imminent  Some theorists speculate the US geographical distance and relatively benign intentions have tempered the balancing instinct and point out that second-tier powers tend to worry more about their immediate neighbours.  Other scholars suggest that armed resistance to the U.S by foes in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere constitute as the beginnings of balancing against U.S hegemony.  French and German opposition to US policies are ambiguous as they represent a institutional and treaty based resistance as opposed to militarily. Liberalism 9/13/2012 9:52:00 AM  Liberals forsee a slow but inexorable journey away from the anarchic world the realists envision, as trade and finance forge ties between nations, and democratic norms spread.
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