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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 2231E
Nigmendra Narain

Chapter 2: Realist Approaches -Realism: explains IR in terms of power. Realpolitik or power politics -reacted to idealism which they saw as unrealistic as it based IR on things like international law and morality and stuff -idealism failed in the inter-war years, world war II is proof -in IR, Hobbes argued that there was no international sovereign -Hans Morgenthau: International politics is governed by objective, universal laws based on national interest defined as power -idealists take into account the type of states, realists see them as all being rather similar -realisits: 1.) States are the most important actors 2.) they act rationally to pursue power which is in the national interest 3.) They act in the context of an international system lacking authority (anarchy) -Kenneth Waltz: Neorealism or structural realism -international distribution of power as opposed to individual states -more scientific -defensive realism: states willing to settle for the status quo if it means avoiding conflict Power -the central concept for realists -the ability to get an actor to do what he otherwise would not have done? Or the potential to do that. -power as capability -soft power: influencing others to adopt a way of life -relative power: a power comparison between states -power is more than just military might or GDP: see Iraq -power comes from: GDP, population, territory, geography, natural resources, political culture, patriotism, education, the credibility of commitments -in the short term, military power is the most important -fungible power: the extent to which an element of power can be transferred into another: ie money -geopolitics: the use of geography as an element of power Rationality -three main assumptions: -those who wield power (according to realists) are rational actors -they work in the national interest and must perform a cost-benefit analysis -the fourth one is “intersubjective preferences”: all states prefer more power to less Game Theory -predicting bargaining outcomes -zero-sum: when one player loses, the other gains and vice-versa -the solution is reached when no player can increase his or her payout by changing his or her move -in the prisoner’s dilemma, both will confess The international system -anarchy: lack of central government to enforce rules -realists believe that IR cannot escape the state of anarchy, and that the world is dangerous -norms of behaviour: shared expectations about what behaviour is considered proper -Sovereignty is the most important norm and it is: the principle that a government can do whatever it wants in its own territory -the territorial state may be becoming less important -an embassy is considered to be territory of its home state -security dilemma: when precautions by one state threaten the security of others -realists see it as unsolvable Balance of Power -the power of one state used to counterbalance the power of another -it is what maintains the international system Great and Middle Powers th -great power: able to exert influence, was exclusively European until the 20 century. Can be defeated militarily only by another great power (US, China, Japan, Germany, Russia, France, Britain) -middle power: Brazil, India, Canada etc. Power Distribution -can be “bipolar”, “unipolar” or “multipolar” -dominance of a single state tends to reduce the likelihood of war -multipolarity is the worst for peace -power transition theory: the largest wars happen when states challenge for the top position Hegemony -one state holding the preponderance of international power in the system -hegemonic stability theory argues that hegemons can serve to stabilize the international community and prevent conflict Strategy -statecraft: the art of managing state affairs and effectively maneuvering in a world of power politics among sovereign states -how much of a standing military should be maintained? -china playing the role of a party pooper in the Security Council if its interests in Taiwan are in any way challenged -reciprocity: promising to respond to the actions of one state in a similar fashion (Mutually Assured Destruction) -arms race: mutual escalation of military capability based on a supposed and reciprocal external threat (the cold war) Economic Variant of Realism -mercantilism: states are the most important actors, and they are concerned with increasing their wealth. A policy of self-sufficiency over interdependence Go over the chapter summary on page 75 Chapter 5: Foreign Policy -a state is not a single conscious being -foreign policies: the strategies used by governments to guide their actions in the international arena -foreign policy process: the primary interest of scholars: how foreign policy is decided upon and adopted -comparative foreign policy: the study of foreign policy in various states in order to discover whether similar types of governments and societies consistently have different types of policies -is communism or capitalism more warlike? -political culture: Canada only supports multilateral efforts that conform with international standards -decision-making is a “steering” process in which adjustments are made on the basis of outside input Models of Decision-Making: The rational actor model -decision-makers calculate the costs and benefits of each possible course of action and then choose the most expedient one (see realism) -five steps in the decision-making process 1.) Clarify goals 2.) Order them by importance 3.) List Alternatives 4.) Investigate the consequences of those alternatives 5.) Choose the course of action that will beget the best outcome -non-rational elements are best explained by psychology Individual Decision Makers -individuals are the only true actors in IR -individual rationality is not the same as state-rationality -realists assume that both individuals and states are rational and work for the national interest (whatever that may be) -individual decisions reflect the values and beliefs of the decision-maker -content analysis: attempting to gauge the positions of an individual by analyzing speeches and the like -psychoanalytic approach: the experiences of the leader have great bearing on the type of decisions that he or she will make -three systematic ways in which individual decision-making diverges from the rational actor model 1.) Decision-makers suffer from misperceptions and selective perceptions 2.) The rationality of individual cost-benefit calculations is hindered by the emotions that decision- makers feel while making them: affective bias 3.) Cognitive bias: distortions of rational calculations that are the result of the limitations of the human brain -they seek to achieve cognitive balance through wishful thinking and overestimate the probability of a desired outcome -an actor might project: both sides in a conflict believe that the other is the aggressor -improper use of historical analogies: appeasement in Vietnam is the same as appeasing Hitler in 1938 -Vietnam: the American unwillingness to get involved in an overseas conflict post-Vietnam -two specific modifications to the rational actor model to accommodate psychological realities 1.) Bounded rationality: takes into account the costs of seeking and processing information as a way to optimize decision-making 2.) Prospect theory: alternative explanation of decisions made under risks or uncertainty. Decision- makers edit and evaluate their decisions. It also contends that individuals fear losses more than they desire gains. Human Security -individuals can have a huge impact on IR (Pearson) -security should include a broader definition of what makes people secure -scholars should also focus on economic security and political freedoms -Lloyd Axworthy made this a Canadian priority in the 90s Models of Decision-Making: The Organizational Process and Bureaucratic Politics Models -the state is more complex than suggested by the rational actor model Organizational Process Model -alternative to the rational actor model -decision-makers mostly rely on standard operating procedures instead of cost-benefit analyses -“management by muddling through” -do not address new situations well Bureaucratic Politics or Government Bargaining Model -the state is complex, and foreign policy decisions are a result of a bargaining process between different departments with differing interests in the outcome -the US State Department and the CIA backed different sides of the civil war in Laos -positions on policy issues are not uniform throughout the bureaucracy, and the DND might want something different than foreign affairs -does a state have a national interest? Under this model, no. Group Dynamics -group psychology is an important way of understanding foreign policy Group Psychology -individuals tend to go along with ideas that others support: groupthink -groups are more likely than individuals to take risks -CIA succumbed to groupthink when they assessed the likelihood of Iraqi possession of weapons of mass destruction Decision Structure -the rules of how a decision is made (committee, in public etc.) contribute to the content of that decision -the ability to control the agenda, to control the terms of debate, is paramount -the setting of a meeting may be used to influence decision-making (Brezhnev’s speedboat) Crisis Management -difficulties in reaching rational decisions come during crises (issues in foreign policy that are high stakes and time sensitive) -decision-makers are placed under stress, and this amplifies the poor quality of the decision-making Sub-state Actors Bureaucracies -agencies that are designed to execute foreign policy (Foreign Affairs Canada) -tension is common between state leaders and foreign policy bureaucrats Interest Groups -coalitions of people who share common interests in the outcome of political issues (French farmers) -three elements of lobbying 1.) Ability to arrange meetings with high level officials 2.) Ability to present cogent arguments for one’s cause 3.) Ability to trade favours for desirable decisions -ethnic groups can hugely influence foreign policy decisions Public Opinion -the range of views on foreign policy options held by citizens of a state -governments must convince people that what they are doing is good because it is ultimately those people who are actually executing the foreign policy -many governments, especially authoritarian, disseminate propaganda -the media can affect this (images of dead soldiers tend to sway public opinion against conflict) -public opinion is usually measured through polling -occasionally foreign policy issues are decided by plebiscites, but this is rare outside of Europe -in Japan there is a huge public dislike for military operations -attentive public: those members of a democracy that stay aware of international issues -their opinions tend to differ from those of the general public -rallying ‘round the flag syndrome: increase in support for politicians during wartime Models of Decision-Making: Elite Analysis and Instrumental Marxism -Another alternative model of decision-making that focuses on the class background of decision-makers -decision will reflect the class backgrounds of the dominant class in power -an example would be the overthrow of the government of Guatemala by the CIA in response to its attempt to harm American economic interests The Military Industrial Complex -a huge interlocking of various agencies and industries designed to supply the armed forces of a nation -huge during the cold war, and it is still important today -it is a convergence of the interests of researchers, corporations, subcontractors, and military officers (among others) -revolving door: executives from defence contractors work in government and then return to their old jobs Making and Writing Foreign Policy -the critical theory approach contends that with the collapse of the USSR, the United States has since had to manufacture other enemies -it argues that we should deconstruct assumptions about foreign policy Read the Chapter Summary on Pages 156-157 Chapter 6: International Conflict Types of War -there are five types of war 1.) Hegemonic War: war over control of the entire international system 2.) Total War: War waged by one state to occupy and control another 3.) Limited War: Engaged in an effort to accomplish something other than the complete destruction of the opposing state. A raid is an example of a single-instance limited war. 4.) Civil War: War between factions in a state trying to create a new government. Secessionist wars involve breakaway entities. 5.) Guerilla War: warfare without front lines and with irregular forces operating within civilian situations. -there is much territory that neither side controls -some wars fit multiple categories (Iraq 03) The Causes of War -why do international actors come into conflict with each other? Why does this lead to violence and war? -conflict: the difference in preferred outcomes in a bargaining situation -theoretical approaches search for general explanations Theories about War -necessary causes distinct from sufficient causes -4 levels of analysis 1. The Individual Level: conflict is the result of rationality. War is the rational decision of international leaders. Other theories argue that it is deviance from those norms. Neither of these explain war very well. 2. The Domestic Level: draws attention to qualities that may make a state more or less prone to violence. The potential for warfare exists across cultures of all different types. 3. The Interstate Level: theories at this level are favoured by realists, and explain war in terms of power relations among major states. 4. The Global Level: some theories link wars to long economic waves. Is war becoming obsolete? Conflicts of Interest -there are six different types of conflict that are not necessarily mutually exclusive 1. Territorial Disputes: control of territory is paramount to most states. Governments come and go: borders remain. Wars of secession can spill over into other countries. There is a norm against the forceful redrawing of borders. Borders have largely remained the same for the past 50 years. Many conflicts involve control of small islands which come with exclusive economic zones that can be good for oil. Waters within 3 nautical miles are considered to be territorial. EEZs are 200nm. 2. Conflict over control of national governments: the cold war involved active attempts to change governments through the funding of contras and occasionally military engagement. 3. Economic conflicts: it is the most pervasive form of international conflict. It seldom leads to violence anymore. The theory of lateral pressure: the economic growth of states leads to expansion which leads to war. It is in the interests of weapons-producers to have a continually running conflict elsewhere in the world. Some scholars predict that conflict over resources will be the leading cause of war in the immediate future. 4. Ethnic conflicts: often form the basis of national sentiments. A good example is Kurdish guerilla activity against Turkey in the 1990s. The Rwandan genocide in 1994 is also a good example of ethnically motivated violence. Often conflict is the result of boundaries imposed by colonial powers that fail to take into account the tribal and ethnic makeup of the region. Ethnocentrism can cause conflict, and it is often the result of inherited biases and the belief in group identity. Even trivial differences can lead to identification with one group over another. The perpetrators of ethnic violence will often attempt to dehumanize members of out-groups. Ethnic conflicts are hard to resolve because they are based on hatred for groups, and there is no way to reach economic or other agreement. 5. Religious conflicts: religious differences are often important to the way of life of groups and can cause conflict. Sometimes religious law is seen as more important than secular international law. Islamists receive disproportionate media attention. Islamist conflict is more complex than most religious conflict. 6. Ideological conflicts: like religion, it tends to exacerbate conflict rather than cause it. Ideology does not matter much to realists, as they see states as “black boxes”. It plays only a limited war in most international conflicts (for instance, in Angola both sides touted their supposed ideologies in the hopes of receiving aid from the super-powers). Democracy has bucked the trend, and is an important force in international-level politics. -irredentism: gaining back territory lost to another state Read the Chapter Summary on Page 193 Chapter 7: Militaries and the Use of Force -the use of force is a last resort -states often hope to deter attack by having the means to retaliate to any potential threat -military forces are increasingly used for non-war situations including aid, drug operations, and peacekeeping. Conventional Forces -armies are fundamental to taking and controlling territory -artillery generally causes the most damage in war -conventional forces are better at traditional warfare, but in guerilla situations involving infantry, the advantage is often lost. -navies control seaways -aircraft carriers are instruments of power projection of a country’s military ability beyond its traditional sphere of influence. -air-forces provide services like close air support, interception of other aircraft, reconnaissance and transportation -all military operations rely heavily on support and logistics Evolving Technologies -the lethality of armed conflict has increased to the point that it is no longer feasible for countries to enter war without sustaining economic ruin and significant casualties -stinger missiles make shooting down aircraft easy -cheap technology (ie exocet missiles) make it possible for smaller armies and groups to inflict heavy damage on more advanced and organized forces. Terrorism -terrorism: political violence that deliberately and indiscriminately targets civilians -can take many forms including 9/11, the Air India Bombing, or the murder of Pierre Laporte by the FLQ -it is used as leverage, and can often amplify the power of weaker groups -generally terrorism has failed to accomplish its goals -states could be the biggest and most frequent terrorists -sometimes states get more involved in what is called “state-sponsored terrorism” through their intelligence agencies (see Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi) Weapons of Mass Destruction -chemical, biological and nuclear weapons -for the most part they are kept to deter attack Nuclear Weapons -two types, fusion and fission -fission bombs are simpler and less expensive (little boy), but fusion bombs are more powerful (H- bombs) -revolution in military affairs: a period of rapid change in the conduct of war -plutonium is more difficult to work with than uranium, and is a barrier to proliferation Ballistic Missiles and Other Delivery Systems -long range strategic delivery systems include ICBMs and bombers (although the latter is more ubiquitous than the former for this purpose) -tactical nuclear weapons are designed for use in the battlefield -cruise missiles are becoming the norm because they don’t risk American (or Russian) lives -Missile Technology Control Regime: framework to stem the flow of missile technology to the global south Chemical and Biological Weapons -chemical weapons release chemicals that disable and kill -Chemical weapons were used by Iraq against Iran in the 1980s, spurring other nations to develop them as well -biological weapons are similar, but they use organic toxins instead of chemical agents -they could potentially cause an epidemic, so they have virtually never been used in war Proliferation -the spread of WMDs into the hands of more actors -some suggest that rogue states cannot be counted upon to act rationally -nuclear proliferation could occur when states buy the weapons or the components to build them -the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 created a framework for controlling the spread of weapons and expertise -the NPT did not include Israel, India, and Pakistan, states that later went on to develop nuclear weapons Nuclear Strategy -usually deterrence, but there are other reasons as well -an attack intended to destroy the enemy’s arsenal and prevent retaliation is called a “first strike” -bunkered weapons would be considered “second strike” -“throwing away the steering wheel” making retaliation automatic so that nuclear arsenals do not serve to cancel each other out -there is not much that can defend against a nuclear attack, but the SDI or “strategic defense initiative” proposed by the United States (colloquially known as “star wars”) aimed to do just that -it is not in place Military Economics -the economics of military spending is not so favourable -it can reduce growth by re-routing essential funds -the US tried to get other countries to pay for its overseas presence in what is known as “burden sharing” -economic conversion: the use if former military facilities for the civilian economy -war does have some economic benefit (such as the annexation of territory), but the costs tend to outweigh the gains The Choice of Capabilities -how much to spend on military capabilities? -if budgets are too low, states cannot ensure security, but if they are too high, then the economy could suffer -there have been issues with the export of small arms to countries in which conflict is raging Control of Military Forces -command: coordination of military forces -in battle, it can be very difficult to control armed forces, as the situation is turbulent -officers invoke nationalism and strip soldiers of their individuality to maintain cohesiveness -often the military actually controls the government -occasionally the military will launch a coup d’etat (blow against the state) See Chapter Summary on Page 237 Chapter 8: International Law and Organization -most conflicts are not solved by military force -today most wars are civil The Evolution of World Order -as time has progressed, international rules have grown stronger and more complex -International organizations (which realists view as vehicles for hegemonic states) make up the structure of international politics -new norms have emerged, and the high seas can now be safely traversed without the fear of intervention by the navy of another state -the critical view does not see international organizations as only extensions of state interests International Norms -expectations held by state leaders about normal international relations -international norms are often disputed (not all allies supported the US invasion of Iraq in 2003) -the question of international norms has been a big deal for a long time, and has been tackled by philosophers like Kant -new norms are emerging in the areas of human rights and humanitarian intervention Roles of International Organizations -concrete, tangible structures with specific functions and missions -IOs: IGOs, and NGOs -the number of IOs has gone up fivefold since 1945, and NGOs make up the bulk of this growth -IGOs vary greatly: some have many members, some have only two. Some are specific in nature, some are less focused -Regional IOs include the EU and ASEAN, while the only true Global IO is the UN -NGOs tend to be more specialized than IGOs -religious groups are among the largest NGOs Alliances -a coalition of states that coordinate their actions to accomplish some end -they are formalized in written treaties, concern a common threat -if it is short term it is called a coalition (of the thrilling) -alignment is an agreement that is not really formalized -the purpose of an alliance is generally to augment member power, and to counter a perceived threat -except in the case of hegemony, every state is weaker than a consortium of other states -fluid alliances mean shifting (the US reaching out to China during the Cold War) -alliance cohesion: the ease with which members can hold an alliance together -even when it is high, there might be bickering over burden sharing -client state: smaller state in an alliance with a great power NATO -the most powerful current military alliance -it was formed in 1949 to counteract Soviet Power that would later manifest itself as the Warsaw Pact -Article V: the heart of NATO: come to the aid of other countries that are attacked NORAD -North American Aerospace Defense Command -est. 1958 through an agreement between Canada and the US -essentially enforces the idea of a missile shield over North America The Former Soviet Republics -the Commonwealth of Independent States has 12 members made up by former Soviet Bloc states -Ukraine is the most independent of the states, with Belarus and Kazakhstan the most closely aligned with Russia -the most important relationship is between Russia and Ukraine Regional Alignments -most international alignments and coalitions are not formalized in alliances -many states of the global south have joined `non-alignment` movements during the cold war and have done their best to escape from the rivalry -the African Union has met with limited success in its attempts to curb conflict in the continent The UN Purposes of the US -it is the closest thing to a world government, and it is necessary in an anarchical system -it recognizes the unwillingness of states to surrender sovereignty -its charter recognizes state sovereignty and equality -it exists to serve the needs of states -the states get the benefits of using leverage, the preservation of international stability, a forum for discussion and conflict resolution, and international assistance. -The UN is also an organizer of information -the UN is underfunded and rather fragile Structure -it is centred around the General Assembly -it also has an economic and social council, the Security council, the Secretariat, the International Court of Justice, and the trusteeship council -it has universal membership, and pretty much every territory is let in -the UN can also help to provide collective security against an aggressor History -it was founded in 1945 in San Francisco by 50 states -the US has regularly refused to pay its dues to the UN as the result of a long-standing conflict -the general assembly is one of the few forums dominated by the global south -the UN has helped to end conflict in Central America and in the Iran-Iraq wars -9/11 increased the US role in the UN where it gathered support for anti-terrorism initiatives -it follows three pillars: security, economic development, and human rights The Security Council -it issues binding decisions over other members -it can define the existence and nature of a security threat -it has passed more than 1700 resolutions in total -there are 5 permanent members and 10 non-permanent members -Canada has served 6 times -its power is limited by the interests of its member states, and a lack of practical effectiveness -it coordinates any military action through the Military Staff Committee Proposed Changes -more say for Japan and Germany Peacekeeping Forces -not explicitly mentioned in the Charter -the UN’s peacekeepers play the role of buffer between warring parties -originated in the Suez Crisis Missions -the soldiers are commonly called Blue Helmets -authority is granted by the Security Council for a period of 3-6 months and can be renewed -funds are voted on by the General Assembly, and lack of funding is the greatest challenge to peacekeeping today -has presence in the DRC, Liberia, Sudan etc. -peacekeepers have also been known to cause harm to the local population -they serve two different functions: observing and peacekeeping -peacemaking is considered to be peace-enforcement: a more serious and intensive attempt to end conflict The Secretariat -the executive branch of the UN -the Secretary-General can serve as a mediator in international conflicts -he also works to build great power consensus The General Assembly -meets from Sept. to Jan. in Plenary Session -every now and then it has special and emergency sessions -the general assembly’s main powe
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