Chapter 1: Globalization, International Relations, and Daily Life
1. Closely connected with other actors such as international organizations, multinational corporations, and
a. All elements power the central trend of IR known as globalization
Collective Goods Problem: A tangible or intangible good, created by the members of a group, that is available
to all group members
1. Easier to provide in small groups than in large ones.
a. The free riding of one member is harder to conceal; has a greater impact on the overall collective
good, and is easier to punish
2. Particularly acute in international affairs because each nation is sovereign, with no central authority such
as a world government to enforce on individual nations the necessary measures to provide for the
3. Three basic principles offer possible solutions to the core problem of getting individuals to cooperate for
the common good without a central authority to make them do so.
a. Dominance: A principle for solving collective goods problems by imposing solutions
i. Underlies the great power system, in which a handful of countries dictate the rules for all
1. Forces members of a group to contribute to the common good
2. Minimizes open conflict within the group
1. This stability comes at a cost of constant oppression of, and resentment by, the
lower-ranking members in the status hierarchy
2. Conflicts over position in the hierarchy can occasionally harm the group’s
stability and well-being
b. Reciprocity: A response in kind to another’s actions; a strategy of reciprocity uses positive
forms of leverage to promise rewards and negative forms of leverage to threaten punishment.
i. Forms the basis of most of the norms and institutions in the international system.
1. Can lead to a downward spiral as each side punishes what it believes to be
negative acts by the other.
2. Fuels arms races as each side responds to the others’ buildup of weapons.
c. Identity: A principle for solving collective goods problems by changing participants’
preferences based on their shared sense of belonging to a community.
i. Does not rely on self-interest unlike dominance and reciprocity
ii. Can be generalized to any identity community that one feels a part of
1. Identity communities play important roles in overcoming difficult collective
goods problems, including the issue of who contributes to development
assistance, world health, and UN peacekeeping missions
iii. Non-state actors, such as nongovernmental organizations or terrorist networks, also rely
on identity politics to a great extent. PSC 124
IR Example: Nuclear Proliferation
The “big five” with the largest nuclear arsenals hold veto power on the UN Security Council.
a. Through agreements like the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Proliferation Security
Initiative, the existing nuclear powers actively try to keep their exclusive hold on these weapons
and prevent smaller nations from getting them.
i. Resentment is created among smaller countries
a. It is the basis of the provision in the NPT about the existing nuclear powers’ obligation to disarm
in exchange for smaller countries’ agreement to stay nonnuclear. Underlies arms control
agreements, used extensively in the Cold War to manage the buildup of nuclear bombs by the
superpowers, and used currently to manage the mutual reduction of their arsenals.
a. Many nations that have the technical ability to make nuclear weapons have chosen not to do so.
They have constructed their national identities in ways that shape their self-interests so as to
make nuclear bombs undesirable.
Issue Areas: Distinct spheres of international activity (such as global trade negotiations) within which policy
makers of various states face conflicts and sometimes achieve cooperation.
Conflict and Cooperation: The types of actions that states take toward each other through time.
International Security: A subfield of international relations (IR) that focuses on questions of war and peace.
International Political Economy (IPE): The study of the politics of trade, monetary, and other economic
relations among nations, and their connection to other transnational forces.
State: An inhabited territorial entity controlled by the government that exercises sovereignty on its territory.
International System: The set of relationships among the world’s states, structured by certain rules and
patterns of interaction.
Nation-State (lecture): States whose populations share a sense of national identity, usually including a
language and culture.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP): The size of a state’s total annual economic activity.
Non-State Actors: Actors other than state governments that operate either below the level of the state (that is,
within states) or across state borders.
Intergovernmental Organization (IGO): An organization (such as the United Nations and its agencies) whose
members are state governments. PSC 124
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO): A U.S. – led military alliance, formed in 1949 with mainly
West European members, to oppose and deter Soviet power in Europe. It is currently expanding into the former
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC): The most prominent cartel in the international
economy; its members control about half the world’s total oil exports, enough to significantly affect the world
price of oil.
Nongovernmental Organization (NGO): A transnational group of entity (such as the Catholic Church,
Greenpeace, or the International Olympic Committee) that interacts with states, multinational corporations
(MNCs), other NGOs, and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs)
Multinational Corporation (MNC): A company based in one state with affiliated branches or subsidiaries
operating in other sates.
Globalization: The increasing integration of the world in terms of communications, culture, and economics;
may also refer to changing subjective experiences of space and time accompanying this process.
North-South Gap: The disparity in resources (income, wealth, and power) between the industrialized,
relatively rich countries of the West (and the former East) and the poorer countries of Africa, the Middle East,
and much of Asian and Latin America.
League of Nations: An organization established after WWI and a forerunner of today’s United Nations; it
achieved certain humanitarian and other success but was weakened by the absence of U.S. membership and by
its own lack of effectiveness in ensuring collective security.
Munich Agreement: A symbol of the failed policy of appeasement, this agreement, signed in 1938, allowed
Nazi Germany to occupy a part of Czechoslovakia. Rather than appease German aspirations, it was followed by
further German expansions, which triggered WWII.
Cold War: The hostile relations-punctuated by occasional periods of improvement, or détente-between the two
superpowers, the US and the Soviet Union, from 1945 to 1990.
Containment: A policy adopted in the late 1940s by which the US sought to halt the global expansion of Soviet
influence on several levels-military, political, ideological, and economic.
Cuban Missile Crisis (1962): A superpower crisis, sparked by the Soviet Union’s installation of medium-
range nuclear missiles in Cuba, that marks the moment when the United States and the Soviet Union came
closest to nuclear war.
Proxy Wars: Wars in the third world-often civil wars-in which the United Stats and the Soviet Union jockeyed
for position by supplying and advising opposing factions. PSC 124
Chapter 2: Realist Theories
Realism: A broad intellectual tradition that explains international relations in terms of power.
Idealism: An approach that emphasizes international law, morality, and international organization, rather than
power alone, as key influences on international relations.
Power: The ability or potential to influence other’s behavior, as measured by the possession of certain tangible
ad intangible characteristics
Geopolitics: The use of geography as an element of power, and the ideas about it held by political leaders and
Anarchy: In IR theory, a term that implies not complete chaos but the lack of a central government that can
Norms: The shared expectations about what behavior is considered proper.
Sovereignty: A state’s right, at least in principle, to do whatever it wants within its own territory; traditionally,
sovereignty is the most important international norm.
Security Dilemma: A situation in which actions states take to ensure their owns security (such as deploying
more military forces) are perceived as threats to the security of other states.
Balance of Power: The general concept of one or more states’ power being used to balance that of another state
or group of states. The term can refer to (1) any ration of power capabilities between states or alliances, (2) a
relatively equal ration, or (3) the process by which counterbalancing coalitions have repeatedly formed to
prevent one state from conquering an entire region.
Great Powers: Generally, the half-dozen or so most powerful states; the great power club was exclusively
European until the 20 century.
Middle Powers: States that rank somewhat below the great powers in terms of their influence on world affairs
(for example, Brazil and India)
Neorealism: A version of realist theory that emphasizes the influence on state behavior of the system’s
structure, especially the international distribution of power
Power Transition Theory: A theory that the largest wars result from challenges to the top position in the status
hierarchy, when a rising power is surpassing (or threatening to surpass) the most powerful state.
Hegemony: The holding by one state of a preponderance of power in the international system, so that it can
single-handedly dominate the rules and arrangements by which international political and economic relations
are conducted. PSC 124
Hegemonic Stability Theory: The argument that regimes are most effective when power in the international
system is most concentrated.
Alliance Cohesion: The ease with which the members hold together an alliance; it tends to be high when
national interests converge and when cooperation among allies becomes institutionalized.
Warsaw Pact: A Soviet-led Eastern European military alliance, founded in 1955 and disbanded in 1991. It
opposed the NATO alliance.
US-Japanese Security Treaty: A bilateral alliance between the US and Japan, created in 1951 against the
potential Soviet threat to Japan. The US maintains troops in Japan and is committed to defend Japan if attacked,
and Japan pays the United States to offset about half the cost of maintaining the troops.
Non-Aligned Movement: A movement of third world states, led by India Yugoslavia, that attempted to stand
apart from the US-Soviet rivalry during the Cold War.
Deterrence: The treat to punish another actor if it takes a certain negative action (especially attacking one’s
own state or one’s allies)
Compellence: The threat of force to make another actor take some action (rather than, as in deterrence, refrain
from taking an action).
Arms Race: A reciprocal process in which two or more states build up military capabilities in response to each
Rational Actors: Actors conceived of as single entities that can “think” about their actions coherently, make
choices, identify their interests, and rank the interests in terms of priority.
National Interest: The interests of a state overall (as opposed to particular parties or factions within the state).
Game Theory: A branch of mathematics concerned with predicting bargaining outcomes. Games such as
prisoner’s dilemma and Chicken have been used to analyze various sorts of international interactions.
Zero-Sum Game: Situations in which one actor’s gain is by definition equal to the other’s loss, as opposed to a
non-zero-sum game, in which it is possible for both actors to gain or to lose.
Prisoner‟s Dilemma: A situation modeled by game theory in which rational actors pursuing their individual
interests all achieve worse outcomes than they could have by working together.
Neoliberalism: an approach that stresses the importance of international institutions in reducing the inherent
conflict that realists assume in an international system; the reasoning is based on the core liberal idea that
seeking long-term mutual gains is often more rational that maximizing individual short-term gains. PSC 124
International Regime: A set of rules, norms, and procedures around which the expectations of actors converge
in a certain international issue area (such as oceans or monetary policy)
Collective Security: The formation of a broad alliance of most major actors in an international system for the
purpose of jointly opposing aggression by any actor; sometimes seen as presupposing the existence of a
universal organization (such as the United Nations) to which both the aggressor and its opponents belong.
Democratic Peace: The proposition, strongly supported by empirical evidence, that democracies almost never
fight wars against each other (although they do fight against authoritarian states)
Constructivism: A movement in IR theory that examines how changing international norms and actors’
identities help shape the content of state interests.
Postmodernism: An approach that denies the existence of a signle fixed reality, and pays special attention to
texts and to discourses-that is, to how people talk and write about a subject.
Marxism: A branch of socialism that emphasizes exploitation and class struggle and includes both communism
and other approaches.
Lenin‟s Theory of Imperialism: The acquisition of colonies by conquest or otherwise. Lenin’s theory of
imperialism argued that European capitalists were investing in colonies where they could earn big profits, and
then using part of those profits to buy off portions of the working class at home.