INR Chapter 3 Notes: Realism & Liberalism

7 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Florida
Political Science
INR 2001
Paul D’ Anieri

INR2001 Chapter 3 Notes 9/6/13 Theories of International Relations Realism and Liberalism  Theories of international politics: generalized explanations of what drives states to do what they do  Realism is an approach that focuses almost exclusively on the role of state power in an anarchic world where insecurity is high  Realism sees power as the main determinant of outcomes and sees the pursuit of power as the main determinant of policies  Liberalism is concerned with purpose as well as power. IT asserts that states have a rage of goals beyond accruing power and that cooperation is often as important as power in achieving state aims  Paradigms of International Relations o Four levels of analysis in international relations  The system  The state  The substate  The individual o Five distinct paradigms of international politics  Realism  Liberalism  Economic structuralism (Marxism)  Constructivism  Feminism o The term paradigm describes an approach to a problem shared by a group of scholars o A paradigm is a set of beliefs about what should be taken for granted and what needs to be investigated, about what sorts of forces are most important in the world, and about what assumptions should begin the analysis o A level of analysis is a “place” where the analysis takes place o A theory is a specific statement about how international politics works  Based on assumptions  Realism o Thucydides laid out the philosophical underpinnings of realism o Niccolo Machiavelli: a government official in the medieval city-state of Florence who wrote about the “laws of politics” for the “wise statesman,” focusing on how the state could defend itself from domestic and foreign enemies o Thomas Hobbes: author of the influential work Leviathan, in which he argued that government had to be autocratic in order to prevent a slide back into anarchy o Realism focuses on the problems of international conflict o Above all, realists seek to account for the fact that international politics over all of recorded history has been a succession of wars o Realist theories share four central assumptions:  Anarchy  Realism places immense emphasis on the idea that international politics is anarchic  Anarchy: a condition in which there is no central ruler  International politics is anarchic because there is no world government to rule over the states  States as the Central Actors  Realism sees states as the central actors in international politics  Realists argue that international organizations in the contemporary era primarily reflect the interest of the states that create them  States can control actors such as multinational corporations when they really want to  States as Unitary Actors  When realists look at the state, they see a single coherent entity  Realism is characterized primarily as a system-level paradigm: o Behavior is driven by the conditions in the system, not by international politics of the individual states  States as Rational Actors  Realists assume that state behavior is rational o Meaning that states “have consistent, ordered preferences, and that they calculate the costs and benefits of all alternative policies in order to maximize their utility”  The notion of a state that is unitary and rational leads directly to the concept of the national interest-a foreign policy goal that is objectively valuable for the overall well-being of the state  The term national interest implies that the state is a single entity, that it has a single interest, and that the interest can be objectively determined o The Security Dilemma  Anarchy leads to insecurity  In anarchy, there is no one to stop one country from attacking another  Insecurity leads states to arm themselves  States that want to survive must be able to defeat potential attackers or deter them from attacking  The tendency for one state’s efforts to obtain security to cause insecurity in others is known as the security dilemma  If a state refrains from engaging in the weapons competition with other states, it leaves itself vulnerable to attack. But if it builds new weapons, it creates insecurity for others  Insecurity leads states to arm, but arms create more insecurity o The Security Dilemma and the Prisoner’s Dilemma  Prisoner’s dilemma: a game theory scenario in which noncooperation is the rational strategy but leads to both players’ being worse off than if they had cooperated  The paradox of the model: individual rationality leads to collective irrationality (known as the collective action problem)  Parallel to the realist understanding of the security dilemma o Power in Realist Theory  In the realist view, distribution of power is the central force in international politics  Realists stress that economic power is an essential underpinning of military power, especially in the long term o Normative Concerns  Realism is often considered an amoral theory in two different respects  In its explanation of how the world works, realism finds that morality plays little or no role in relations between states  The recommendations that realists make to leaders are often seen as amoral  Realists emphasize that the role of a state’s government is to serve the national interest of that state and that the government has no moral obligations to other states o Variants of Realism  Balance of Power Theory  Most widely known realist theory  The likely result of assumptions will be a relatively even distribution of power between or among the most powerful states  Superiority will be almost impossible to achieve because states will counter each other’s attempts to dominate  War can begin in two ways: o If states do not balance as they should, then power can become unbalanced, encouraging the powerful to attack o States may initiate war in the pursuit of power, either to augment their own power or to prevent another state from becoming too powerful  Hegemonic Stability Theory  Stability results not from a balance among the great powers, but from unipolarity, in which one dominant state ensures some degree of order in the system  The word hegemon means “leader” or “dominant actor”  Hegemony leads to peace because states are not irrational enough to tangle with the hegemon unless it
More Less

Related notes for INR 2001

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.