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International Relations Midterm Study Guide

by: Lauren Murvihill

International Relations Midterm Study Guide POL 3

Marketplace > University of California - Davis > Political Science > POL 3 > International Relations Midterm Study Guide
Lauren Murvihill

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About this Document

This study guide covers everything we have to know for the midterm!
International Relations
Professor Kinne
Study Guide
political science, international relations, POL 3, UC Davis, Professor Kinne, Kinne, pol, PoliSci, American Government, Government, Congress, legislature, American National Government
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This 8 page Study Guide was uploaded by Lauren Murvihill on Friday January 22, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to POL 3 at University of California - Davis taught by Professor Kinne in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 63 views. For similar materials see International Relations in Political Science at University of California - Davis.


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Date Created: 01/22/16
Exam 1 Midterm Study Guide Levels of Analysis (3) 1. Individual Level: assume that the causes of events originate from the minds of the people. 2. Domestic (State) Level: events can be reduced to what’s happening internally. what matters is HOW leaders respond to the demand of constituents, and what they can or cannot get away with. depending on the rules, leaders can make any kind of treaty they want; if the rules are more constraining, it is harder to make a treaty that they want. public opinion also plays in what leaders can do. 3. System Level: what a country does internationally depends on external conditions, such as balance of power and the dynamics outside of a country that compels that country to act in a certain way. Levels of Analysis (6)  Individual Level 1. Individual Decision Makers 1. the decisions these people make depend on their education levels, socialization, and cognitive complexity. 2. Roles of Decision Makers ii. the decision makers’ political position and social status determines their roles in politics.  State Level 3. Governmental Structure 1. the regime type of a country and the type of autocracy determines domestic affairs. 4. Characteristics of Society ii. society’s wealth, population, culture, and ideology also affects domestic affairs.  System Level 5. International Relations 1. the interactions between states, and whether they are bilateral (dyadic) or not, influences international relations. 6. World System ii. polarity, balance of power, and distribution of wealth also influences international relations. Anarchy: lack of a formal, central governing authority.  Depending on what international approach you are looking at, anarchy can be a good thing, a bad thing, or irrelevant. o Realists: perpetual conflict exists at the international level due to anarchy. states must defend against threats, interests are determined in terms of power, and there is no room for morality or ethics. genuine peace is impossible. the only way to achieve “peace” is for a balance of power to exist, or the most powerful states in the system must be about equal in power. o Liberals: anarchy is indeterminate; it doesn’t necessarily lead to conflict because human nature is not as dire as realists make it out to be. therefore, it is possible to achieve a harmony of interests. peace is also possible, and it can be achieved by creating good institutions that expand trade and commerce, promote democracy, and affect affairs at the international level. stability can be achieved through collective security, or protecting security of everyone from threats made by one in a group. there is no need for balance of power in the system.  In an anarchic system, there are four strategies for survival: 1. Balancing Capabilities: to match up power between states.  internal balancing: domestic, military  external balancing: making alliances with others 2. Bandwagoning: a state that feels threatened joins with the state that is doing the threatening. 3. Appeasement: giving the aggressor what it wants in order to avoid conflict, hoping that the other country’s aggression is benign.  realists don’t like this due to the uncertainty problem. 4. Buck-Passing: passing the problem onto another country in the hope that the other country will fix it.  How do you achieve cooperation in an anarchic world? o International Institutions achieve cooperation in an anarchic world. International Institutions are rules, norms, and principles regulating the interactions and behaviors of states. They enable cooperation. o Realists believe that international institutions are only beneficial to powerful countries and not anyone else. o Liberals believe that international institutions are beneficial because they provide information.  There are two main effects of institutions: 1. Reduce uncertainty by providing information about countries. 2. Lower transaction costs of cooperation. Interests: preferences over different outcomes or states of the world; goals. usually a matter of who gets power, and how much of it. Collective Security: the security of one matters for all. liberals believe that stability can be achieved through collective security. Self Help: states can only rely on themselves for security. if states are uncertain of another state’s motives or how rational another state’s actions are, it can lead that state to take self help measures. Zero-Sum Game: one state’s gain is another state’s loss. realists believe that international politics is a zero-sum game. Positive-Sum Game: two states mutually help each other and improve the status quo. liberals believe that international politics is a positive-sum game. Sovereignty: freedom from interference by outside actors/countries. there are three kinds of sovereignty. 1. Internal: a government or state is sovereign within its borders and is recognized by citizens as the dominant authority. the government or state can exercise effective control. these two aspects of internal sovereignty are tested during civil wars. 2. Legal: legal recognition by “peers”, or other governments or states, can make a country have sovereignty, especially if the country is trying to establish independence. this can also be achieved by joining the UN, because you must be a country in order to join it. 3. External (Westphalian): countries can not intervene, your government must be self-determined, and other countries must recognize you as a country and respect your borders. Violations of Sovereignty: war and conflict, regime change, humanitarian intervention, sovereign lending, regional integration, and human rights. State: a political concept like a government, bureaucracy, or having a rule of law.  There are five characteristics of the state: 1. people 2. territory 3. bureaucratic structure 4. monopoly on the legitimate use of organized violence 5. sovereignty Nation: involves a people who identifies themselves as part of the nation, shared history and identity like ethnic group affiliations, ties to region or homeland, religious commonalities, and a shared language. Nationalism: the desire on part of distinct nation of people to achieve political sovereignty.  There are two types of nationalism: 1. Awakened Nationalism: primordial. 2. Invented Nationalism: stories are shared and ideas are congealed in the hopes of promoting nationalism. Nation-State: a state in which no part of a particular nation is excluded, and no other competing nations reside within the state. to be a nation-state, the state must have a homogenous society, and no other state can share its characteristics. Geopolitics: how the interests and capabilities of states are affected by their geographical positions. countries benefit from their geographical positions; for example, being surrounded by water can potentially stop invasions or make them more difficult. an access to natural resources can stimulate the economy, while climate, famine, and drought can make it difficult for the state to concern itself with things outside the domestic level. the capacity to support large populations can also help a country improve economically and socially. military resources such as defense expenditures, the number of troops, nuclear capabilities, conventional (non-nuclear) weapons systems, and organization, culture, network-centric capabilities, etc. also affect a country’s geopolitics. Cooperation: actors jointly adopt policies that improve their welfare. usually, the status quo is suboptimal, and if you can coordinate with other countries, you can improve your own country. cooperation is never an accident, and it is a positive-sum scenario. cooperation has to result in mutual gains, otherwise it is considered coercion. Pareto Improvement/Frontier: pareto improvements make at least one player better off without making any other players worse off. pareto frontier is the maximum amount of pareto improvements that can possibly be made. Bargaining: involves a finite resource, good, or policy in dispute. if a country gains more, some other country loses something. in the process of bargaining, actors divide or redistribute the good. this is a zero-sum scenario. Mechanics of Bargaining: there is a one-dimensional policy space where people bargain with each other. it involves a division of the status quo, or x. Reversion Outcome: can be worse than the way things normally wer (war). The fear of reversion factor therefore compels the two parties to bargain and work something out. Power is a key resource in bargaining. Public Goods: something that everyone in a society enjoys, nobody can be barred from enjoying it, and nobody can influence how much someone else has of the public good (non-rivalrous). Collective Action: action taken by a group of people whose goal is to achieve some sort of collective goal. Free Riders: those who defect from the collective action but still reap the benefits. Security Dilemma: builds on anarchy, capabilities, uncertainty, and other things. the security dilemma is a motivator for an arms race to war itself, and proliferation. it builds on the fact that we have anarchy and that states only trust themselves (self-help) and that the world is a zero-sum game. one state’s securities or defense is another state’s insecurities, and therefore one state’s defense “offends” others. one state’s capabilities require a response by other states. however, the tragic consequences of security dilemma is that when countries increase their own security, they are actually decreasing their security because it provokes other countries to increase their own security. it provokes a response by other countries to militarize, which negates the advantage you used to have by militarizing. it expends resources and is costly, and increasing weapons leads to destructiveness because it makes other countries more hostile. it increases the risk of preemptive/preventive uses of force because if you see your neighbor as a potential threat (getting wealthier, expanding military) but isn’t quite as strong as you yet, one response it to preemptively use force against them to weaken them and prevent them from ever getting as strong as you. therefore, the security of all states actually declines. Prisoner’s Dilemma: two actors would be better off working together but due to the inability to trust (uncertainty) and undesirable outcomes, both tend to defect just to be safe. the prisoner’s dilemma is often used to metaphorically explain the security dilemma. Dominant Strategy: in the prisoner’s dilemma, the dominant strategy is to defect. Balance of Power: roughly equal distribution of capabilities across the major actors in a system. the balance of power can solve the security dilemma problem by achieving stability. Distribution of Power: the idea that some states have more power than other states, which leads to unique structures, or the relation of parts to one another. Structure: the bipolar, unipolar, and multipolar structures of a system. Pole/Major Actor: individual state or group of states that possesses substantial power relative to other states in the system. Polarity: the extent to which system is “polarized” into distinct clusters of powerful states. polarity can also refer to the total number of major actors.  there are three distinct types of polarity: 1. unipolarity: one and only one major actor involved in the system. this can be a single state, or the world system as a whole. in a unipolar system, all interactions in the world are dominated by interactions with this dominant pole. however, unipolarity invites challenges because other countries view you as a threat. realists think that unipolarity is short lived because people will always try to challenge the threat or dominant pole. they also think it’s unstable and invites challenges. 2. bipolarity: two and only two major actors are involved in the system. there is no clear advantage for one pole over the other. for bipolarity to emerge, the system needs two powerful actors. contemporary realists like bipolarity because they think it’s the most stable. in a bipolar system, foreign policies are directed at a singular opponent, so it’s easier to make foreign policy. this creates an environment in which there are lower odds of miscalculation, misinformation, and overreactions. there are fewer sources of imbalances, and these actors start to collect allies. 3. multipolarity: more than two major actors are involved in the system; three or more major powers with relatively equal in power exist together, and no pole cannot unilaterally defeat another. this is called balanced multipolarity. there can also be unbalanced multipolarity, which is problematic because it leads to instability and war. the key to figuring out if a multipolar system is balanced or not is to look at the gap between the strongest pole and second strongest pole. in a balanced multipolar system, this gap should be very small. as this gap widens, however, the system becomes increasingly unbalanced. multipolarity is favored by classical realists as most stable and balanced, but contemporary realists are skeptical of multipolarity because they think it has a high chance of destabilizing. Information Asymmetry: also known as incomplete information, it can be a cause of war. actors lack information about one another’s resolve or capabilities, make imprudent demands, risk-return trade-off, there are incentives to misrepresent, bluffing, and cheap talk. Costly Signal: an action or policy that inflicts non-trivial costs on the sender of the signal. it is directly correlated with credibility because the more costly the signal, the more credible. Credibility: the believability or trustworthiness of an actor’s threats or commitments. a question commonly asked to determine credibility is are these threats credible, or just cheap talk? Resolve: just like a costly signal. Cheap Talk: faking credibility by sending high costly signals or having high resolve. cheap talk is pervasive because it’s easy to do. Commitment Problems: the believability or trustworthiness of an actor’s commitment to a bargained outcome. there are three variations of the commitment problem: 1. what is being bargained over could be a source of power, so bargaining over goods or issues that will affect that power. 2. shifts in power and preventive war can result from the commitment problem. 3. there is a first-strike advantage to preemptive war with the commitment problem. Issue Indivisibility: if an issue is indivisible, it has no bargaining range. therefore, the only way to capture the resource is to go to war. some issues are indivisible in fact, while others are indivisible in practice. for example, culture, history, identity, ethnicity, religion, language, geography, etc. are indivisible in practice. countries are attached to these aspects of life and therefore, they are indivisible. Compellence: an act (threat of force) that countries use to change status quo. Deterrence: using the threat of force to deter an adversary from doing what it would otherwise do. it reduces uncertainty by giving an overt threat, like weapons. this is more clear in a bargaining context: deterrence strategies is good at showing you are a resolute and capable country and that you don’t want to change the status quo. there are three forms of deterrence: 1. General: what countries do everyday by having militaries or strong allies to protect them. 2. Extended: a specific situation in which a stronger country (often a nuclear power) is extending its nuclear umbrella over a weaker state in an alliance. 3. Immediate: in a bargaining crisis, war is a possibility, and you need to immediately deter another country from attacking you. Nuclear Deterrence: knowing that one country has nuclear weapons can effectively deter another a country from attacking. however, this can create an arms race as other countries try to keep up with that country’s nuclear weapons production. Second-Strike Capability: ability to absorb a nuclear attack and still have resources to retaliate with unacceptable damage. Mutual-Assured Destruction (MAD): the ability for two countries to destroy each other with their weapons should one of them attack first. Nuclear Triad: there is a triad of nuclear deterrence: land, sea, and air. this is most effective when fighting against other countries. Chicken Game: trying to convince the other side that you will not back down. the optimal outcome is one person backs down and the other doesn’t. the worst outcome is nobody backs down. the suboptimal outcome is both back down. Brinkmanship: a reckless bargaining strategy of increasing the probability of a highly destructive outcome in the hope that the other side will concede. there is a first-mover advantage, and neither side wants both to back down, because then neither side gets what it wants. Proliferation: the increase in accessibility to nuclear weapons. Arms Control: managing the production, deployment, maintenance, and use of weapons. this leads to stability, but doesn’t necessarily reduce the number of weapons. Disarmament: the reduction or altogether elimination of weapons. Audience Costs: electoral consequences that a leader faces as a result of issuing empty threats or failing to honor commitments. the threat of audience costs can be used by democratic leaders to tie their own hands. Rally Effect: the tendency for people to approve of an administration’s actions during war or domestic crises. Diversionary Incentive: a leader’s incentive to start, join, or escalate international crises in order to distract attention from some issue and rally public support. many leaders use the diversionary incentive during times of economic downturn in order to artificially inflate their support with the rally effect. Military-Industrial Complex: an alliance between the military, legislators, and the industries that benefit from defense spending. it’s an “iron triangle” that mutually supports each other’s needs, and it creates a hostile and provocative environment.


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