IR STUDY GUIDE
a) What is International Relations?
b) Who are the actors in IR?
c) What are unipolar, bipolar and multipolar systems?
d) What are some examples of superpowers, great powers, middle powers and small states today?
a) What is International Relations?: International Relations is the study of relations between states. Within IR there are fields of study: securities, foreign policy analysis, international policies economy, and international organizations. Some IR scholars prefer quantitive methods of study, while others prefer qualitative study.
b) Who are the actors in IR?: There are 2 major actors in international relations - State and non-state: 1) State: A state is a territorial entity controlled by a government and inhabited by a population. The gov’t practises sovereignty over its territory. A nation is a group of people who share a national identity, like a language or culture. A nation-state is the the territorial boundaries of a state correspond with the national boundaries of a single nation. A multinational state consists of multiple nations (like Canada!).
We also discuss several other topics like What are the various traditional methods used for agriculture?
a) Substate actors: non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) that influence foreign policy making. Ex: American Israel Public Affairs Committee
b) Transnational actors: Multinational corporations (MNC’s) snd international non-governmental organizations (INGO’s) which operate across state borders. Ex: Amnesty International c) Intergovernmental organizations: Intergovernmental Organizations (IGO’s) whose members are national governments. Ex: the UN or the EU (European Union). We also discuss several other topics like Why are resources also called factors of production?
c) What are unipolar, bipolar and multipolar systems?: A unipolar system is when there is only one super state. Currently we are unipolar. Bipolar is when there are two superpowers, and multipolar systems have three or more superpowers.
d) What are some examples of superpowers, great powers, middle powers and small states today?:
1) Super powers: USA
2) Great powers: France, UK
3) Middle powers: Brazil, Canada Don't forget about the age old question of What is summarizing accounting process?
4) Small states: Fiji, Jamaica
a) What are the three main theoretical paradigms?
b) What are the big 6 paradigms we’re learning in this class?
c) What are the assumptions of Realism?
d) Whats the difference between Neorealism and Neoclassical Realism?
e) What are the assumptions of Neoliberalism?
f) What are the recommendations for peace from liberals?
g) What is the world system approach?
h) What effect does feminism have on IR?
a) What are the three main theoretical paradigms?: The 3 main theoretical paradigms are Realism, Liberalism, and Constructivism.
b) What are the big 6 paradigms we’re learning in this class?:
1) Realism: Realism is the dominant paradigm within the study of IR. Realists believe they look at the world in terms of how it really is, not how it ought to be. Realism explain international relations in terms of power, and relations between states are characterized by power politics. Realists believe that peace can only be achieved through either hegemony or a balance of power between states- and that the cause of war lies in human nature. Don't forget about the age old question of How do urbanization economies differ from localization economies?
2) Liberalism: Liberalism is the unit analysis of an individual. Liberalists believe that human nature is essentially good and that with sufficient education and demographic institutions in place, humans can cooperate. They believe that social and economic issues are just as important as military ones and that state behaviour is shaped by internal bargaining between actors within the state. Don't forget about the age old question of What is the definition of social networks?
3) Marxism: Marxists believe that human nature tends towards self interest, and that the global economic system is exploitive. They believe that if society was based on a more equal distribution of wealth that the negative aspects of human nature might be reformed. Their unit of analysis is class. They emphasize that transnational class coalitions are the primary actors in IR. We also discuss several other topics like What is the cardiac output?
4) Constructivism: Constructivists examine how ideas and identities are socially constructed and how they affect international relations. Examples include anarchy, slavery, democracy, and liberty. Most people’s ideas/values/identities are constructed by their group affiliations. Once created, they are transmitted intersubjectively through communication. Ideas become reified and thereby affect IR.
5) Critical Theory: Critical theorists engage in discourse analysis- that is, they deconstruct theories and texts to identify and critique systems of exclusion and emancipate people from them.
6) Feminism: The advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. c) What are the assumptions of Realism?
1) States are the most important actors in IR
2) States are rational actors. Since states are an aggregation of human beings, realists view the states as being as self-interested as humans are. So the state acts rationally and does what is considers to be best for its national interest.
3) States are assumed to be unitary actors. The gov’t works on behalf of its citizens, and only national decision-makers matter when analyzing foreign policy-making.
4) States act in the context of an anarchic international system. So, since there is no world government, states must put themselves first to survive. This means building military power is a primary objective.
d) Whats the difference between Neorealism and Neoclassical Realism?: Neorealist’s believe that states respond rationally to changes in the distribution of power in the international system rather than being driven by human nature. However Neoclassical realists believe that States’ responses to systemic forces are conditioned by state-level variables (like leaders’ perceptions of domestic politics, and political culture). In other words, classical realism focuses on the individual nature of politicians, while neorealists focus on the structural factors of the international system, and neoclassical realists believe there are domestic factors intervening to explain state behaviour. e) What are the assumptions of Neoliberalism?
1) Anarchy in the international system influences state’s actions
2) the state is the primary achy of importance in the international system
3) States are rational actors
4) States are unitary actors
5) International institutions are independent actors that facilitate international cooperation. f) What are the recommendations for peace from liberals?:They believe that to achieve international peace we need 3 things: (1) To establish international institutions to facilitate
cooperation, (2) To increase interdependence such as trade and travel and (3) To promote democracy globally.
g) What is the world system approach?: The world-system approach that states are divided into three groups:
1) Core: Industrialized states.
2) Semi-periphery: Industrialized states that remain undeveloped.
3) Periphery: Developing states which produce mainly raw materials and agricultural products. - The idea is that the peripheral states export raw materials to the core states in exchange for manufactured products.
- The terms of trade favours the core, therefor the core exploits the periphery
- The peripheral and semi-peripheral states don’t revolt because their dominant classes profit from the international trade.
h) What effect does feminism have on IR?: Feminists challenge the male-centred nature of IR. Since most IR scholars are male, many concepts within this study are biased towards masculine values and behaviour. Feminists generally believe that gender roles are socially constructed. In most countries in the world today, issues which are perceived as “feminine”- such as education, health, and environment- receive less attention in governments than economic, military and security issues.
a) What was the Thirty Years War and how did it end?
b) What were the requirements to be a Great Power in the 18th century?
c) What were the original causes of the French revolution in 1789? What consequences did it have? d) What years were the Napoleonic Wars and how did his war practises differ from other wars fought recently in Europe?
e) At the height of his power, what countries did Napoleon’s empire have control of? What countries couldn't be defeated and what countries did he try to screw over in other ways? f) When did Napoleons reign start to end? (the first time and the second time) g) What was the Concert of Europe and what countries were considered the Quadruple Alliance? h) Who was Otto Von Bismarck and what is his legacy? How did the Bismarckian system fall apart? i) Who led the industrial revolution? Which countries caught up and what countries fell behind? How did the industrial revolution eventually put Britain in last place for exportation? j) What were the six causes of World War One? What were the outcomes/consequences? k) What were the causes of WWII? What were the outcomes/consequences?
a) What was the Thirty Years War and how did it end?: The Thirty Years War was waged from 1618-1648, where there was a lot of backlash from the people of Europe over the corruption within the church and political systems. It wiped out more than a third of the total population of Europe. It turned into a war that was more about protecting territories and gaining power, and ended with the Peace of Westphalia. The Peace of Westphalia established the idea of sovereignty, took power from the church and gave it to the monarchies.
b) What were the requirements to be a Great Power in the 18th century?: For a country to be considered a Great Power, it had to have a strong economy, a strong military, a thriving economy and large population.
c) What were the original causes of the French revolution in 1789? What consequences did it have?: France was experiencing a severe economic and social crisis in the late 18th century. After years of overspending on their military (in order to be the most powerful state in Europe), it was crippled by debt. The people of France rioted and protested until the King Louis XVI and his wife
(Marie Antoinette) were guillotined in 1793. France became a republic and forever changed the world because it produced two new ideologies: Liberalism, and nationalism. d) What years were the Napoleonic Wars and how did his war practises differ from other wars fought recently in Europe?: Two decades after the French revolution, Napoleon seized power of France. He waged the Napoleonic Wars from 1803-1815 in the style of the Roman empire- where he would only accept complete submission of a state. He quickly took control of most European countries as well as many states around the world.
e) At the height of his power, what countries did Napoleon’s empire have control of? What countries couldn't be defeated and what countries did he try to screw over in other ways?: At the height of his power (in 1810) he controlled Switzerland, most of Germany, most of Italy, the Netherlands, part of Poland, and maintained an alliance with Austria, Denmark, Prussia and Norway. He was unable to defeat Spain, Portugal, and Russia. He banned the importation of British goods to all his controlled states to try to cripple the British economy.
f) When did Napoleons reign start to end? (the first time and the second time): Napoleon abdicated on April 6th, 1814. Shortly after, The First Peace of Paris was signed, forcing France to give up their conquered territories. During the instability that followed, Napoleon tried to make a comeback after escaping from exile in March 1815, but was shut down quickly by military from Britain, Prussia and the Dutch. They exiled him again to St. Helena where he died 6 years later.
g) What was the Concert of Europe and what countries were considered the Quadruple Alliance?: The concert of Europe was a new international system of cooperation. The Treaty of Vienna (1815) was a agreement between Britain, Russia, Prussia, Austria and France. The Quadruple Alliance was Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria.
h) Who was Otto Von Bismarck and what is his legacy?: Otto Von Bismarck was appointed chancellor in 1862 by King William of Prussia. He worked to protect the monarchy and had no qualms with waging war. He sought to unite Germany by quickly winning three wars: Denmark in 1864, Austria in 1866 and France in 1870. Germany was now the strongest country in Europe and this shifted the balance of power and drastically affected European politics. The Bismarckian system was a series of alliances that prevented local conflicts from escalating into war.
i) Who led the industrial revolution? Which countries caught up and what countries fell behind? How did the industrial revolution eventually put Britain in last place for exportation?:
a) Britain led the industrial revolution
b) Prussia was close behind in the beginning, Germany kept up a slow but steady pace, and eventually became a leader in European exports. Between the 1860’s to 1880’s the US exploded with the industrial revolution. Falling behind was France, Italy, Russia and Austria.
c) When Britain was leading the industrial revolution, they started exporting their goods to other European countries. While at first this made them a leader economically, it eventually worked to its competitors advantage because they could take advantage of Britains goods and use it to fast-forward their own growth until they were passing Britain economically.
j) What were the six causes of World War One? What were the outcomes/consequences?: a) The six causes:
1. First, The unification of Germany and the power it gained in the industrial revolution. Being centrally located made trade good for Germany but it also meant it was surrounded by countries that could be potentially hostile in the future. So Germany prepared possibility for this by matching its military to its economic growth.
2. Second, the Bismarckian system of alliances was becoming irrelevant. France- tired of being shunned economically- improved relations with Russia and German-Russian relations deteriorated. Britain and Japan were wary of Russia’s presence in Asia and so signed a treaty of neutrality and allegiance. This forced France to sign an entente with Britain: Britain could have Egypt if France could keep Morocco.
3. Escalating economic changes and the industrial revolution heightened tensions between countries. Massive population growth put pressure on economic systems.
4. Nationalism. Many regions were very nationalist but didn't have a state to themselves (mostly within the Ottoman, Russian and Austrian empires). These empires tried to squash them out to make their country “whole”- Russia with the Polish, while Jews all over Europe were persecuted. However these nations continued to protest their lack of freedom, and tension grew.
5. Imperialism. By 1900 most of the world was dominated by a European country. With nothing left to conquer or colonize, these countries wanted to start taking these colonies from each other and become the most powerful state in the world.
6. Finally, the rapid evolution of technology left many countries believing they could make a quick and efficient offence if they wanted to- and recent experience had taught everyone that a swift first strike usually won.
b) World War 1 ended on November 11, 1918. The Allies (Britain, Franc, Russia, Italy and the US) won against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria). The Allies met at the Paris Peace Conference in January of 1919; Germany and Austria-Hungary were not invited. France had suffered most during the war and was seeking revenge on Germany, but the US wanted to create a new world order based on respect and cooperation. Because of this, compromises had to be made. Germany had to give back all its conquered lands, pay punitive damages to Britain and France, wasn’t allowed to have build up their army again, and had to admit “war guilt”. The League of Nations was created as President Wilson wanted, but his senate refused to let their country join. The League of Nations without the US would be weak and almost useless (more on that later). Europe was left more scrambled and bitter than before.
k) What were the causes of WWII? What were the outcomes/consequences?: - As with the First World War, there were a few contributing factors for the Second World War. 1. The first major reason was of course, the Great Depression. Everybody had huge war debts, people were starving, and Germany was experiencing hyperinflation. In 1929 the American stock market crashed, which in turn knocked over the European stock market and lost millions of people their jobs. Germany was in ruins, and this led to the Nazi party being elected democratically in 1930-1933. Adolf Hitler was chosen as party leader in 1933.
2. The second major reason was the rise of fascism in Germany, Japan and Italy. 3. The Treaty of Versailles was too harsh on Germany, and not enforced. When Britain and France caught wind of Germany re-arming themselves, they did nothing.
4. As Germany and Japan got stronger, the League of Nations proved to be basically powerless against them.
- WWII ended on May 8th, 1945 with the Allies claiming victory against Germany. This time they did not want to make the same mistake as they did with Germany the first time, so they sought to make a postwar settlement that was realistic for Germany. However the Holocaust and the Atomic bombs dropped in Japan would leave scars in the earth and with people all over the world for many generations to come. Germany was occupied in four sections: One for the British, one for the Americans, one for the French, and one for the Russians. Germany was disarmed and had to start making reparation payments.
a) What was the cause of the Cold War?
b) What was the iron curtain?
c) What was the Truman doctrine?
d) What was the Marshall plan?
e) What happened during the Berlin Blockade?
f) What is NATO?
g) How did the cold war effect the global economy?
h) What was created at the Bretton Woods conference?
i) Why was the Berlin wall created?
j) What happened in the Bay of Pigs? How did it affect the Cold War?
k) Why was the Vietnam war such a tragedy for the US?
a) What was the cause of the Cold War?: There are five explanations for why the Cold War could’ve started:
1) It was Moscow’s Fault: From this perspective, if the Soviets hadn’t been trying to conquer more territory, the US wouldn't have had to get involved.
2) It was Washingtons fault: The US insisted on expanding their exportation of goods into Eastern Europe, and the Soviets just wanted to protect their markets.
3) It was an ideological conflict: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Perhaps it was impossible to avoid a clash between these two big countries with very different cultures and political systems. 4) It was a lack of proper leadership: The two leaders of these two countries were very different men with different values. Truman was not well-experienced in foreign affairs, and Stalin had been responsible for millions of deaths before WWII with his totalitarian style of leadership. The clash was inevitable.
5) One world with two Superpowers: These two countries were destined to be natural enemies as they were the two superpowers that emerged, relatively unscathed from WWII. b) What was the iron curtain?: In 1946 Winston Churchill warned that the “Iron curtain” was descending across the continent. This was because Russia was established as the dominant power of Europe and was making efforts to expand into the Middle East and Mediterranean. The US was told by the British to do something about it, and this became a major turning point for the US, because it meant they were becoming less isolationist.
c) What was the Truman doctrine?: The Truman Doctrine was when the US pledged military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey to resist communism.
d) What was the Marshall plan?: The Marshall Plan was created to help the US economy. Because WWII had just ended, most countries in Western Europe were still in ruins, and the US government feared that communism could take over. If this happened, they would no longer be able to purchase American goods. So the Marshall Plan was a foreign policy program offering American military and economic services to promote free trade. This was very similar to the Truman doctrine but perhaps made for more selfish reasons. It revitalized the European economy, put a stop to communism takeovers, and help create the path to the EU.
e) What happened during the Berlin Blockade?: The Berlin Blockade happened because Stalin refused to allow goods and supplies into his side of Western Berlin. The world leaders feared that the citizens of West Berlin would starve, so the US decided to airlift supplies over the blockade. Something that could've escalated into war was resolved peacefully and the world sighed with relief. f) What is NATO?: NATO is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
g) How did the cold war effect the global economy?: During the time of the Cold War, the US economy soared. This was in part because US production increased, but also because international trade increased. The living standards rose quickly in the 1950’s with new technology advances, and both men and women were active in the work force after WWII.
h) What was created at the Bretton Woods conference?: The Bretton Woods Conference was held in July 1944 and produced the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. i) Why was the Berlin wall created?: The Soviets controlling Western Berlin created the Berlin wall, almost overnight. It was created out of thick concrete. It was another opportunity for John F. Kennedy to be goaded into war with Stalin but he once again made no move.
j) What happened in the Bay of Pigs? How did it affect the Cold War?: The Soviets began to hide missiles in Cuba. When the US found out about it, the CIA arranged an invasion at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba to provoke a rebellion against the Castro. While doing this, John K. Kennedy publicly warned Khrushchev to withdraw the missiles - and he did. However this was still the most intense moment of the Cold War. In exchange for removing the missiles, Kennedy promised to withdraw his missiles from Turkey. Weirdly enough, this resulted in the beginning of the end of the cold war.
k) Why was the Vietnam war such a tragedy for the US?: Simply put, the Vietnam war was a tragedy for the US because in the end they put a lot of money and time into fighting a war and still lost due to lack of initial commitment. Many lives were lost on both sides, but this loss also weakened the position of the US as a superpower.
a) What is imperialism?
Chapter 5: Imperialism
b) What effect has imperialism and colonization had on conquered lands (outside of Europe)? c) What does irredentists and secession?
d) Why did the Treaty of Tordesilas have to be revised?
e) What countries were imperialists?
a) What is imperialism?: Imperialism is the process of extending a nation’s authority through territorial acquisition. European imperialism began in the 15th century once Western Europe became densely populated an natural resources were diminishing. Imperialism was ruled by a desire to establish trade routes with Asia.
b) What effect has imperialism and colonization had on conquered lands (outside of Europe)?: Imperialism and colonialism have distorted development across the world. Where there was settler colonialism (such as Canada, Us and Australia), the indigenous population was pushed out and the Europeans dominated the lands. In tropical climates, Europeans became the political elite while the natives were mostly allowed to retain their cultures- so long as they continued to produce raw materials for exportation. After gaining independence, the countries in tropical climates became dependent on trade with their mother countries. Britain and France often left behind democratic political systems in colonies they granted independence, however they usually didn't last long. c) What does irredentist and secessionist mean?:
- Irredentist is when a country attempts to gain control over a region in a neighbouring country where inhabitants are the same ethnicity as the irredentist country. Examples include Russia vs. Ukraine and Armenia vs. Azerbaijan.
- Secessionism is when a region within a country attempts to separate and become an independent state. Examples include Scotland vs. the UK and South Sudan vs. Sudan.
d) Why did the Treaty of Tordesilas have to be revised?: In 1494, Spain and Portugal drew a line from the top to bottom of the map of world, splitting world into two sections so Spain could conquer all lands to the West while Portugal got all lands to the East. However years after they realized the world was in fact a sphere, so they had to draw another vertical line on the map in 1529. e) What countries were imperialists?
1) The Netherlands: At the height of the Dutch hegemony in the 1600’s, the Netherlands controlled several Caribbean islands, the coast of South Africa, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Java, Guyana, and New Amsterdam (now Manhattan). Their decline began after Napoleon conquered them.
2) France: France’s first overseas colonies were in North America. After the Napoleonic Wars, France had colonies in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
3) Britain: In the 17/18th centuries, Britain established colonies in North America, the South Pacific and the Caribbean. In the 18/19th centuries, Britain’s empire had expanded to include parts of Africa, the middle east, and Asia. However they began to grant self-governance to their larger colonies in the 19th century to places like Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
4) Russia: The Russian empire expanded steadily from the 1500’s to the 1800’s. However they stayed within Europe or Northern Asia, and never established overseas colonies. 5) The US: The US expanded their territory through both conquering and purchasing land. Victories in wars in the 1800’s resulted in a large expansion of territory.
6) The Ottoman Empire: The Ottoman empire was the most powerful empire for nearly 500 years. At one point it controlled parts of the Balkans, North Africa, the Middle East, Russia and Ukraine. A lot of this control was lost after WWI and the Ottoman empire became known as Turkey.
7) Germany: Germany controlled some parts of Africa at one point (Togo, Cameroon, Tanzania, Namibia) and a few pacific islands, however it was stripped of its lands after WWI. 8) Japan: Japan conquered Taiwan in 1895 and Korea in 1910. They invaded Manchuria and China but was stripped of these achievements after WWII.
Chapter 6: Post Cold-War Era and Globalization
a) What was the Persian gulf War?
b) How did the European Union change the lives of many?
c) What were the 3 tragedies of Yugoslavia, Somalia, and Rwanda
d) What happened on Sept 11th and how did it change the American mindset? e) What is the Arab Spring?
f) What may mark the end of the American Hegemony?
a) What was the Persian gulf War?: Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 for allegedly stealing oil. In 1991, the UN approved the US to liberate Kuwait. They invaded with the support of other countries (like Canada). The war was very short, with very few casualties, and Kuwait was liberated.
b) How did the European Union change the lives of many?: The European Union was 28 countries coming together to let their people move freely across borders, as well as goods and capitol. Europeans within the union can travel between countries without a passport and have an easy time getting a work visa for another country within the EU.
c) What were the 3 tragedies of Yugoslavia, Somalia, and Rwanda
1) Yugoslavia: War broke out in Yugoslavia in 1991 when Slovenia and Croatia split away. In 1992 Bosnia-Herzegovina also seceded and a civil war broke out. This lead to the Serbs ethnically cleansing the Bosniaks. War finally ended in 1995 after NATO got involved.
2) Somalia: After their dictator was overthrown in 1991, war broke out between rival gangs and famine escalated. The UN and the US tried to get involved, but nothing worked and to this day Somalia is a lawless place.
3) Rwanda: The Rwandan Genocide was when nearly a million Tutsi and Twa were killed by the Hutu in 1994. Peacekeepers went sent in from all over the world but they were brutally murdered. Everyone backed out pretty quick because no one wanted a repeat of Somalia.
d) What happened on Sept 11th and how did it change the American mindset?: The terrorist attack on September 11 2001 left Americans and the world shaken and surprised. Thus began a new era of terrorism. The Americans retaliated by invading Afghanistan and toppling the Taliban, this war lasted 3 years. From that point on, Americans have been more guarded and security measures were raised significantly.
e) What is the Arab Spring? : The Arab spring were revolts in 2011 for freedom but only Tunisia resulted in democracy. In Libya and Syria it started a civil war.
f) What may mark the end of the American Hegemony?: Currently, China and Russia are gaining military strength. China is attempting to assert dominance over the South China sea region, and Russia has annexed Crimea and is supporting a secession movement in eastern Ukraine.